22:49 A Ajay Kumar is new Ambassador to Iraq:
The government today appointed senior IFS officer A Ajay Kumar as India's next Ambassador to Iraq.
Kumar, a 2001-batch IFS officer, is currently serving as Counsellor at India's mission in Tehran.
The government has also appointed 1986-batch IFS officer Anumula Gitesh Sarma, currently Ambassador to Uzbekistan, as next High Commissioner to Fiji.
21:07 Auto driver, advocate in AAP's list of candidates from AP:
Aam Aadmi Party has announced its list of candidates for impending assembly elections in the Seemandhra and the Telengana region, which is set to be a separate state on June 2.
Auto driver Sridhar from Malakpet, a visually handicapped high court advocate Chandra Supriya from Malkajgiri and a young tribal activist Seedari Srinu from Paderu, figure in AAP's list of candidates.
Chartered accountant Mohan Kumar from Yemmiganur (Kurnool district), Dalit social activist and singer Chandra Prakash from Ibrahimpatnam which is not an SC-reserved constituency and returned NRI Seera Ramesh Kumar from Vizianagaram were among other nominees, as AAP announced its list of 31 candidates from Telangana and 29 candidates from Seemandhra.
21:06 Low intensity earthquake hits Mizoram, north-east India:
A low intensity earthquake rocked Mizoram's Champhai district today in the afternoon, an official said.
The earthquake of 4 magnitude on the Richter scale shook the entire region at around 12:30pm and lasted for a few seconds, a Regional Seismological Centre official here told PTI.
The epi-centre of the earthquake was located 10-km deep under the earth's crust in Champai area and was felt in almost all parts of north eastern states, he added.
20:15 Sadhu changes mind to fight against sister Rabri from Saran:
RJD chief Lalu Prasad's brother-in-law Anirudh Prasad alias Sadhu Yadav today said that he would not confront former Chief Minister and sister Rabri Devi as an independent candidate from Saran seat but would now contest for the Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat.
Yadav reasoned that the change of decision was not under any 'family pressure' but because of the 'pressure of his supporters'. "Instead of Saran, I have decided to enter into fray from Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat," Yadav told PTI.
"My supporters want me to contest Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat and I have no other option than to honour their wish," he said, further claiming, that he had no talks with Lalu Prasad or Rabri Devi or anybody in the family in this connection.
He, however, was undecided on whether to support Rabri Devi on the Saran seat. Yadav's decision of not contesting from the home turf Saran seat thus put an end to the contest between estranged brother and sister at home turf of Saran.
20:13 BJP stalwarts Mulayam, Amar Singh, Amarinder file nominations:
BJP stalwarts Sushma Swaraj, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, JD-U chief Sharad Yadav and Congress leader Amarinder Singh were among the prominent candidates who filed nominations today for the sixth and seventh phases of Lok Sabha polls.
Union Minister Milind Deora, NCP leader Chagan Bhujbal, RLD leader Amar Singh also entered the contest as the process of filing nominations gained momentum. Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav filed his nomination papers from Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh, pledging loyalty to his traditional seat and said he was contesting from Azamgarh only to counter Narendra Modi, who is in fray from Varanasi.
Mulayam's friend turned foe Amar Singh, who joined Ajit Singh's RLD recently, filed nominations from Fatehpur Sikri. Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Swaraj was accompanied by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his wife Sadhna as submitted her nominations in Vidisha, from where she is seeking re-election.
19:55 Tagore celebrated in Britain's Parliament complex:
A special event commemorating the contributions of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore to literature, music and art was held in Britain's Parliament complex here.
India's high commissioner to the UK, Ranjan Mathai, addressed the gathering at the House of Commons yesterday.
"Tagore was one of the most celebrated sons of India, a towering figure, who wrote our national anthem. The range of his achievements are extraordinary - literature, music, art," he said.
Bangladesh's high commissioner to Britain, Mohamed Mijarul Quayes, added: "Tagore imparted greater glory to the Nobel Prize than the Nobel did to him." The event was hosted by Indian-origin British MP Virendra Sharma, chairman of Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group.
19:12 LIVE! Priyanka Gandhi may play a larger role in politics if Cong loses :
Poll updates at this hour:Rahul Gandhi greeted with black flags in Mangalore. Priyanka Gandhi may play a larger role in politics if the Congress loses. Priyanka, who has been helping the Congress war-room in strategising its election campaign, may be taking baby steps towards a more active political role. According to sources in the Congress party in Vadodara, its candidate Madhusudan Mistry is likely to get a helping hand from Priyanka Vadra.
On this day, 35 years ago, a Pakistani general hanged a PM.
18:55 MM Joshi on the Cobrapost sting: Why should one go to an Imam or a priest to decide their vote? Congress is trying to garner votes on basis of religion.
18:50 Cobrapost sting on Babri issue has no evidentiary value: CBI:
The sting operation carried out by 'Cobrapost' giving details of the alleged conspiracy by right-wing organisations to bring down Babri Masjid in 1992 has no evidentiary value for CBI as it has already completed the investigation.
Highly-placed sources of the agency said investigation in the cases has been completed after collecting all the legally tenable evidence based on which the cases are at trial stage.
They said the so-called revelations made by Cobrapost prima facie do not look to be legally tenable evidence. The sources said since trial has already progressed, the agency may not use these tapes as evidence before the court.
18:35 LIVE! Depressed Cong still sees hope in Priyanka, wants her to campaign:
Demands for Priyanka Gandhi to enter politics formally, this time from the women's core of the Congress.
The All India Mahila Congress (AIMC) president Shobha Ojha said today that it is the wish of all Congressmen that Priyanka Gandhi should campaign for the party in the entire country.
"It is a wish of all Congressmen," Shobha told reporters when asked whether AIMC wants Priyanka to campaign in the entire country instead of confining herself to the family pocket borough of Amethi and Rai Bareli. "However, any final decision on the issue will be entirely her own," Shobha added. Also read:
Priyanka may campaign for Madhusudan Mistry in Vadodara
18:29 Rahul Gandhi addressing a rally in Mangalore: Hindustan ko 1 chowkidar ki zarurat nahi, humare pass crore chowkidar hai hume bas unko adhikar dene hai.
18:19 Of politicians and children:
If you want to enter politics, this a must do during campaign trails. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who is contesting the LS polls from Thiruvananthapuram, tweets this picture, saying: This is one of my favorite paryadanam pictures with an extremely cheerful little constituent!
18:14 Those involved in corruption in Bellary will not be spared: Rahul:
Rahul Gandhi today took on BJP in mineral-rich Bellary hit by the mining scam, saying those involved in corruption in the area will not be spared and vowed to end all kinds of irregularity in the region.
"We will take strong action against the people in BJP who were involved in corruption in Bellary. Bellary's wealth will come to your hand and quickly Bellary will benefit from it," he told a rally in Bellary which was attended by senior leaders from Congress-ruled Karnataka.
Fourteen eyebrow-raising items in the Aam Aadmi Party manifesto. Read
18:04 With new satellite in space, India to get 'Desi GPS':
India today successfully launched its second navigation
satellite, sometimes dubbed
the 'desi GPS', through its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV. The
satellite navigation system is a fleet of seven satellites that will
help provide precise locations within 20 meters.
now most of us have relied on the American GPS or the Global
Positioning System, very popular on smart phones but not good enough for
military applications as it can't be relied upon for seamless coverage
in times of war and the in-built error makes it unsuitable for precision
strikes. Read more
17:57 MM Joshi files nomination from Kanpur :
Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi today filed his nomination papers from the Kanpur parliamentary constituency which goes to polls on April 30. Joshi filed four sets of nomination papers at the district collectorate amid tight security even as supporters shouted slogans hailing the senior leader along with other BJP heavy-weights Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani.
17:52 RJD leader Pappu Yadav gets anticipatory bail from HC:
Heard of Rajesh Ranjan? Or may be you're more familiar with Pappu Yadav? Well, the Patna High Court today granted anticipatory bail to RJD candidate from Madhepura in a case related to hindering officials in discharge of duty while lodged in Beur jail in Patna last year.
17:31 Modi will be in jail if Rahul becomes PM: Beni Prasad Verma:
In other news: Congress leader and Union minister Beni Prasad Verma has warned that Narendra Modi will be in jail in six months time if Rahul Gandhi becomes the PM. While dubbing Modi as a "dictator", he also launched a vitriolic attack on the opposition parties, saying it is the "duty of all Hindus and Muslims to guard the country and temple of democracy from dogs."
17:13 PSLV C-24 successfully launches India's second navigation satellite IRNSS 1B.
16:55 What the rapists told the photo journalist when she begged for mercy:
"Hum shaitan hain, haraami hain, bahut ladkiyon ka balatkar ki hai," is what the three rapists sentenced to death now, told the photo journalist when she begged for mercy, says public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
He said the three convicts have also been given life sentence for unnatural sex.
16:48 Nikam: Rape is another form murder :
Special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam says the three repeat offenders had no sense of shame and despite the women begging them to let them go, they said they had committed the crime multiple times and they did not fear the law.
Nikam said the convicts were enjoying the women's distress. "We have to consider the plight of the victim and the social stigma," the court said. Nikam said rape is another form of murder and the law has to help the victim.
This is the first case where rapists have been given the death sentence when the victim is still alive. In the Delhi gang rape, the five men were given the death sentence for her murder and not rape since the law did not provide for death under the old laws.
16:30 LIVE! Shakti Mills gang rapes: Three convicts get DEATH penalty:
It's death for all three convicts guilty of gang-raping two women at the Shakti Mills in Mumbai.
A sessions court in Mumbai pronounced the quantum of sentence to the convicts in the Shakti Mills photojournalist gangrape case today.
The sessions court on Thursday held guilty three convicts in the Shakti Mills photojournalist gang rape case under an amended IPC section, which entails death penalty, for committing repeated offence. This is the first conviction under section 376 E, meant for repeat offenders in rape cases brought in by the new Criminal Law (Amendment) Act in 2013 after the Delhi gang rape case.
Principal sessions judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi found the three repeat offenders Mohammad Qasim Shaikh alias Bangali, 21, Mohammad Salim Ansari, 28, and Vijay Jadhav, 19, guilty under 376 E.
16:26 KCR, Telangana martyrs mother in first list of TRS candidates:
K Sankaramma, mother of Telangana martyr K Srikant Chary, a 24-year-old student who immolated himself during Telangana agitation and died on December 4, 2009, is among 69 nominees in the first list of candidates released by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) for Assembly constituencies on Friday.
Sankaramma will contest from Huzurnagar constituency in Nalgonda district. The self-immolation of her son, Srikant, a physiotherapy student in Hyderabad, ignited passions and gave momentum to the Telangana agitation. Read more
16:19 Afghanistan: Seen through the lens of Anja Niedringhaus:
Afghanistan as seen through the lens of Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus. She was shot at and killed today in the Khost province of Afghanistan. She has been covering conflicts from Bosnia to Afghanistan for more than 20 years, earning a Pulitzer Prize in 2005, as part of a team of AP photographers covering the Iraq War. See
Afghanistan with Anja Niedringhaus
16:14 'Schumacher has moments of consciousness':
Michael Schumacher is now showing "moments of consciousness and awakening," more than three months after suffering serious head injuries in a skiing accident, the retired Formula One star's manager said Friday. Read
16:05 Is someone who speaks lies fit to be PM: Sonia's dig at Modi:
A day after Narendra Modi accused her of resorting to "rabid communalism", Congress president Sonia Gandhi today hit back asking whether someone who "speaks lies" was fit for the PM's post.
"Our party believes in communal harmony. We believe in uniting the country and not dividing country. "I would like to ask you. Is someone who makes tall claims and speaks lies fit for the PM's post?" Gandhi told an election meeting Ramgarh in Jharkhand, without taking the name of Modi, who had yesterday targeted her over meeting the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid in Delhi.
"The country has many serious issues to deal with,"she said.
15:55 Modi was always high on drama:
AR Goswami, the principal of the school Narendra Modi went to, shows an old photograph of the BJP prime ministerial candidate taking part in a play at a school. Reuters/Amit Dave
15:47 Modi a threat to Indian civilisation: U R Ananthamurthy:
He was always opposed to the idea of Narendra Modi as the prime minister and today he has out in the open once again to speak about it. Renowned Kannada writer and Jnanpith Award winner U R Ananthamurthy, who had said that he would leave India if Modi became the prime minister, is now part of an organisation called the Samekaleena Vichara Vedike to oppose the Gujarat chief minister's ascent to New Delhi. Read
15:44 Reports of an encounter between Maoists and security personnel in Burkapal, Sukma, in Chhattisgarh. One CRPF jawan injured. Encounter still on.
So, after the The Economist, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid also declares support for the Congress.
Follow latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
15:23 LIVE! Shahi Imam Bukhari's mandate for Muslims: Vote Cong, NOT BSP, SP:
Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari gives his mandate for the Lok Sabha polls. He asks Muslims across India to vote for the Congress, and says he hopes the party will fulfill its promises.
He said both the BSP and the SP have betrayed Muslims and there is no question of supporting the SP. "We have to unitedly fight against forces of communalism. Votes for BSP and SP will be wasted, since both are unreliable.
"I urge you to vote for the Congress. The TMC's role will be very important in formation of government in Delhi. I urge Muslims in West Bengal to support the TMC.
I declare full support to the Congress."
Congress president Sonia Gandhi met with the the Shahi Imam earlier this week. She has reportedly told Muslim leaders to ensure that secular votes did not split in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
15:01 Vadodara poster war: Cong alleges 'bias' in complaint to EC:
Narendra Modi is "abusing" his power as Gujarat Chief Minister to monopolise advertisement space in Vadodara, Congress today complained to Election Commission, a day after its candidate Madhusudan Mistry tore down posters of BJP's PM candidate and was arrested.
Accusing the local authorities of bias in allocation of kiosks for election advertisements, the party said that it was "major obstruction in the conduct of fair poll" and asked the poll panel to ensure a level playing field.
Absolutely awesome dog video that seems to have gone viral. Watch
(whether or not you like dogs).
14:56 LS poll: Milind Deora, Kirit Somaiya file nominations:
Union Minister of State for Shipping and Telcom Milind Deora and senior BJP leader Kirit Somaiya today filed their nomination papers for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Deora is seeking a third term from Mumbai South parliamentary constituency while Somaiya, who earlier represented the Mumbai North East seat, is the BJP candidate in fray and will try to wrest the seat back from NCP.
Bala Nandgaonkar of MNS, who finished second in the 2009 polls against Deora, also filed his papers.
Follow latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
Man and myth collide as India's Modi eyes final ascent to power. Read
14:46 Sentencing in Shakti Mills gang-rape today:
A sessions court in Mumbai is likely to pronounce the quantum of
sentence to the convicts in the Shakti Mills photojournalist gangrape
case on today. The sessions court on Thursday held guilty three
convicts in the Shakti Mills photojournalist gang rape case under an
amended IPC section, which entails death penalty, for committing
14:42 In the shadow of insurgency:
As during several elections in the past, the northeastern states are
going to the Lok Sabha polls this time too under the shadow of the gun
as ethnic insurgency continues to grip the region. Read
Here's the full text
of the BJP's chargesheet on the Congress-led UPA.
14:14 BJP files 'chargesheet' against Cong to checkmate Babri sting :
In another skilful marketing strategy, the BJP has released what it calls, a chargesheet, against the Congress, accusing it of economic mismanagement and corruption.
In its chargesheet, the BJP has accused the Congress of destruction of economy, corruption, disrespecting the PMs chair and faulty foreign policy. The Congress has neglected the northeast and not a shred of nuclear energy has been produced under the UPA government, alleges the BJP. It said that Sonia and Rahul have devalued the office of the prime minister and both own a controlling stake in the UPA."
This comes in the wake of the Cobrapost sting today on the Babri Masjid demolition.
13:44 LIVE! Kejriwal tweets anguish after being blasted by Sri Sri Ravishankar:
But slaps and ink attacks are not all that Kejriwal has to contend with. Now, comes an attack, albeit verbal, from Sri Sri Ravishankar. The spiritual guru has blasted Arvind Kejriwal, saying it would be a disaster for the country if he is voted power in the Lok Sabha elections.
A hurt Kejriwal responded with a flurry of tweets: "Pujya Guruji Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji. I am deeply hurt that u have written such strong sentiments against me. I pray to God that some day I will be able to convince u that i am working only for the country and have no selfish motives. I sincerely hope that some day, i will be able to remove all ill feelings that u have against me. I have very deep respect for u and will continue to respect u always."
The rickshaw-walla in Bihar who has NOT heard of Narendra Modi. Read
13:26 On March 28, while campaigning in Haryana, Kejriwal was attacked by a man, who later claimed to be a supporter of Anna Hazare.
13:25 Meanwhile, an AP journalist was killed by unknown gunman in Tanai District of Khost province, in Afghanistan. His cameraman was injured.
13:19 Kejriwal: Let them attack us, we will not retaliate :
Just last month, when Kejriwal was campaigning in Haryana, a man attacked him, and then was quickly beaten up by party workers and arrested.
"Someone hit me hard on my neck jst now. This kind of violent reaction is expected of them. It only shows their true character and desperation, (sic)" tweeted Mr Kejriwal.
Opinion polls suggest that AAP's vote share in the Lok Sabha polls will go down as compared to the Assembly polls after Kejriwal quit office after just 49 days in power.
Responding to the attack just now, Kejriwal tweets: Let them attack us, we will not retaliate. Some people will do anything to become PM.
@BJP4India. Follow latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
12:58 LIVE! Kejriwal attacked while campaigning in Delhi :
The former Delhi CM is obviously not a favourite in his stomping ground. Arvind Kejriwal was slapped by an unidentified person in the Dakshinpuri area in Delhi while campaigning. The attacker was handed over to police by AAP supporters.
Just last week, Kejriwal was attacked with ink while campaigning in Varanasi. He will be battling BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi in Varanasi.
12:35 Varun Gandhi refuses to invoke Modi:
Despite a a rap on the knuckles for praising cousin Rahul, BJP's Sultanpur candidate, Varun Gandhi, has refused to invoke Narendra Modi in his rallies. @BJP4India
The young leader, contesting from Sultanpur, usually gives Modi a skip in his poll speeches as he seeks the support of voters in a constituency once represented by his father Sanjay Gandhi. Read
12:27 BJP asks EC to bar telecast of Cobrapost sting on Babri, questions timing :
Questioning the timing of the 'sting' operation on the Babri Masjid demolition, the BJP today alleged that it was "sponsored", accusing the Congress of using "pawns" to vitiate the atmosphere before elections and asked the Election Commission to stop its publication and telecast.
Writing to the Election Commission shortly before Cobrapost was to hold a press conference, the BJP sought a bar on its contents being made public.
12:25 BJP senior leader Sushma Swaraj has filed her nomination papers from Vidisha.
12:11 AAP'S Prashant Bhushan on the Babri sting: This is a serious issue, it was a conspiracy to throw the country into a communal cauldron. Its shameful.
12:10 What the Cobrapost sting says is this: By piecing together the versions given by the top Ram Janambhhomi players, among them Sakshi Maharaj, Acharya Dharmendra, Uma Bharti, Mahant Vedanti and Vinay Katiyar, it is apparent that top BJP leaders like L K Advani and the then UP chief minister Kalyan Singh, as well the former Congress PM, P V Narasimha Rao, were aware of the planned demolition of Babri Masjid.
12:08 Gurudas Dasgupta, CPI, on Cobrapost sting on the Babri masjid demolition. "Yes, it's already known, it was a calculated move. Now its further corroborated." @BJP4India.
12:03 LIVE! RSS on Babri sting: It's a conspiracy to polarise voters :
First official statement from the RSS on the Cobrapost sting on the Babri Masjid demolition The party's national executive member, Ram Madhav, said, "There is a political conspiracy behind this Babri sting, all allegations are baseless. It is a conspiracy to polarise voters."
11:59 Guess who complained against Varun Gandhi?:
Guess who complained against Varun Gandhi? @BJP4India.
Varun Gandhi, the BJP's Lok Sabha candidate from Sultanpur, startled his party leadership when he hailed first cousin Rahul Gandhi, who is contesting the election from neighbouring Amethi.
Following this, Smriti Irani, the BJP nominee from Amethi, lodged a complaint with Amit Shah, who is looking after party affairs in Uttar Pradesh at his mentor Narendra Modi's instance.
Irani thinks Varun's praise for Rahul will undermine her campaign against the Congress Veep. This is not the first time Varun has got the BJP in a spot. Read
11:52 Modi attacks Sonia on Nirbhaya fund:
Narendra Modi addressing a rally in Chandrapur, Maharashtra. @BJP4India
Modi says that instead of taking up guns, people here should take up pens, an appeal to the Naxal-infested area for peace.
He says he appeals to Maoists to consider whether they want to spread blood or work for the glory of the nation.
Back on familiar ground -- attacking the Congress -- he says, "Madam Soniaji, you are a woman, yet you are misleading women. We want the answers on pertinent issues. Madam Soniaji you had declared Rs 1000 crore for the Nirbhaya fund. What happened to that money? Not a single paisa out of this fund was spend for the safety of women."
11:42 A Hindutva variant of neo-liberalism:
The link between the Hindu assertion, material prosperity and economic growth is what makes the idea of Hindutva rate of growth, as opposed to the 'Hindu rate of growth,' which is a derisive description of a slow economy. Read
11:40 Bigger role for Priyanka? Cong leader's remarks spark buzz:
Desperate Congress seeks the Bramhastra -- Priyanaka Gandhi.
In perhaps the strongest push yet for bringing Priyanka Gandhi to the forefront of the Congress, senior party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi has said that Rajiv Gandhi spoke to him about his daughter's political aptitude way back in 1990. Read
11:37 Up ahead in the day: Congress candidates Milind Deora and Amarinder Singh will file their nominations.
11:35 BJP furious over Economist's vote for Rahul:
The BJP has reacted sharply to an article in The Economist that describes Narendra Modi as a divisive man and "recommends" to Indians a Rahul Gandhi-led government as an uninspiring but "less disturbing" option. Read more
The Supreme Court has dismissed a PIL seeking to restrain political parties from entering into post-poll alliances.
Follow latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
11:24 Independent candidate to fight his 159th election against Modi:
A 55-year-old man has come to Vadodara all the way from Tamil Nadu to fight elections against Narendra Modi, with not an aim for winning but to set a record.
Having no political ambition or hope to win elections, the Tamil Nadu-based tyre trading firm owner Dr K Padmarajan filed his nomination as an independent Lok Sabha candidate from the Vadodara seat yesterday, just to set a world record of fighting maximum number of elections.
Padmarajan, who is a qualified homoeopathic doctor, has already fought and lost all the 158 elections in the past.
Follow latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
11:14 Rajnath flaunts Atal gift:
Rajnath Singh is going into the Lucknow contest armed with an angavastram, which the BJP said was Atal Bihari Vajpayee's blessing.
The BJP president, who has been trying to project himself in the mould of Vajpayee, is expected to call on the former Prime Minister tomorrow before filing his nomination on Saturday for the Lucknow seat.
"Atal Bihari Vajpayee's blessings are crucial for anyone willing to contest from the BJP. I had obtained a letter from him in 2009. Vajpayee has shown a generous gesture by offering his angavastram to Rajnathji. He will come out with flying colours,' said Lalji Tandon, the sitting BJP MP.
Vajpayee, who is ailing and has not been seen in public for years, represented Lucknow in Parliament and last won the seat in 2004. Read more
11:04 The real Indian voter is at the chai, halwai and tailor shop:
A chat at the chai, halwai, barber and tailor shops reveal more insights into the thinking of the Indian voter than any opinion poll or analysis could.In raw, simple reasoning, they tell you as it is and are proud of the strength of their vote. Read
more on Rediff.com.
on Rediff.com: 'Society to blame for how Suryanelli rape victim suffered'
10:56 Live! Suryanelli gang rape case: Solitary convict gets life term:
A long, long wait for justice, but here it is finally. A division bench of the Kerala High Court court has given Dharmarajan, convicted for gang rape, a life sentence in the 1996 Suryanelli case.
The division bench comprised Justice KT Sankaran and Justice ML Joseph Francis, which said there was no reason to disbelieve the girl's statement.
The case relates to the abduction and sexual exploitation of a minor girl hailing from Suryanelli in Idukki district by several persons in 1996.
The prosecution case was that the schoolgirl was enticed, abducted, and sexually exploited by a bus conductor on January 16, 1996.
She was later handed over to two others, including the prime accused Dharmarajan who was a lawyer by profession. The girl was taken later by them to various places and presented to several men.
The prosecution claimed that the girl was raped 67 times by 37 different people during the 40 days from January 16, 1996, to February 26, 1996. As many as 35 accused were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for varying terms from 10 years to 13 years by the Kottayam Special Court on charges of rape, gang rape, and kidnapping.
However, the High Court had acquitted all the accused except Dharmarajan.
The case took a high profile turn when the girl alleged that one of her rapists was Rajya Sabha Deputy Speaker PJ Kurien. However, the court refused to make Kurien an accused in the case thereby rejecting the survivor's plea.
10:50 @DrKumarVishwas tweets: Landed Delhi fr campaign. Got the news of Congress conspiracy in cooking-to arrest me in some false criminal case to keep me away frm Amethi.
For those with zero interest in the 2014 polls, Dr Kumar Vishwas is the AAP candidate from Amethi.
10:46 'It would be wrong for a man who has thrived on division to become PM' :
Narendra Modi will probably become India's next prime minister. That does not mean he should be, says an editorial in The Economist
Modi could be no different from his Congress rival Rahul Gandhi.
Modi might start well in Delhi but sooner or later he will have to cope with a sectarian slaughter or a crisis with Pakistan -- and nobody, least of all the modernisers praising him now, knows what he will do nor how Muslims, in turn, will react to such a divisive man.
If Mr Modi were to explain his role in the violence and show genuine remorse, we would consider backing him, but he never has; it would be wrong for a man who has thrived on division to become prime minister of a country as fissile as India, says the newspaper.
India deserves better.Read the full editorial here
10:17 BJP manifesto can't be telecast when voting is on: EC sources:
The Bharatiya Janata Party's plans to release its manifesto on Monday, the first day of polling, has run into legal trouble with the Election Commission.
Sources in the EC tell CNN-IBN
: A party can put out its manifesto anytime. However, it can't be telecast or publicised while the voting is on.
Campaigning is prohibited for 48 hours before voting ends. Since
voting begins in the northeast on Monday, campaigning has to end at 5
pm on Saturday.
The BJP manifesto has been delayed as BJP's PM hopeful has demanded changes.
Follow latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
09:12 More sources join the search for missing Malaysian plane:
Multinational search operation for the missing plane resumed today with 14 planes and nine ships joining the hunt, a day after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak vowed not to give up on the search for the aircraft.
The federal government's Joint Agency Coordination Centre, which is overseeing the search, in a statement said 10 military planes, four civil jets and nine ships will scour for the plane that disappeared on March 8.
The search will focus on three areas within the same vicinity in the Indian Ocean. The first aircraft left for the search area early this morning.
A total of 26 State Emergency Service volunteers
from Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria will work
as air observers on three of the civil aircraft.
08:54 Babri demolition a sabotage, Advani, Narasimha Rao knew of plot: Cobrapost:
A sting operation of by Cobrapost
reveals how the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 was planned by two Hindu outfits -- the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Shiv Sena, but not jointly.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party had held a secret meeting which was attended all senior leaders of the BJP present at Ayodhya -- L K Advani, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti and by H V Sheshadri from the RSS. Former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao also had a hand in the demolition, reports Cobrapost
. Read the full report here
02:44 Novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 87, hospitalised:
Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez has been hospitalised in Mexico City, federal health officials said today.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to release the information.
They declined to specify the cause of his illness, saying Garcia Marquez's family had asked for details to remain private.
The 87-year-old Nobel laureate is by many accounts the Spanish language's most popular writer since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century.
The extraordinary literary celebrity he attained in life drew comparisons with Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. He has lived in Mexico City for more than 30 years.
His epic, hallucinatory novel One Hundred Years of Solitude has sold some 50 million copies in more than 25 languages, its 1967 publication a milestone in a two-decade-long Latin American literature boom.
01:52 Why 25 Air India passengers missed their flight:
Some clerical goof-ups at the ticketing level and by the ground staff of the national carrier Air India have left 25 Delhi-bound passengers, including two women and a child, stranded at the city airport on Thursday night.
The harried passengers were to take the 2130 AI 101 (Mumbai-Delhi-New York) flight to Delhi, but could not make it on time as their tickets mentioned the departure terminal as T1, the old terminal, and not the new T2.
"Some of our tickets mention departure from T1 and so we have reached the old terminal first. On reaching there we were told that we should reach T2. We hurried to T2 and managed to reach before 2045, but the AI refused to issue us boarding pass saying the counter was shut at 2030, as per their normal procedures," a passenger named Rajiv said.
He further said that their tickets clearly say boarding counters close 45 minutes before departure.
He also said the AI refused their pleas for refund blaming them for their late arrival.
When contacted an AI spokesperson confirmed the incident and said the passengers have been informed that they would be flown to Delhi on Friday morning.
01:51 Russian envoy urges US officials to 'do yoga':
A senior Russian diplomat says US officials should do yoga and watch TV comedy series to ease what he calls their irrational fixation on punishing Russia over Ukraine.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov's comments to the Interfax news agency today reflected simmering tensions between Moscow and Washington over Russia's annexation of Crimea.
The US and the EU have slapped members of Russian President Vladimir Putin's entourage with travel bans and asset freezes.
Ryabkov warned that Moscow may take retaliatory steps, but he didn't elaborate.
Ryabkov said the US got "fixated" on halting cooperation with Russia. He said his "advice to the US partners is to spend more time outdoors, do yoga ... and watch TV comedy series" instead of "childish whims, tears and hysterics that won't help."
01:51 Hidden ocean on Saturn's moon bolsters life theory:
Saturn's moon Enceladus is home to an ocean of melted water beneath its surface, and could be a source for alien microbes, scientists said today.
The first measurements of the subsurface water at the south pole of the small and icy moon were made by the US space agency's Cassini spacecraft, and are described in the journal Science.
The body of water is about the size of Lake Superior, the second largest lake on Earth, and has a rocky bottom which could create conditions that allow tiny life forms to thrive.
Researchers first raised the possibility of a below-ground ocean on Enceladus in 2005, after water vapor was detected spewing from vents near the moon's southern pole.
"Material from Enceladus' south polar jets contains salty water and organic molecules, the basic chemical ingredients for life," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA.
"Their discovery expanded our view of the 'habitable zone' within our solar system and in planetary systems of other stars," she added.
01:50 Online auction for 240 Titanic artifacts:
Hundreds of artifacts linked to the doomed luxury liner Titanic will be sold online this month and could fetch as much as a million dollars, Boston-based auction house RR said today.
RR, specializing in documents, manuscripts and historic artifacts, said it will put some 240 objects from the famous vessel on sale online, amid enduring fascination with the doomed luxury liner more than a century after it sank.
RR, specializing in documents, manuscripts and historic artifacts, said the sale will be held from April 17 to 24.
Once thought to be unsinkable, the Titanic struck an iceberg and went down in the North Atlantic in 1912, killing more than 1,500 people.
The objects to be sold include letters, photos, objects from the vessel and items which once belonged to survivors.
The object with the highest starting price is a silver cup presented on May 29, 1912 by a survivor, Margaret "Molly" Brown, to Arthur Rostron, the captain of the ship that plucked survivors from the frigid ocean.
01:50 US defense weather satellite launched:
A US military weather satellite has been launched from California.
An Atlas V rocket carrying the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program-19 spacecraft blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 2016 IST (1446 GMT) today, headed for a polar orbit.
United Launch Alliance webcast commentator Matt Donovan says the satellite later successfully separated from the rocket's upper stage.
The Air Force says the programme's satellites have been the primary provider of terrestrial and space weather information to the US military for 50 years. The satellite was built by Lockheed Martin.
01:50 US secretly built 'Cuban Twitter' to stir unrest:
The US government masterminded the creation of a "Cuban Twitter" communications network designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba, built with secret shell companies and financed through foreign banks, according to a media report.
The project, which lasted more than two years and drew tens of thousands of subscribers, sought to evade Cuba's stranglehold on the Internet with a primitive social media platform, The Associated Press has learned.
First, the network would build a Cuban audience, mostly young people; then, the plan was to push them toward dissent.
Yet its users were neither aware it was created by a US agency with ties to the State Department, nor that American contractors were gathering personal data about them, in the hope that the information might be used someday for political
It is unclear whether the scheme was legal under US law, which requires written authorization of covert action by the president and congressional notification. Officials at the USAID would not say who had approved the program or whether the White House was aware of it. The Cuban government declined a request for comment.
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said today that it was not a covert program, though "parts of it were done discreetly" in order to protect the people involved.