23:45 Turkmen president: 2015 start for pipeline work:
Turkmenistan's president has demanded that construction work begin in 2015 on the TAPI pipeline that will carry natural gas from his energy-rich country to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov said all the agreements required for the project's launch should be completed this year, state media in the Central Asian nation reported today.
23:11 Students among 10 killed after truck slams bus in California:
Ten people were killed, half of them high school students, when a truck slammed into a tour bus full of college hopefuls heading for a campus tour in northern California on Thursday, police said.
Five students, three chaperones and the drivers of the bus andFedEx truck were killed, according to the California Highway Patrol and Humboldt State University, which was to host the students' visit.
23:10 Flight 370: A wealth of info, a welter of questions:
New information emerged Friday in the investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and, with it, new questions:
How is the search for the plane coming?
The effort got a vote of confidence Friday that it is headed in the right direction."We have very much narrowed down the search area, and we are very confident that the signals that we are detecting are from the black box on MH370," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters during an official visit to China.
23:09 Cong moves EC over 'discrepancies' in Advani's affidavits:
Gujarat Congress today filed a complaint with returning officer of Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, alleging that senior BJP leader and the party's candidate L K Advani submitted false information regarding his education in the election affidavits.
22:20 Omar hits out at Modi for refusing to wear skullcap:
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has hurt his feelings by refusing to don a skullcap offered by an imam.
"Why should he (Modi) care about me and my emotions and feelings when he refused to wear a cap offered by an imam," Omar told a rally here, and praised Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for accepting a skullcap offered to him by a minister.
22:12 Jan Lokpal Bill an alibi for AAP to run away from govt: Cong:
Congress today attacked Arvind Kejriwal for his statement that AAP should not have quit the government in Delhi in a hurry, saying the party made the non-passage of Jan Lokpal Bill an alibi to "run away".
Congress General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed told reporters that Aam Aadmi Party coming to power was a fluke as Congress had "rightly decided" to support them to form the government knowing fully well that they could not implement the promises made to the people.
21:54 Pope Francis asks forgiveness for clergy sex abuse scandal:
In his strongest personal remarks yet on the clergy sex abuse scandal, Pope Francis on Friday asked forgiveness "for the damage' that abusive priests have inflicted on children and pledged that the Catholic Church "will not take one step backward' in efforts to address the crisis.
"I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil that some priests '" quite a few in number, though not compared to the total number '" and to ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done by sexually abusing children,' Francis said.
20:56 Train derails in Mathura; 1 killed, six injured:
One person was killed while six others were injured today when two coaches of a Mathura bound train derailed here between Maura and Goverdhan stations. The last two coaches of Alwar Mathura Passenger train derailed and were dragged for about one km before the train came to a halt, according to Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Agra.
20:54 Will not hide status like Modi if I remarry: Digvijay:
BJP's Prime Minister nominee Narendra Modi's acknowledgement of his marital status has given a handle to Congress in this vituperative poll campaign with senior leader Digvijay Singh raising the pitch of propriety.
"I am a widower and if I remarry I won't hide like your 'Dear Feku'," the AICC general secretary said in his latest tweet today, alluding to Modi's marital status.
20:17 Suu Kyi cautions Myanmar 'not yet a democracy':
Myanmar's opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi warned today that her country, despite a spate of reforms hailed by the international community, "is not yet a democracy".
Speaking in Berlin to accept a human rights award, she said the country formerly called Burma still needs a democratic constitution, true national reconciliation and a change of mindset among its ex-military rulers.
20:07 EC bans Azam Khan and Amit Shah's rallies in Uttar Pradesh:
The Election Commission banned public meetings and rallies addressed by BJP leader Amit Shah and Samajwadi Party minister Azam Khan.
In a letter to the Uttar Pradesh government, it has also ordered that first information reports registered against them for making "highly inflammatory speeches" while campaigning for the general elections in the state.
19:44 Shamed, embarrassed by father-in-law Abu Azmi's statements: Ayesha Takia:
Not just from across the country, Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi is facing opposition at home for making bizarre and shocking statement over punishment to women who were raped.
On microblogging website Twitter, Bollywood actress Ayesha Takia, the daughter-in-law of Azmi, said: "if wot im reading about my father in laws statements r true then me and Farhan are deeply embarrassed n ashamed..."
"We surely do nottt share this mindset...its disrespectful to women.if these statements r true then its sad."
Farhan Azmi, the son of Azmi and husband of Takia, in the meantime, defended his father but stated that rapists should be hanged.
On his Twitter handle, he said: "Guys as far as I am concerned I have made myself more than clear.hang a rapist a 100 times & give me the duty to do so.I will do it for free. Spoke 2 my father about his comments.In my opinion on the topic of RAPE only 1 statement must b given without any explanation-hang da rapist"
19:25 Modi hid facts about his marriage, broke law: Cong complains to EC:
Hours after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi targeted BJP's prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi's personal life, his party on Friday lodged a complaint with the Election Commission in this regard.
Narendra Modi hid marital status in earlier affidavits, hence violating law, noted Union Minister Kapil Sibal after complaining to the EC.
"We have given a plea to the Election Commission. In his affidavit in Vadodara (Lok Sabha constituency of Gujarat), Narendra Modi informed that he is married. Prior to that, none of his affidavits mention this. It is hence proven those affidavits were wrong," Sibal said.
"We have sought action from the Election Commission. There are sections in Indian Penal Code under which this is punishable," he said.
Modi wrote Jashodaben as the name of his wife in an affidavit while filing his nomination papers in Vadodara, Gujarat for Lok sabha election, earlier this week. He had so far kept quiet on the issue of his marital status.
19:20 Justice R M Lodha to be next CJI:
Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha has been appointed as the next Chief Justice of India and he will assume his charge on April 27.
"In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint Shri Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha, Judge of the Supreme Court, to be the Chief Justice of India with effect from April 27, 2014," a Law Ministry statement said in New Delhi.
Justice Lodha (64) is the senior-most judge of the apex court after CJI P Sathasivam. He will have a brief tenure of five months as the Chief Justice as he is scheduled to retire on September 27, this year.
Justice Lodha's name was recommended as the next CJI by Justice Sathasivam.
As per the Memorandum of Procedure which governs the appointment of members of the higher judiciary, appointment to the office of the Chief Justice of India should be of the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court considered fit to hold the office.
19:17 Attack on EC staff: WB minister's son-in-law among 4 arrested:
All four persons, including state minister Sabitri Mitra's son-in-law Samadip Sarkar alias Tinku, accused of beating up Election Commission personnel in Malda's Manikchak area were arrested on Friday.
The Malda district administration had lodged two FIRs at the Manikchak police station yesterday after being directed by the Election Commission to take immediate action.
The three other arrested persons are Motiur Rehman, Muklesur Rehman and Jamal Khan. While the first two were arrested from the Malda town's Rathbari area, the two others were nabbed from Rabindra Avenue, Malda SP Rupesh Kumar said.
On Thursday, two persons were arrested, though they were not mentioned in the FIR, the SP said. They were produced on Friday in the CJM's court which remanded them in two days' police custody.
A four-member team of EC personnel were videographing a motorcycle rally of Trinamool Congress workers when two of them were thrashed by the activists, provoking the election authority to ask the district administration to take stern action.
Motorbike rallies are banned under rules framed by the Election Commission.
19:16 Infosys headhunting for a CEO:
Infosys chief executive officer S D Shibhulal will step down from the company by January 9 next year, sending Indias second-biggest software exporter on a hunt for his successor.
Shibulal, one of the seven Infosys founders, wants to retire as CEO of the company on or before January 9, 2015, or when his successor is ready to assume office, whichever is earlier, a company statement said.
Infosys said it has started search for his successor and has hired Egon Zehnder, an executive search firm, to assist the nominations committee of the board of directors in identifying external candidates.
This would be the first time Infosys is likely to have a CEO who isn't a founder of the company.
Shibulal "has expressed his desire to retire as the CEO and Managing Director of the company and as a member of the board," the statement said. Infosys will also look for internal candidates to fill the position, it said.
18:32 Jaswant lashes out at BJP for action against his son:
Expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singh today lashed out at BJP for suspending his son Manvendra Singh, calling it an act of "revenge" and warned that the party will have to face consequences for the "injustice" meted out to him.
Singh, who is contesting Lok Sabha election as an Independent from Barmer constituency, told reporters that he was disappointed with the development and people of the state were aware as to who was behind the "conspiracy".
"BJP will have to face its consequences," he said.
BJP yesterday suspended Manvendra, BJP MLA from Sheo constituency in Barmer, from its primary membership and removed him from its National Executive following reports that he was campaigning against the party's official candidate in Barmer.
18:03 NRIs voting via Internet now may open pandora box: SC :
Hopes of NRIs to cast votes in the ongoing general elections through Internet were dashed on Friday with the Supreme Court saying that any interim relief at this stage may open a pandora's box.
The apex court took into consideration the submission of the Election Commission that grant of interim relief at this stage would be beyond the scope and relief claimed by the petitioners when the polls have already been taken in 104 Lok Sabha seats spreading over 20 States and Union Territories.
"After polls, is it possible? Will it not a open pandora's box. If some consideration is given, practical difficulty will arise," a bench comprising justices K S Radhakrishnan and Vikramajit Sen said while noting that yesterday only polls have taken place in many parts of the country including Kerala and incidently many of the petitioners before it were from the southern state.
However, the bench decided to throughly deliberate on the demand for extending the right of voting through electronic format of Internet to NRIs registered as voters in different places in the country.
It issued notices and asked the Centre and the Election Commission to file counter affidavits within a month and posted the matter for hearing at the end of August.
16:55 Advani out, Adani in: says Rahul:
Raising the pitch against Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi today attacked him over his alleged links with the Adani group, saying the Gujarat businessman was given "everything" while senior BJP leaders like L K Advani and Jaswant Singh were "thrown out".
"Advani was thrown out-- Jaswant Singh was thrown out (from the party) and Adani was taken in", he said addressing a rally in Doda in support of party candidate and Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Rahul also raked up the issue of Modi's marriage to hit out at BJP, saying while the party made claims of ensuring safety of women, it took several elections for its Prime Ministerial candidate to mention the name of his wife in the poll affidavit.
"Don't know how many elections he has contested till now, but he has revealed for the first time that he is married. In Delhi, he talks about honour of women, but his own wife's name doesn't reach the affidavit," he said.
Modi has for the first time declared himself as a married man by revealing his wife's name as Jashodaben in an affidavit filed before the Election Commission along with his nomination papers for Vadodara Lok Sabha seat.Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
16:50 US, Germany urge Russia to move troops back from Ukraine:
US President Barack Obama has spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the situation in Ukraine and both leaders have called on Russia to move its troops back from the border region.
The White House said Obama spoke with Merkel about the concerning situation in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists, apparently with support from Moscow, continue an orchestrated campaign of incitement and sabotage to undermine
and destabilise the Ukrainian state.
"The leaders again called for Russia to move its troops back from the border region. They also discussed issues relating to the forthcoming meeting of the Ukrainian, Russian, and the US foreign ministers and EU High Representative," the White House said.
Obama and Merkel commended the Ukrainian government's efforts to move forward on constitutional reform, decentralisation, and democratic elections and emphasised the importance of the international community's strong financial support for Ukraine.
15:57 Differently-abled voters in Delhi give EC a thumbs up :
"This time we voted with aan, baan and shaan. A red carpet was literally rolled out for differently-abled people at all polling stations across the city,' said an elated Sanjeev Sachdeva, as he returned from his polling booth in Mansarovar Garden in West Delhi on Thursday.
Mr. Sachdeva, director of NGO Sanjeevani, said: "It was a pleasure being made to feel important and to participate in the electoral process.' "I drove to the polling station in my motorised wheelchair. A sturdy wheelchair of a well-known brand was kept with the words "May I Help You' written on it. An attendant had also been provided and he turned out to be an employee of the Union Ministry of Urban Development. As I entered the corridor, the police personnel accorded me priority and I was ushered in. It was the first time I saw an electronic voting machine and with the help of my attendant, I managed to vote. It was such a heady feeling.'
In fact, a large number of differently-abled people gave the Election Commission a thumbs up for the manner in which they ensured that all polling stations and booths were made barrier-free this time, and also for providing wheelchairs and volunteers.
Read more on The Hindu
15:56 Differences with BJP a media speculation: Rajan:
Brushing aside as "speculation" that he has differences with the leaders of BJP, widely expected to form the next government, Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan said they are "media invention".
"On differences with the new government, I haven't had any discussion with the new government. I think its all press invented difference. I think it should be seen as speculation rather than any actual differences," he said while commenting on reported differences with the BJP leaders.
Rajan's comment comes against the backdrop of certain BJP leaders questioning his policies to deal with the current economic woes. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy is reported to have said: "We can make it worthwhile for him (Raghuram Rajan) to leave."
Expressing similar opinion BJP Treasurer Piyush Goyal attacked Rajan over a series of interest rate hikes intended to curb inflation, now at double the RBI's longer-term 4 per cent target, at a time when economic growth has fallen to its slowest in a decade. During the 7-month stint, he has raised key policy rate thrice by 0.25 per cent each.
14:44 Sue Townsend, author of Adrian Mole books, dies aged 68:
Novelist Sue Townsend, best known as the author of the successful Adrian Mole series, has died, a friend of her family has told the BBC. Townsend, 68, died at home on Thursday after a short illness.
The first of her comic series, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4, was published in 1982 and the eighth instalment, Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years, was released in 2009. Her other best-selling novels included The Queen and I.
Read more on BBC
14:41 Shocking that Mulayam defended rapists: Lalu:
M I Khan reports from Patna: Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Friday said that Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has derailed as he is defending rapists.
"It is a very bad thing to defend rapists, Mulayam Singh Yadav has derailed,' Lalu Prasad told newspersons in Patna in his reaction to Samajwadi Party chief's statement that death penalty in rape cases was "unfair" as boys make "mistakes".
Lalu said that he strongly condemned Mulayam Singh Yadav for his statement. "It's a really shocking statement'. Lalu said that rape is a heinous crime and there is no place for rapists in the society. "Rapists deserve death penalty and toughest punishment known to us because it is an intolerable crime" he said. Lalu said capital punishment to rapist is justified.
14:06 LIVE! Now, Rahul attacks Modi on his marital status :
This is what Rahul Gandhi said at the Doda rally today: Accusing the BJP of raising hollow slogans about women dignity and their empowerment, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said that its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi even hesitates in taking the name of his wife.
Addressing a rally at Doda town, as part of his election campaign in Udhampur parliamentary constituency where Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is in the poll fray, Rahul said that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has contested the elections earlier also, but he has never before filled up the column pertaining to his spouse.
While there may be some reason behind it, the entire machinery of the Chief Minister and the Gujarat Police have now swung into action to belie the quote of a woman, he pointed out. Read moreFollow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
14:00 We can pick up Gandhi family issues too, but we won't: BJP :
"If Rahul Gandhi is raising personal issues of Modi ji's life, we can pick up loads of Gandhi family issues which we don't," says BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad. Another senior BJP leader Nirmala Sitaraman, says, "Instead of worrying about Modiji's marital life, Congress should protest against Mulayam Singh Yadav."
13:44 The Gujarat muddle :
Why does Gujarat have indifferent social indicators, in spite of having enjoyed runaway economic growth and relatively high standards of governance? Read
13:40 Mulayam on rape remark: End the debate, didn't say anything wrong :
SP chief Mulayam Singh has refused to back down over his rape remark saying there is nothing wrong in what he said. He added that there should be no debate over the remark.
Farhan Azmi, who is the son of Maharashtra SP chief Abu Azmi says his father may have been trapped into saying adultery should be punished by death. He said no political party should comment on these matters. Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
13:21 Attack on poll offici: WB police asked to arrest accused:
Cracking the whip, the Election Commission today directed the West Bengal Police chief to arrest all persons named in an FIR for beating up poll personnel in the state and send the compliance report by this evening.
The Commission has also directed the DGP to arrest persons who had organised the bike rally in the state yesterday in violation of rules.
The EC officials were filming the bike rally in Malda district yesterday when they were allegedly beaten up by the supporters of Trinamool Congress.Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
12:48 LIVE! SC refuses to entertain plea questioning SIT clean chit to Modi:
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea questioning the Special Investigation Team probe giving clean chit to Narendra Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots.
The apex court also declined the plea to reconstitute the SIT for probe into the riots case. The SIT report gave Modi a clean chit in 2012 in the Gulbarg Society massacre. Zakia Jafri had then filed a protest petition against clean chit given to Modi.
But, a lower court had in December 2013 upheld a SIT closure report
giving the Gujarat CM a clean chit. In its closure report, the SIT had
said that it found no evidence whatsoever against Modi. Zakia, however,
argued that there is adequate evidence to prosecute him and others
including police officers, bureaucrats and political leaders.
12:32 Ashish Shakya @stupidusmaximus Pretty sure Abu Azmi is trying to win an election in Afghanistan.
12:21 87.05 per cent polling recorded in Lakshadweep:
Lakshadweep Lok Sabha constituency recorded 87.05 per cent polling for the lone seat in the polls held yesterday in the Union Territory, where Congress sitting MP Hamdullah Sayeed is trying his luck for the second time. The polling percentage in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls was 85.98 per cent.Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
12:20 SP leader Abu Azmi's shocker: Women equally guilty for rape:
Abu Azmi continues in his defence of 'netaji'. "Mulayam respects women, he made Phoolan Devi an MP,' he says.
In an interview to Mumbai newspaper Mid Day, Azmi, who is the Maharashtra chief of the Samajwadi Party said, " "Rape is punishable by hanging in Islam. But here, nothing happens to women, only to men. Even the woman is guilty.
"Solution is this: any woman if, whether married or unmarried, goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn't be allowed even if a woman goes by consent."
He further added, "In India, if you have sex with a person with consent, it's fine. But if that same person complains, it's a problem. Nowadays, we see a lot of such cases. Girls complain when someone touches them, and even when someone doesn't touch them. It becomes a problem then, and the man's honour is ruined in this. If rape happens with or without consent, it should be punished as prescribed in Islam."Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
11:42 LIVE! Mulayam's rape remarks: Akhilesh wants stringent action against rapists:
SP leader Abu Azm defends Mulayam Singh's rape remarks: "Netaji is strictly against violence on women, I know his nature. He has been quoted out of context."
UP CM and Mulayam's son has said, "I won't comment on that. I don't know in what perspective he has said that. It's the generation of TV channels. You don't know how it will be played out. We all want stringent action on all the sensitive matters. But I don't know in what context he has said this."
At a rally in Moradabad yesterday, Mulayam seemed to be defending rapists when he questioned the need for a death penalty. "Rape cases mein faansi di jayegi? Ye ladke hain, galtiyan ho jati hai (Will the rapists be hanged now? Boys are boys. They will make mistakes)," he said.
11:20 Arithmetic of caste politics will determine Tharoor's fate:
'If the Nairs split between Shashi Tharoor and the BJP candidate, O Rajagopal and the Nadars combine with the Leftists and the Christians to vote for the CPI candidate, Bennet Abraham, what would happen to Tharoor. 'It is presumed that the voters do not cast their votes, they vote their castes,' says Ambassador T P Sreenivasan. Read
11:18 LIVE! I hereby declare: Bappi Lahiri's wife owns more gold than him:
Known for always sporting flashy gold chains, veteran Bollywood musician Bappi Lahiri's wife owns more jewellery than hubby and he owns moveable and immoveable assets worth nearly Rs 12 crores besides five cars including BMW and Audi.
According to Bapi's affidavit filed with the Election Commission, he owns 754 gram gold jewellery worth Rs.17,67,451 while his wife Chitrani has 967 gram gold ornaments worth Rs.20,74,830.Bollywood's 'Disco King' Bappida', who is contesting Lok Sabha polls on a BJP ticket from Serampore, also owns silver ornaments and bullion of 4.62 kg worth Rs.2,20,000.
His wife has 8.9 kg silver worth Rs.3,59,600 and 3.2 diamond carats estimated to be valued at Rs.4,27,353.
11:10 Voters to get 25 % discount in doctor fees, pathological tests:
The Indian Medical Association has appealed to its 2.75 lakh doctor-members across India to give 25 per cent discount in doctor's fees for one week to all patients who visit them with their fingers bearing the voting ink mark.
The Bengal chapter of the IMA has gone one step ahead by appealing to doctors, based in the state, to give the 25 per cent discount in pathological tests too and that too for two weeks.
The IMA with a 86-year-old history behind it took the unusual initiative to raise awareness about the importance of voting.
11:08 Azam Khan calls Modi a 'big dog':
On a day when Mulayam Singh Yadav made headlines for his comments on rapists saying 'boys will be boys' and they commit mistakes, for which they shouldn't be hanged, the party's senior leader Azam Khan called BJP prime ministerial candidate
Narendra Modi 'a big dog'. Referring to Modi's earlier statement that he
felt as sad about the post-Godhra massacre as he would if his car were
to drive over a puppy. Azam said, "Agar hum chhote kutte hain, to woh
bade kutte hain." (If we are puppies, he is a big dog.)
That's the cartoon on the Hindu today.
10:58 Watching the money flow:
In line with the constitutional mandate to curb the corrupting influence of money power in elections, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued detailed guidelines and set up an elaborate administrative machinery to monitor the expenses of candidates and ensure a free and fair poll. Read
10:57 Development and doublespeak:
Narendra Modi's economic philosophy appeals to the urban middle classes fed up with the Congress style of social democratic politics and welfare policies. Read
10:52 No country for women in TN:
None of the six major political parties in Tamil Nadu have given sufficient representation to the fairer sex in the April 24 Lok Sabha polls in the state despite having claimed to espouse the cause of women in Parliament.
While ruling party AIADMK, which is captained by one of the popular woman leaders of the country -- J Jayalalithaa has alloted only four of the 39 seats across the state to women, DMK president M Karunanidhi, a strong advocate of the Women's Reservation Bill, has named only two candidates.
When reporters pointed this out to him recently, the 90-year-old patriarch sought to downplay it saying the state has had enough even with just one woman, indirectly referring to his arch rival, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa who takes a dig at him at every available opportunity. Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
10:42 Mizoram votes for its lone Lok Sabha seat today.
10:10 How can Amit Shah take revenge when he can't protect his hair: Azam:
The battle for 2014 Lok Sabha polls continues to get more personal as Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan has now challenged BJP's Uttar Pradesh in-charge Amit Shah saying he can't take revenge from them for the Muzaffarnagar riots.
Khan said, "Amit Shah said he wants to take revenge from us. A man who couldn't save the hair on his own head, what can he do?" The remarks came in the backdrop of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's close aide telling Jat voters that the 2014 election was an opportunity to take revenge for the communal riots.
While addressing a rally Shah had said, "If you want to take revenge you should vote for the BJP. You can no longer resolve a matter with swords and arrows. Today you can take revenge by voting for the BJP."
Read more on CNN IBN
08:54 SP backs Mulayam's rapist remarks:
CNN IBN: Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav got himself embroiled in yet another controversy as he defended rapists saying sometimes boys make mistakes but don't deserve the death penalty which was strongly criticised by his rivals.
While addressing a rally in Moradabad, he even went to the extent of saying if voted to power his party will scrap death penalty for repeat rape offenders. SP leader Naresh Agarwal backed the party chief saying, "Such strong rape laws are being misused by many and it's acting against the innocent. If Mulayam said so, then he is right."
Mulayam's son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav refused to comment saying he does not know in which context remarks were made.
08:45 At least dozen injured in bomb blast in Lahore:
At least a dozen people suffered njuries in a bomb blast in Ichhra, one of Lahore's densely populated localites, early today.
According to Lahore police chief Chaudhry Shafiiq, a device was planted outside an electronics shop in the Pakistan Chowk that went off in early hours of Friday, injuring over a dozen people.
Shops were closed while scores of people were present at the roadside eateries that remained open till late hours.Window panes of houses and vehicles parked near the blast site were also damaged.
The injured were shifted to Services Hospital where the condition of two is stated to be critical.
Momin Wali Shah, owner of an electronics shop, told reporters that his shop was targeted by extortionists. "I had received threats from unknown persons who demanded Rs 2million from me as extortion," he said, adding he had reported the matter to local police.
The bomb disposal squad said at least 250 grams of explosives was used in the device.
08:43 US warns Facebook on privacy in WhatsApp mega deal:
The warning came as the Federal Trade Commission informed Facebook it had approved the deal, according to sources familiar with the review, allowing Facebook to go forward with its largest-ever acquisition and expand its footprint and mobile offerings.
In a letter to both companies, the FTC noted that WhatsApp has made "promises" to consumers on protecting their data and that both companies have told consumers that after the acquisition, WhatsApp will continue its current privacy practices.
"We want to make clear that, regardless of the acquisition, WhatsApp must continue to honour these promises to consumers," FTC official Jessica Rich said in the letter.
Rich said that if the deal is completed and WhatsApp fails to honour these promises, "both companies could be in violation" of the law "and, potentially, the FTC's order against Facebook."
08:41 Shoe thrown at Hillary Clinton during Vegas speech:
A woman was arrested after throwing objects, including a shoe, at Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state was giving a speech in Las Vegas, and according to the AP, she "ducked but did not appear to be hit by the object.'
The Las Vegas Review Journal said the woman threw what appeared to be a strappy shoe and a bunch of papers at Clinton during her speech at a meeting of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino. The paper reported that Clinton had several comebacks, including "Is that somebody throwing something at me?' and "Is that part of Cirque de Soleil?' and "My goodness, I didn't know that solid waste management was so controversial.'
In July 2012, Clinton's motorcade was pelted with shoes and tomatoes in Egypt. The most famous incident of shoe-throwing at a political figure was in 2008, when Muntadhar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist, threw a shoe at then-president George W. Bush at a press conference in Baghdad. "This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!' al-Zaidi shouted. Bush also ducked.
Read more on MSNBC
08:23 Voting starts for lone LS seat, assembly by-poll in Mizoram:
Voting for the lone Lok Sabha constituency and an assembly by-poll in Mizoram began today, for which additional eight companies of central para-military forces have been deployed. The by-poll is being held to the Hrangturzo assembly constituency.
The Mizoram Lok Sabha seat is witnessing a three-cornered contest between the ruling Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and the United Democratic Front which is an alliance of eight opposition parties.
Congress has fielded its sitting MP C L Ruala, while UDF has nominated Robert Romawia Royte. AAP has put up Michael Lalmanzuala as its candidate for the seat.
An electorate of 7,02,189, of whom 3,55,954 are women are eligible to cast votes in 1,126 polling stations.
In 385 polling stations, mainly in urban areas, the VVPAT system, under which a paper trail would show the voters their choice of candidates, has been installed.
Eight companies of central paramilitary forces apart from six state armed battalions as well as unarmed policemen are looking after the security. International borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh and inter-state borders have been sealed, official sources said.
The election, scheduled for April 9, was shifted to April 11 after a clutch of civil society bodies called a 72-hour bandh from April 7 to protest against the EC's permission to Bru refugees, camped in Tripura, to vote in that state instead of Mizoram which the strikers had demanded.
01:57 51 dead as Islamist foes clash in Syria on Iraq border: NGO:
At least 51 jihadist and Islamist fighters were killed as rival forces clashed in Syria on the border with Iraq today, a monitoring group said. The fighting erupted at dawn after an assault by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on posts held by al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and its allies.
The clashes centred around the border town of Albu Kamal, from which ISIL was expelled from earlier this year, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It said 51 combatants were killed.
01:23 Senate committee orders review of 'Cuban Twitter':
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee asked USAID today to turn over all records about the Obama administration's secret Cuban twitter programme as part of a broader review of the agency's civil-society efforts worldwide.
The request included copies of messages the US government or its contractors transmitted to subscribers in Cuba, who never were told about Washington's role in the primitive, text message-based cellphone service that was meant to undermine Cuba's communist government and was the subject of an Associated Press investigation last week.
01:22 Scroll that mentions Jesus's wife is ancient: scientists:
A ancient piece of papyrus that contains a mention of Jesus' wife is not a forgery, according to a scientific analysis of the controversial text, US researchers said today.
The fragment is believed to have come from Egypt and contains writing in the Coptic language that says, "Jesus said to them, 'My wife...'" Another part reads: "She will be able to be my disciple."
01:22 Israel, Palestinians meet on peace talks stalemate:
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held US-mediated talks today to try to revive their crisis-hit peace process, a Palestinian official said, as a report of a possible breakthrough was played down.
Peace talks sponsored by Washington hit a new impasse at the end of March when Israel refused to release a final batch of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinians retaliated by seeking membership of several international treaties.
00:11 'Secret polls' sealed decision to annex Crimea: Putin:
Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that his decision to take the Crimean peninsula under Russian control was made final after "secret polls" showed that its people wanted to be ruled by Moscow.
"My decisions were finalised after people's attitudes became clear," Putin said. "We weren't prepared for such a turn of events. To tell you the truth, we could imagine how people felt but did not know for sure."
00:11 Prosecutor calls Pistorius's version 'impossible':
In a pummelling cross-examination the prosecution called Oscar Pistorius's account of killing his girlfriend "impossible" today, zeroing in on apparent inconsistencies in key parts of his testimony.
"Your version is so improbable that nobody would ever think it's reasonably, possibly true it's so impossible," Prosecutor Gerrie Nel thundered during his second day interrogating the Olympian.
00:10 Politicians in Ukraine maneuver for a deal to end standoff:
The pro-Russian militants who have put this country on the brinkby seizing buildings and declaring independent republics in the east appeared to be ready to soften their tactics Wednesday, and politicians saw an opportunity to promote a deal.
A new regional poll showed very limited support for the building occupations, and even pro-Russian party leaders began to suggest that the agitators should call it a day.
00:10 Northeast records highest voter turn-out in Delhi:
Northeast Delhi constituency, where sitting Congress MP J P Agarwal, BJP's Manoj Tiwari and AAP's Anand Kumar are in the fray, recorded the highest voter turn out among the seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital at 67.08 per cent.
Chandni Chowk recorded the second highest voter turn-out at 66.88 per cent. Sitting MP from the constituency and Union Minister Kapil Sibal is facing a tough fight from BJP's Harsh Vardhan and journalist-turn-politician Ashutosh of AAP in his bid to retain the seat for the third time.
00:09 US Marines headed to Chad park to fight poaching:
A small team of US Marines are to head soon to Chad's Zakouma National Park to train local forces in the fight against the poaching threatening the area's elephant herds. Around 15 marines are to arrive in the Central African country by the end of April and will stay for around a month, a military official said.