20:50 Like CBI, EC too working under Centre's influence: Azam:
An unperturbed Azam Khan today threatened to move court against Election Commission's ban on him, alleging that the poll watch dog was working under the "influence" of the Centre.
"EC too is working on the pattern of CBI, which happens to remain under the influence of the Centre," the Uttar Pradesh minister said. On April 11, the EC toughened its stand against hate speech and banned Khan and BJP leader Amit Shah from holding public meetings, processions or roadshows in UP and asked authorities to initiate criminal proceedings against them.
Two cases were filed against Khan in UP yesterday for hate speeches. Addressing a press conference, Khan said,"If the restrictions were not removed I will approach court." Yesterday, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had said he will appeal to the EC to lift ban on Khan.
20:36 Sonia has no love for sadhus, saints in her genes: Ramdev:
Yoga guru Ramdev, who has pledged his support to BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, today claimed Congress President Sonia Gandhi has no love for "sadhus and saints" of India.
"...In her genes there is no love for sadhus and saints," he told reporters here. Stating that his fight was against corruption and in support of "surajya" (good governance), Ramdev said, he want to perform "his rishi and rashtra dharma."
He claimed that various opinion polls, including the survey conducted by his organisation, indicated that Congress would be decimated in the Lok Sabha elections and BJP would emerge victorious winning over 300 seats.
He refuted that his anti-Congress campaign stemmed from a sense of "personal vendetta" following the UPA government's actions against his agitations.
Replying to questions, he said Modi had not committed any "mistake" as regards his belated declaration of the marital status in the nomination affidavit.
20:34 Manmohan Singh weakest PM of country: Prabhat Jha:
BJP vice-president Prabhat Jha today attacked ruling Congress and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling him the "weakest PM" of the country. Jha was referring to the book 'The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh
' written by Sanjaya Baru, former media advisor to Manmohan Singh.
"Because of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the condition of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh looks like a prisoner, which has resulted in lowering the country's credibility," Jha said here while addressing a rally.
Calling Manmohan Singh "submissive", the BJP leader said, "10-Janpath (Sonia Gandhi's residence), had not agreed to even a single decision made by Singh and he became the country's weakest prime minister."
19:37 We put our lives on the line everyday, says Omar after attack:
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said the militant attack on an NC leader's house in Pulwama district was evidence of the risk involved in being in mainstream politics in Kashmir and no one should question the commitment of people associated with it.
"The attack on Yawar's (Masoodi) residence is evidence of the continued risk associated with being a mainstream politician in Kashmir," he wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter. "You may not like our politics sometimes but don't question our commitment because we put our lives on the line every day for our beliefs," Omar added.
He offered condolences to the family of two police personnel, who were killed by the militants in the attack. "My condolences to the families of the police personnel killed in the attack on my party colleague in Pulwama district today," Omar said.
19:05 Modi meets superstar Rajinikanth in Chennai:
BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate and star campaigner Narendra Modi met superstar Rajnikanth at his Chennai residence on Sunday for a "personal meeting.
Check out the picture that the Gujarat chief minister tweeted.
18:29 Pawar dig at Modi: Someone is 'dreaming' of becoming Hitler:
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar today stepped up his attack on Narendra Modi, saying the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate is "dreaming" of becoming Hitler and asked people to foil his "attempt" in the Lok Sabha polls.
"Someone is dreaming to become Hitler in this country. We shouldn't allow such forces to succeed. We must foil his attempt in this elections," he tweeted, without naming Modi. Pawar, the Union Agriculture Minister, also took a dig at the Gujarat Chieef Minister in connection with his remarks on Quit India Movement.
"According to NaMo, Gandhiji launched Quit India Movement from Wardha.... Thank god he didn't say that it was launched from Ahmedabad...!" Attacking BJP on women's reservation, Pawar also tweeted, "We want to give 50 per cent reservation to women in legislature. BJP leaders always made fun of it in private. How will they run this nation...?"
18:28 China launches crackdown on online porn:
China today announced to launch a renewed campaign against the spread of pornography on the Internet and asked websites and portals to clean up their links to avoid shutdown.
The campaign 'Cleaning the Web 2014' will conduct thorough checkups on websites, search engines and mobile application stores, Internet TV USB sticks, and set-top boxes, the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications said in a circular.
The campaign will last until November, state-run Xinhua
news agency reported. All online texts, pictures, videos and advertisements with pornographic content will be deleted, according to the circular.
Websites, web channels and columns will be shut down or have their administrative license revoked if they are found to produce or spread pornographic information, it said.
18:27 Pawar sacks NCP leader on refusal to campaign for Nilesh Rane:
Cracking the whip, NCP chief Sharad Pawar today removed the district unit president Bala Bhise for defying the party diktat to campaign for Congress candidate from Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri constituency Nilesh Rane and put sitting MLA Deepak Kesarkar on notice.
Pawar announced his decision to replace Bhise with Victor Danteus at a rally held in Sawantwadi in the district in support of Nilesh, the sitting MP and son of state Industries Minister Narayan Rane.
"If anybody thinks the organisation revolves around him then he is wrong. If an alliance is formed, one will have to work for it. The perception that whole organisation will revolve around one person will not work in the NCP," Pawar said.
Nilesh is pitted against Shiv Sena's Vinayak Raut. Pawar also assured the gathering that action would be taken against his party MLA Kesarkar who had defied the party orders to campaign for Nilesh.
17:10 Rabri declares assets of over Rs 6 cr including 65 cattle, gun:
Forty-five cows, 20 calves and a double barrel gun with 50 cartridges are among the possessionsof former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls as a Rashtriya Janata Dal candidate from Saran constituency.
According to the affidavit she submitted along withher nomination papers for the general elections, she is a crorepati with total movable and immovable assets of Rs 6.5crore including cattle worth Rs 19 lakh. However, her cattle wealth has significantly decreased over the last two years. She had 65 cows and 37 calves when she filed nomination papers to contest the Bihar Legislative Council elections in April, 2012. Her total assets were worth Rs 3.65 crore at that time.
The 61-year-old wife of RJD chief Lalu Prasad has declared herself to be non-matriculate. In the affidavit she has shown her occupation as business and social work and earns more than her husband.
16:49 Batteries powering MH370's black boxes may have died:
Amid fears that batteries of the crashed Malaysian plane's black boxes may have died, authorities today began to narrow the search area in the Indian Ocean to deploy an underwater drone to spot the debris.
Searchers hunting for Flight MH370 have so far failed to find any confirmed clues about the black boxes, as no new signals have been detected since last of the four other signals were heard on April 8.
"Up to 11 military aircraft, one civil aircraft and 14 ships will assist in today's search," the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said in a statement, adding the centre of the search areas was set approximately 2,200 km north west of Perth.
China is also planning to deploy its indigenous deep sea manned submersible to locate the wreckage of the Boeing 777. This work continues in an effort to narrow the underwater search area for when the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is deployed, JACC said as the search for the missing jet entered into 37th day.
16:34 China mulls deploying manned submersible to trace MH370:
China is planning to deploy its indigenous deep sea manned submersible to locate the wreckage of the missing Malaysian airliner, even as searchers zeroed in an area of the remote Indian Ocean.
Experts say the depth of the water in the 50-km radius earmarked by search teams can exceed 4,500 metres, making it challenging for the searchers to locate the plane.
Currently, a US Navy pinger locater and an unmanned submersible Bluefin-21 underwater autonomous vehicle have been deployed in the coast off Perth, Australia to find the black boxes of MH370, the signals from which seems to have died. But once the black boxes are located, any salvage operation must contend not only with strong currents and an absence of natural light, but also crushing pressure that only a handful of manned vessels in the world can withstand.
With 154 of the 239 people, on board the ill-fated Beijing-bound flight, from China, Beijing is under pressure to find what happened to the Malaysian airliner. Chinese experts think that Jiaolong, China's first manned deep-sea submersible, could be deployed as it has the deep-sea retrieving capability.
15:27 Will accept any role party gives after elections: Advani:
Voicing confidence that BJP will form the next government at the Centre, veteran BJP leader L K Advani, who had reservations on the PM candidature of Narendra Modi, today said he will accept any role the party will offer him after the Lok Sabha elections.
"This is the first ever election where it can be felt that people have already made up their minds to throw out the present (UPA) government. There is no doubt that BJP will form government under the leadership of (BJP's prime ministerial nominee) Narendra Modi. I will take up any role which will be offered to me after election," Advani said while launching his roadshow in his Gandhinagar constituency, starting from Bavla.
The BJP will get a fair share in south India too, he claimed. "Yesterday, I was in Kerala for campaigning. I could sense that BJP will have thumping victory in several seats in South India too this time," said the BJP patriarch, who will cover Kalol and several areas of Gandhinagar city during his road show.
14:45 Women to be inducted as officers in border force for 1st time:
Breaking the male bastion in the five decade-old Sashastra Seema Bal, the government has approved recruitment of young women as 'combat officers' in the second largest border guarding force.
The women officers, after induction, will have an opportunity to serve in far-flung border locations of the force which secures 'open' and important Indian frontiers with Nepal and Bhutan. Young women under and up to the age of 25 years will be recruited as direct entry officers in the rank of Assistant Commandants and according to sources in the Union Home ministry, the force will have the trained women officers on ground by late 2015.
Till now, women could only don the combat uniform in the officer cadre in three other central security forces, the Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force and the Border Security Force.
14:11 UPA govt 'remote controlled': Modi:
Narendra Modi today dubbed the UPA government as "remote controlled" and "lame" as he raised the pitch for a strong and stable government at the Centre. Addressing a rally in Chikkaballapur in Karnataka, Modi painted a gloomy picture for the Congress-led UPA, claiming it would not be able to open its account in seats in several states and in many others, it would end up with a single digit.
"I ask you all people what type of government do you want in India? Do you want a government in Delhi, a lame government? Do you want a dumb government? Do you want remote-controlled government. Do you want a government which is lying dead in a hospital?," Modi posed to the gathering.
In a trenchant attack on the UPA, he also asked, "Do you want a government which divides the country. Do you want a government which breaks promises. Do you want a government which destroys the future of the country's youth?."
13:40 Johnny Depp subpoenaed in murder case:
Hollywood star Johnny Depp has been subpoenaed in a peculiar murder trial by a lawyer who wants to prove his client's insanity.
Depp, 50, was served with legal documents at the premiere of his movie 'Transcendence
' on April 10 in a criminal case stemming from a road accident in LA in 2009, reported TMZ
The defence of the client Nancy Lekon is hoping to prove Lekon insane in a case in which she is facing a murder charge for mowing down a pedestrian while driving a limousine in the Skid Row neighbourhood of LA in 2009.
At the time of her arrest, Lekon had told the authorities she was in the area to meet Depp, with whom she was allegedly having a relationship. Lekon's trial is due to take place later this month, where she plans to plea not guilty by reason of insanity. Her defence is hoping to demonstrate her insanity by calling Depp to the stand.
13:26 Malaysia refuses to confirm report of call from missing plane:
Amid reports that the co-pilot of missing Malaysian plane made a desperate call from his mobile phone moments before the jet went off the radar, Malaysia today said it cannot be confirmed unless the information can be verified by the authorities.
"Unless we can have verifications, we can't comment on these reports," Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters here. He said the authorities have received several reports and leads, including from local and foreign media organisations, but when probed, they turned out to be baseless.
When asked if any calls had been made from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cockpit, he said: "As far as I know, no." However, he said that he did not want to speculate on "the realm of the police and other international agencies" investigating the case.
13:08 Priyanka to campaign for Rahul in Amethi from April 15:
Priyanka Gandhi will be on a two day visit of the constituency from April 15 to campaign for her brother and sitting Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.
"Priyanka is coming to Amethi on a two day tour to campaign for Rahul," Amethi constituency Lok Sabha incharge Chandrakant Dubey said.
According to sources, Priyanka will hold public meetings, meet party workers, besides visiting all the 16 blocks in this constituency. While BJP has fielded Smriti Irani, AAP has fielded Kumar Vishwas against Rahul. Samajwadi Party has not fielded any candidate from here.
12:48 Squirrel causes $300,000 damage at US building:
An errant squirrel has caused about $300,000 worth of damage to a community centre in the US after tampering with the electrical equipment of the building. The squirrel caused about $300,000 in damage last week to the community centre in McMillen Park in Indiana, that is set to open in June, officials said.
The squirrel got into the electrical equipment of the building, causing a massive power surge that damaged the heating and air conditioning systems and some parts of the boiler system, Fort Wayne Parks Department officials said. Officials said the squirrel did not make it out alive, 'The Journal Gazette
12:06 Some people feel being part of govt important: Chavan on Rahul:
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan says government experience is viewed as important in some quarters, but he does not know if Rahul Gandhi joining the government after 2009 elections would have been better for Congress' prospects in the Lok Sabha polls.
Asked if Rahul should have joined the government earlier as it would have been beneficial to the party, Chavan told PTI in an interview: "Well, some people feel that to get a government experience is important. Otherwise we tend to think like an NGO from outside. "There are compulsions of running a coalition government. There are compulsions of addressing conflicting aspirations of different sections of society," he said.
The senior Congress leader's views came in the backdrop of Union minister Milind Deora's recent statement that if Rahul Gandhi had joined the UPA government in 2009, it would have made a big difference to the fortunes of the party.
11:35 'Modi wave' will take BJP to nearly 300: Shatrughan Sinha:
Claiming a strong "Modi wave" in Bihar and the country as a whole, actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha, seeking re-election from native Patna Sahib, today said going by the current trend, it could be said that BJP will not only accomplish "mission 272" but might win 300 Lok Sabha seats on its own.
"I can see a strong Modi wave in Bihar and other parts of the country. Going by the current trend, we can undoubtedly say that our mission 272 will be accomplished easily. Rather BJP will go beyond that and touch 300 seats on its own," an upbeat Sinha told PTI before setting out for campaign.
Sixty-seven-year-old Sinha, popularly known as "Bihari Babu
", compared the situation prevailing in the current parliamentary elections to one the nation saw in 1977 when Janata Party swept aside Congress from power.
11:16 A parallel conversation: Martyrs, rebels, and peasants:
: The amicable relationship some villagers have with the Maoists, panchayat institutions, as well as large NGOs operating in the vicinity of the villages seems an unusual co-existence in Jharkhand.
Read the full article here
11:12 India tops list of requests for blocking content on Facebook:
Indian law enforcement agencies requested Facebook to block content in 4,765 instances citing local laws between July and December last year, the largest by any country.
The social networking giant said it blocked content after government officials and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team reported that such posts were violating laws like criticising a religion or the state.
As per data from the second Government Requests Report by the California-headquartered firm, India made the highest requests for restricting content, followed by Turkey (2014), Pakistan (162), Israel (113), Germany (84) and France (80).
On blocking content, Facebook said: "We restricted access in India to a number of pieces of content reported primarily by law enforcement officials and the ICERT under local laws prohibiting criticism of a religion or the state."
00:10 Can Rajinikanth boost Modi's fortunes?:
BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate and star campaigner Narendra Modi is likely to visit superstar Rajnikanth at his Chennai residence on Sunday for a "personal meeting."
"Narendra Modi is visiting cine super star Rajinikanth at his residence in Chennai in the evening," BJP's General Secretary-in-charge of Tamil Nadu, P Muralidhar Rao, said in a post on social networking site Twitter.
BJP sources said the party's prime ministerial candidate would be in Chennai to address a public meeting but before that he would go to super star's residence at around 5 pm for a "personal meeting".
Asked whether the meeting could have any implication for Lok Sabha elections, the source said "it is a personal meeting" but hastened to add that "Narendra Modi and elections cannot be separated."
BJP leaders had in the past hoped that the party gets some support from the cine star who has a wide appeal not just in Tamil Nadu but in other states as well. The party, which has been a marginal player in Tamil Nadu politics, has aligned with several regional parties and is hoping to put up a good show this time.Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
00:09 Most hated US airline is also the most profitable:
Spirit Airlines (SAVE) inspires a special kind of wrath among the American traveling public: Its the industry leader in customer complaints by a wide margin.
Over the last five years, Spirits rate of complaints to the Department of Transportation was three times higher than other US airlines, according to a report released today by the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.
00:07 Munich just set up 6 official 'urban naked zones':
Is it OK to walk around naked in the middle of a major city?
The idea of seriously debating this question might seem bizarre, but that's just what the city of Munich has been doing for much of this year.
Statewide laws controlling nude sunbathing in Bavaria expired last autumn, and Germany's third largest city has had to decide for itself whether or not to allow sun-seekers to strip off in public.
The answer they came up with is a qualified yes.
People in Munich are now officially welcome to go naked provided they restrict themselves to six designated areas across the city.
00:06 The Internet has a password problem:
You have a problem. Your online passwords -- the barrier that protects your most private correspondence, financial data and nearly every element of your identity and life -- are a mess.
Feel (a little) better: Its not totally your fault.