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LIVE! Russia: Ukraine crisis 'agreement reached'

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April 17, 2014

22:23  Russia: Ukraine crisis 'agreement reached':  

BBC: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that all sides have agreed to steps to "de-escalate" the crisis in Ukraine at talks in Geneva. He was speaking at the end of the talks between Russia, Ukraine, the EU and US in the Swiss city.


Ukraine has been in crisis since the toppling of its pro-Moscow president in February. This was followed by the seizing of government buildings in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists.


Mr Lavrov said there was agreement that all illegal military formations in Ukraine must be dissolved, and that everyone occupying buildings must be disarmed and leave them.


He added that there would be an amnesty for all protesters under the agreement. Mr Lavrov said the crisis must be settled by Ukrainians themselves and there must be long-term constitutional reforms.

21:21  Nitish defends parting ways with NDA:  

Defending his decision to part ways with the NDA, senior JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said he had no regrets.    


"Our alliance worked smoothly so long as the BJP put aside contentious issues, but the moment we realised the party intended to raise controversial issues to attain power at the Centre, we broke away," he told an election rally at Katihar.   


Kumar said he had no regrets for parting ways with the BJP as he believed it was better than being with a party which professed communal and divisive politics.     


The Chief Minister, who is spearheading JD(U)'s campaign in Bihar, claimed the minority community was wary of the BJP due to its communal agenda, a concern also shared by his party.

20:40  Naidu calls off TDP-BJP tie-up in Seema-Andhra:  

Vicky Nanjappa reports: The Bharatiya Janata Party-Telugu Desam Party alliance in Seema-Andhra has officially broken.   TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu announced on Thursday evening at a rally that there will be no alliance with the BJP in Seema-Andhra. He was addressing a gathering at Parvathipuram.  


Although the TDP chief has made it official, the BJP says talks are still on. The alliance would not be impacted in Telangana, sources added.   Both the parties have fielded candidates based on the seat sharing arrangement they entered into. Now the seats will be filled up by the respective parties.  


TV reports suggest that Naidu will have talks with BJP president Rajnath Singh and Narendra Modi later in the evening.

20:12  Mamata Banerjee has a narrow escape:  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has a narrow escape after her hotel room catches fire.
19:46  Kejriwal faces fresh poster attack in Varanasi:  AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, who is fighting against Narendra Modi here in Lok Sabha polls, today faced a fresh round of attacks through posters, which wished for his "speedy recovery" along with prayers to give him a "sound mind". 

The poster attack came in the midst of growing political activities ahead of Lok Sabha polls on May 12 and on the first day of nomination, which also saw leading parties like BJP, SP and Congress taking pot-shots at each other.
19:26  Mulayam says he will stake claim for PM post, 3rd front to form govt :  Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav today claimed that third front would form the government at the Centre, with SP as its largest component, and said he would stake claim for the prime minister's post. 

To a question whether he would stake claim for the prime minister's post, he told PTI that SP would emerge as the largest party in the third front government and he would stake his claim.
18:59  Indian elections: What issues are Indian voters concerned about?:  Indian voters to tell the Guardian their key concerns and what they want a new government to address. Read
18:55  It's raining discounts in poll season :  Show your inked finger and get discounts when you shop, eat or travel, has become the norm this election season. But now, MTNL is offering a discount of Rs 200 when you install, test or book a land line or a get a broadband connection. The offer is valid from April 17 to 30.
18:34  Country will be ruined with riots if Modi becomes PM: Mayawati:  Asking people to refrain from voting in favour of the saffron party, BSP supremo Mayawati today alleged that if the BJP came into power and Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, the country would "stand ruined" with communal riots.

Addressing an election rally in the city's Rail Bazaar in Kanpur this afternoon for her party's candidates from the city, Akbarpur and Misrikh seats, the Dalit leader took on BJP and its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi headlong.

"Do not waste your votes by dividing it between Congress and Samjwadi Party, because it will directly benefit the BJP. And, if that happens, BJP and Modi will come into power and "the country would stand ruined with communal riots" akin to the one in Gujarat in 2002, Maywati alleged.

Follow our election tweets @RediffElections
18:02  Just in: DMK MP TM Selvagapathy stands disqualified as a member of the Rajya Sabha after the CBI court found him guilty of corrupt practices.

Follow our election tweets @RediffElections
17:54  AAP accuses BJP of circulating fake 'thank you' note to Varanasi Muslim strongman:   Aam Aadmi Party today accused BJP of circulating a 'fake' letter in which Arvind Kejriwal has purportedly thanked local Muslim strongman Mukhtar Ansari's Qaumi Ekta Dal for not contesting Lok Sabha elections. Kejriwal is said to be thanking Ansari saying Muslim votes would come to AAP after his support and that the party would be able to force the communal forces out of Varanasi.

The controversy erupted after a photo of the letter found its way to the social media. "BJP people are so afraid of losing Varanasi that they are spreading fake pics of AAP thanking M Ansari for support," AAP posted on its official Twitter account in reaction to the letter being circulated.
17:48  Voter turnout so far:  51.2 per cent turnout in Pune till 5 pm.
72 per cent turnout in Bengal till 4 pm
45 per cent turnout in Karnataka till 3 pm
43 per cent turnout in Bangalore south till 5 pm
37 per cent turnout in Bangalore north
42 per cent turnout in Bangalore central
17:43  Defective Pune EVM 'transfers' all votes to Congress:  Early morning voters, including many senior citizens, were bewildered when an electronic voting machine (EVM) reportedly "transferred" all votes to the Congress.

The incident happened at a polling booth at Shamrao Kalmadi School in the city when voters found that whichever button was pressed on the EVM, only the Congress light blinked.

Some of the alert voters brought this to the notice of the election officials who stopped voting immediately.

"The Election Commission authorities have ordered a new machine for this particular polling booth which is expected to come soon," said local BJP activist Madhur Sahasrabuddhe.

Follow our election tweets @RediffElections
17:40  58 per cent polling in Odisha till 4.30 pm:  An estimated 58 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 4.30 pm for the simultaneous second and last phase of the elections to 11 Lok Sabha and 77 assembly constituencies in Odisha today.
17:22  Congress releases video, says Uma Bharti called Modi 'Vinash Purush':   The Congress on Thursday released a video clipping that showed BJP leader Uma Bharti levelling serious charges against her colleague, BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

In the clipping, Uma is heard saying that Modi was not 'Vikas Purush' (man who brought in development) but 'Vinash Purush' (man who destroys).

Sources say that Uma reportedly said this at a time when she did not have close relations with the BJP and had floated her own party, Bharatiya Janshakti Party. She is also allegedly heard calling Modi dictatorial in the video. Read

Follow our election tweets @RediffElections
17:18  PS, some clarifications Narendra Modiji on your latest interview:  In an interview on Wednesday to news agency ANI, Narendra Modi, the man touted to be India's next prime minister took some rather straight questions with never before seen confidence.

He was at ease, never through the interview did he pause to think, to contemplate before answering questions in what is being seen as one of his most candid interviews in recent times.

As somebody who has had a chance to work in Gujarat in 2002, and cover politics of the state since 2005, and investigate some of the most crucial criminal cases, Narendra Modi left me with more questions than answers.

17:01   Around 55 percentage polling till 3 pm:   Around 55 per cent of the electorate voted till 3 pm today in the second phase of polling for six Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand. Polling was being held in Ranchi, Giridih, Jamshedpur, Singhbhum (ST), Khunti (ST) and Hazaribagh seats under strict security and helicopter surveillance. Five persons, including four CRPF personnel, were injured in attacks by Maoists, who also blew up railway lines in separate places in the state.
16:42  'Priyanka not enough to alter Congresss fate':  "Every time I return to Delhi from my election travels, I meet political pandits, hacks, academics, bureaucrats, politicians and socialites who assure me that there is 'no Modi wave'.

"Usually, the person who says this expands on the theme and usually what he or she tells me, with a conspiratorial smile, is that the Congress still has a trump card up its sleeve and this trump card is Priyanka Gandhi."

Read Tavleen Singh's column.
16:06  A day after Sonia Gandhi's rally in Kanyakumari, Narendra Modi is addressing rally there.
15:58  31.43 pc voter turnout in Maharashtra till 1 pm:   An average 31.43 per cent polling was recorded till 1 pm in the 19 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra where second phase of polling is being held today. The highest voter turnout so far was recorded in Kolhapur at 40.65 per cent, followed by Hathkanangale in Western Maharashtra at 39.80 per cent.

Follow our election tweets @RediffElections
15:57  Chetan Bhagat: I was asked to contest by all parties:  'I wish I could find a party that could offer the best of the three parties,' best-selling novelist Chetan Bhagat tells Read
15:36  LIVE! Tharoor: Modi can wear outlandish caps, why not a skull cap? :  Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor, adds his bit to the Narendra Modi skull cap controversy. Tharoor tweeted earlier today saying, "Skull cap thing is silly. Modi wears most outlandish things on his head in rallies, only thing he doesn't wear is a skull cap. He wants to send an unmistakable message of bigotry. "

Narendra Modi in an interview to India TV a few days ago, had said on his refusal to wear a skull cap in 2011 during the Sadbhavna fast, "If a cap is a symbol of unity then why did Mahatma Gandhi not wear one?"

The Gujarat chief minister added that his vision of a Muslim is that he may be wearing a cap and have a Quran in one hand but there should be a computer in his other hand.

"If by wearing a cap one becomes a symbol of unity then nobody has ever seen Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Pandit Nehru wearing this kind of a cap," he said and added he will never wear a skull cap as a symbol of appeasement and asked if Sonia Gandhi had ever worn one. 

Follow our election tweets @RediffElections
15:26  Left parties allege attack by TMC in Coochbehar:  Left parties have alleged attack on its party workers by Trinamool Congress in the district, where polling is on in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal today.

Follow our election tweets @RediffElections
15:25  The Guard of Honour for new Navy Chief Admiral Robin K Dhowan. 
15:17  Modi: Watches being distributed Chidambarams pics:  Sharpening his attack on P Chidambaram, BJP leader Narendra Modi today alleged wrist watches with photos of the Finance Minister were being distributed to voters and demanded a probe by the Election Commission.

"In Tamil Nadu, there is a Congress leader -- recounting Minister -- he is so afraid that he ran away from elections,' Modi said, without taking Chidambaram's name while addressing an election rally in this town, bordering the union minister's native Sivaganga district.

On a whirlwind two-day electioneering in Tamil Nadu to canvass for NDA candidates, the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate continued to describe Chidambaram as "recounting minister', a reference to his controversial win from Sivaganga constituency in 2009.

Some people on this dais showed me a watch. It has the recounting ministers photo and his symbol. I was told that these watches are being given to every household. EC should take it very seriously. There should be a probe against the recounting minister and Congress, he said.
15:03  Sister, Soldier:  The hard-won victories of Mamata Banerjee. Read
14:59  UP voting till 1pm:  Aonla 36%
Nagina 42.28%
Bareily 38%
Moradabad 42%
Rampur 37.1%
Kheri 41%
Pilibhit 40%
14:50  Pratibha Singh files nomination from Mandi seat:  Seeking to retain her seat for the third time, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's wife Pratibha Singh today filed her nomination from the Mandi Parliamentary seat, promising development of railway infrastructure in the Himalayan state which so far is serviced by toy trains.

According to political pundits, Pratibha, who will seek to retain her seat for the third time, will sail through with a comfortable victory margin. Her rival Ram Swaroop Sharma of BJP is reaching out to voters positioning himself as a common man.
14:48   Police arrests 13 riot accused in Muzaffarnagar:  At least 13 people were arrested for their role in the last year's riots in Muzaffarnagar after the Supreme Court directed the state to expedite the process of bringing the accused to justice, police said today.

Two murder accused, four accused of stoning, and seven others were arrested yesterday from Bahawdi, Basikala, Shahpur and Kotwali areas of the district, they said.

A drive has been launched to arrest the riot accused after the direction of the apex court to expedite the process.

According to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which is probing the riot cases, nearly 800 hundred people were found to be involved in rioting, gang rape, and murder, and many of them are still absconding.

Of the 50 accused in Kutba killing case, only three have been arrested, police said, adding, eight persons including a woman were killed and several others injured by rioters in the village.
14:29   Voter turnout so far:

44 per cent in Odisha till noon
57.22 per cent in Darjeeling till 1 pm
21 per cent in Bangalore till till noon

Phase V of the nine phase elections today. The fate of 121 seats spread across 12 states will be decided today. 

14:25  62 per cent polling in Manipur till 2 pm:   Sixty two per cent of the voters out of 8.53 lakh electorate have caste their ballot in the second phase of polling for the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat till 2 pm today, election office sources said.

Polling was brisk at many polling stations in Thoubal district, the home district of Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, reports from the district said adding that at a polling station in Thoubal 82 per cent of the votes were cast by 1.30 pm.

Follow our election tweets @RediffElections
14:19  Salutary judgment :  By recognising the transgender community as a third gender entitled to the same rights and constitutional protection as all other citizens, the Supreme Court has put in place a sound basis to end discrimination based on gender, especially gender as presumed to be assigned to individuals at birth.
Read more
14:14  The business interests of Sonia Gandhi:  Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president and vice-president, are seeking re-election from Rae Bareli and Amethi constituencies. Here's what she owns. Read
14:12  Malaysia missing plane: Mini-sub completes third search mission:  Update on the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, flight MH370, not that there is much of an update.

A mini-submarine searching for the missing Malaysian plane has completed a full mission at its third attempt.

Two previous missions to scour the floor of the Indian Ocean for wreckage were cut short by technical problems.

The data from the sub's latest mission is being analysed. Previous forays have not shown anything significant. Read more
14:07   29 per cent voting on 7 seats in Bihar by noon:  About 29 per cent voting was recorded till noon in seven Parliamentary seats of Bihar today. According to the Election Commission bulletin, 28.30 per cent voting was recorded in the seven seats. Jehanabad with 33 per cent voting topped the list. 31 per cent polling was recorded in Patna Sahib from where actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha is contesting.

Follow our election tweets @RediffElections
13:58  LIVE! Voters are not 'ullus' if they vote against Cong: Jaitley:   In a counter attack on Rahul Gandhi for asking Narendra Modi to "stop fooling" the people, BJP leader Arun Jaitley today said voters are not "ullus" (fools) if they exercise their vote against the Congress.

Jaitley, who is facing a tough contest in Amritsar, said Rahul must accept that people are "angry" with the Congress.

"With 121 Parliamentary constituencies going to poll today, almost half of India would have voted in 2014 general elections. What are the trends? The Third Front or the Federal Front is the non-starter. The Congress lags far behind," he said.

"Rahul Gandhi must accept that people are angry with the Congress. They are not 'ullus' when they vote against the Congress. The prospects of defeat should not make a leader lose his graciousness. Those who vote against the Congress may have good reasons to do so. The angry voter is not a four letter word that Rahul Gandhi has chosen to describe them", Jailtey said.

At an election meeting in Bihar yesterday, Rahul had said, "Modiji, Hindustan ko ullu banana band karo (Modiji, stop fooling the people of Hindustan)".

Follow our election tweets @RediffElections
13:27  Man who defended Malaysian oppn leader in sodomy case killed in accident :  In other news: A leading Malaysian politician who gained fame defending opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in his sensational sodomy trials was killed in an early morning road accident on Thursday, police said.

Karpal Singh, 73, was killed along with a longtime assistant when his vehicle struck a slower-moving lorry on a highway in the northern state of Perak, state police chief Acryl Sani Abdullah said.

Anwar wrote on his Facebook page: "We've lost a colleague. An indefatigable fighter for justice. The legendary Karpal Singh. Our sincere condolences to the family. RIP.' -- South China Morning Post 
13:21  Reliance bags senior journalists, Snapdeal owner for editorial council :  Senior journalists BV Rao, Gautam Chikermane and Rohit Bansal have joined the editorial council of Reliance to oversee and guide content for the group-owned media. Rao has earlier worked as group editor, Sahara, while Chikermane worked with Care India as Director and earlier the Hindustan Times as Executive Editor (Business). Bansal, an IIT alumnus, set up Snapdeal.
12:59  Modi has a strong predilection for crony capitalism: Rahul :   "Not a single opinion poll during the 2004 Lok Sabha elections predicted that NDA will be voted out and that we will form the government. Did any opinion poll give the Congress 200 plus seats in 2009? Practically none."

Rahul Gandhi on the defensive in an interview with Vijay Karnataka.  Read

Follow our election tweets @RediffElections
12:47  Kejriwal strives to end 'bhagoda' image :  AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal has said that his single motto in Varanasi is to defeat Modi and his loss at Varanasi would ensure that he does not become Prime Minister. He, however, has promised that he would work for the people of this city and resolve their problems, while dismissing his "bhagoda" image.
12:38  LIVE! Varanasi fears Modi will dump them if he wins from Vadodara:  In Varanasi: The BJP has said that these elections are being fought on national issues and against the 10-year misrule of Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.

But people are wary of Narendra Modi, for they feel that if elected, he might leave Varanasi and retain the Vadodara seat in Gujarat, which would mean additional expenses and poll-time problems for this city.

Neither the BJP nor Modi has said anything so far about which seat would be retained if the Gujarat Chief Minister wins both.

BJP leader Nalin Kohli, who is camping in Varanasi for the polls, said, "These elections are being fought on 10-year misrule of the Congress-led UPA government and the issues of price rise, corruption, unemployment, economic decline, women's security and farmers' plight. "Modi and BJP are constantly talking about development and the agenda of development. Our manifesto clearly says that our aim is 'ek Bharat shreshtha Bharat' and our manifesto, as Modi himself says, is not a document but an agenda for development."
12:34   EC issues show cause notice against AAP's Vijayawada nominee:   A show cause notice was issued against an AAP candidate from Vijayawada Lok Sabha seat and three others for allegedly violating the model code of conduct. Returning Officer J Murali issued show cause notices under section 127-A of the Peoples Representative Act to Harmohindar Singh Sahni of AAP, YSRCP worker C Chandrasekhar and two printers for publishing handbills and posters without prior approval from district collector and election officer.
12:32  Why Irom Sharmila wants to vote for the first time :  Irom Sharmila Chanu, who has been fasting for 13 years against a draconian law in India's north-eastern state of Manipur, says she wants to cast her vote for the first time. Read
12:23  Political novice in India meets a gritty reality on the campaign trail:  She marched through her campaign office like a candidate from almost anywhere in the world, girding herself to address a scrum of reporters. But the reporters were not interested in an interview. Instead, they came to insist that she buy ads in their newspapers."If you give us business, we will cover you, but if you don't give us money,' one reporter said with a pause and a shrug. "Well, we will still cover you."  Read
12:17  Will Misa work a miracle in Lalu's Bihar :  Dr Misa Bharati is fighting to win back Patliputra, the seat her father lost in 2009, in a contest that is a do-or-die battle for Lalu Yadav and the RJD. Read the interview on 
11:52   Nearly 29 per cent poll recorded till 10 am in Bengal:  Nearly 29 per cent of the 60,33,310 voters in four parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal cast their votes till 10 am in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls in the state.

"About 28.79 per cent polling was recorded on an average in first three hours of polling in four Lok Sabha constituencies of Coochbehar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in North Bengal," state's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sunil Gupta said here today.

Also read: 'My mom is no delicate darling'
11:47  Congress agent arrested for damaging EVM in Kendrapara:  An election agent of opposition Congress party was today arrested on charge of damaging EVM in booth- 193 of Mulasahi village under Aul assembly segment in Kendrapara district. There were also complaints of technical snags in EVMs which delayed the voting process in around the particular polling stations.
11:39  Narendra Modi is addressing a rally in Erode, Tamil Nadu.
11:37  Killing squads:  It is difficult to think of a more insincere apology. The Maoist rebellion in India has claimed countless lives of both civilians and security personnel. Many of the rebels' victims have been innocent, even poor people. So the Maoists' apology for the death of nine civilians in one of their offensives in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh last weekend can only ring hollow.   Read
11:32  15 per cent polling in Odisha till 10 am:  Around 15 per cent voters exercised their franchise during the first three hours for the simultaneous second and last phase election to 11 Lok Sabha and 77 Assembly constituencies in Odisha today.
11:30  Short on campaign funds, Arvind Kejriwal sends out SOS :  Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, who is campaigning in Varanasi where he takes on the BJP's Narendra Modi in the general elections, has sent out an SOS. He tweeted, "Need clean money to fight Modi and Rahul. Pl sms me at 9868069953 if u wish to donate."He also asked people to spread the word by retweeting his appeal for funds. Read more
11:28  A modern-day enlightenment :   A renewed appreciation of the ideas of Babasaheb Ambedkar would help us not just to critique Mahatma Gandhi, but also to challenge Hindutva ideology. Read the piece on the Hindu.
11:22  12.74 percent voters exercise franchise by 9 am:   An estimated 12.74 per cent voters today exercised their franchise till 9 am in the second phase of polling for six Lok Sabha constituencies in Jharkhand where Maoists blew up a stretch of railway track and injured a CRPF personnel in an encounter in Giridih.
11:21  8.81 pc turnout in Maharashtra in first two hours:  Nineteen Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra, where polling is being held today in the second phase of election in the state, recorded an average of 8.81 per cent voter turnout till 9 am.

Among early voters were Union Home Minister and Congress candidate in Solapur Sushilkumar Shinde and NCP nominee in Pune district's Baramati constituency Supriya Sule, daughter of party chief Sharad Pawar.

Former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who had to quit three years ago over the alleged involvement in the Adarsh Housing scam, cast his vote around 8.30 am at a booth in Shivaji Nagar are of Nanded city. He was accompanied by his wife and other family members.
11:17  Sensex up 64 points on good buying interest:  The benchmark BSE Sensex rose by 63.93 points in a volatile morning trade today on good buying in IT, tech, banking, realty, auto and metal sectors on upbeat corporate earnings and higher Asian cues. The 30-share index resumed higher at 22,327.76 and hovered in a range of 22,364.90 and 22,312.19 before quoting 22,341.16 at 1010 hours. It showed a gain of 63.93 points, or 0.29 per cent, from its last close.
11:04  To bring you up to speed, voting is on for 121 seats in biggest phase of the Lok Sabha polls today. Both the Congress and the BJP have high stakes in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha polls today, spread across 12 states.

11:01  Admiral Robin Dhowan takes over as Navy chief :   After dithering for over 50 days following Admiral DK Joshi's sudden resignation owning "moral responsibility" for a string of warship mishaps, the government has named Admiral Robin Dhowan over as the new Navy chief. Dhowan was vice-admiral.
11:01  Moderate to brisk polling in Karnataka:   Voting began on a moderate to brisk note this morning in the single-phase elections for 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka amid tight security.

In the initial two hours, the voting percentage across the state hovered around 10 per cent, officials said, adding, polling had been peaceful so far.

The three constituencies in Bangalore-- South, Central and North-- saw enthusiastic voters queue up in good numbers in the initial hours.

Former Prime Minister and JDS chief H D Deve Gowda (Hassan), former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa (Shimoga) and Union Minister M Veerappa Moily (Chikkaballapur) were among the early voters, as the exercise began with about 4.62 crore voters eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 435 candidates.

Nearly 85,000 security personnel drawn from the state and central forces are keeping a watch to ensure peaceful conduct of the polls, with armed police force from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra also on duty.
10:47  Large turnout of voters in Pune; Shinde, Supriya cast vote:  Voters made a beeline in front of many polling stations in Pune as people in large numbers turned out this morning to exercise their franchise.

Among early voters were Union Home Minister and Congress candidate in neighbouring Solapur Sushil Kumar Shinde and NCP nominee in Pune district's Baramati constituency Supriya Sule, daughter of party chief Sharad Pawar.

Young voters as well as senior citizens were seen lining up enthusiastically since early morning in the city which experienced a drizzle in the wee hours.

In Pune, much depends on whether sitting Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi remains true to his word not to harm the electoral prospects of party candidate Vishwajit Kadam. Kadam is pitted against his BJP rival Anil Shirole, who had lost the 2009 election to Kalmadi with a narrow margin of around 25,000 votes.

Also in the fray are Deepak Paigude of MNS and Subhash Ware fielded by Aam Aadmi Party.
02:23  Heartbleed hack case sees first arrest:  

A 19-year-old Canadian became the first person to be arrested in relation to the Heartbleed security breach. Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes from London, Ontario was accused of hacking into the Canadian Revenue Agency's website last Friday by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).


Police say Mr Solis-Reyes then stole 900 social insurance numbers. The Heartbleed security scare, which also struck the UK social network Mumsnet, erupted last week.


"It is believed that [Mr] Solis-Reyes was able to extract private information held by CRA by exploiting the vulnerability known as the Heartbleed bug," the RCMP said in a statement.


Read more on BBC

02:17  No PM candidate ever sought votes for himself: Pawar:  

Stepping up his attack on BJP's Prime Ministerial nominee Narendra Modi, Union Agriculture Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said never before he had seen a person in the race for the country's top job seeking votes for himself or herself.    


"We have seen Prime Ministers like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and now Dr Manmohan Singh. But they never asked people to vote for themselves but for the country. But here is a person who is seeking votes for himself," Pawar said, addressing an election rally for NCP candidate from North-East Mumbai, Sanjay Dina Patil.     


Patil, the sitting MP, is pitted against BJP's Kirit Somaiya and AAP's Medha Patkar, among others.

00:37  Ukraine crisis: Military column 'seized' in Kramatorsk:  

BBC: Pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine have seized six Ukrainian armoured vehicles, the defence ministry in Kiev says. Reports say the occupants were disarmed after the vehicles were blockaded by locals in the city of Kramatorsk.


The incident comes a day after the military began an operation to remove pro-Russian protesters from public buildings across eastern Ukraine.


Meanwhile, Nato is increasing activity in member states bordering Russia. After Ukrainian forces recaptured an airfield outside Kramatorsk on Tuesday, armoured vehicles appeared in the centre of the town early on Wednesday. BBC journalists witnessed civilians, at least some of whom appeared to be local people, challenging soldiers, who were also blocked by a crowd a few kilometres outside the town.

00:33  Top headlines at this hour:  

Saradha scam: ED arrests Sudipta Sen's absconding wife, son

After ban on campaign, EC censures Shah, Azam for remarks

Modi was an adult during marriage: Nagma

Pak Taliban refuses to extend ceasefire, will continue talks

B'desh SC wraps up death penalty review for war crimes suspect

Overwhelming support puts BJP in driver's seat in Rajasthan

Political parties bet big on mobile campaigns to woo voters

Muslim community frightened hearing Modi's name: Nitish

I was not silent on Gujarat riots, says Modi

Vote for BJP and your land will be given to Adanis, says Kejriwal in Varanasi

Sonia in Tamil Nadu: The BJP is a one-man party

CBI to quiz P C Parakh in Talabira-II coal block allocation

For Jaswant, technology, music and family fill the gap left by BJP

PHOTOS: Hopes drown with South Korean ferry for hundreds

FBI warns students abroad: Beware of becoming spies

BJP denies NTR's daughter Visakhapatnam ticket

Stop 'fooling' the people of the country: Rahul to Modi


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