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April 25, 2014

21:37  China summons US, Japan envoys over remarks on disputed island:  China today summoned American and Japanese ambassadors here separately and lodged protest over a joint statement issued during US President Barack Obama's visit to Tokyo that asserted their bilateral security treaty was applicable to the disputed islands in the East China Sea. 

"Leading officials of the Foreign Ministry have summoned the US ambassador and the Japanese ambassador on separate occasions and lodged solemn representations," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement.
21:36  Germany's Merkel threatens new Russia sanctions:  German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the European Union's foreign ministers will meet soon to consider further targeted sanctions against Russia over Ukraine's crisis. 

Merkel spoke today after complaining in a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin about a lack of public commitment on Russia's part to last week's Geneva deal aimed at calming tensions.
21:16  Barack Obama warns Kim Jong-un of consequences:  Barack Obama has issued a stark warning to North Korean despot Kim Jong-un over his nuclear ambitions, declaring that the United States and South Korea stand 'shoulder to shoulder' against him.

The U.S. president said it may be time to consider further sanctions against North Korea 'that have even more bite' as the country is threatening its fourth nuclear test.He made the comments hours after North Korea made its feelings on his visit clear, sending two DPRK patrol boats into South Korean waters, violating the maritime border and forcing its neighbour to respond with a series of warning shots. 

Finally the vessels withdrew.Addressing a joint news conference alongside South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Obama said threats by North Korea will get it 'nothing except further isolation' from the global community.

Read more
20:34  Indian-origin tech mogul beats girlfriend 117 times,ducks jail:  Indian-origin internetadvertising mogul Gurbaksh Chahal has escaped jail despitebeating and kicking his girlfriend 117 times, according to amedia report.        

Chahal, 31, pleaded misdemeanor, domestic violence andbattery charges last week, dodging 45 felony counts for thevideotaped 30-minute beating of his girlfriend, The Huffington Post reported.
20:33  AAP wants more security forces in Varanasi:  Miffed by the incidents of violence aimed at AAP volunteers in Varansai, the party today asked the Election Commission for deployment of more central security forces and senior observers in the temple town from where Arvind Kejriwal is taking on Narendra Modi. 

"We expect these attacks to become worse in the days to come. In these circumstances, I would request you to direct the deployment of some central security forces and some senior central observers in Varanasi to ensure that the campaign is not marred by violence," party leader and senior advocate Prashant Bhushan said in his letter to EC.
19:45  Ukraine PM: Russia 'wants to start World War III':  Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk charged Friday that Moscow "wants to start World War III" by seeking to take over Ukraine militarily and politically.

"Attempts at military conflict in Ukraine will lead to a military conflict in Europe,'' he told an interim cabinet meeting that was broadcast live and translated by Reuters.

"The world has not yet forgotten World War II, but Russia already wants to start World War III," he said.
19:31  12 trapped in Nepal hydropower project tunnel:  At least 12 workers, including two Chinese technicians, have been trapped by a landslide inside an under-construction tunnel of a major China-assisted hydropower project in western Nepal today. 

About 12 Nepali workers and Chinese nationals were trapped inside the tunnel of Upper Madi hydropower project in Kaski district, about 125 kilometres from the capital, after a mudslide blocked its entrance, police spokesperson Ganesh K C said.
18:46  Cong may join with Third Front to stop Modi: Prithviraj Chavan :  Hinting at the possible post-polls strategy of his party, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today said the chances of Narendra Modi becoming the prime minister were slim, and the Congress could form the next government by joining hands with "the Third Front".   

"I don't see any great possibility of Narendra Modi becoming the prime minister. Even if he gets more seats than us, he would not get support of the regional parties," Chavan said at a press conference in Mumbai.   

"As the other alternative, the Congress and Third Front can form the government. We will try to form a secular government," he added.

Follow the latest updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
17:52  Subrata Roy's group, author reach settlement:   The Sahara group, which had filed a Rs 200 crore defamation suit against journalist Tamal Bandyopadhyay's book on the group, Sahara, The Untold Story, has reached an "amicable settlement' with the journalist.   

According to the terms of the settlement, thile the embattled group will withdraw the case against the author, enabling the lifting of the stay on the book's publication, Tamal's book will carry a disclaimer from Sahara which says: 'The book at best can be treated as a perspective of the author with all its defamatory content, insinuations and other objections, which prompted us to exercise our right to approach the court of law... By getting the opportunity to put forward our objections in the form of a the best tradition of Sahara and our respect for a journalist's freedom, we are...withdrawing the case we had filed against the publication of the book.'

Following this, the book, published by Jaico, will be released in May.
17:33  Actor Inder Kumar arrested for allegedly raping a model :  Bollywood actor Inder Kumar has been arrested by the Versova police after a 22-year-old woman claimed he had been raping her under the pretext of getting her roles in films, reports The Indian Express.

V Parmale, senior police inspector of Versova police station said that they have sent the woman for a medical check up and awaiting the reports.
16:20  ED names Karunanidhi's wife, Raja in 2G scam case chargesheet:  
The Enforcement Directorate on Friday filed chargesheet in Delhi court against former Telecom Minister A Raja and others in a money laundering case relating to 2G scam. 

ED has also named DMK MP Kanimozhi, DMK Supremo M Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal and Swan Telecom Promoter Shahid Balwa as accused in the chargesheet.

Court has fixed April 30 for consideration on taking cognizance of ED's chargesheet. 

The ED had earlier also scrutinised documents related to both DMK leader Kanimozhi and A Raja's incomes, properties and personal investments.

It had also initiated attachment proceedings under PMLA against other individuals and certain telecom firms involved in the case.

Besides the cases of Raja and Kanimozhi, similar probe is underway under the provisions of the anti-money laundering Act against Asif Balwa, Director of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Rajeev Agarwal and Karim Murani of Cineyug Films (Pvt) Ltd.
16:10  For those of you who couldn't watch the episode of historian Ramchandra Guha appearing on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Network, to discuss his book Gandhi Before India, not to worry, here's the link to catch up on an enlightening discussion. Watch the video, people!
15:33  Encounter on in Shopian:  
Security forces today launched a search operation in Shopian district of south Kashmir to flush out hiding militants, triggering a gunfight. 

A gunfight broke out at village Karewa in Shopian, 55 kms from here, immediately after security forces launched a search operation following specific information about presence of militants there, a police officer said. 

He said reinforcements have been rushed to the village and efforts are on to neutralise the militants who had refused to surrender and continued firing on the search parties. 

There was no immediate report of any casualty on either side, the officer said.

The encounter took place a day after militants carried out an attack on a polling party escorted by police and CRPF in the district at the end of the voting resulting in the death of a polling official and injuries to five others including three securitymen.
15:21  In Varanasi, Modi faces record 77 rivals:  
A record 78 candidates are in the fray in the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat from where BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi filed his nomination papers Thursday.

The large number of candidates is likely to force the Election Commission to use ballot papers instead of Electronic Voting Machines for voting.

According to the EC, as many as 38 persons filed nominations along with Modi. Varanasi Mahanagar president Tulsi Subramaniyam Joshi, too, filed his papers from the BJP as Modis substitute.

Click HERE to read more
15:18  BJP questions political silence on Congress promise to provide quota for OBC Muslims:  
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday questioned the silence of so-called parties that fight for Dalit and the OBC rights, when there are attempts made by the Congress to snatch this plank away from them.

"I want to ask the parties like the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), as to why they are keeping quite when the Congress is trying or attempts are being made to snatch away the rights of Dalits and OBCs. 

The sub-quota which does not happen for others, shows that it is a most corrupt symbol of communal politics which the Congress is trying to play at the onset of elections. 

It is illegal, unconstitutional and politically immoral," Prasad said at a press conference in Lucknow.

The additional manifesto adopted by the Congress, the party has declared that it will seek to empower minorities.
14:17  EC apologises for names missing from voters lists:  
CNN-IBN reports: Election Commissioner HS Brahma on Friday admitted to lapses in the election procedure and apologised to people for missing names in voters list across the country. 

"I apologise firstly that such a large number of our Indian voters were unable to cast their votes," Brahma said.

He said that the lapse will be looked into after the elections. 

"Once we declare result of 2014 we will go for fresh enumeration. We have to find out how it has happened. I have not seen this kind of massive operational mistake. I can't understand how so many names can be missing," he said.

Read more HERE
14:03  Spike in voter turnout: A parallel from Hitler's times:  The higher-than-usual voter turnout so far in these Lok Sabha polls reminds political scientist Rekha Saxena of the March 1933 German elections that catapulted Adolf Hitler to power, reports Charu Sudan Kasturi in The Telegraph, Kolkata. 

However, 'unlike some of Narendra Modi's critics, Saxena is not comparing the BJP's prime ministerial candidate to the Nazi leader who pushed the world into its deadliest ever war. What she spots, though, is a parallel that points to one of the clearest trends political scientists agree has emerged from the 2014 general election so far -- a spike in Indians queuing up to cast their vote,' she writes, here.
13:21  Swamy protests against new Army Chief's appointment, writes letter to President:  
Seeking stay on the appointment of a new Army chief, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Friday wrote a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee. 

Swamy said the timing of the appointment of new Army Chief will demoralise forces. 

The opposition BJP has said the outgoing government should not appoint the new Army Chief and should leave it to the next government that is expected to take over towards the end of next month. The party has even petitioned the Election Commission to halt the process. 

Notwithstanding objections by the BJP, the Defence Ministry is going ahead with the process of appointing the new Army Chief and has recommended the name of Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag to the Prime Minister's Office.
The recommendation of the Defence Ministry will have to be approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, official sources said. 

As per tradition, the government announces the name of services chiefs-designate two months before the retirement of the incumbent. 

Sticking to that, it is expected to announce the name of the new Army chief by May 1, three months prior to the date of retirement of Gen Bikram Singh. 

13:20  Virgin Australia plane held at Bali airport:  
An unruly passenger has forced a Virgin Australia flight to be held on the runway at Bali, as Indonesian police get involved.
A Virgin Australia spokesman discounted earlier reports of a hijacking, and said there had rather been a drunken passenger or a medical emergency.

"We're still trying to get to the bottom of what happened, but the plane has landed safely at Denpasar," he said.

A spokesman for the Indonesian military, Major General Fuad Basya, earlier said: "We are now trying to have communications with the airplane but are still unable to do so. The airplane is now at one end of the runway," he said.
12:47  US Sikh rights group asked to serve summons to PM by June 18:  
A United States court has asked a Sikh rights group to serve summons on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by June 18 or face dismissal of a case of alleged human rights violations against him. 

The summons against Dr Singh was issued by a federal judge in Washington DC last year on the charges of "funding several counter insurgency operations in the state of Punjab during the 1990s resulting in more than hundred thousand Sikhs being tortured and extra judicially killed by the security forces". 

The case was filed by the New York-based Sikhs for Justice. 

In its April 18th order, the District Judge James E Boasberg states that "Plaintiffs shall file proof of service on or before June 18, 2014". 

Failure to file proof of service as per court order will result in the dismissal of the lawsuit against Singh, it said. 

The SFJ in a statement said that it would now employ "alternate means" to accomplish the service of outstanding US court summons on the Prime Minister. 
12:43  The changing face of Juhapura:  Everyone knows of the Muslim ghetto of Ahmedabad. But it is slowly changing. Christopher Jaffrelot makes these points about the area in the Indian Express

'Juhapura may become the first new "Muslim city' of India anyway. It may also be influenced more by the Gulf countries than by India.'   

'Juhapura has continued to attract people, in spite of the fact that there's been no communal mass violence since 2002. Besides safety, Juhapura now offers some facilities to the Muslim middle class (including schools). It's a full-fledged Muslim city in the making. It has a critical mass that minimises Hindu influence and reinforces the traditional sense of self-segregation that minorities tend to develop.'   

'In spite of the state's absence, Juhapura has developed '" except for the roads, which are not pucca. In the process, the local notables who patronised the development work have started to exert an authority, which constitutes a rather personalised and authoritarian substitute to state power. This para-state arrangement runs along sectarian lines as Muslims in Juhapura are not more homogenous than elsewhere.'  

Read the full article here.
12:27  Chinese admiral requests tour of INS Shivalik's control centre:  Indian naval officers were caught by surprise when visiting Chinese naval chief, Admiral Wu Shengli, requested a tour of the most sensitive nerve centre of India's missile frigate, INS Shivalik, while he made a brief courtesy call on it, reports Ananth Krishnan in The Hindu

The Indian frigate had arrived in Qingdao, an eastern port city in China which is also the base of the People's Liberation Army Navy's North Sea Fleet, to take part in exercises to mark the Chinese Navy's 65th anniversary. 

Admiral Wu's unusual request, however, was handled deftly by the frigate's commanding officer, Captain Puruvir Das. To know how exactly he achieved this, click here to find out.
12:24  Pakistan violates ceasefire; heavy shelling at LoC in Poonch:'s Mukhtar Ahmad reports: Ending weeks-long lull, Pakistan on Friday violated ceasefire along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district. 

As per preliminary reports, heavy shelling started in Kerni sector from across the border in Pakistan in the morning.
Sources said small arms and automatic weapons were used in the shelling.

"Our own troops are retaliating using similar calibre weapons," the spokesman added.

Further details are awaited.
12:09  Unusual election, outcome unpredictable, says Raj Thackeray:  Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, who has been appearing on TV quite frequently these days, has spoken to The Hindunewspaper's Priyanka Kakodkar. 

Interestingly, for a man who has worn his support for the BJP's prime ministerial candidate on his sleeve, Raj Thackeray says there is no Modi wave.

"I have never seen an election like this. There seems to be a Modi wave but you cannot predict anything. If there is a Modi wave in Maharashtra, why has a senior BJP politician like Gopinath Munde been confined to his constituency? You cannot judge yet how this election will turn out," he tells Priyanka. 

Read his full interview here
11:56  Azam Khan expected to reply to EC notice today:  
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan is expected to reply on Friday to the Election Commission's notice, accusing him of "persistently" and "continuously" violating the model code of conduct and also making objectionable remarks against the poll panel. 

The notice was issued on Wednesday. 

You have made totally baseless and scurrilous allegations against the Election Commission of lndia, a constitutional authority enjoined upon by the mandate to conduct free, fair and transparent elections, and also made statements which have the impact of creating mutual hatred among different sections of society, religious as well linguistic, the EC notice stated.

"The Commission has noted with deep concern that even after that (the earlier notice) you are persistently, continuously and wilfully indulging in violating the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct." 

The EC noted that instead of complying with the earlier order dated April 11, Khan made attempts to circumvent it. 

"Now, therefore, the Commission gives you an opportunity to explain your stand in making the above said statement before 5 pm April 25," it said. 

The EC had on April 11 banned Azam Khan as well as the BJP's Amit Shah from campaigning in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly making provocative speeches.
11:46  Why Chinas Navy Chief stunned Indian officials:  
Admiral Wu Shengli, China's Navy Chief, this week caught Indian officials off guard by asking for an impromptu tour of the most sensitive nerve centre of the advanced Indian missile frigate, INS Shivalik, while on a brief courtesy call on the visiting ship.

The Shivalik arrived at this eastern port city, which is the base of the PLAN (Peoples Liberation Army Navy) North Sea Fleet, on Sunday to take part in exercises on Wednesday to mark the Chinese Navys 65th anniversary.

Indian officials told Admiral Wu that the ship's operations room -- the Combat Information Centre -- was among the Indian Navy's most advanced and was kept locked when the frigate was docked at harbour. Under standard operating procedures, it cannot be opened without exception.

Read more HERE
11:36  Fire in Delhi slum, more than 1100 huts gutted:  A raging fire has devastated a slum cluster in Delhi's Masoodpur area on Friday.

Local-eyewitness say that more than 1100 out of 1200 houses were gutted in the blaze.

No loss of life has been reported so far.Fire tenders have been sent to the spot to douse the fire.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.
11:23  Thousands missing from Mumbai voters list, PIL to be filed in HC:  
CNN-IBN reports: After much debate over the maximum city's dismal voter turnout in the past, Mumbai on Friday finally recorded a medium turnout of 53 per cent. 

However, thousands people returned home without casting their votes as their names were not on the voters list.

A PIL will be filed on Monday in the Bombay High Court over the issue.

Corporate leaders including HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh also complained about their names missing from the voters list. "My name is not in the voters list. 

I have always cast my vote from here. I kept waiting for my voter card and that did not arrive," Deepak Parekh said.
11:01  Rajiv killers to stay in jail for now; SC refers case to Constitution Bench:  
The Supreme Court on Friday deferred the verdict in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and referred the case to a larger Constitution Bench. 

The Constitution Bench will now decide whether the Tamil Nadu government has the right to release all seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. 

The Centre had filed a petition challenging the Tamil Nadu governments decision to release the life convicts. 

On February 20, a bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh stayed the state governments order, citing procedural lapses on the part of the State. 

Notably, Chief Justice of India, P Sathasivam, is demitting office today.
The Centre had filed a petition challenging the States authority in ordering the release of all seven convicts, a day after the Supreme Court rejected its appeal against the commutation of death sentence to three convicts in the case V Sriharan, alias Murugan, AG Perarivalan, alias Arivu, and T Suthendraraja, alias Santhan. 
10:59  CJI P Sathasivam demits office tomorrow:  Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam, who demits office tomorrow, April 26, spoke to J Venkatesan of The Hindu looking back on his tenure and discussing various issues.

Summing up his overall performance as CJI, Sathasivam says: 'In my period as CJI, appointment of four judges in the Supreme Court, six Chief Justices and 89 judges in the High Courts took place. 

'As on April 1, the percentage of vacancies at High Court level in the country came down to 28 per cent. It was 30 per cent when I began my tenure as CJI. The first National Lok Adalat was held in the history of the Supreme Court in November wherein we successfully disposed of 71.78 lakh cases.'   

About the criticism of the present system of judges' selection and the alternative suggested, the National Judicial Commission, Sathasivam says: 'According to me, the present collegium system compared to the alternative suggested is preferable. Even in the existing system, the States and Centre get the opportunity to express their views. 

'Further, my personal view is that meaningful consultation should take place with more judges, meaning thereby, the consultation is not only within the collegium judges but also with others who are well conversant with the persons to be selected. As the judges in the collegium are familiar with the performance, capacity and area of specialisation of the persons to be selected, this is a better system than the NJC.' 

You can read the full interview here.
10:35  SP workers 'purify' Malaviya statue after Modi tribute:  
ANI reports: Samajwadi Party workers cleaned the statute of freedom fighter Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya in Varanasi on Thursday, after BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi paid tribute before it before heading to the collectorate to file his nomination papers.

Modi, who took part in a road show in Varanasi, also paid tribute before the statue of Sardar Vallabhai Patel.

Taking potshots at Modi, SP workers said the sanctity of the statue had been defiled with the former touching it. They cleaned the statue with water, milk and flower petals.

"We see Modi as a communal person who divides Muslims and Hindus in India. We, the people of Varanasi, will not tolerate such a person," said SP worker Kishen Dixit.

It is a religious practice among Hindus in India to clean a temple or idol with milk or water, if either has been touched by a thing or person who is impure.
10:26  India to have below average monsoon this year: IMD:  
India is likely to have a below-average monsoon rainfall in 2014, the Indian Meteorological Department has said in its first monsoon forecast.

According to the forecast, the drop in rainfall expectations could result in drought and increase inflation.

The IMD forecast predicts patchy rain, which could affect the planting of crops such as soybeans, rice, corn and cotton. Below-average monsoons could also have a negative impact on production of sugar, edible oil and pulses.

Agriculture accounts for 14 per cent of the Indian economy. The IMD forecast is in line with the outlook of the World Meteorological Organisation that predicted mostly below-average rains in much of South Asia, including India.

Below-average rains in the June-September monsoon season may create a headache for the new government, expected to be formed after results of the general election are announced on May 16.

The last time India faced a drought with rainfall below the normal range was in 2009. It faced similar situations in 2004 and 2002. India defines average rainfall as between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of a 50-year average of 89 cm for the entire season. 
10:19  Rupee down 6 paise against dollar in early trade:  
Extending its losing streak for the fourth session, the rupee depreciated by 6 paise to 61.13 against the US dollar in early trade today at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market due to sustained demand for the American currency from importers.

Besides, dollar's gains against other currencies overseas and a lower opening in the domestic equity market also weigh on the domestic currency. 

The rupee had lost 31 paise to close at one-month low of 61.07 on Wednesday on sustained dollar demand from banks and importers. Forex and money markets were closed yesterday for Lok Sabha polls in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex fell by 35.58 points, 0.16 or per cent, to 22,840.96.
09:25  Giriraj Singh granted anticipatory bail:  
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Giriraj Singh on Friday got some relief as a Patna court granted him anticipatory bail for his alleged hate speeches during election campaign.

Patna District and Sessions Judge Birendra Kumar granted bail to Singh in the context of an FIR lodged at Patna airport police station on April 21 under provisions of the
Representation of Peoples Act, 1950 and Indian Penal Code.

Singh, a former minister in the Nitish Kumar government, had stoked controversy during an election meeting in Jharkhand's Deoghar district on April 19, saying that those who opposed Narendra Modi should go to Pakistan. 

Singh's advocate Janardan Rai argued before the court that his client has already submitted his reply to the show cause to the competent authority and that his assertions were not aimed at any particular caste or community. 

Three FIRs have been lodged against him at Deogarh, Bokaro and Patna for his hate speeches.
09:00  Repolling underway in 9 Odisha booths:  
Repolling is underway, Friday, in nine booths spread over three Parliamentary constituencies in Odisha. 

Besides, six booths of Niali Assembly segment under Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha seat, repolling is underway in two other booths of Keonjhar and one booth in Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat. 

Polling in these booths were held on April 17. But following allegations of massive rigging and other irregularities like EVM damages, the Election Commission had ordered repolling in these nine booths.

Congress and BJP nominees had alleged that ruling BJD workers had vandalised the booths damaging the EVMs after an attempt to rig the polls. 

Meanwhile, the Cuttack district administrations along with the district rural police have made elaborate arrangements to conduct the repolling in Niali without any further hiccups. 

While all booths would be covered by web-cameras, arrangements have been made to video-record all developments outside the booths. 
08:59  Modi to address 4 back-to-back rallies in Punjab today:  
A day after taking Varanasi by storm, Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Friday will address four back-to-back rallies in Punjab. 

In a bid to boost the fortunes of ruling SAD-BJP alliance in the state, Modi will address public meetings in Bhatinda, Hoshiarpur, Pathankot and Amritsar. 

On Thursday, Congress candidate from Amritsar Amarinder Singh asked Modi whether he was coming to Punjab to give his stamp of approval to "criminalised politics" being promoted by the state's Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia.
In an open letter to Modi, Amarinder alleged that Majithia, the brother-in-law of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal, was "the most notorious character across Amritsar who has been patronising drug trafficking and criminals". 

Amarinder Singh said Majithia was recently named in a multi-crore-rupee international drug racket and is likely to face prosecution soon.

Amarinder is pitted against senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat. 

All 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab go to polls on April 30. 
08:58  Rahul to hold rallies in UP, Andhra Pradesh today:  
Rahul Gandhi, the Congress vice president, will tour Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh on Friday to campaign for the Lok Sabha elections. 

Rahul's office said that the Congress leader will first hold an election rally in Lalitpur district of UP's Jhansi Lok Sabha constituency in the morning. 

He will then ravel to Andhra Pradesh where he will address a public gathering at Warangal in the afternoon. 

He will hold his third rally of the day in the evening at Lal Bahadur Stadium in Hyderabad, which falls under the Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency.
08:58  Russia destabilising Ukraine; alleges Kerry:  
The US has alleged that Russia is destabilising situation in Ukraine and warned Moscow that if it continued in this direction, it will not just be a "grave mistake" but an "expensive" one. 

"So following today's threatening movement of Russian troops right up to Ukraine's border, let me be clear:  If Russia continues in this direction, it will not just be a grave mistake, it will be an expensive mistake," Secretary of State John Kerry said. 

The international response to the choices made by Russia's leaders is already taking its toll on Russia's economy, he said.

"The world will remain united for Ukraine. So I will say it again. The window to change course is closing. President Putin and Russia face a choice. If Russia chooses the path of de-escalation, the international community -- all of us -- will welcome it. If Russia does not, the world will make sure that the cost for Russia will only grow," Kerry said as he accused Russia of trying to destabilise the situation in Ukraine. 
08:57  'Certainty' will be agenda with India's new govt: US industry:  
The US industry has said it wants "predictability, certainty and transparency" in India's economic and trade policies, and this would be its agenda with the new government to be formed after the poll results of the Lok Sabha elections.

Describing it as the "foundational issue" for the future of Indo-US trade relationship, US-Indian Business Council acting president Diane Farrell, at a meeting of Indian and American businesses in Tampa, yesterday said once a new government is in place in India, the US industry will look forward to a rekindling of bilateral dialogues. 

"Once a new government is in place in India, we look forward to a rekindling of bilateral dialogues, including the Trade Policy Forum, the US-India Strategic Dialogue, and the CEO Forum," she said as she laid out her agenda for the new Indian government, which includes, tax, intellectual property, defence, immigration reform, and legacy issues. 

"Retroactive and unpredictable taxation has become a global headline concern. Companies cannot and will not invest in a country that is lacking a clear and predictable tax policy. Some progress has been made, but more work needs to be done in order to resolve the perception of gridlock," she said.
00:31  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  Sixth phase: Puducherry records 83 pc polling, Mumbai lags at 53 pc
Euphoric crowd chants 'Ab ki baar Modi sarkar' in Varanasi
BJP does not believe in 'Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb': Sonia in Guj
Would have loved to vote, but were on polling duty: Mumbai cops
Upset over Modi roadshow telecast, Cong accuses EC of inaction
Disgusting that govt can't get us our basic rights'
PIX: Mumbai's netas come out and vote, citizens stay indoors

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