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LIVE! Court summons Shankaracharya over Sai Baba issue

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August 08, 2014

23:07  Telangana govt constitutes Public Service Commission:  
The Telangana government today ordered for constitution of the Public Service Commission for the state.

A separate public service commission is to be constituted for Telangana following bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and a government order (GO) was issued today accordingly. 

Citing the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, the GO said, "In pursuance of the above, the Government of Telangana State have decided to constitute a separate Public Service Commission for the State of Telangana with immediate effect for making selections to the posts under various categories meant for direct recruitment under its purview in the State of Telangana and for carrying out functions under article 320 of Constitution of India." 
23:04  60 students of Murshidabad school taken ill, hospitalised:  
At least 60 students of a higher secondary school in Murshidabad district of West Bengal today fell sick and were admitted to different hospitals. 

The reason for the sickness of the students of Kavi Nazrul Higher Secondary School at Tikorberia village under Jalangai police station could not be immediately ascertained. 

However, Jalangi Panchayat Samiti president Saiful Islam said it could be either due to Hepatitis B vaccination the students were administered yesterday or due to consumption of contaminated puffed rice today. 

As tension mounted in the area after hundreds of people besieged the school, policemen in strength began patrolling the area surrounding the school.
22:12  Abused J&K chief engineer resumes duty:  
The Chief Engineer of PHE Department, who had submitted his resignation letter after allegedly being abused by a Jammu and Kashmir minister, was today persuaded into joining the service by state minister Nazir Ahmad Gurezi.

"Yes, the Chief Engineer concerned has taken back his resignation and resumed duties," an official of the Public Health Engineering Department said. 

Chief Engineer Muzaffar Lankar had yesterday put in his papers after alleging that CAPD Minister Chaudhary Mohammad Ramzan abused him in a meeting. 

The minister, however, denied the allegations saying he only asked about the failure of a water supply scheme in his constituency. 

The issue snowballed into a controversy with opposition political parties condemning the incident. 
20:37  Court summons Shankaracharya over Sai Baba issue:  

An Indore court today issued a summons against Dwarkapeeth Shankaracharya, Swaroopanand Saraswati, over a private complaint about his controversial statement regarding Sai Baba of Shirdi.     


Rajesh Shivsangia, the complainant, has alleged that the Shankaracharya committed offence under section 298 of Indian Penal Code (hurting religious sentiments) with his statement that Sai Baba, the 19th century saint, was no god, and therefore should not be worshipped.     


Additional chief judicial magistrate Deepak Kumar Pande issued a fresh summons to Swaroopanand Saraswati today and directed him to appear on September 20, said complainant's lawyer Ashwin Kumar Adhyaru.     


The court had issued a summons first on July 9, but it was not served. Similar complaints have been filed against the Shankaracharya in the courts elsewhere too.  

19:53  Sachin offers explanation for absence from Rajya Sabha:  Hours after Sachin Tendulkar was criticised for his absence from Rajya Sabha, the cricketing maestro has tried to offer a reason. He said a medical emergency in his family kept him away from Delhi. "My elder brother underwent bypass surgery and I had to be by his side, no disrespect to any institution," said Sachin. 
Parliamentary records show that Sachin hasn't attended a single session of Rajya Sabha this year. 
19:26  Didier Drogba retires from international football:  Didier Drogba has announced his retirement from international football with the Ivory Coast. The 36-year-old said, "It is with much sadness that I have decided to retire from international football." He added, "I am very proud to have been captain of this team for eight years and to have contributed to placing my country on the world stage of football, taking part in three World Cups and two African Cup of Nations finals. I cannot convey enough thanks to the fans for all the love and support during these years. All my goals, all my caps, all our victories are for you. I also owe much gratitude to my teammates -- the players with whom I have shared all these emotions and I wish you all success for the future and a very warm welcome to the new manager."
19:07  Three militants killed in encounter:  Three militants were killed in a fierce encounter in the Tangdhar sector along the Line of Control in Kashmir's Kupwara district, said a defence spokesman. 
19:04  Priyanka refutes rumours of joining politics:  Following reports of Priyanka Gandhi joining the Congress in hopes to revive it, Priyanka today came out and dubbed the reports as "conjecture" and "baseless" rumours. She said, "This constant conjecture and the manner in which the issue is brought up at opportune moments is incorrect. I would be very grateful to all concerned if they desisted from encouraging such baseless rumours."
18:38  US aircraft conducts strike on ISIS artillery:  The United States launched an air strike against militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon said American aircraft attacked artillery that was being used in northern Iraq against Kurdish forces defending the city of Irbil.US President Barack Obama authorised air strikes on Thursday, but said he would not send US troops back to Iraq.
18:17  Ousted Governor Kamla Beniwal defends herself:   In her first response to the allegations, ousted governor Kamla Beniwal said, "I have always followed the law." Her statement comes after she was accused of costing the Gujarat government Rs 1,216 crore in central funds by sitting on a crucial bill during her time in the state's Raj Bhavan and secondly, for her 'unethical involvement' in the affairs of a cooperative society in Jaipur. A day after she was sacked, the Congress accused the Modi government of vendetta politics, a claim that the Bharatiya Janata Party had vehemently denied. 
17:20  WHO: Ebola outbreak is a public health emergency:  The World Health Organisation today declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency that requires an extraordinary response to stop its spread. 

It is the largest and longest outbreak ever recorded of Ebola, which has a death rate of about 50 per cent and has so far killed at least 932 people. WHO declared similar emergencies for the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and for polio in May.
17:13  Poll code violation: Crime Branch gives clean chit to Modi:   Ahmedabad Crime Branch has given Prime Minister Narendra Modi a clean chit on a poll code violation charge.

Modi had triggered a controversy when he addressed a news conference immediately after casting his vote at a school at Ranip area of Ahmedabad, part of party veteran LK Advani's Gandhinagar seat, where he prominently displayed the BJP's election symbol lotus. 

Two FIRs were lodged against Modi at the order of EC.
17:00  BSF jawan captured by Pakistan released:   A Border Security Force jawan, who was swept away into Pakistan by the strong currents of the Chenab River and picked up by Pakistan Rangers, has been released.

Hours before he was scheduled to be released, the trooper, Satyasheel Yadav, had  addressed a press conference in Sialkot in Pakistan, saying he had been treated well, was comfortable and was happy to go home. (After Falling Into River, BSF Jawan is in Pakistan's Custody)
16:47  Screening for Ebola at Mangalore airport Mangalore:  Health officials at Mangalore International Airport would begin screening passengers at arrival from tomorrow to detect persons who contracted highly contagious ebola virus that has wreaked havoc in African countries. 

Speaking to reporters at government-run Wenlock hospital here, State Health Minister U T Khader appealed to the public to postpone all journeys to the ebola infected countries.
16:34  Phoolan Devi Murder Case: Main accused Sher Singh Rana found guilty:   13 years after dacoit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi was shot dead in front of her home in Delhi, a Delhi court has convicted main accused Sher Singh Rana.

Phoolan Devi was shot dead outside her official home in Ashoka Road on July 25, 2001. She was then a Samajwadi Party MP from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.

11 other accused have been let off.
16:23  Kerry presses Afghan election rivals to end impasse:  US Secretary of State John Kerry today sought to push Afghanistan's election crisis towards a rapid resolution, cajoling rival presidential candidates to end their perilous stand-off as NATO troops withdraw. 

Kerry, on his second visit to Kabul within weeks, set a target for the new president to be in office by the end of this month despite a dispute between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah over alleged electoral fraud.
16:05  All-part meet on UPSC row after August 24:  Amid opposition demands for an all- party meeting during the current session of Parliament to solve the UPSC exam row, government today said it is serious on the issue and the meeting will be convened after the civil services examination scheduled on August 24.

"I assure the House, we will convene an all-party meeting after the examination, scheduled on the 24th," Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkiah Naidu said in Rajya Sabha after Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded a meeting to solve the row during current session.

Naidu said the issue requires a "detailed study" and "deeper discussion" and nothing could be done at the eleventh hour as there are contradictory views on it inside the House and outside while children are preparing for the examination.
15:47  21 personnel killed in naval warships, submarine accidents in 3 years:  Six officers were among the 21 personnel who were killed in 22 accidents involving naval warships and submarines in the last three years, Lok Sabha was informed today.

"A total of 22 accidents have been reported involving warships and submarines during the last three years and the current year. 21 navy personnel including six officers and 15 sailors lost their lives in three of these accidents," Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said in reply to a written query.

The accidents involving INS Sindhurakshak and INS Sindhuratna account for 20 of these deaths. Eighteen personnel were killed in Sindhurakshak mishap which sank after an explosion in its torpedo compartment on August 14 last year while two officers had lost their lives in mishaps involving the INS Sindhuratna.
15:41  Rahul visits Jaswant Singh in hospital:  Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi visited former defence minister Jaswant Singh at the army Hospital. He met Singh's family and wished for his speedy recovery.

Singh is in coma and critical, said doctors. He was admitted to the ICU after he had a fall last night.  

15:28  Why is Maneka at loggerheads with law ministry? :   CNN-IBN reports: Two important central ministries are at loggerheads.

Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi's plan to strengthen the National Commission for Women has met with a roadblock from the law ministry, said sources.

Maneka had sent a proposal to the law ministry to strengthen the NCW in order to make it more effective in crime against women.
15:11  A humanitarian crisis that could turn into a genocide is taking place right now in the mountains of northwestern Iraq. Read about the man who fled the horror of the ISIS here
14:04  Ink attack on Maharashtra minister:  Ink was thrown on Maharashtras Cooperative Minister Harshvardhan Patil.

Activists demanding special status for the Dhangar community threw ink at the minister in Pune. Reports state that Patil was rushed to Ruby Hospital in Pune after he injured his eye in the attack.
13:31  Jaswant Singh's condition is very critical: Defence ministry:  Former defence minister Jaswant Singh's condition is very critical, said the defence ministry.

The former BJP leader underwent a surgery this morning after he sustained a head injury. He has been admitted to the army's R and R Hospital.
13:17  Absence of MPs Sachin, Rekha questioned in Rajya Sabha :  Rajya Sabha questions the absence of MPs -- cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and actor Rekha.

Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P J Kurien said both Sachin and Rekha are yet to cross the 60-day threshold. "The seats can be declared vacant if members are absent for at least 60 days," he added.    

RS MP Javed Akhtar said, "The membership of Parliament is not a trophy. Sachin must attend."  

13:03  Mumbai plans for floating hotel, London eye-type waterfront:  The government has asked the janata for their opinion for the proposed leisure and entertainment hub around the waterfront and port area.

According to the Mumbai Port Trust, which has been assigned to plan and create the hub by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, the last date for receiving the views of public and experts is August 8, mid-day reports. 

The MbPT has planned to set up a floating hotel, restaurant, water sports, helipads, seaplane and waterways on the Eastern Waterfront, along with a Giant Ferris Wheel, on the lines of London Eye.
12:57  Maneka Gandhi lends support to Akshay's 'Entertainment':  Animal-rights activist and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi has extended support to Akshay Kumar-starrer 'Entertainment' for using the dog in the film in a friendly way.

Gandhi also hosted a special premiere of the film in the Capital last evening which was attended by film's crew and members of her organisation People for Animals.

"The film has been endorsed by us. A dog has been used in the film but it has been used in a respectful manner. I am happy to have this event as our annual fund-raiser," Gandhi, who also attended the film's trailer launch couple of months ago in Mumbai, told reporters.
12:48  Gaza militants resume rocket fire at Israel after ceasefire ends:  Palestinian militant organisation Hamas has rejected any extension of the three-day ceasefire in Gaza, which expired this morning.

It said that Israel had failed to meet its demands, including the re-opening of Gaza Harbour to shipping.

Several rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel as the ceasefire ended at 08:00 local time. Israeli forces have not yet responded to the attacks.

Some 1,940 people have died in four weeks of fighting in Gaza.

12:30  When a toddler triggered a White House lockdown :  A toddler squeezed through the White House fence, resulting in lock down of the residence of US President Barack Obama and a brief commotion among the Secret Service agents.

The incident occurred yesterday at around 8 pm (local time) when the toddler got away from his parents, squeezed through the fence and entered the most protected White House grounds, triggering a brief lockdown of the White House.

The toddler was soon handed over to his parents.
12:25  Iraq's largest Christian city now under ISIS control:  The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has gained large swathes of territory in the two countries, is now in control of Iraq's largest Christian town, Qaraqosh.

The French government has confirmed that Qaraqosh has fallen into the hands of the militants and expressed France's concerns over the progress and the acts of violence that have been committed there, reported CNN.

France has immediately called for a United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the threat posed by the militant group in Iraq. Thousands of Christians have reportedly fled from the city just like other minorities targeted by the group including, Shia Muslims.

Qaraqosh is a historic Assyrian town about 20 miles southeast of militant-occupied Mosul and is home to almost 50,000 people. 
12:20  Naval war room leak: 3 ex-naval officers, ex-IAF wing commander charged:  The Delhi court today framed charges against five persons, including three former naval officers and an ex-Indian Air Force wing commander in 2006 naval war room leak case.

A case was registered March 2006 for leaking out about 7,000 pages of defence information of sensitive nature from the naval war room and the air force headquarters.

It was registered on a reference from the defence ministry after scrutiny of inquiry held by the Indian Air Force against the then wing commander S L Surve and the board of inquiry conducted by the navy.
12:12  Demand grows for resignation of Jammu minister who roughed up engineer:  Protests have erupted in Jammu and Kashmir after a senior officer of the health engineering department resigned from service yesterday, accusing state minister Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan of verbally abusing him during a meeting.

PHE officials have now held a strike in Srinagar and are demanding that the minister be sacked.

Ramzan, the state minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, denied the charge saying there was no truth in it and he was only seeking an explanation for "failure" to execute a water supply scheme.

The People's Democratic Party has demanded action against the minister. 

Image: J&K minister Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan
11:34  English vs Hindi? English and Hindi? The debate continues:   Journalist Manu Josephs weighs in on the Hindi vs English controversy currently dogging the UPSC. This is what he has to say, in the New York Times

'Any battle against English in India is at once a battle of the poor against the rich, the village against the city, tradition against modernity and the regional elite against a more cosmopolitan elite.

'English is indisputably Indian now, and the most useful language in India. But it is not the most beloved, nor the medium of abuse during road rage. That special place Indians will always grant only to their mother tongues.' 

Read the full article here

And Shivam Vij too weighs in on the language controversy with his though-provoking piece in, 'Why I won't apologise for being a Macaulayputra'. 

He writes: 'I have often wondered which language I think in. I have to ask myself that question often these days because the Hindi nationalists are in power and everyday they are telling me I am an elitiya whose mind is colonised by Lord Macaulay. I would say I think in English but feel in Hindi.

'Those who champion Hindi -- such as the Rajbhasha Committee -- mostly argue in the name of nationalism. It is our language, national language, official language, mother tongue, we need to promote Hindi. Yet the Hindi they are promoting is an alien language. I don't even know what my mother tongue is. Hindustani? Hindi? Seraiki? Urdu? Indian English? Awadhi?' 

Read his article here.

Australian cricket legend Glenn McGrath has retweeted his wifes image of working in a gurdwaras langar, with SaraLeonardi-McGraths comment, One of my favourite things to do in India

Are the McGraths in India? Your guess is as good as ours.

Meanwhile, see the pic.
11:26  'Political neutrality' among 19 Modi govt's new rules for bureaucrats :  PM Narendra Modi has a set of 19 new rules for all bureaucrats. The guidelines
ask them to ensure that all policy decisions are guided solely by "public interest" and that they operate with total "political neutrality".

The dos and don'ts are part of an amendment to the All India Service (Conduct) Rules issued in 1968 which serve as a charter for all civil servants.

Read the full report here
11:00  1 killed, 30 injured in Navi Mumbai hotel fire:   One person was killed and 30 others were injured in a major fire at a hotel in Navi Mumbai's Vashi area early this morning, civic officials said.

Out of the 30 injured, 20 people are reported to be in a serious condition, they said.

A short circuit in one of the AC ducts of three-storey Hotel Wanton House apparently led to the massive blaze at the premises, located in Sector 26 on the Palm Beach Road of Vashi, they said.
10:43  BJP's L K Advani visits Jaswant Singh in hospital :  Bharatiya Janata Party patriarch L K Advani visits Jaswant Singh at the army's R and R Hospital in New Delhi.

Singh, who was hospitalised after suffering a head injury, is critical, according to an NDTV report. 
10:30  Modi informed Pranab about intentions to sack Kamla Beniwal:  NDTV reports: The sacking of Mizoram Governor Kamla Beniwal was approved by President Pranab Mukherjee, who reportedly said in a hand-written response that he was "satisfied" with the government's evidence against her. 

The President's sanction weakens the opposition Congress' allegation of "vendetta politics" behind the removal of the governor, who had a long-standing dispute with Narendra Modi, when he was chief minister of Gujarat, top government sources said.

Sources say the President was informed about the Centre's intention by Prime Minister Modi. When he sought evidence against Ms Beniwal, the government sent him a dossier with three specific allegations.

Read the full report here
10:13  Jaswant Singh undergoes surgery :  Jaswant Singh undergoes a surgery after he sustained a head injury. He met with an accident at his residence in the capital, television channels report.   
09:53  BJP leader Jaswant Singh hospitalised after head injury:  Former Union minister Jaswant Singh has been hospitalised after a head injury in New Delhi. He has been admitted to Intensive Care Unit of the army's R and R Hospital.

More details on his condition are awaited. 

The 76-year-old leader was expelled from the BJP earlier this year after he decided to contest the general elections from his home district Barmer in Rajasthan as an Independent when the party fielded someone else. He lost the election.

Singh held the finance, defence and external affairs ministries in previous BJP-led governments.
08:27  US authorises air strikes to prevent Iraq 'genocide':  United States President Barack Obama says he has authorised air strikes against Islamic militants in northern Iraq, if they threaten US interests or to prevent the slaughter of religious minorities.

However, the president said US troops would be not be sent back to Iraq.

The US has already made humanitarian air drops to Iraqis under threat from Islamic State militants. IS has seized Qaraqosh, Iraq's biggest Christian town, prompting residents to flee, reports  BBC.

"We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide," Obama said, referring to the attacks against the besieged Yazidi minority, thousands of whom are trapped on a mountain in northern Iraq.

"I therefore authorised targeted air strikes if necessary to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege and protect the civilians trapped there," Obama said.
02:08  Israel has nothing against Gazans: Netanyahu:  
Israel has "nothing against the people of Gaza" and wants to help them deal with the "tyranny" of Hamas rule, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today. 

"I'm not sure the battle is over," he told the Fox News network's "Hannity" program, a month after the start of the Israel offensive that has claimed nearly 2,000 mostly Palestinian lives. 

"I think we've degraded their (Hamas) capabilities significantly," he said, adding there may still remain tunnels dug by Hamas under the Gaza-Israel border that have yet to be found.

"It really depends on whether they want to continue this battle. I think we have to find a peaceful solution, if we can," he added. He added: "We have nothing against the people of Gaza. In fact, we want to help the people of Gaza who are suffering
under this terror tyranny." 

On the high number of Palestinian civilian casualties that has provoked international condemnation, Netanyahu described such deaths as inevitable in the heat of battle. 

"Those casualties are cruel, but they're unintentional," he said.
02:04  No Ebola drug for Africans; troops deployed:  
Africans battling to contain the spread of Ebola will have to wait for months until a potentially life-saving experimental drug used on two Americans infected with the dreaded disease would even be manufactured, officials said.

Soldiers in two of the infected countries deployed today to try to stem further spread of the virus. 

Even if the experimental drug ZMapp is manufactured in large quantities, its ability to treat Ebola is unproven and furthermore no commitment has been publicly made to provide it to Africa. 

The health minister of Nigeria, one of the four countries where Ebola has broken out, told a news conference in Washington that he had asked the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about access to the drug. But a CDC spokesman said yesterday "there are virtually no doses available."

Some people in affected countries already have wondered why the drug wasn't offered to any infected people in Africa. 

Dr Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health said the manufacturer has told the US government that it would take two to three months to produce even "a modest amount."

"We don't even know if it works," he stressed. 
02:02  Obama considering Iraq air strikes: report:  
President Barack Obama is considering ordering US air strikes against Sunni extremists in northern Iraq and humanitarian food drops to beleaguered civilians, reports said today. 

US media, citing senior White House officials, said Obama was weighing military options after jihadists from the so-called "Islamic State" attacked Christian and Yazidi minority communities. 

"There could be a humanitarian catastrophe there," an official told the New York Times, warning that a decision on military action was expected "imminently - this could be a fast-moving train." 

Obama came to office determined to end US military involvement in Iraq and in his first term oversaw the withdrawal of the huge ground force deployed there since the 2003 American invasion. 

But recent rapid gains by the Islamic State, a successor group to Al-Qaeda's former Iraqi and Syrian operations, compelled him to send military advisors back to Baghdad evaluate the situation. 

The United Nations Security Council was to hold emergency talks on the crisis later today, and France has pledged support for forces "engaged in battle" against the ISIS radicals.
02:01  Swiss researchers see arthritis cure in mice:  
Swiss researchers say they have taken an important step towards a cure for arthritis, successfully testing a prototype treatment in mice that may soon be trialled on humans. 

The experimental drug "fully cured" arthritic mice who had hobbled on inflamed and swollen toes and paws, scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) said. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that causes painful inflammation of joints, sometimes destroying cartilage and bone as it progresses. 

The disease affects up to one percent of the world's population, according to ETHZ, but while various drugs are used to stop or slow the progression of the disease, there has until now been no known cure.

The Swiss researchers combined two components to create a fusion molecule they referred to as an "armed antibody." 

One component is the body's own immune messenger molecule, interleukin 4 (IL-4), which had been shown in previous studies to protect against cartilage and bone damage in mice with arthritis.

The other component was an antibody to IL-4, which binds to a type of protein found only in inflamed tissue, ensuring that the substance works almost exclusively at the site of the disease. 

"The concentration in the rest of the body is minimal, which reduces side-effects," pharmacist and lead author of the study Teresa Hemmerle said in a statement released yesterday. 

The armed antibody alone only managed to slow the progression of arthritis in the affected mice. 
01:59  A friend flees the horror of ISIS:  
A humanitarian crisis that could turn into a genocide is taking place right now in the mountains of northwestern Iraq. 

It hasn't made the front page, because the place and the people are obscure, and there's a lot of other horrible news to compete with. 

George Packer of The New Yorker learned about it mainly because the crisis has upended the life of someone he wrote about in the magazine several weeks ago.

Read the story HERE
01:57  US considers air drops to 15,000 Iraq refugees fleeing ISIS:  
The Pentagon is looking at conducting emergency air drops to the estimated 15,000 stranded ethnic minority Yazidis in northern Iraq, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin,

A decision is expected today. Martin says if the U.S. military makes drops, the transport planes would almost certainly be escorted by fighters.

Reuters, citing Turkish officials, reported Thursday that thousands of Yazidis had fled to the Turkish border to escape the the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has advanced to northern Iraq.

Read more HERE
01:54  Top headlines at this hour::  Army officer lured into honey trap confesses to passing secrets

Broad's six puts England in control on Day 1

Govt hard-pressed to end deadlock over Insurance Bill

70 students hospitalised after gas leak in Kerala factory

Govt doubles NSG commando strength in each of four hubs

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