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August 21, 2014


23:27  Man behind Ice Bucket Challenge dies in diving accident:  Corey Griffin, one of the people behind the Ice Bucket Challenge to support Lou Gehrig's disease research has died in a diving accident. The 27-year-old jumped into the water from a building on a wharf that was a popular diving spot in Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, early Saturday morning around 2 am (0600 GMT).
23:25  INS Kamorta to be commissioned on Aug 23:  The first indigenously-built stealth Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette 'INS Kamorta', built by M/s Garden Reach Shipyard (GRSE), Kolkata, would be commissioned by Defence Minister Arun Jaitely at Naval Dockyard on Saturday. 

Kamorta is the first of four ASW stealth corvettes designed by Indian Navy's in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design (DND), and built by GRSE, a statement from the Eastern Naval Command here said.
23:20  Barack Obama criticised for golf outing with friends straight after James Foley speech:  The president came under fire from critics for heading off to play his favourite pastime straight from the school podium where he vowed to fight the "cancer' of the Islamic State.

His foes highlighted not only the jarring juxtaposition between his speech about a dead American and then beaming pictures taken of him shortly afterwards in a golf caddy on Martha's Vineyard, his up-market summer holiday retreat.

Read more
22:45  Naidu tried to persuade Maha CM to attend Modi's Nagpur event:  Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu had tried to persuade Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to attend today's foundation laying ceremony of Nagpur Metro. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Nagpur Metro project. The event was boycotted by Chavan after he was booed at last Saturday's function in Solapur in the presence of Modi, who had then come to inaugurate a national highway project.
22:45  Congressmen protest with black flags near Modi meeting venue:  A group of Congress supporters today staged a demonstration with black flags near the venue of a function attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

 The Congressmen held the demonstration at Kasturchand Park Ground square, close to the venue where Modi was laying foundation stone for Nagpur Metro Rail project. At the event, Vidarbha statehood supporters raised black flags.
22:00  Abbas meets Hamas leader after Gaza truce talks collapse:  Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas held talks with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal today as renewed fighting raged in Gaza following the collapse of Egyptian- brokered truce efforts. 

The talks in Doha, where Meshaal is based, were hosted by Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, a key backer of the Islamist movement which dominates Gaza, the Gulf state's QNA news agency reported.
21:54  British Muslims urge cooperation in Foley murder hunt:  British Muslim leaders urged people to contact police if they knew the identity of the man with an English accent who appeared in a video showing the beheading of an American journalist.

The Muslim Council of Britain, the largest Muslim umbrella group in the country, condemned the "abhorrent murder" of James Foley in Syria and called for united action by Muslims to stop the "poison of extremism" infiltrating their communities.
20:37  Ukraine border guards begin checks on Russian aid trucks:  Ukrainian border guards began on Thursday to inspect a Russian truck convoy carrying aid earmarked for humanitarian relief in eastern Ukraine that has been stranded at the frontier between the two former Soviet republics for nearly a week.

Kiev believes the convoy of some 260 trucks, carrying water, food and medicines, could prove a Trojan horse for Russia to get weapons to pro-Russian separatists battling Ukrainian forces in the region - a notion that Moscow has dismissed as absurd.
19:45  Release of Kaum De Heere, movie on Indira, delayed:  Punjabi film on Indira Gandhi's assassination will not release tomorrow, says ministry of information and broadcasting. Earlier, in the day, the home ministry had asked the I&B ministry to review the clearance on Punjabi-language film Kaum De Heere saying it may affect the communal harmony in Punjab and other northern states. The home ministry told the I&B ministry that some of the content in the film was "highly objectionable' and may create enmity between communities and lead to communal tension.
19:28  Flood situation under control in Bihar:  The flood situation in Bihar was under control as no new area has been inundated and rivers are showing receding trend, a senior official of the Disaster Management Department said. "The situation is under control as no new area has been inundated and rivers are showing a receding trend," DMD Principal Secretary Vyasji said. Altogether 16 people have died in floods, which have ravaged 14 districts in the state, affecting over 16 lakh people and 1 lakh animals spread over 1,246 villages since Saturday, he said. The death toll may, however, rise once information from the inundated areas start reaching the district headquarters, he added.
19:15  Congress workers in Nagpur booked:  Congress workers in Nagpur were detained for waving black flags at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's convoy. The PM was in town for laying the foundation stone of the proposed Nagpur Metro. Maharashtra Chief Minister decided to give the function a miss. 
19:06  Kerala introduces new alcohol policy:   The Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala, which met today to discuss the liquor policy of the government, decided to bring in prohibition in a phased manner. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Kerala will allow only 5-star hotels to serve liquor from April 1, 2015, with every Sunday as dry days. It has been decided not to reopen the 418 liquor bars that were closed on March 31, 2014. The remaining 313 bars will be closed down next year. Additionally, Chandy said that they were planning a prohibition on the sale of alcohol in the next 10 years. 
18:25  Argentina's Angel Di Maria asks to leave Real Madrid:  Argentina winger Angel Di Maria has told Real Madrid he wants to leave the La Liga club. Di Maria has been linked with a move to Manchester United, with manager Louis van Gaal reportedly keen to take the 26-year-old to Old Trafford. Real boss Carlo Ancelotti confirmed the player rejected the offer of a new contract at the European champions. "Di Maria asked to go in the summer and has rejected an offer from the club," said Ancelotti at a news conference."The player has to look for a solution. If when the transfer market closes he's still here, he will work with us like last season and there will be no problem."
18:08  3 IM suspects sent to judicial custody till September 2:  Three suspected Indian Mujahideen operatives, arrested for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy to carry out terror activities across the country, were today remanded to judicial custody till September 2 by a special NIA court in New Delhi. 

Accused Tehsin Akhtar, Zia-Ur-Rahman and Faizan Ahmed Sultan were produced before district judge I S Mehta on the expiry of their judicial custody and the National Investigation Agency moved a plea seeking extension of their custody on the ground that their probe into the case was going on. 

The judge, after hearing the submissions of the NIA, said, "I have perused the application. The aforesaid three accused persons are sent to judicial custody till September 2."
17:57  CBI to close coal scam case against Kumar Mangalam Birla:  After a 10-month probe, the CBI has decided to file a closure report in the coal block allocation case involving industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and former Coal Secretary P C Parakh as the agency could not find any evidence in the matter. 

The case against the two was registered in October last year by the agency which had alleged that Parakh had reversed his decision to reject coal block allocation to Hindalco within months "without any valid basis or change in circumstances" and to show "undue favours".

17:47  Jammu and Kashmir should have a Hindu CM, says Congress:  The Jammu and Kashmir Congress has batted for a Hindu chief minister in the state, saying if a person from minority community can become the prime minister, the state could have a Hindu CM. 

"If a person representing a minority community can be the prime minister of the country, why cannot a Hindu be the chief minister of the state," Congress leader and state minister Sham Lal Sharma said. 

"If A R Antulay, belonging to a community which constitutes two per cent of population in Maharashtra, can be the CM... why cannot there be a Hindu CM here," Sharma said at a public rally in Akhnoor border belt of Jammu district yesterday. 

His demand comes in the wake of heavy polarisation of voters on communal lines in Jammu region during the Lok Sabha election which saw BJP bagging the Jammu and Udhampur seats.
17:44  Uttarakhand guv moves apex court against transfer:  The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre on the Uttarakhand governor's plea challenging the Narendra Modi government's moves to ease him out of office, bringing the controversy over the removal of UPA-appointed governors under the judicial lens. 

The apex court also issued notice to home secretary Anil Goswami who had allegedly threatened Governor Aziz Qureshi to resign from the post or face removal by Centre. 

A bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha granted six weeks time to Centre and Goswami to file their response on the allegation levelled by the governor and referred the case to five-judge Constitution bench observing that interpretation of Article 156 (term of office of governor) is involved. 

Qureshi is the first governor to move the Supreme Court against the Modi government which has sacked two governors. Four other governors appointed by the UPA have resigned since the NDA came to power in May this year.
17:31  Akshay Kumar-Karan Johar come together for 'Brothers':   Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar has revealed that he is collaborating with Karan Johar for his next project Brothers

The film, which will hit theatres on October 2 next year, marks the first association between the director and the Entertainment star. 

Directed by Karan Malhotra, the film also stars Sidharth Malhotra, Jacqueline and Jackie Shroff in crucial roles. 

'My first association with Karan Johar. "BROTHERS" Directed by Karan Malhotra with @S1dharthM @Asli_Jacqueline & Jackie Shroff. OCT 2nd 2015,' Akshay posted on Twitter.
17:28  From Aug 25 you can take a seaplane from Mumbai to Lonavla:  The first commercial flight of the much-awaited seaplane services will take off for Pawana dam in Lonavala from Mumbai on August 25, Maharashtra Tourism and Public Works Minister Chhagan Bhujbal announced today. 

The services, which have been put off several times in the past, will be launched by the private operator Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt Ltd (Mehair) in association with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation.

"The Maharashtra government is pleased to announce the launch of seaplane services for commuters in the state, the first one to have such services in the country's mainland. These services will provide ease to tourists and locals who travel to various tourist destinations," Bhujbal said in a release. 

The city-based operator pioneered the launch of seaplanes operations in the country in January 2011 when it rolled out services in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
17:26  Pak firing across LoC hits mosque, homes:  In the 13th ceasefire violation in the past 11 days, Pakistani troops opened another front along the Line of Control in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir and targeted a mosque and residential houses in night-long firing. 

Pakistani troops started indiscriminate and unprovoked firing in Mangalnarh forward belt of Rajouri's Manjakote sub-sector at midnight, a senior police officer said. The firing continued till 0400 hours today and several bullets hit a mosque and two houses triggering panic among the people living along the LoC, the officer said.
17:22  Green shoots of recovery visible, says finance secretary:  The finance ministry today said the growth rate in the current financial year will accelerate to 5.8 per cent, better than previous estimates, saying the green shoots of economic recovery are now visible. 

"I am very confident that we will achieve somewhere close to 5.8 per cent... If we see the trend growth, then we will see there are green shoots of recovery in the economy," finance secretary Arvind Mayaram, in picture, said at an Assocham event today. 

The Reserve Bank has projected the GDP growth for 2014-15 fiscal at 5.5 per cent and the Economic Survey had pegged the growth at between 5.4 and 5.9 per cent. The GDP growth had slumped to 4.7 per cent last fiscal. 

"The Budget for current fiscal has very strong growth impulses," Mayaram said, adding that industrial output and passenger vehicle sales is showing signs of revival. "There is clearly visible sign that infrastructure is picking up," he said, adding, corporate order book is also building up.
17:17  Co-founder of ice bucket challenge drowns to death:  It's undeniably the most viral video/image on social media. Celebrities agreeing to be dunked with a bucket of ice cold water, in the name of charity. 

George Bush has done it, so has Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, and our own Bollywood brigade, in the persona of Abhishek Bachchan, Riteish Deshmukh, Bipasha Basu etc have all done it. 

The ice bucket challenge, as it is called, has transformed the way we do charity, it seems.   

And now comes news that the co-founder of the challenge, Corey Griffin, has died, at the age of 27. By drowning.   

Griffin had attended fundraiser in Nantucket island, Massachusetts on Friday night, after which, at around 2 am, he jumped into the sea for a swim, only to meet his death. The charity event is said to have raised $ 100,000 (Rs 60 lakh).   

Corey was friends with Pete Frates, 29, who was diagnosed with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neuro degenerative disease, in 2012. Frates's family and friends then launched the challenge to raise money for research into ALS. 

Corey promoted the challenge, and took it big on the internet. 
17:02  Broad to undergo knee surgery on September 4:   England bowler Stuart Broad will undergo surgery on his right knee next month after which he is set to start a rehabilitation plan that will last for up to 14 weeks. 

The 28-year-old has played through the pain of a long-standing patella tendonitis problem but will now go under the knife on September 4. 

"The ECB medical team confirmed that England pace bowler Stuart Broad is to have surgery on his right knee on Thursday September 4. A rehabilitation and recovery programme will be determined following the operation," a statement issued by the ECB said.
17:01  Ebole rumour-mongers, beware!:  Karnataka Health Minister U T Khader has asked the district health officer of Dakshina Kannada to lodge a complaint with the cyber cell police in Bangalore against persons spreading rumours on social media claiming that the Ebola virus had entered the city. 

Some people had spread a WhatsApp message last month that a student had died at the National Institute of Technology, Karnataka at Suratkal, after being infected with the Ebola virus, even after the doctors treating him confirmed that he died of lung disease. 

Khader directed DHO H S Shivakumar to file a complaint to bring to book the pranksters who misused technology to create panic and confusion, officials here said.
17:00   Malayalam film actors Fahad Fazil and Nazriya Nazim tied the knot today in an intimate ceremony in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram. 

Invitation to the nikaah, performed in a convention complex, was limited to relatives, family friends and a few chosen bigwigs from the film industry and politics. 

Fahad, son of director-producer Fazil, got engaged to Nazriya in January this year after they grew closer during the shooting of a film. The parents of the couple have held that the alliance was as an arranged marriage after both the families discussed it.
16:49  'Kaum de Heere' set to release in Punjab on Aug 22:   The ministry of home affairs has expressed reservations over the contents of the film Kaum de Heere on former prime minister Indira Gandhi's assassination.

The MHA has also asked the information and broadcasting ministry to take a relook at the clearance given to the film. 

Earlier, the producer of the film Pardeep Bansal had said the film was based on true incidents, as per the findings of the Justice Thakkar Commission (that probed the assassination).

"It is a completely balanced film wherein no religion or sect has been belittled. Some people are unnecessarily trying to create a controversy from the issue without watching movie," he said.

He said the Censor Board had passed the film with an 'A' certificate and it would be released in more than 100 cinema halls in Punjab on August 22.
16:42  Changi airport out of race for stake in GVK:  Singapore's Changi Airports International is now out of the race to pick up stake in GVK's airports business due to regulatory issues, a senior GVK official said. 

GVK Group CFO Issac George said the stake sale could not proceed as planned due to a lower valuation and currently due diligence is undertaken by one of the investors. 

"Changi went back because of India story being bad like Vodafone retrospective tax and General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) introduction. Otherwise, a terms sheet was also signed with them," George said on the sidelines of the recently held company's Annual General Meeting in Hyderabad.
16:23  Magnitude 5 quake hits Himachal :  A 5-magnitude earthquake hit parts of Himachal Pradesh on Thursday. No loss of life or damage to property has been reported so far. As per reports, tremors were felt in various places of the state including Dalhausi, Chamba, Dharamsala, Kangra and Joginder Nagar.
16:22  Irom Sharmila meets India :  Manipur's Irom Sharmila holds her first press conference since she was released from confinement from a hospital in Imphal yesterday. She said she would refuse to be force fed and her battle to end AFSPA would continue.
16:20  Captivity of Indians 'a searing impact of Arab instability':  External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today expressed concern over the continued captivity of 39 Indian workers in Iraq's Mosul city and Indian sea-farers by pirates in Somalia and said their plight reflects the "searing impact" of regional instability in parts of the Arab world on ordinary Indians. 
16:19  Why Cong's head honchos are going on lecture tours :  Desertions in the Congress are evident. At least three working committee members are disgruntled. Their letters to the CWC members are doing the rounds in the Congress circles. They say the AK Antony report, which gave a clear chit to Rahul Gandhi over the 2014 poll debacle is not good enough -- they want the revelations made by Natwar Singh to be discussed. So to avoid meeting Congress leaders many senior former Union Ministers of the UPA have planned non-political events, especially those that take them out of the country. 

Jairam Ramesh, for instance, will undertake a lecture tour spread over a month in Germany and at the Harvard University in the US.

When he returns, it will be time for the Winter Session of Parliament and his book will be out on the stands and the contents are expected to create yet another media storm. And the heat will be off him. Get the picture.
16:09  Imran Khan suspends dialogue with Sharif government:  Just in: Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or PTI has suspended talks with the Nawaz Sharif government, intensifying a week-long impasse that has included a protest by about 30,000 people in the heart of capital city Islamabad.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today met President Mamnoon Hussain in Islamabad and discussed the current political crisis caused due to anti-government protests spearheaded by opposition leader Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri, demanding the premier's resignation.

Sharif briefed the President about the measures taken by the government to peacefully deal with the protests by Khan and Qadri.

The Prime Minister also apprised the President on the law and order situation, specifically related to the storming of the sensitive 'Red Zone' by the protesters.
15:35  Cong backs Maha CM on decision to skip PM's event:  Congress today said it supported Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's decision not to attend the events with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Nagpur, saying the "decision is right considering the way chief ministers are treated in PM's events."

"Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee is fully supportive of Chavan's decision to skip the Nagpur Metro event with the PM today, considering the manner in which chief ministers are treated in PM's events," MPCC president Manikrao Thakre said.

"The post of CM of Maharashtra is a matter of pride, no matter to which party he belongs. Any behaviour which hurts his pride is an insult of Maharashtra," Thakre said.
15:14  AIIMS Vigilance officer sacked by Modi govt, writes to PM :  The Union Health Ministry has removed the Chief Vigilance officer (CVO) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) from his post.

The tenure of Sanjeev Chaturvedi, a Haryana cadre forest service officer of 2002 batch, was to last till June 2016.

The office has now been assigned to Joint Secretary and CVO of the health ministry "for three months with immediate effect".

Following the order, Chaturvedi, who is known to be a whistleblower in fighting corruption, has written to the secretary, Ministry of Health, saying the order is bypassing the directions of PMO and Civil Services Board/ repeated commitments to the parliamentary committee statuary approvals under the AIIMS Act, 1956.

He has demanded revoking of the order.

Chaturvedi said in his letter that on one hand, the honourable prime minister publically declares "na khaunga, na khane dunga" (will not indulge in corruption nor allow others) and speaks of a new work culture based on honesty and efficiency and on the other hand right under his nose in the most prestigious medical institute of the country, certain corrupt elements succeed in achieving what they could not in the past two years".
15:09  Malaysian couple charged with alleged theft from MH370 passengers:  Can it get any worse? Malaysian police have charged two people over the alleged theft of around $35,000 from the bank accounts of four passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Read
15:01  Mark Tully's obit on BKS Iyengar. Read
14:54  Acchche din for babus has begun:  Modi Sarkar's 'acchche din', at least for the IAS, has dawned. The 1981 batch can expect to be posted as Secretaries to the Government of India. The postings are expected to commence by the first week of September.

For the 1984 batch, IAS officers posted as Additional Secretaries are due for promotion. There are 24 vacancies that need to be filled and the Modi government expects to fill them with 1996 IAS officers. They will be Joint Secretaries to the Government of India.
14:42  Why the AIADMK is sweet on the BJP:  A special request from M Karunanidhi was made to BJP leaders to ensure that his aged wife, Dayalu Ammal an accused in the 2G case was not harassed. Following which there was and a brief 'thank you' note was sent from the DMK HQ Anna Arivalayam to a senior Union Minister.

On a lighter vein, a joke doing the rounds in the corridors of power, is that the BJP holds Tamil Nadu's Amma and Ammal in high esteem. 
14:31  But Negro is also a river in Amazon: Goa CM's apology :   Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today apologised for using the word "Negro" in one of the answers tabled on the floor of the House here after the alleged racist slur evoked strong reactions from the members.

"Negro has two meanings. One is about a river in Amazon, and second is (in a) derogatory (sense). For that purpose, if someone is hurt, I apologise for that," he told the Goa Assembly.

The Chief minister blamed a clerk in the police department for the mistake in the written reply on the issue of number of foreign nationals arrested in the state.

"The clerk in police department does not understand how serious the particular word is," he said.

In the reply tabled on the floor of the House yesterday, Parrikar had referred to an African national arrested at Calangute village on May 8 this year as "unknown African negro".

Later, the CM sought to replace the word "unknown African Negro" with "unknown person with dark complexion" after the reference drew flak in the House.

Main Opposition Congress said that such an instance sends negative signals to international tourists.

Earlier in November 2013, State Art and Culture Minister Dayanand Mandrekar has dubbed Nigerians as "cancer", after a group of African nationals were involved in blocking the road at Porvorim near here.
14:28  Ram Sene banned in Goa at behest of mafia, says Muthalik:  Controversial right wing outfit Sri Ram Sene's chief Pramod Muthalik has alleged that the Goa government banned his organisation at the behest of drug lords and pub mafia.

"What was the reason for the Sri Ram Sene to be banned in Goa? We don't even have an organisation or even a single member here. Has there been any violence that we have indulged in?," he asked.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had yesterday announced on the floor of the House that the Sene had been banned from setting up a branch in the state after the police gave an adverse report about its activities.

Reacting to this, Muthalik alleged: "This has been done at the behest of Nigerian and pub mafia. Anti-nationals are allowed to come in the state but a patriot is banned."

The Sene will approach a court to get the ban lifted so that it can start activities here, he said, adding "I am sure I will get justice." Muthalik had recently expressed his intention to set up a base in Goa to curb 'the pub culture'.
14:21  Robin Williams cremated privately, ashes scattered at sea:   Actor and comedian Robin Williams has been laid to rest and and his ashes scattered in San Francisco bay. The document, issued yesterday in Marin County where he died, states Williams' cause of death as "pending investigation".

It also states that 'Mrs Doubtfire' star's funeral took place at Monte's Chapel of the Hills, a funeral home in San Anselmo, CA.

The Oscar-winning star was found dead in his home on August 11. His wife Susan Schneider said in a statement three days later, that her husband had been suffering from a deep depression and had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

The official cause of death is expected be ruled within the next few weeks, pending results of toxicology tests.
14:18  Even case diaries missing in Salman's case, cops tell court:  Expressing unhappiness over the failure of police to trace original documents in the 2001 hit-and-run case involving actor Salman Khan, a sessions court today gave them a last chance to locate the papers by September 12.

Police informed the court for the first time today that even the case diaries were missing.

Earlier, they had stated that only 7 of the 63 original statements of witnesses were traceable, although true copies were available.

Salman's lawyer Srikant Shivade argued that as per law the original papers were required to be produced before the trial court, while the police argued that as per practice in Mumbai courts the trial can go on with the true copies.
14:15  At least 18 feared dead as bus falls into gorge in Himachal:  At least 18 people are feared killed and 14 others seriously injured when a bus fell into a gorge from the Jaypee Dam in the Sangla valley in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.

Early reports suggest that brakes of the bus failed and the bus then fell into the 200-metre gorge from the Jaypee Dam.

Locals and police are carrying out rescue operations.

Police sources say that the toll is likely to increase.

They also said most of the people in the bus were Kinnaur locals and two were labourers from Bihar.
14:10  Why Jayalalithaa threw out old faithful Dr Maitreyan from the party:  Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa is known for springing surprises. The latest is the removal of Dr V Maitreyan as leader of the AIADMK Parliamentary Party.

The move has earned sympathy for Dr Maitreyan, who was the face of the party.

Several senior BJP, Congress and Trinamool Congress leaders including Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, were shocked over the way he has been ousted.

But political observers of the AIADMK and DMK and other regional parties of South India are not surprised over the expulsion and dismissal.

Get this: In February, Jayalalitha removed Manoj Pandian as deputy leader of the party in the the Rajya Sabha. And much earlier, she had ordered the AIADMK minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government to resign. She had kept TTV Dunakaran, AIADMK MP, out of Parliament. Dunakaran is the brother of Sasikala.

As for the DMK -- Karunanidhi has asked Dayanidhi Maran not to attend Lok Sabha proceedings.

Rumours are rife over why Maitreyan was shunted out. He apparently, over-stepping the "Amma LoC"  by supporting the Judicial Accountability Bill, for which the AIADMK had abstained from voting.

Dr Maitreyan has also been meeting Narendra Modi and Arun Jailtey often.

And another reason, that MPs have been whispering about is that Maitreyan knows about Jayalalithaa's income tax matters, or in effect, the palace secrets. So, she had no other option but to get rid of him.

And then there is this version -- that MPs complained to Amma that Maitreyan did not introduce freshers to the PM.

An MBBS from Nagpur, Dr Maitreyan is fluent in Hindi and even speaks a little Marathi and therefore is at ease with north Indian politicians and has an edge over other party members.
13:27  Boo fest: Jharkhand CM couldn't be heard at Modi rally:  Days after Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was booed by the BJP activists during a rally attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren too faced a similar situation when hundreds of BJP supporters jeered at him and shouted anti-government slogans today.

The Jharkhand CM had to face an embarrassing situation while he was delivering a speech welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the tribal state.

Modi has arrived in the state to inaugurate a project of Power Grid Corporation of India and announce the commencement of work of NTPC's North Karanpura Super Thermal Power Project (3X660 MW).

The BJP supporters were so loud with their pro-Modi slogans that Soren had to stop his speech for a while. In order to silence the BJP cadre, the Jharkahnd CM said that the stage has some significance and its sanctity should be maintained.
13:23  Modi sees red over minister's photo-op :  A story doing the rounds in New Delhi political circles is of a Union Minister who got a photograph published in an in-house magazine of a public sector undertaking. The end result was the minister's photograph with the industrialist  -- arm-in-arm.

The powers that be weren't amused, however. The very next day, the Union Minister received a phone call directing him to steer clear of industrialists. The Union Minister, we hear, is still in shock. 
12:52  Army giving befitting response to ceasefire violations: Jaitley:  Indian troops are giving appropriate response whenever Pakistan violates the ceasefire along the border, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said today. "Whenever ceasefire violations take place our soldiers give appropriate response at the border," he said.

The Minister was asked about the continuing ceasefire violations on the sidelines of a conference of Tourism Ministers in New Delhi.

There have been 12 ceasefire violation in the past 10 days along the Indo-Pak border by Pakistani troops.

India had called off the talks between Foreign Secretaries of the countries slated for August 25, telling Pakistan bluntly to choose between an Indo-Pak dialogue or hobnobbing with the separatists.
12:34  India have a Yes Man in Shastri, now can well stop playing Tests abroad :  "I write this more in anger than thoughtful calmness. Without mincing words and getting right to the heart of the matter, I must say that Ravi Shastri has been rewarded for totally aligning himself with the cricket establishment of the country.

"This appointment, with a fancy-sounding designation of director of cricket and overriding powers for a limited tenure of five one-day internationals, is a bizarre act by an Indian Board which is responsible for bringing Indian Test cricket to such a sorry state."

Author and senior sports journalist Pradeep Magazine vents his spleen on Ravi Shastri's appointment. Read
12:31  Controlling the party:  Despite the nominal distance it maintains from the organisations of the Sangh Parivar, the RSS ensures that its writ runs where it matters: in the BJP governments at the Centre and in the States. Read
12:16  ISIS militants warned parents they would kill Foley one week ago. Read
12:14  Congress' Amarinder Singh on the movie glorifying Indira Gandhi's assassins: There shouldn't be provocation, censor board should've looked into this.
11:59  SC to hear petitions against scrapping of collegium system:  The Supreme Court will hear on Monday a batch of petitions challenging the 121st constitutional amendment by which collegium system for appointment of judges in higher judiciary was scrapped and a new mechanism under National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) was proposed to be put in place.

When advocates appearing for petitioners, challenging the NJAC measure, pleaded that urgent hearing should be given to them, a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha said that the matter is coming for hearing on Monday.
11:50  Shake up after surrender :  While on the cricket team, read this: The Indian cricket team's abject surrender in England was shocking, both for the ineptitude on display and the suddenness of its onset after a rare and famous Test victory at Lord's. India has now lost 13 of its last 17 overseas Tests.
11:47   The BCCI also says there will be no restriction on duration of stay of wives of players' during the tour.

Earlier, players had to apply for permission from the board to allow their spouses or girlfriends to travel along with them.
11:45  No restrictions on duration of stay of wives of players: BCCI :  The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has denied reports that wives and girlfriends will be banned on tours.

Newspaper reports said that BCCI has decided that girlfriends will no longer be allowed on tour and there will also be restrictions on the duration of the wives' stay.

Virat Kohli, who has come under severe criticism for his repeated failures in the Test series, had been given clearance by the board to take his girlfriend, Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma, along for the England tour.
11:39  Hamas warns foreign airlines not to fly into Tel Aviv:  A Hamas warning to foreign airlines to halt flights into Tel Aviv was to take effect today as a six-week war with Israel spiralled into further bloodshed after truce talks collapsed.

The warning came as Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of air strikes across Gaza again yesterday in response to multiple rocket attacks on southern Israel, as nine days of calm exploded into bloodshed.

The UN Security Council later urged Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table to quickly agree on a lasting truce in Gaza.
11:24  '11 bureaucrats owe Maha govt over Rs 44 lakh for overstaying':   More than 10 senior bureaucrats in Maharashtra, including some who have retired, owe the state government over Rs 44 lakh for overstaying in official accommodation after service or post transfers, an RTI query has found.


11:11  Site for a national war memorial should not cause debate :  Before the flicker of the last candle to commemorate those who laid down their lives for their motherland during the Kargil conflict dies out and memories of this 15th anniversary of Kargil Diwas begin to dim, it is perhaps time for the collective conscience of the nation to pause and reflect. Read
11:06  Boo phobia: Maha CM to skip PM's Nagpur metro inaugural :   Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the Nagpur Metro in Maharashtra today but Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan will not share stage with him. Like his Haryana counterpart Bhupinder Singh Hooda, he is afraid of being booed by crowds.
Read more
10:55  A pull away from the periphery:  Hindutva politics is a composite that has moved from the fringe to the centre of Indian politics. Though Narendra Modi is not the sole reason, he has been a strong catalyst in this change. Read
10:51  Sensex rises 56 points in early trade:  The BSE Sensex recovered over 56 points in early trade today on emergence of buying by funds and retail investors amid a mixed trend in global markets.

The 30-share index rose 56.30 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 26,370.59 with sectoral indices, led by consumer durables, IT, oil & gas, realty and auto gaining up to 1.95 per cent.

The index had lost 106.38 points in the previous session after profit-taking emerged at record levels. The National Stock Exchange index Nifty also gained 14.55 points, or 0.18 per cent, to trade at 7,889.85.
09:54  ISIS pressed for ransom before executing journalist James Foley:  
Kneeling in the dirt in a desert somewhere in the Middle East, James Foley lost his life this week at the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

Before pulling out the knife used to decapitate him, his masked executioner explained that he was killing the 40-year-old American journalist in retaliation for the recent United States airstrikes against the terror group in Iraq.

In fact, until recently, ISIS had a very different list of demands for Foley: The group pressed the United States to provide a multimillion-dollar ransom for his release, according to a representative of his family and a former hostage held alongside him. 

The United States -- unlike several European countries that have funneled millions to the terror group to spare the lives of their citizens -- refused to pay.

Continue reading the story HERE
09:10  Mysterious source of ozone-depleting chemical baffles NASA:  
A chemical used in dry cleaning and fire extinguishers may have been phased out in recent years but NASA said Wednesday that carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) is still being spewed into the atmosphere from an unknown source. 

The world agreed to stop using CC14 as part of the Vienna Convention on Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol, which attained universal ratification in 2009
 
"Parties to the Montreal Protocol reported zero new CCl4 emissions between 2007-2012," the US space agency said in a statement. 

"However, the new research shows worldwide emissions of CCl4 average 39 kilotons per year, approximately 30 percent of peak emissions prior to the international treaty going into effect." 

CC14 levels are not enough to reverse the decreasing trend of ozone-depletion, but experts are still mystified as to where it is coming from.

Read more HERE
09:08  Voting underway in Bihar bypolls; low turnout till 8am:  
Voting is underway in Bihar on Thursday for bypolls to 10 assembly seats. As per reports, there has been low turnout so far with Election Commission officials recording only 4.22% polling till 8 am. 

The bypolls have become crucial in the wake of the regrouped Janata Dal-United-RJD alliance, led by former state chief ministers Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar, taking on the BJP's Modi wave on the 10 assembly seats. 

Apart from helping politicians gauge whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi's magic is still working in the state, the by-polls will also ascertain which way the wind is blowing in the state before next year's assembly polls.
 
These will also test whether the experiment of reunion of 'mandal forces' represented by Lalu Prasad's RJD and Nitish Kumar's JD-U in company of the Congress has been a success in stopping the BJP juggernaut. 

Considering the significance of the by-elections for their political survival, Lalu and Nitish have made several trips to the 10 constituencies. 

Though no big leaders from outside the state campaigned for NDA candidates, state BJP leaders with LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan and ally Upendra Kushwaha of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party criss-crossed the state to drum up support. 

The bypolls are being held in Hajipur, Chapra, Mohiuddinagar, Parbatta, Bhagalpur, Rajnagar(SC), Jale, Mohania(SC), Narkatiaganj and Banka. 
09:04  Fire in plastic godown in Chennai; 4 feared dead:  
Four persons are missing and feared dead as a blaze gutted a plastic godown in Chennai early Thursday morning, police said. 
 
As many as fifteen fire tenders were deployed to douse the flames at the godown, at suburban Avadi Poonamallee road. 

The fire was noticed at about 1.45 am, they said. 

The four employees were asleep at the time of fire accident and are feared dead, they added. 
01:09  Imran Khan refuses to negotiate with govt:  The protest against the Nawaz Sharif regime took a new turn today with cleric Tahirul Qadri opening a dialogue with government and Imran Khan sticking to his 'no-talks' position unless the Prime Minister resigns as the supreme court summoned both the leaders tomorrow for hearing a petition against the siege of Parliament.

The apparent difference in the approach of the two leaders came after the powerful army counselled a peaceful resolution of the week-long crisis, even as Khan said he would abide by the verdict of the Supreme Court on the protest. The cricketer-turned-politician and Pakistan Tehreek-i- Insaf (PTI) chief, who had threatened to storm Sharif's residence at 8 pm tonight, instead addressed his supporters conscious of the court hearing tomorrow which observers feel may provide him with a face-saver.

"We have decided to negotiate with you Nawaz Sharif, but listen carefully '"- the negotiation will start with the resignation of Prime Minister Sharif. How can a probe under Nawaz Sharif be transparent?" Khan said.

Khan said his party has prepared a committee to negotiate with the government, but it will not move ahead unless the prime minister steps down.
00:39  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  Forces bust militant hideout in Ramban, recovers cache of arms
Pakistan's SC summons Khan, Qadri over anti-govt protests
BJP demands ban on Punjabi film 'Kaum Ke Heere'
Narrow escape for 154 passengers on board IndiGo flight
Irom Sharmila walks free after 14 years, vows to carry on fight
Mob violence in Golaghat against police action

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