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LIVE! Rajnath, Amit Shah meet PM to discuss bypolls

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August 23, 2014

23:38  Rajnath, Amit Shah meet PM to discuss bypolls:   BJP President Amit Shah along with Home Minister Rajnath Singh tonight held consultations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence to discuss the upcoming bye-elections in various states including UP and Gujarat.

Sources said the two leaders discussed with Modi, the party's strategy as well as BJP candidates for the bypolls to fill up some vacancies in Lok Sabha and various assembly constituencies in the states.

Among the constituencies is Vadodara Lok Sabha seat which Prime Minister Modi vacated after winning it with a record margin. He had to vacate the Vadodara seat as he decided to retain the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat.
22:28  Army man arrested on charge of aiding ISI agent in Lucknow:  An Army man was arrested for allegedly helping an ISI agent nabbed in Meerut a week ago, police said today. The Special Task Force of the UP Police arrested Sunit Kumar from Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh yesterday, a STF spokesman said.

Kumar, posted at Babina Cantt in Jhansi, was arrested by STF with the help of Military Intelligence and was brought to Meerut. Kumar was an aide of ISI agent Asif Ali who was arrested from Delhi Gate area in Meerut on August 16, the spokesman said.

"A laptop, hard disk, two mobile phones and a pen drive were recovered from his possession," he said. During interrogation, Kumar said some three months before joining the army in December, 2012, he came in contact with a woman of foreign origin, the spokesman said.
21:23  Three naxals held in Chhattisgarh:  Three naxals, including a woman cadre, were today arrested from different places in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, police said. "While one ultra was nabbed from Dantewada district, two others were picked from Kanker district," DIG Dipanshu Kabara told PTI over phone.

The naxal arrested from Dantewada is identified as Sanna Sodhi alias Sannu, 38, and is suspected to have been involved in the attack in 2010 at the house of Congress leader Avdhesh Gautam.

"Sannu is also a close confidant of the commander of Malangir Area Committee, Deva. He was allegedly involved in triggering blasts at Kuakonda tehsil office and in a bus in Chingavaram," Kabara said.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident a joint squad of BSF and district police force arrested two ultras, identified as Umeshwari and Ramji from forest near Bhainsasur village in Kanker district. The duo have cases of arson, attempt to murder etc. registered against them in various police stations, Kabara said.
21:17  Swamy writes to PM, FM for restoring ED officer probing 2G:  BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has sought reinstatement of a senior Enforcement Directorate official probing the 2G scam who has gone on a 'study leave' apparently owing to lack of clarity over his continuance in the agency.

The case pertains to Deputy Director Rajeshwar Singh who has been nominated as the Investigating Officer in the 2G case by the Supreme Court.

"The Enforcement Directorate surprisingly has not yet implemented the Supreme Court's order to re-instate Deputy Director Rajeshwar Singh, the Investigating Officer of 2G scam cases and Aircel-Maxis probe.
20:41  Azad hails SC decision on LoP, says NDA argument outlived life:  Hailing the Supreme Court for questioning government, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad today said the convention cited by NDA to deny LoP status to Congress in Lok Sabha has "outlived its life" and it was trying to damage democratic institutions.

He said the apex court's decision yesterday to go into the issue of interpreting the provision of LoP is a "vindication" of Congress' stand as the NDA government has been "pretentious" in denying the position to the party by "giving the issue a different colour only to make explicit its authoritarian tendencies of bulldozing its way through".

In a statement here on the SC's move, Azad said, "It is a landmark intervention to restore the bipartisan spirit of our democracy."

Charging that the Narendra Modi government's rhetoric about consensus is a "sham", the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said all acts of the government, including the denial of LoP status to the Congress, are aimed at "damaging the institutions which have been the strength of our democracy".
20:01  Messi's FB post on Israel-Gaza conflict stirs controversy:  Soccer star Lionel Messi has been dragged into the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict, two weeks after the Argentinian wrote in a Facebook post that he was "deeply saddened" by the loss of young lives with a photo of an injured Palestinian boy.

Israeli social media users have exhorted Messi to acknowledge the death of Daniel Tregaron, a four-year-old Messi fan who was killed yesterday by a mortar fired from Gaza.

"As a father and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, I am terribly saddened by the images coming from the conflict between Israel and Palestine, where violence has already claimed so many young lives and to injure countless children," Messi wrote in his Facebook post.

Tregaron was the first Israeli child to be killed since the beginning of the Operation Protective Edge on July 8. Messi also plays for the Qatar Airways-sponsored FC Barcelona.
19:23  John Lennon's killer denied parole for eighth time:  Beatles legend John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman has been denied parole for the eighth time. The New York State Parole Board came to the decision after a hearing with Chapman, 59, on Wednesday.

They determined that they believed Chapman would again break the law if he were released, according to the New York Times.

"This victim had displayed kindness to you earlier in the day," the written statement added, "and your actions have devastated a family and those who loved the victim." The board concluded that releasing Chapman would be "incompatible with the welfare of society."

Chapman shot and killed Lennon outside his apartment house in Central Park West on December 8, 1980. He hit him with four out of a total five shots. In 1981, Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

In his 2012 hearing Chapman described how Lennon had agreed to autograph an album cover for him six hours before his murder.
19:17  Alagiri loyalist calls on Karunanidhi:  In the backdrop of reports of a possible rapprochement between DMK President M Karunanidhi and his son and expelled South Zone Organising Secretary M K Alagiri, a close confidante of the Madurai-based leader called on the party patriarch.

Alagiri aide and Rajya Sabha member K P Ramalingam met Karunanidhi here recently and held discussions for about an hour.

Ramalingam described the meeting as 'usual' but expressed the hope that the issue regarding Alagiri, expelled early this year, would be resolved at the earliest. Asked if there was a possible move for rapprochement between the father and son, Ramalingam told PTI that the party's welfare was important.

"All in the party look forward to its well-being," he said without divulging further details when asked if the differences could be buried for party unity.
19:02  PM sanctions Rs 2 lakh to kin of each dead in floods:  Condoling the loss of lives in floods in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today sanctioned Rs two lakh for the next of kin of each of the deceased.

Modi also sanctioned Rs 50,000 for each of the seriously injured from the Prime Minister`s National Relief Fund, a PMO statement said.

"The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has condoled the loss of life in the floods in the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam," the statement said. Floods have ravaged Uttar Pradesh and caused damage in Uttarakhand, Bihar and Assam.

At least 89 people have died in floods in UP alone.
18:37  Sharif discusses Pak political crisis with Zardari:  Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today met former President Asif Ali Zardari to find a way to end the political crisis in the wake of protest sit-ins by supporters of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and Canada-based cleric Tahirul Qadri.

PPP chief Zardari met Sharif at the premier's residence and they pledged to "protect democracy" come what may. It had also unanimously been decided that Sharif would not resign as demanded by Khan and Qadri.

Zardari also went to the right wing Jamaat-i-Islami's headquarters at Mansoora and called on its chief Sirajul Haq in his efforts to defuse the crisis. This is the first visit of the left wing Pakistan Peoples Party chief to JI headquarters in almost three decades.
18:13  Pak asks for DGMO meet with India:   Pakistan today said that the Directors General of Military Operations of India and Pakistan should meet to address the ongoing border tension and firing incidents, local media reported.

Pakistan's Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz expressed concerns over what he called "unprovoked" firing by Border Security Force.

He said it was impacting the bilateral ties and peace in the region.             "DGMOs of both countries should meet immediately and discuss ways and means to stop the current spate of firing along the working boundary and Pakistan is also sending a proposal to India for the meeting," Aziz told the Dawn.

Aziz recalled that the last meeting of DGMOs between the two countries helped in normalising the situation along the Line of Control and the working boundary and would be helpful again.

He also rejected Indian allegations that Pakistan was sending militants through a tunnel operating from its side of borer. He said if India had any evidence, it should share it with Pakistan instead of indulging in a blame game.
16:10  CBI court holds 23 fodder scam accused guilty:  
A CBI court today convicted 23 accused in the multicrore rupees fodder scam and acquitted ten others on benefit of doubt in connection with RC54 A/96. 

The Special CBI court found four ex-treasury officials and employees and 19 suppliers guilty of fraudulently withdrawing Rs 7.06 crore from Doranda Treasury between 1981 and 1990.

Delivering the judgement, CBI judge B K Gautam pronounced varying prison sentences from three years to five years against them. 

He acquitted four former treasury officials and employees and six fodder suppliers. 

It was the 47th out of the total 54 fodder cases shifted to Ranchi courts in the scam ending in conviction. 
16:05  No more wine or whisky on PM Modi's Air India One:  
A Correspondent in New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has apparently instructed Air India to stop supply of whisky and wine whenever he is on board his special aircraft.

The Prime Minister's Office, in a note to the chairman of Air India, has stated that Prime Minister Modi wants this norm to be implemented from his August visit to Japan.
15:36  Incessant rains trigger flash floods, landslides in Arunachal:  
Incessant rains and an unprecedented rise in the water level of the Subansiri have triggered landslides and flash floods in Arunachal Pradesh with the swirling river water leaving a trail of destruction.

The Subansiri river recorded an unprecedented rise in the water level at Daporijo in Upper Subansiri district on Thursday night. 

"The water level of the river rose between 6-7 feet on Thursday night but receded Friday morning," Upper Subansiri DC T Tagu said. 

District Information and Public Relation Officer (DIPRO) N Namchoom said that the flood water from the Subansiri submerged the villages located on its banks, damaging over 200 dwellings and washing away livestock.

There was, however, no human casualty, she said. 

The affected areas include, Sikarijo, Pagarijo, Laila Majnu Colony and Dilidi village in Daporijo, Sippi, Menga, Kuporijo, Dumporijo and other areas. 

Daporijo MLA Dikto Yekar along with panchayat members personally surveyed the devastation caused by the flash flood at Sikarijo, Pagarijo, Laila Majnu Colony, Dilidi village, Sippi and Menga today.
15:33  'Barfi' goes to Belgrade:  
After winning hearts at home and several international film festivals, Ranbir Kapoor-starrer romantic comedy Barfi is now all set to delight audiences in the capital of Serbia on Sunday.

The Indian Embassy in Belgrade in collaboration with Filmstreet is screening the 2012 film on Sunday evening in Belgrade.

The open screening of Barfi! will take place at Students Park at 8:30 pm local time, the Embassy said in a statement.

The film about a young hearing and speech-impaired boy named Barfi, who falls in love with a beautiful woman, Shruti, played by Ileana D'Cruz.

Barfi, written and directed by Anurag Basu, also stars Priyanka Chopra in her acclaimed role of Jhilmil. 

Shot in the scenic locale of Darjeeling and urban Kolkata, Barfi is a touching story of human frailties that refuse to surrender, even under the most difficult of circumstances.

The film was India's official entry to Oscars in 2012. 
15:30  BJP, JMM activists clash during Tomar's visit:  
Activists of BJP and JMM today clashed as protesters from the ruling party in Jharkhand showed black flags against Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar near the airport here, demanding an apology over the heckling of Chief Minister Hemant Soren.

The clash took place as JMM activists shouted slogans and showed black flags when the Steel and Mines Minister's convoy was passing through Hinoo Chowk, leaving some of them injured, police said. 

The incident came days after the heckling of Soren by BJP workers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a function at Prabhat Tara Ground in Dhurwa area on Thursday. 

Later, JMM issued a statement that its activists would protest during a visit by any central minister to Jharkhand if a public apology is not tendered by the Prime Minister following the "unseemly" act by BJP activists. 

A senior police officer informed that the Union Minister has reached Ranchi.
13:16  Pakistan claims Indian troops killed 2 civilians:  
Pakistani officials on Saturday accused Indian troops of killing two civilians in "unprovoked firing" across the border in its eastern province of Punjab. 

India and Pakistan often accuse each other of violating a 2003 ceasefire agreement. The two countries have fought three wars, two of them over the divided and disputed Kashmir region. 

Pakistani officials said the latest incident occurred in Sialkot region which faces the south of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and where another civilian was killed by Indian firing last month. 

"Today Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) again resorted to unprovoked firing in Chaprar and Harpal sectors on the working boundary near Sialkot. Two civilians including a woman and a 60-year-old man were martyred due to BSF firing," a senior military official told AFP. 

"Intermittent exchange of fire is still continuing at this moment," the official said.
12:05  SC dismisses UPSC aspirants' plea, refuses to postpone Sunday's prelim exam:  
The Supreme Court on Saturday rejected a petition seeking stay on the Union Public Services Commission preliminary examination, scheduled on Sunday.

The Public Interest Litigation, filed by Agnesh Kumar, was heard by a bench headed by Justice Dattu in an urgent hearing despite the day being a court holiday.

The petitioner had asked for an extension of two months for the civil services exam, which has generated a huge controversy after students all over India alleged it favours English-speaking people.

Earlier this month, the Centre appealed to all political parties to allow the August 24 examination to take place and assured that the matter of permitting all regional languages will be looked into.

The protesting students have been demanding that the government scrap the Civil Services Aptitude Test which they term as being "discriminatory" against those who are from Hindi background.

In an attempt to put an end to the row related to the CSAT format, the government had announced on August 4 that the marks for English comprehension will not be counted in the final merit list.
11:36  Stealth Corvette 'INS Kamorta' enters Indian Navy:  
India's first indigenously-built stealth Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette 'INS Kamorta' was on Saturday inducted into the Indian Navy. 

INS Kamorta was commissioned at naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam this morning by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley. 

Speaking on the occasion, Jaitley said, I am sure INS Kamorta will serve this country effectively for a very long time.
In recent months, amongst the various initiatives that the government has undertaken is indigenous manufacturing of our defence deployment, he added. 

INS Kamorta, built by M/s Garden Reach Shipyard (GRSE), Kolkata, is the first of four ASW stealth corvettes designed by Indian Navy's in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design (DND).

It would carry short-range Surface-to-Air missiles (SAM) and Active Towed Array Decoy System (ATDS). It can also carry an integral ASW helicopter.

For more defence news, click HERE
11:32  US brands Foley beheading a 'terrorist attack':  
Washington has declared the beheading of an American journalist a "terrorist attack", upping the stakes in its confrontation with the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, as Shiite militiamen gunned down 70 people at an Iraqi Sunni mosque.

The apparent revenge attack at the mosque in Diyala province yesterday will increase already significant anger among Iraq's Sunni Arab minority with the Shiite-led government, undermining an anti-militant drive that requires Sunni cooperation to succeed. 

It came as the US, which is carrying out airstrikes against IS, ramped up its rhetoric over the grisly killing of journalist James Foley, which was carried out by the jihadist group and shown in a video posted online.

In Washington, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said the beheading of Foley "represents a terrorist attack against our country". 

Rhodes also said that paying ransoms to free hostages is "not the right policy", confirming Washington's long-standing position amid claims from IS that other countries had paid to have their nationals freed.
11:24  Bihar minister's son attempts suicide after 'ragging' at Scindia School:  
The condition of 14-year-old Adarsh Kumar, son of Bihar Cooperative Minister Jai Kumar Singh, who is admitted in Apollo hospital in New Delhi, is critical. 

Kumar, who is believed to have attempted suicide after an alleged ragging incident at a school in Gwalior, was admitted to the hospital at around 8.30 am on thursday. 

He is admitted in the neuro ICU and is on ventilator. He is being treated under the supervision of Dr M S Chaudhary, internal medicine physician. 

"The patient was brought to the hospital yesterday at 8:30 AM in a very critical condition and was immediately attended to by our team of experts," said a senior doctor from Apollo. 

"He is being provided appropriate medical care by a competent multidisciplinary team of senior consultant doctors. He is under constant monitoring and is on ventilator support in the ICU," doctor said.
Kumar had consumed some poisonous substance on Wednesday night and was admitted to hospital in the city by the school authorities, reports said.

As the condition of the student deteriorated, he was rushed to Delhi and was admitted to Apollo Hospital. 

However, the reason behind the students alleged suicide attempt are yet to be known. 
11:20  Imam receives death threat, says IS recruiting in Canada:  
A Canadian imam known for his pacifist sermons has warned that Islamist militant group IS was actively recruiting in Canada and said one member issued him a death threat.

Syed Soharwardy, founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, called on Canadian and Western authorities to intensify the fight against jihadist movements. 

"Absolutely I am convinced that this recruitment is going on right here in this country, under our noses, in our universities, in our colleges, in the places of worship, in our community," he told CBC public television. 

Soharwardy added that a Muslim man from Ottawa who was fighting with IS in Mosul in northern Iraq had sent him a death threat on Facebook. 

"He was condemning me for condemning ISIS, and he was saying that 'You are a deviant imam and your version of Islam is not the right version,'" Soharwardy said, using another acronym by which IS is known.
10:32  U R Ananthamurthy, the greatest storyteller:  
Hindu columnist Shiv Vishwanathan on U R Ananthamurthy, the doyen of Kannada Literature who passed away on Friday: Often I feel angry with death and the Gods. They take away the best in a way that leaves me inconsolable. I feel helpless not just because of the pain of missing them but because my world shrinks, my map of friendship collapses into empty outlines.

This happened when my friend the philosopher Ramu Gandhi died. I felt the same way when the great chemist C V Seshadri disappeared into the sea.

I felt completely broken when U R Ananthamurthy passed away on Friday evening.

It was as if a cosmos had collapsed, a way of life had disappeared. It was not the achievements of the man as a writer and a public intellectual, but the man himself as an achievement that mattered.

U R died fighting till the end...

Read more HERE
10:12  Chinese fighter pilot makes dangerous moves near US patrol plane:  
The United States charged on Friday that a Chinese fighter pilot conducted a "dangerous intercept" of a Navy patrol plane in international air space this week, flying a few yards (meters) from the US jet and performing acrobatic maneuvers around it.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said the United States lodged a formal diplomatic protest with Beijing over the incident, which took place on Tuesday 135 miles (215 km) east of Hainan Island, site of a sensitive Chinese submarine base.

Kirby said the Chinese fighter jet made several passes at the P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine and reconnaissance plane, crossing over and under it. At one point, the jet flew wingtip-to-wingtip about 10 yards (9 meters) from the Poseidon, then performed a barrel roll over the top of it, he said.

"The Chinese jet also passed the nose of the P-8 at 90 degrees with its belly toward the P-8 Poseidon, we believe to make a point of showing its weapons load," Kirby said. 

"This kind of behavior not only is unprofessional, it's unsafe," he said. "And it is certainly not in keeping with the kind of military-to-military ... relations that we'd like to have with China."

In April 2001, a similar aggressive intercept of US EP-3E spy plane by a Chinese F-8 fighter in the same area resulted in a collision that killed the Chinese pilot and forced the American plane to make an emergency landing at a base on Hainan.

The 24 US air crew members were held for 11 days until Washington apologized for the incident, which soured US-Chinese relations in the early days of President George W Bush's first administration.
10:06  India's Mars orbiter to reach red planet in 33 days: ISRO:  
India's ambitious Mars Orbiter Mission was just nine million kilometres away from the red planet, Indian Space Research Organisation said today. 

"Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is just nine million km away from Mars and 189 million kilometres away from the Earth. 33 more days to MARS," ISRO said in its social networking site. 

Early this month, ISRO scientists ruled out Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre originally planned for August as the spacecraft was on track. 

The ambitious Mars mission under a Rs 450-crore project was launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on board the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle on November 5 last year with an aim to reach the red planet's atmosphere by September 24. 

The project is expected to provide the scientific community better opportunities in planetary research. 
01:56  Woman killed, 35 held during pro-Morsi protests in Egypt:  A 44-year-old woman was killed today in deadly clashes that broke out between supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and Egyptian security forces in east Cairo.

The woman, Zienab Mahmoud, was killed during the clashes in Ain Shams district, a known stronghold for supporters of the ousted president. Pro-Morsi supporters organised several protests across Egypt as they held their weekly marches after the Friday prayers. Security forces arrested 35 members of the Morsi-led Muslim Brotherhood in connection with the protests.

The arrested persons possessed Molotov cocktails and cartridge bullets, and were arrested in the governorates of Qalyuiba, Asyut, Minya, Giza and Beheira, a statement issued by the Interior Ministry said. Security forces teargassed the protesters to disperse them.
01:35  Ghaziabad sisters abducted, gang-raped in Delhi:   Two Ghaziabad-based sisters have alleged that they were abducted and gang-raped by four persons in Delhi, the police said today.

The incident came to light when the sisters, who had gone missing while on a visit to Delhi, returned today and narrated the incident to their family.

According to a complaint filed by the victims' father, the girls were abducted by one Nafis and three others and gangraped, said SHO Indirapuram Hardayal Yadav.

The girls, residents of Bharatnagar here, have been sent for medical examination, he said, adding that a manhunt is on to nab the accused.
01:30  Apprehension about cross-border tunnel after cave-in near LoC:  A portion of land close to a sensitive forward area near the Line of Control today caved in, triggering apprehension of a cross-border tunnel near an Indian post in Akhnoor sector of Jammu district even as the Army launched an on-the-spot investigation.

"During the patrolling of the area, Army troops found the ground caved-in at the forward area along the LoC near Chakla Post tonight," a senior Army officer told PTI.

The caved-in spot was near the stretch where militants had made an infiltration bid on July 22 this year, the officer said, adding that a militant and a jawan were killed in the incident.

"We are suspecting (if it is a tunnel) and physical investigation is going on in the area... It is premature to say whether there is a tunnel or not," he said, adding that there are so far no indication of the presence of cross-border tunnel in the area.

According to reports, an area between a Ditch-cum-Bandh and the LoC post has caved in, and Army engineers and other technical staff have gone to the area to verify the nature of the cave-in. On July 27, 2012, a cross-border tunnel was detected after earth caved in at two to three places due to rains near BSF's Chillayari Border Out Post in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.

"After the cave-ins, the area was dug out to know the reason. But, the authorities were surprised to find a tunnel leading into Samba from the Pakistani side. The tunnel, with a dimension of 3x3 ft, was running between Chillayari BOP and Pakistan's Numberiyal BOP," the officer added.
00:10  Two more accused arrested in connection with Meerut gang rape:  Two accused wanted in connection with the alleged gang-rape and religious conversion of a 20-year-old woman in Meerut were arrested today, the police said.

One of the accused Naveen was arrested from Freeda village in Kharkhauda area here on a tip-off, while the other accused Shanu surrendered in a court, a police spokesman said. Both were presented before a court which remanded them to 14-day judicial custody, he said.

With these arrests, the total number of arrests in the case has reached ten, he added. In a complaint, the woman's father had alleged that his daughter was abducted on July 23 and taken to a madrassa in Kharkhauda, where she was raped by some of the accused.

They also forcefully made her sign some papers related to religious conversion, he had alleged.
00:07  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  Woman comes to husband's aid, thrashes men in busy street
Assam limps back to normalcy after curfew is lifted
Calling off talks is a message to Pakistan: Amit Shah
Veteran Kannada writer Ananthamurthy dies at 81
Proud of my wife, says husband of trafficking victim who appeared on KBC
AAP steps up attack against Vardhan over removal of AIIMS CVO
PHOTOS: Flood fury affects lakhs in Assam, UP and Bihar

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