20:55 India's TCA Anant part of Ban Ki-moon's expert group:
India's Chief Statistician TCA Anant is part of an independent expert advisory group constituted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that will advise him on measures required to close the data gaps and strengthen national statistical capacities.
The 26-member advisory group on Data Revolution for Sustainable Development is also expected to assess new opportunities linked to innovation, technical progress and the surge of new public and private data providers to support conventional statistical systems and strengthen accountability at the global, regional and national level.
Anant, who has the concurrent responsibility of Secretary of the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, is also co-chair of the Friends of the Chair Group on Broader Measures of Progress.
20:53 Aircel-Maxis case: Marans allegedly received Rs 742 cr bribe:
Former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran had allegedly received bribe of Rs 742 crore for coercing entrepreneur C Sivasankaran to sell his Telecom company Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis, according to the CBI.
"Investigation revealed that Dayanidhi Maran, the then telecom minister in abuse of official position constricted the business environment of Aircel Televentures Limited on frivolous ground with an intent to force its exit from telecom business and its sale to Maxis Communication, Malaysia,"
The CBI has alleged in its charge sheet filed today. It is alleged that various proposals, which were crucial to functioning of Aircel--including licenses for various circles and change in equity -- were kept pending by Maran on frivolous grounds for nearly eight months despite clearances from the various department.
"Sivasankaran wanted to sell the Aircel Cellular Limited to Aircel Digilink India Ltd, owned by Hutchison Essar Limited, but allegedly the minister kept the matter pending for eight month in respect of change in equity share pattern of Aircel Limited to Aircel Digilink India Limited despite unanimous recommendation from the officials of Department of Telecom," the CBI claimed.
20:35 Chopper deal: Court issues letters Rogatory to five countries:
A special CBI court today issued letters rogatory to the competent authorities of United Kingdom, Switzerland, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and British Virgin Island in connection with probe into the Rs 3,6000-crore VVIP helicopter deal scam.
The order came after CBI moved the court seeking issuance of LRs to these five countries for its probe and collection of documents in the case in which retired Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi and various others were named as accused in the FIR.
"Heard. Let the LR be issued to the competent authority, Switzerland....for obtaining original/authenticated documents as given in annexure III and recording statements of witnesses / persons as mentioned in annexure IV of the application," Special CBI Judge Madhu Jain said.
19:55 Sonia, Rahul not to campaign for UP bypolls:
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will not be campaigning for bye-elections in Uttar Pradesh scheduled on September 13. Party sources, however, downplayed it saying the Congress President, by convention, never campaigns in by-polls.
The seats going for elections include Noida, Lucknow East, Saharanpur Nagar, Bijnore, Thakurdwara, Nighasan, Hamirpur, Charkhan, Sirathu, Balha, Rohaniya and Sirathu in Uttar Pradesh.
The process of filing nominations has already started and the last date is August 27.
Rahul had once campaigned in a Lok Sabha by-poll in favour of party candidate Raj Babbar in 2009, where he was fielded against Dimple Yadav, the daughter-in-law of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. Gandhi, was, however not the party Vice President then.
19:54 On the eve of his visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said Japan has "paramount importance" in his vision for India's progress and his trip will "write a new chapter" in bilateral ties while taking the Strategic and Global Partnership to the higher level.
Cooperation in the fields of defence, civil nuclear, infrastructure development and rare earth materials will top the agenda of Modi's five-day visit beginning tomorrow, his first bilateral trip outside the subcontinent. "I am keenly looking forward to my visit to Japan at the invitation of my good friend, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for the annual summit between India and Japan," Modi said in his pre-departure statement.
Noting that this will be his first bilateral visit outside the immediate neighbourhood as prime minister, he said it underlines "the high priority" that Japan receives in India's foreign and economic policies.
"It is also a reflection of Japan's paramount importance in my vision for development and prosperity in India and in peace, stability and prosperity in Asia at large," he said.
"I am confident that my visit will write a new chapter in the annals of the relations between Asia's two oldest democracies and take our Strategic and Global Partnership to the next higher level," Modi said.
18:53 UK terrorist threat level raised to 'severe':
reports: The UK international terror threat level has been raised to "severe", Home Secretary Theresa May has said.The new alert level means an attack is "highly likely".
It is the second highest of five possible threat levels.Mrs May said there was no intelligence to suggest an attack was "imminent" but that the level had been raised in response to events in Iraq and Syria
Read the full report here
18:47 After achche din, koi lauta de mere beete huye din: CPI-M:
"Koi lauta de mere beete huye din
," this famous song of Kishore Kumar is being hummed on the streets by the people today after 100 days of Modi government, senior CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said today.
Reacting to the completion of 100 days in office by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, "Earlier, the people were forced to listen to 'achche din aanewale hain
' (good days are coming. And they were made to believe it."
"Now instead, the people are now humming 'koi lauta de mere beete huye din
(someone return my good old days)' on the streets after 100 days of this government," Yechury said.
A press statement of the All India Kisan Sabha says that the affidavit filed by the ministry of environment and forest before the National Green Tribunal that the union government will proceed with the Kasturirangan Report and the NGT's response to accept the same are highly objectionable.
The Kasturirangan report is totally inadequate to protect the environment in Western Ghats and have clauses detrimental to the livelihood and developmental aspirations of the local people. The government has not removed the various anti-people and anti environmental clauses in the Kasturirangan report.
Read the full statement here
17:16 The Man Who Invented Email:
: If you're reading this, you're online and, as such, you probably have an email account. But have you ever wondered about the origins of email? It's not exactly a cut-and-dried case, as various forms of electronic messaging have been around since the humble telegraph
Read the full story here
17:04 Policeman wounded as militants attack police post:
Militants shot and critically wounded a police officer outside the office of the district magistrate Anantnag in south Kashmir this afternoon.
A senior officer said militants shot constable Fayaz Ahmad in the head and fled. fayaz was immediately evacuated to Srinagar for specialised treatments.
16:30 CBI names former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, Kalanidhi Maran and others as accused in the 2G scam charge sheet.
16:25 Apple may launch much-awaited iPhone 6, smartwatch on Sept 9:
Tech giant Apple is expected to unveil a larger screen version of its popular iPhone along with its first smartwatch on September 9 in its hometown in Cupertino, California.
The iconic creator of iPods and iPads has sent out a cryptic invite, in its usual style, saying: "Wish we could say more." The invitation comes on a simple black-and-white background dominated by the company's corporate logo.
These events have become sort of an annual ritual since 2007, when the company launched the first iPhone and later the iPad as well. The launch, which is expected to feature a larger-screened iPhone, will be held in the same venue where Apple's late co-founder, Steve Jobs, unveiled the original Mac computer 30 years ago.
The Mac is credited to have changed the landscape for personal computing, taking technology to the masses.
15:23 Justice Mukul Mudgal committee, which was directed by the Supreme Court to conduct a probe against ICC President N Srinivasan and 12 prominent players in the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal, today filed its report in a sealed cover before the apex court.
A bench headed by Justice T S Thakur took the report on record after a senior advocate mentioned the matter and fixed it for hearing on September one.
The court had in May rejected the proposal of BCCI to conduct the probe through its own panel and had given the task of investigation to Justice Mudgal panel.
The Mudgal committee had earlier conducted the probe in the scandal and had submitted in a sealed envelope its report in which names of Srinivasan and 12 cricketers were mentioned.
15:11 Bullet trains high on Modi's Japan agenda:
: Bullet trains are likely to feature high on Narendra Modi's agenda on his visit to Japan. In the run-up to his departure for Kyoto on August 30, the government on Wednesday notified the Cabinet decision to allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment in railways, which will allow Japanese (and other foreign) firms to invest in high speed trains and other railway infrastructure projects.
Read the article here
In India, decisions by the Cabinet come into effect only after they are notified in the Official Gazette.
14:36 New secretaries appointed for civil aviation, steel ministries:
Senior IAS officers V Somasundaran and Rakesh Singh were today appointed as new secretaries in ministries of Civil Aviation and Steel respectively.
Somasundaran, who is serving in Kerala, will take over the charge from Ashok Lavasa, who has been appointed Secretary in Ministry of Environment and Forests. Somasundaran is a 1979 batch IAS officer of Kerala cadre. Ashok Lavasa, a 1980 batch IAS officer of Haryana cadre, will replace V Rajagopalan, a 1978 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, who superannuates on Sunday. Rakesh Singh, who is working in Punjab, will take over the charge of Steel Secretary from G Mohan Kumar (a 1979 batch IAS officer of Odisha cadre), who has been appointed as Secretary, Department of Defence Production, said an order issued by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet.
Singh is a 1978 batch IAS officer of Punjab cadre. G Mohan Kumar has been given the post in place of G C Pati who has been appointed Odisha's Chief Secretary. Pati is a 1978 batch IAS officer of Odisha cadre.
Another IAS officer Sunil Arora has been appointed as Secretary in the newly created Department of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship under Ministry of Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, Youth Affairs and Sports, the ACC said in the order. Arora, a 1980 batch IAS officer, is serving in his cadre--Rajasthan.
14:17 Coalgate: CBI files closure report in case against K M Birla:
In a reprieve to top industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and others, who were named as accused in its FIR in one of the coal blocks allocation scam cases, the CBI has filed a closure report in a special court here.
The CBI has told the court it will file some documents related to the case before it after which Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar fixed the closure report for consideration on September one. The closure report was filed in the court yesterday.
The FIR against Birla and former Coal Secretary P C Parakh was registered in October last year by CBI 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 shown "undue favours".
13:53 Australian PM to visit India next week; uranium deal tops agenda:
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will undertake his first visit to India next week to further strengthen the strategic partnership and promote trade and investment between the two countries, which are also likely to ink the much-awaited uranium deal.
"I will travel to India and Malaysia from September 4 to 6. On my first visit to India as Prime Minister, I will visit New Delhi and India's financial capital, Mumbai, to strengthen the strategic partnership between our two countries," he said.
Noting that the two nations have strong and growing economic and trade ties, he said India is Australia's fifth largest export market with total exports of $11.4 billion.
"There is potential for further cooperation in resources, science, technology and education," Abbott said.
13:28 Jaya re-elected unanimously as AIADMK general secretary:
AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa was today re-elected unanimously as the party's General Secretary, with the 66-year-old leader vowing to continue to work for the welfare of the party and the country.
The party's organisation secretary Visalatchi Nedunchezhiyan, also the 'Election Commissioner', said all the papers received from August 20 to 24 had nominated Jayalalithaa alone for the party's powerful top post and declared that she had been elected under relevant party rules.
"It is being announced with joy that Jayalalithaa has been unanimously elected as General Secretary of AIADMK," she said in a party statement. Thanking her party supporters who had proposed her candidature for the post, Jayalalithaa said it showed their love and confidence reposed by them on her.
"I assure that I will continue to work for the party's growth and development and for the welfare of the people of the country," she said in her message.
Jayalalithaa has been holding the post of General Secretary since 1987 following the death of party founder M G Ramachandran. The elections to the General Secretary post are held once in five years in accordance with party rules. Earlier, the party had received a total of 2,467 papers seeking re-nomination of Jayalalithaa as General Secretary.
13:24 The BSF and Pak Rangers will today hold a key sector commander-level flag meeting to defuse tension along the Indo-Pak border due to repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
"A sector commander (DIG-Brigade commander) level flag meeting will be held between BSF and Pak Rangers at Octerio Border Out Post in Suchetgarh forward belt of R S Pura along the International Border", PRO, BSF, Vinood Yadav said.
The meeting is schedule for 3:30 pm. This will be the third flag meeting to discuss ceasefire violations. BSF troops had yesterday held commandant-level flag-meeting with Rangers along the International Border in Samba sector of Jammu and Kashmir impressing upon each other to respect ceasefire.
13:06 Mallika Sherawat discusses women's rights at UN:
Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat highlighted the sufferings of women in India at the 65th United Nations DPI/NGO Conference, saying strong implementation of laws is required and men should be part of the solution to end discrimination against women.
"Every minute we do nothing, there is a woman suffering abuse in India. They do not have the luxury of time," Sherawat said here at a roundtable discussion on 'Fighting Inequalities '" Economic, Social, Political and Environmental' during the ongoing 65th UN DPI/NGO Conference.
The 39-year-old actress cited estimates by the National Crime Records Bureau that said a woman is raped somewhere in India every 20 minutes and that India has a very high incidence of child brides.
She said "caste system, male-dominated patriarchal society and the insensitivity of the judicial system" contribute to a woman's plight in India and strong laws are required to deal with atrocities against women.
13:05 With a buoyant RJD, JD-U and Congress planning to take their "secular alliance experiment" outside Bihar after the bypoll victory, LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan today said their happiness would be "short-lived" as they won by "fluke".
Paswan, however, admitted that the performance of NDA in the bypoll was due to some "shortcomings" including delay in selection of candidates. "The victory of RJD, JD(U) and Congress alliance in Bihar bypoll is by fluke...this experiment has no future within the state as well outside in the future," Paswan told PTI.
"What are they celebrating? BJP won maximum four seats as compared to RJD 3, JD-U 2 and Congress 1," the LJP chief said. "Its like three failed students asking their teacher to add 20 marks to each of them and make them pass them with first division (60 per cent)," he said taking a jibe at Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar.
11:57 Egypt court sentences two Morsi supporters to death:
An Egyptian court has sentenced two supporters of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to death after they were found guilty in several cases relating to violence that erupted after his removal last year.
The upper Egyptian Minya court also handed down sentences of one year to life term to 43 others, including a minor yesterday while acquitting 28 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, state-news agency MENA
The same court previously sentenced 529 to death, later upholding the penalty for 37 defendants, and sentenced 492 others to life in prison. One month later, it handed down death penalty to 683 defendants, later confirming 183 of them, Al Ahram online reported.
Since Morsi's ouster last year, the Egyptian government had been cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters. Many Brotherhood supporters including party's top brass are facing trials.
11:27 Alert citizens in Ganesh pandals to be rewarded with gold coin:
As part of its holistic anti-terror measures, the Mumbai Police has decided to reward alert citizens who spot unattended, suspicious objects in the vicinity of Ganesh pandals across the city.
The Mumbai police in association with ICICI Bank will reward the alert citizen with a gold coin. This initiative is part of its on-going 'Mumbai Ke Liye 1 Minute' drive, which appeals citizens to take out a minute from their busy schedule to look around if they spot a suspicious person, object or vehicle and call the police.
"In this unique initiative, a bag or any other item would be placed by the police itself near a pandal and if the object that remains unattended for a long time and looks suspicious is spotted by any citizen and if he/she brings to the notice of the policemen, he will be rewarded with a gold coin sponsored by the ICICI Bank," Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria told PTI today.
01:51 Railways fined after rats on train damage passenger's bags:
The New Delhi Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered Indian Railways to pay Rs 15,000 compensation to a passenger, whose bags were damaged by rats onboard. The compensation was awarded to retired serviceman R K Bansal.
It happened due to lack of proper maintenance of the compartment by loco shed staff, where bogies are kept for cleaning and maintenance..., the forum said.
The forum also held the divisional railway manager, Northern Railways, responsible for the damage.
The DRM, Northern Railways, is held responsible due to lack of proper maintenance at local shed or supervision at big junction..., the forum said.
Bansal was travelling on October 8, 2013, on the Kerala Express from New Delhi to Ernakulum when rats in the compartment damaged his bags and clothes.
Alleging negligence on the part of the railways, he lodged a complaint with the forum, seeking a compensation of Rs 18,400.
01:49 India planning to ban Iraqi terror outfit ISIS?:
The National Investigation Agency is likely to file a case against Iraqi terror group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and its chief Al-Baghdadi, sources said on Thursday.
According to an English news channel, an FIR is likely to be filed under section 121A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for waging war against India.
The FIR is based on the United Nations' ban on the terror outfit. It it likely to be used to push for a ban on ISIS under Indian law, sources said. The NIA is currently preparing a dossier on ISIS activities in India.
Today's development came a day after an Indian Muslim engineering student Arif Majeed, one of the four youngsters from Kalyan town, outside Mumbai, who disappeared in the month of May, suspected of joining Sunni insurgents in Iraq, reportedly died in a bomb blast in Mosul.
There have been sporadic reports of ISIS trying to recruit people of a specific community from different states of India such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala. The terrorist organisation Indian Mujahideen is reportedly working in close coordination to speed up recruiting. According to the NIA, the recruitment drive has been on for at least a year now. ISIS is currently fighting in Iraq and Syria but its idea is to influence more and more Indian Muslim youths, reports said.
Investigators say that the man behind the digital mask could be Indian Mujahideen's Sultan Abdul Kadir Armar, a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka.
With recent arrests of Indian Mujahideen terrorists, Indian agencies were upbeat about their fight against terror but the worry now is that if Indians have indeed joined the ISIS, they might use the new techniques and weapons to carry out terror strikes in the country.
01:47 Now ISIS executes 160 fleeing Syrian soldiers:
Islamic State jihadists have executed more then 160 fleeing Syrian soldiers, a monitor said today, the latest in a string of brutal abuses alarming Western powers who fear a global spread of the terror.
News of the killings comes as US President Barack Obama is reportedly weighing air strikes on IS positions in Syria and coming closer to greenlighting a mission to aid Shiite Turkmen trapped in an Iraqi town by the jihadists.
Syrian regime air strikes killed six IS leaders today, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, but Washington has so far baulked at cooperating with Damascus against the jihadists.
French President Francois Hollande added his voice to the disquiet that has been growing since the jihadists marauded through Iraq and beheaded US journalist James Foley.
The latest killings took place in the Syrian province of Raqa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that the victims were soldiers fleeing towards government-held territory to the west after the jihadists overran their base at Tabqa.
The jihadists boasted on Twitter that they had killed 200 defeated troops and posted video of what they said was the
garrison in headlong flight.
"IS executed more than 160 Syrian soldiers in three different places in Raqa province yesterday and at dawn today," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
01:45 Death Valleys moving rocks caught in the act:
One of the most enduring mysteries of the Death Valley, a desert valley located in Eastern California's Mojave Desert, has been solved by what one researcher called the most boring experiment ever.
For decades, people have puzzled over Racetrack Playa, where hundreds of rocks weighing as much as 700 pounds roam across the surface of the dry lake bed, leaving meandering tracks hundreds of yards long.
Researchers have investigated the phenomenon since the 1940s, but all they ever produced was speculation. No one ever actually saw the rocks move.
The first ever observations, which came in December, are documented in a new paper published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS ONE by a research team that set out to solve the mystery, once and for all.
01:42 2 Pak journalists among 3 killed in Balochistan:
Two journalists were among three people killed today when gunmen opened fire in their office in Quetta city in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province.
Police confirmed that unidentified armed men had entered the office of the Online news agency on Jinnah road and opened indiscriminate fire killing three men on the spot - two journalists and a media worker, a police official said.
Senior journalist Irshad Mastoi, reporter Abdul Rasul and an accountant Mohammed Younus were all shot dead, police SHO, Hashim Shah said.
The assailants managed to flee the crime scene.
This is the first time that such a major attack has been carried out on a media outlet in Quetta. No group has claimed the attack and the motive remains unclear.
Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists with Balochistan a hotspot for violence.
Seven reporters were killed in Pakistan in 2013, deaths which have been blamed on the government's inaction.