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LIVE! Pak army's top brass meet as political crisis continues

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August 31, 2014


21:07  Revived Nalanda University's first classes to begin tomorrow:  The ancient Nalanda University, which attracted students from the world over, will rise again tomorrow, as classes will begin at its newly established campus at Rajgir.

The event will also mark the fruition of the idea proposed by former President APJ Abdul Kalam while addressing a joint session of Bihar Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council way back in 2006.

"We will have a low-key launch with classes for the school of ecology and environmental studies and the school of historical studies beginning at 9 AM tomorrow. Right now there are 15 students and 11 faculty members at the campus," NU Vice-Chancellor Gopa Sabharwal told PTI.
21:05  Pak army takes stock of crisis as violence escalates :  The top brass of the powerful Pakistani army chaired by its chief General Raheel Sharif held an urgent meeting tonight to discuss the political crisis that has engulfed the country after night-long clashes in Islamabad between security forces and anti-government demonstrators left three people dead and nearly 500 others injured.

The army corps commanders met in Rawalpindi to take stock of the situation created by the 18-day siege of the heart of the Pakistani establishment, housing the presidency, the national assembly, the supreme court and the Prime Minister's Office, took a turn for the worst since yesterday.

Embattled Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose ouster is the main demand of the protesters, decided to summon joint sitting of parliament on Tuesday to discuss the political crisis which erupted into widespread violence in the capital last night after supporters of opposition leader Imran Khan and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri sought to storm Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's residence nearby by breaking through the police barricade.

Image: A supporter of Tahir ul-Qadri, Sufi cleric and leader of political party Pakistan Awami Tehreek, gestures as she reacts to a speech by Qadri in front of the Parliament house building during the Revolution March in Islamabad. Photograph: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters
20:09  War museum project faces encroachment obstacle:  For construction of the National War Museum at the Princess Park locality near India Gate, the defence ministry will have to find a place to settle over 100 families living in that area.

The families are living in over 200 servant quarters built on 14 acre land where the memorial is planned to be built and they have to be removed from there, defence ministry officials said.

People living there have been offered alternative land in Delhi Cantt and some other nearby areas for building their houses, they said.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, who had visited the site two weeks ago, was also briefed by top Army officers including Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag on the issue at the proposed construction site.
18:53  After Shah Rukh, Boman Irani gets threat call from underworld :  Just days after there was an alleged threat from the Underworld against superstar Shah Rukh Khan, reports suggest that actor Boman Irani has also received a threat call from underworld don Ravi Pujari.

"Boman Irani has received threat call from Pujari and we have provided him security. We are investigating the case," a senior police official said without specifying the nature of the threat.

Irani's movie 'Happy New Year', in which he co-stars with Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone, is scheduled for release in October.
18:49  60 pc college students are cellphone addicts: Study:  Women are more likely to use cellphones for texting or emails to build relationships and have deeper conversations, while men prefer using their devices for entertainment purposes and accessing social networking sites, a new US study has found.

Women college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cellphones and men college students spend nearly eight, with excessive use posing potential risks for academic performance, researchers from Baylor University said.

"As cellphone functions increase, addictions to this seemingly indispensable piece of technology become an increasingly realistic possibility," said researcher James Roberts, The Ben H Williams Professor of Marketing in Baylor's Hankamer School of Business.

The study noted that approximately 60 per cent of college students admit they may be addicted to their cellphone, and some indicated they get agitated when it is not in sight.
18:31  Case against Ram Gopal Varma for comments on Lord Ganesha:  The Mumbai police today registered a case against Bollywood filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through his comments on Lord Ganesha.

A practising advocate K Karunasagar filed a complaint with the Saroornagar police seeking registration of a case against Varma over his series of controversial tweets, police said.

After taking legal opinion in this regard, police proceeded and booked Varma under Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 298 (uttering words with deliberate intention to wound the religious feelings of any person), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the IPC, Saroornagar Police Inspector B Naveen Reddy said.

"The matter is under further investigation," the police officer told PTI.

Varma triggered a controversy on August 29 with a string of tweets about the elephant god. The 52-year-old producer-director, apart from questioning the ability of Lord Ganesha to remove obstacles from the path of his devotees, made fun of his physical attributes. As his twitter posts triggered an outrage, Varma took to the micro-blogging website to tender an apology.
18:29  Pak army to meet as political impasse, violence continue:  After night-long clashes in Islamabad between anti-government demonstrators and security forces that left three people dead and about 450 others injured, the situation continued to be tense and uncertain even as the powerful Army Chief General Raheel Sharif summoned a meeting of corps commanders.

The clashes broke out late last night when the demonstrators who have laid siege to the heart of the Pakistani establishment, housing the Presidency, the National Assembly, the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister's Office, sought to storm Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's residence nearby after breaking through the police barricade.

The violence continued throughout the night and subsided this morning but the 18-day stand-off continued to force Sharif's resignation over alleged rigging during last year's elections.
18:10  AAP attacks Jung, says Amit Shah taking decisions for LG:   Amid reports that he was planning to write to the President over government formation, the Aam Aadmi Party today stepped up its attack on Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, alleging that he was acting at the behest of the BJP.

"It's not the LG, but it's (BJP president) Amit Shah who is taking decisions. It is the Centre which is ruling Delhi," senior party leader and AAP MLA Manish Sisodia told PTI.

He also slammed Jung for his view that if elections were conducted, work and other developmental activities would come to a halt for two months. "I don't subscribe to LG's logic because on one hand you are saying that people will suffer. It is better that work halts for two months during elections than for eight months when people are without any government."
17:44  Mumbai receives heavy rains :  Heavy rains lashed Mumbai today keeping people indoors. Several areas witnessed water-logging.

The rainfall in August has been dismal. The month could hold the title for recording the fourth lowest rain of around 418 mm since the year 2000. according to The Times of India report.

Image: Vehicles wade through a flooded road at Hindmata in central Mumbai. Photograph: Sahil Salvi
17:11  UK likely to ban jihadists in Iraq, Syria from returning home :  BBC reports: The government is considering temporary bans on British-born jihadists in Iraq and Syria from returning to the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister David Cameron will set out the government's plans to counter the threat posed by Islamic State militants in a statement to MPs tomorrow.

Read the full report here

17:07  Hong Kong's next leader to be vetted by China:   China has ruled out allowing open nominations in elections for the Hong Kong's next leader, in a move that could ignite tension in the Asian financial hub where the democracy advocates have threatened to shut down the main business district in protest.

Rejecting calls by democracy activists in the former British colony to permit Hong Kongers to directly elect their chief executive from an open list of candidates, China's rubber-stamp Parliament -- the National People's Congress -- ruled that candidates must receive more than half of votes from a special nominating body before going before voters.

The NPC's move is expected to spark strong reactions from Hong Kong where series of demonstrations are being held demanding direct election of the chief executive to fulfill the promises made by Beijing when Hong Kong returned from British rule to China in 1997.
16:19  Modi, Abe to discuss security, economic ties :   Prime Minister Narendra Modi today arrived in Tokyo for summit talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe after completing the first leg his visit to the former imperial capital city of Kyoto.

During his three-day stay in Tokyo, Modi will hold talks with Abe tomorrow to bolster bilateral security and economic ties. The two leaders, who share cordial relations, will have substantive summit meeting during which they will look at ways to take the strategic and global partnership forward.

Modi has a substantive agenda during the trip which he hopes will "write a new chapter" in bilateral ties and take the strategic and global partnership to a higher level.
15:39  Prince Harry's 10m pound gift on 30th birthday:   Britain's Prince Harry is set for a 10 million pound gift on his 30th birthday next month as his share of mother Princess Diana's inheritance. When Diana, Princess of Wales, died in Paris in 1997, her will stipulated that a share of her fortune should go to her two sons when they each turned 25. The executors, however, later decided, to change the age to 30.

For the past five years, Harry has been able to access the interest on his mother's fortune but he will be able to obtain his full entitlement only on his birthday on September 15, The Sunday Times said.

The fourth in line to Britain's throne, who lives in Nottingham Cottage in Kensington Palace, is paid a salary from the army of about 40,000 pound a year and has access to the 2 million pound left to him by his great grandmother Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
14:57  Imran Khan justifies protest against Pak govt :  Continuing his protests against PM Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan today called on the people of Pakistan to rebel against government, Dawn reports. 

"Protesting outside the Prime Minister House is permissible in a democracy. When a prime minister lies to the Parliament, he has to resign. The government has lied time and again," Imran said, adding that the prime minister's oath does not allow him to lie. "It in fact prohibits him."

The government has decided to take on the path of violence, Imran told his supporters, adding that the government had violated international law by tear gas shelling on peaceful protesters.  
13:49  Modi gets detail briefing on Kyoto's development:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi today received a presentation from Kyoto Mayor Daisaka Kadokawa on how the ancient tradition of Japan's cultural capital has been preserved while building it into a modern city, on a day India signed a pact to develop Varanasi on the pattern of Kyoto.   

During the over 40-minute presentation, Mayor Kadokawa explained how Kyoto was cleaned up by its citizens. He told Modi that local students actively participated in cleaning up the city and reducing the garbage to 40 per cent. 

Posters and billboards were discouraged and today the two remaining posters will be removed in the city, he said, adding that this exercise has been going on for several years.   

Modi, who represents Varanasi constituency in the Lok Sabha, wants to develop the sacred Indian city into a 'smart city' by using the experience of Kyoto.   

Modi presented a book to the mayor in which he wrote,"I represent Benaras. I came to know how the city of Kyoto was developed." He also handed over a digital map of Varanasi to the mayor, who said, "I would like to dedicate myself for promotion of interaction between India and Japan."   

Buddhist heritage are inspired by India, the mayor said.   

Later Modi said, "The reason I came to Kyoto was primarily cultural. Kyoto has maintained its cultural heritage despite lot of troubles. Kyoto has incorporated modern needs with its cultural heritage. This city was built on the foundation of its cultural heritage. In India, we are also trying to create a heritage city."

Image: Modi presents the map of Varanasi to partners in Kyoto. Photograph: MEA/Twitter
12:45  Imran Khan refuses to end protest against Pak PM:  Refusing to end protest, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan said that he will not move unless the Sharif brothers resign from their posts.

"What right do they have to stop us? We will protest, it's our fundamental right. We are here until we punish these two criminals," he said urging the Pakistanis to break barriers join them in the "struggle for freedom".
12:43  In Japan, PM discusses sickle cell treatment with Nobel winner:   Japan today agreed to work with India in inventing treatment for the Sickle Cell Anaemia after Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought help for finding remedy to the deadly disease commonly found among tribals in India.

Modi, who has been keenly looking for a remedy to the disease since his days as Chief Minister of Gujarat, discussed the issue with Nobel Prize winner for Medicine (2012) S Yamanaka when he visited the Kyoto University.

The PM, on the second day of his tour, raised the issue during his visit to the Stem Cell Research facility and discussed whether Japan could be of help in this regard. He discussed the possibility of cooperation in finding a treatment for the disease, said External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin.

Sources said the Japanese side said it would work with India in jointly finding the treatment.
12:19  BJP chief has his eyes on Kerala:  Making his maiden trip to Kerala after taking over as BJP president, Amit Shah will be addressing party leaders and grass root-level functionaries tomorrow in a bid to galvanise the party in the state where it has consistently failed to make an electoral breakthrough.

Shah, who will be reaching Thiruvananthapuram tonight, will attend a meet of state office-bearers tomorrow morning and address a larger convergence of over 6,000 party functionaries up from the grass-root level party tier, party sources said.

Shah's visit also assumes significance against the backdrop of factional tussles in the state and the internal debate over luring allies in Kerala, whose polity has been dominated by rival coalitions led by the Congress and the CPI-M.

According to political observers, though the BJP has grown in membership and support base in the state over the years it still finds it difficult to attract smaller parties as allies. This is especially so since the Muslims and Christian minorities are key factors in deciding the electoral outcome in most constituencies and whose support has been overtly and covertly solicited by the opposing fronts to bolster their strength.
12:11  US airdrops aid, conducts airstrikes in besieged Iraqi town:  The United States military has conducted humanitarian air drop in the besieged Iraqi town of Amrili, home to thousands of Shia Turkomen who have been cut off from receiving food, water, and medical supplies for two months by the militants of the Islamic State, the Pentagon said.   

The US air force delivered this aid alongside aircraft from Australia, France and the UK who also dropped much needed supplies, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirbysaid.   

In conjunction with this airdrop, US aircraft conducted coordinated airstrikes against terrorists in order to support this humanitarian assistance operation, Kirby said.   

These military operations were conducted under authorisation from President Barack Obama to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and to prevent an attack on the civilians of Amirli by the militants, he added.
11:43  'This is Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan's war, we will fight together':  Dawn reports: Emerging for the first time since violent clashes broke out between charged policemen and defiant protesters,  Pakistan Awami Tehree Chief Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri appeared subdued as he addressed supporters in the daylight.

He explained that his voice was hoarse as he was affected by tear gas, which he described as a "special type of gas".

He told supporters he was "watching them fight the war" and lauded them for their courage and passion.

"I congratulate Imran Khan, for taking up the lead when I was not well,' he said."This is Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan's war,' he said. "We will fight it together We also have to live together afterwards."
11:35  Maha CM: Party cadre unhappy with NCP, find body language anti-Cong:   With Congress-Nationalist Congress Party seat-sharing talks deadlocked over the latter's insistence on getting more seats to contest the Assembly polls, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today said he is against breaking the alliance but party workers feel the ally's "body language is anti-Congress".

"It is not that we want to break the 15-year-old alliance, but Congress' grassroots cadre is not happy with the role of the NCP in the government and during elections. They are known to put up independent candidates to sabotage our chances. Our workers say their body language is anti-Congress," Chavan told PTI in an interview.

Several top NCP leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, nephew of party chief Sharad Pawar, have gone on record to demand 144 of the state's 288 assembly seats on the strength of its better performance in Lok Sabha elections.

The NCP had won four of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state, while Congress could manage just two, in the worst-ever performance by the ruling combine. Chavan said he had held a couple of rounds of talks with NCP leaders as the Congress high command had asked the state leadership to take a call on a seat-sharing formula.
11:19  Clashes countinue in Islamabad as protesters surround Parliament:  Around 300 people were injured in Islamabad as police battled protesters led by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek Chief Dr Tahirul Qadri.

The protesters -- demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif -- were held back with tear gas, batons and rubber bullets outside the prime minister's official residence and the adjacent parliament building, according to dawn.com.

The clashes started after orders by Khan and Qadri on Saturday to shift their protest venue to the official residence of Sharif to force him resign immediately. Khan and Qadri are with protesters and exhorting their supporters to force their way towards the PM's house.
00:06  Pak protesters march towards Nawaz Sharif's House:  Setting the stage for aconfrontation, Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri led thousands ofprotesters armed with wire cutters who broke barricades andforced their way towards Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif'sofficial residence pressing for his immediate resignation. 
Raising slogans against Sharif and his government,protesters marched from the National Assembly to the PrimeMinister's House, some 500 metres away, shortly after Khan,chief of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Qadri, heading thePakistan Awami Tehreek, announced a shift of the protestvenue.

The protesters used crane and bolt cutters to inch theirway past a barricade of shipping containers as authoritiesrushed forces to deal with the volatile situation.

Before the protesters set off on their march, the InteriorMinistry announced that soldiers would be deployed to stop theprotesters.

On a day of dramatic developments, Sharif left for Lahore. Both Khan and Qadri have been demanding the ouster ofSharif with Khan alleging that last year's general electionwas rigged.
00:04  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  India, Japan set to intensify defence cooperation
Discussing 'Modinomics' and 'Abenomics' in Japan
Modi gifts books on Vivekananda, copy of Bhagawad Gita to Abe
India, Japan sign MoU to develop Varanasi into 'smart city'
'Excited' PM Modi arrives in Japan for 5-day visit
Court slaps Sheila Dikshit with Rs 3 lakh fine for non-appearance

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