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Live! Ready to accept PM post if Cong wins LS polls: Rahul

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February 07, 2014


23:47  Bomb scare on board flight to Turkey:  An international flight landed safely at a airport in Turkey today after a bomb scare on board.

One of the passengers reportedly claimed there was a bomb on board and demanded that the plane head to Sochi in Russia, where the Winter Olympics are taking place.

"While the plane was in the air, one of the passengers said that there was a bomb on board and asked the plane to not land in Sabiha Gokcen (in Turkey) but rather to land in Sochi," CNN quoted transportation ministry official Habip Soluk as saying.

The Winter Olympics are taking place amid unprecedented security arrangement.
23:20  BJP demands apology from Naveen:  The BJP's unit in Odisha today alleged that the results of Rajya Sabha elections in the state exposed a "secret understanding" between the BJD and the Congress and sought an apology from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for the humiliating defeat of Padma Vibhusan Raghunath Mohapatra in the biennial polls.        

"The Rajya Sabha elections have exposed the secret understanding between BJD and the Congress. This unholy nexus led to the defeat of Mohapatra," BJP state president K V Singh Deo said in a statement.
23:19  Cong trying to influence Prez on Telangana Bill: YSR Congress :  Coming down heavily on the Congress for rushing the Telangana Bill as "if it is a matter of national urgency", YSR Congress Party today said the party's statements on the date of its tabling were tantamount to influencing the President.        

"Congress has been over-enthusiastic on the division process and its statements that the Bill will be tabled in the House on this date amount to influencing the President who is the Constitutional head and is capable of taking decisions on his own," party's deputy floor leader in Assembly Sobha Nagi Reddy told reporters.
23:06  FM satisfied with 4.9% growth, expects better in next fiscal :  Finance Minister P Chidambaram today expressed satisfaction over the growth projections for 2013-14 and exuded confidence that it will improve significantly in the next fiscal. 

Commenting on the CSO figures that projected a growth of 4.9 per cent GDP in the current fiscal, he said, "This means that growth in the second half of 2013-14 has been better than growth in the first half of the fiscal." .
23:05  DERC asks govt to examine ramifications of scrapping licenses:  Delhi's power regulator DERC today asked the AAP government to examine ramifications of possible cancellation of licenses of BSES discoms, particularly about their huge financial liabilities.        

In a letter, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission conveyed to the government that it should examine various issues carefully, including the appointment of administrators in the discoms in the event of suspension of their licensees.        

"A considered view has to be taken as to whether past liabilities of the discoms will stand transferred to the administrator/ state government and the manner in which personnel will be drawn for running the distribution system," the DERC said.
23:04  DMK slams UPA government over service tax for rice :  Slamming the Centre for bringing rice under the ambit of service tax and sparing wheat from it, DMK President M Karunanidhi today questioned the 'north-south' discrimination and asked if those in power at Delhi were not interested in the votes of rice-consuming citizens.        

Those ruling at the Centre seemed to be unnerved by the fact that elections were due soon and were coming out with announcements which were not acceptable to people, he said.        

"One among them is that they have levied service tax on rice, which is the staple food of south (Indians). While rice has been removed (from the list of) agricultural produce, the same has not been done for wheat and it has been given tax exemption. Why this north-south difference," he asked.
23:03  Anuhya case: Cops announce reward for tip-off :  Mumbai police, who are probing the murder of software engineer Esther Anuhya, have "unofficially" announced a Rs five lakh cash reward to anyone providing information about the man spotted with her in a CCTV footage from Kurla Railway Terminus on the day she went missing.        

The blurred photo of the man extracted from CCTV footage has already been distributed among informers.        

A senior Crime Branch officer said, "Informants have been activated and told that they would be rewarded Rs five lakh in cash if their information leads to the arrest of the murderer. Any citizen providing valuable information leading to the accused's arrest will also be rewarded."
22:39  Top Indian weightlifter flunks dope test:  Dope shame returned to haunt Indian weightlifting once again with 2011 Commonwealth Championships gold medallist lifter Rupinder Singh returning positive for an anabolic steroid in the test conducted in December last year.     

Rupinder was among 31 lifters whose urine samples were collected by the National Anti-Doping Agency doctors on December 5 on the request of the Indian Weightlifting Federation.     

He had won a gold in the senior men's +105 kg snatch at the 2011 Commonwealth Championships in Cape Town. He also won a silver each in clean and jerk and total lift.
22:38  SC's bail to Soni Sori: Amnesty asks Chhattisgarh govt to take notes:  Welcoming the Supreme Court's ruling to grant bail to tribal teacher Soni Sori and journalist Lingaram Kodopi, Amnesty International India today said the Chhattisgarh government should take a cue from this and drop all the charges against the duo.        

"This is a very encouraging development and we welcome the Supreme Court's verdict which gives hope to the human rights movement in Chhattisgarh," said Shashikumar Velath, Programme Director at Amnesty International India.
22:37  No cut in auto, bus fares after reduction in CNG price:  The Delhi government today ruled out any cut in autorickshaw and bus fares in the coming days despite a steep reduction of Rs 14.90 per kg in CNG prices in the national capital, even as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced annual revision of auto fares based on inflation.        

"There is no such plan to cut auto and bus fares in the near future," said a government official today.        

CNG price in the national capital was today cut by Rs 14.90 per kg and cooking gas piped into kitchens by Rs 5 per unit with effect from midnight tonight.
22:31  Ready to accept PM post if Cong wins LS polls: Rahul:  Rahul Gandhi today said he was ready to accept the PM's post if the Congress MPs elect him in the event of the party and its allies getting a majority in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.     

Gandhi also said he would not like to be projected as the Congress' prime ministerial candidate as it would be unconstitutional. The party usually doesn't announce its PM nominee ahead of the elections. 

The Congress vice-president expressed these views during an interaction with a select group of people during his visit to Jharkhand today.
21:15  Kejriwal threatens to 'throw out' BSES discoms:   Amid the Delhi government's stand-off with BSES discoms, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said the two companies will be "thrown out" of Delhi if they fail to improve their services and new players will be brought in to replace them.    

At the same time, Kejriwal praised the performance of Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd, saying the discom was doing a "good job" in the city and the government was satisfied with its services.        

"The TPDDL is doing a good job. But Anil Ambani group discoms have not paid their dues to the NTPC. If they fail to ensure better service, they would be thrown out of Delhi and new companies would be appointed," the chief minister said while addressing a rally at Burari.
20:52  BJP to organise 'biggest rally in the history' of UP:  The BJP today claimed that it would organise the "biggest rally in the history" of Uttar Pradesh on March 2.        

The party claimed that the rally, to be addressed by its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, will be attended by nearly 15 lakh people.        

"The BJP has decided to organise Vijay Shanknaad rally of Narendra Modi at the Ramabai Ambedkar maidan which would be the biggest rally in the history of UP and it would also break the myth of BSP of holding big rallies," said Laxmikant Bajpai, state president of the BJP.
20:51  Archana Ramasundaram appointed CBI's Additional Director:  Senior IPS officer Archana Ramasundaram was today appointed Additional Director in the CBI, the first woman to be elevated to this level in the investigation agency.        

It was home coming for Ramasundaram, a 1980 batch officer from Tamil Nadu cadre, who had served in the agency as the deputy inspector general and later as its first woman joint director and handled various cases pertaining to economic offences between 1999 and 2006.        

Her name was strongly recommended by CBI Director Ranjit Sinha to the department of personnel, which oversees the functioning of the agency.
20:50  India, World Bank ink $500 million loan pact :  The government today signed a $500 million loan agreement with the World Bank to improve piped water supply and sanitation services through decentralised delivery systems in the states of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.        

The project will be implemented over a six-year period and will support the design and implementation of a dedicated Rural Water Supply and Sanitation programme for low income states under the ongoing National Rural Drinking Water Programme in the ministry of drinking water and sanitation, the finance ministry said in a statement.
20:46  Telangana Bill to be tabled in Rajya Sabha on February 12:  Minimum changes will be made in the original Telangana Bill, decided the Cabinet.

No Union Territory status will be granted to Hyderabad and the Telangana Bill will be tabled in Rajya Sabha on February 12, said sources.

The Bill will be introduced in Rajya Sabha in the present form while 32 official amendments will be moved by the government.
20:33  1984 riots: Prosecutor to give details of destroyed documents :  A Delhi Court hearing a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case today directed the prosecutor to give details in a week regarding the documents which allegedly have been destroyed by some police officials.

Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau also asked Special Public Prosecutor B S Joon to give details about which documents are missing in riots cases.       

The court fixed February 24 for hearing final arguments on a day-to-day basis in the case registered in 1991 at Nangloi police station with regard to the killing of four persons.
18:59   The Centre has wanted to push the Telangana Bill through before this session of Parliament - the last before the national election - ends on February 21. The Bill will be presented on Monday.
18:50  Union Cabinet clears bill for creation of Telangana state :   Just in: The Union Cabinet clears the draft Telangana Bill for the creation of the separate state of Telangana. The Bill now goes to the Parliament, but the Core Committee is yet to decide whether the Bill will be first presented to the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.

The GoM on Telangana decided on Thursday to place before the Cabinet and Congress leadership a compromise proposal to turn Hyderabad into a Union Territory for 10 years.

The current bill envisages the city as joint capital for Telangana and Seemandhra for the first 10 years after bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. The governor will control the law and order of Telangana. 
18:33  Live! Kiran Kumar Reddy: I'm ready to be sacked for united Andhra:  AP CM Kiran Kumar Reddy says he is ready to be sacked by the party if it means a unified Andhra. The Congress Core Committee which is meeting this evening at 7 Race Course Road to take stock of the Telangana Bill may decide to sack Reddy and eight Congress MPs. 
18:27  Delhi slashes CNG prices, piped cooking gas :  The Delhi government cuts CNG price in Delhi by Rs 14.90 per kg, piped cooking gas cut by Rs 5 per cubic metre. CNG, which used to cost Rs 40 per kg will now cost Rs 25.  
18:03  J-K health minister resigns over allegations of sexual assault :  Jammu and Kashmir's Minister of State for Health Shabir Ahmad Khan on Friday sent his resignation after the party high command asked him to step down. On Thursday evening, police had registered a case against MoS Health for allegedly making sexual advances towards a doctor.
17:50  Live! NO death penalty for Italian marines who killed Kerala fishermen:  Just in: The two Italian marines, accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast, have escaped the death penalty with the Home Ministry agreeing not to press for the capital punishment against them.

The ministry is of the opinion that the duo should be tried under anti-terrorism Suppression of Unlawful Acts against safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act but the provision for death penalty should not be invoked.
17:45   This is the full text of the letter written by Arvind Kejriwal to Lt Gov Najeeb Jung. Read 
17:38  Live! Meri Jung: Open war between Kejriwal-Delhi Lt Gov over Jan Lokpal :  Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today escalated his confrontation with the Congress by asking Lt Governor Najeeb Jung not to protect the interest of Congress and the Home Ministry, which were keen on stalling his government's Jan Lokpal bill.

"Now it is for you to decide whether you will be able to stand up to the pressure or not. You are a genuine person. But I humbly want to suggest to you that you had taken an oath to protect the Constitution and not the interest of any party or the Home Ministry," he said in a strongly-worded letter to Jung.

The letter of Kejriwal, who shares a good equation with Jung, was sharp in tone and came a day after reports emanated that the Lt Governor had sought Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran's opinion on Delhi government's Jan Lokpal bill.

The law officer had conveyed to him that it will be illegal if prior consent was not taken from the Centre. It also came on a day when his party colleague Ashutosh called the Lt Governor a "Congress agent".

Kejriwal raised questions on how the Lt Governor had sought comments from Parasaran on the bill that was sent to him only last evening and shortly later news leaked out about the law officer objecting to it.

"I was surprised when I heard on television last night about SG's opinion. On which bill you had sought SG's opinion as we had sent the draft to you only in the evening and on which bill he had given you opinion," he said.
17:28  Ishrat Jahan case feeble attempt to implicate Gujarat leaders: Jaitley:  "When the alleged encounter of Ishrat Jehan and her associates took place, the UPA-I was already in power.

"In a public interest litigation filed in the Gujarat High Court by her parents, the Union government took a categorical stand that Ishrat was a LeT operative and the alleged encounter of June 15, 2004 was genuine.

"This was when Shri Shivraj Patil was the Home Minister. The change in the Home Ministry led a change in Government's stand. Under Shri P. Chidambaram as the new Home Minister,  the Home Ministry in its affidavit decides to wash its hands off from the encounter.

"It now starts cooperating with the petitioner for probing the entire operation. The political establishment had hoped that its other attempts having failed, probing this could be a case for implication of the political leaders of the Gujarat government."

That's Arun Jaitley on the Ishrat Jehan case. Read
17:22  Executive editor Vinod K Jose tweets: Middle of serious distraction at work, an imp announcement:happy 2 welcome Hartosh Singh Bal on board as political editor of Caravan.
16:56  Sochi Google doodle goes rainbow as search giant tackles anti-gay laws:  Google's logo presented in the colours of the rainbow flag to coincide with the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Read
16:52  Cameron: UK role limited in 1984 Sikh raid:  In a video directed to the Sikh community this week, British Prime Minister David Cameron stressed there was "absolutely no evidence" to show the U.K. was directly involved in a military-run operation in India in 1984, the aftermath of which triggered one of the worst communal riots in the world's largest democracy.  Read more
16:47  Kejriwal promises hike in fares, other sops for autodrivers:   More on Arvind Kejriwal's address today to his large vote bank -- auto drivers. There are nearly 80,000 autorickshaws running in the capital.


Kejriwal today announced annual revision of Auto fares based on inflation, provision for training of drivers by transport department and relaxation in some of the rules for them.

The Aam Aadmi Party had acknowledged their role in its electoral success and promised to address their grievances.

"If inflation increases, auto fares would then be hiked. If inflation declines, auto fares would be reduced by the government," the CM said. He announced that traffic police and transport department would only seize autos which don't have license, permit and fitness.
16:38  Watch: Mother captures daughter experiencing rain for the first time
16:17  AAP has deviated from its path: Ramdev:  And Baba Ramdev claws his way back into the news with AAP. Stating that the Aam Aadmi Party has drifted from its path, yoga guru Ramdev today criticised the party for allying with the Congress despite vehemently opposing it earlier.

Now, AAP will have to suffer the political consequences for "handing over its 'jhadu' (AAP's election symbol broom) in the hands of Congress," he said.

"The Aam Aadmi Party has deviated from its path while talking of fighting corruption and changing the entire system for which it will have to pay a heavy price," Ramdev said.

Claiming to be one of the founders of the anti-corruption movement led by activist Anna Hazare in 2010, he said it subsequently led to the formation of the AAP.
16:16  Here's the picture Dr Kumar Vishwas, who will contesting from the Congress bastion of Amethi tweeted today saying, "Aam Aadmi @ Chappa-Chappa of Amethi." 
16:12  You betrayed us, angry auto-wallahs tell Kejriwal:   Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today confronted an unhappy and vital constituency, auto drivers, who shouted angrily at a gathering that their needs are being ignored by his government.

"You didn't listen to us. You betrayed us" - as these slogans got louder, Mr Kejriwal walked off the stage, without stopping to interact with them has he had planned to. Read more
15:53  In the words of a zealot:  Swami Aseemanand's chilling confession is the first legal evidence of RSS pracharaks' involvement in the Samjhauta Express and 2006 Malegaon blasts. Read the 2011 Tehelka report.  
15:28  Aseemanand, Bengal's gang-rape politics, Reddy and more... :  If you've just joined us, here's a quick recap of the day's news on Rediff.com.

Take a look.
15:23  Cong Core Committee to decide on Kiran Kumar Reddy at 6 pm today:   At 6 pm today, the the Congress Core Committee will meet at 7 Race Course Road to take stock of the Telangana Bill; Jairam Ramesh has been invited to brief the Core Committee. Whether the Core Committee will decide to suspend Kiran Kumar Reddy and eight Congress MPs or will it authorise Sonia Gandhi to take a final decision on Reddy, remains to be seen. 

On Wednesday, Reddy became the second Chief Minister, after Arvind Kejriwal of Delhi, to stage a public protest in the national capital.

If people found Kejriwal's protest unconventional, this one was a step ahead. Reddy was protesting a decision by his own party to split Andhra Pradesh to create Telangana. He has emerged as a rallying force for Congress politicians from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema (collectively called Seemandhra).
15:17  The RSS game plan :   Subramaniam Swamy for the Frontline magazine. "A disillusioned and dispirited RSS has set the ball rolling for mid-term general elections in which it hopes that the BJP will gain an absolute majority and implement the Hindutva agenda." Read his piece written in 2000
15:14  Nido death: Delhi HC pulls up Delhi govt, police over delay in action:  A day after a group of students and professionals from Northeast led a protest march and courted arrest demanding justice for 19-year-old Arunachal boy Nido Taniam, the Delhi High Court on Friday pulled up the Delhi Police and the state government.

The court chided the police after victims' family said that no arrest or progress has been made in the case even after a week.  -- Indian Express

15:06  Mr Spock has lung disease :  Veteran actor Leonard Nimoy, best known as Spock in the 1960s television series Star Trek and a string of feature films that followed, said he was "doing OK" after being diagnosed with lung disease and urged fans to quit smoking. Read more
15:01   Molestation case: Cong asks J-K Minister to resign:   The Congress today asked its minister in Jammu and Kashmir Shabir Khan to resign after he was booked on molestation charges by the police following a complaint by a lady doctor in Srinagar. 
14:40  The Rajya Sabha follows in the footsteps of the Lok Sabha -- it's adjourned for the day. 
14:38  Mohan Bhagwat: The mastermind, or the target?:  Did the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat give his assent to three major terror attacks in 2007, as terror accused Swami Aseemanand claimed to Caravan magazine?

Or was he, in fact, on the hit-list of the Hindu terror brigade?
Read
14:30   Another meeting scheduled for today (at 4:30 pm) is by the Telangana Special Union Cabinet to discuss the Andhra Pradesh Bifurcation Bill. The government is proposing 10 amendments to the Bill, which it hopes will satisfy the Seemandhra region.
14:21  Mob of 150 outside Caravan office:   Vinod K. Jose, executive editor at the Caravan magazine tweets that "a mob of 150 people outside the office and threat calls are being made to its Delhi and Bombay offices.

CNN IBN reports that RSS workers are protesting outside the Caravan office. Copies of the magazine are being burnt.
13:45  Live! SC dismisses NINE pleas challenging bifurcation of Andhra:   The Supreme Court today rejected all nine petitions challenging the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into two states to form a separate State of Telangana.

The request for formation of a separate Telangana was rejected in 1969 and 1972 and the Constitution was amended in 1973 inserting Article 371(D) to provide local reservations for candidates in employment and education to avoid regional imbalances.
13:39  SC to NTPC: Don't disconnect power in Delhi:  In a relief for the citizens of Delhi, the Supreme Court on Friday instructed the NTPC not to act on its threat of cutting power supply to Reliance Infra-run power discoms BRPL and BYPL. Hearing a plea of the BSES whose subsidiaries supply power to nearly 70 percent of the city, the SC said the people of Delhi should not be made to suffer because of the payment dispute between BSES and NTPC. Read more
13:32  German prez meets Kejriwal:  German President Joachim Guack met Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and both leaders are said to have discussed the role of civil society movements in politics in both countries.
13:25  Updates at this hour:

-- The Delhi HC asks the police to publicise the north-east cell and asks if more people from the north-east could be hired.

-- The SC directs NTPC not to cut power supply to BSES till March 26.
13:21  The mail of the finance ministry has been hacked. Updates soon. 
13:04  Look who's supporting Didi for PM! It's Anna Hazare:  In a new partnership, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee might be endorsed by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare as a likely prime ministerial candidate or leader of a non-Congress, non-BJP front. Hazare's move is seen as a response to Trinamool Congress agreeing to support his economic agenda that the Maharashtra-based leader had written about in a letter to the Bengal CM.  Read more
13:00  Modi's rally site had to be guarded against snakes: Parrikar:  The highly guarded rally of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Goa last month had to be protected from the most unexpected threat - snakes.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who hosted the rally, today said that wildlife experts were on guard at that time to ensure that snakes did not run into the crowd during the meeting.

The January 12 rally held at Merces village near Panaji was attended by over a lakh people. "At least two snakes appeared from a burrow during the meeting. We had wildlife experts who caught them right on time and took them away," Parrikar said, while addressing a function organised by the state forest department in the state. 
12:53  SC quashes obscenity case against Sports World:  The Supreme Court has ruled that a picture has to be viewed in the background in which it is depicted, and the message it has to convey to the public should be kept in mind while determining whether it is obscene.

With this ruling, the apex court has quashed a 1993 criminal case filed against a Calcutta magazine for publishing a semi-nude photograph of tennis ace Boris Becker and his then fiance, actress Barbara Feltus. 
Read more
12:50  In election tie, pick winner by lottery: SC :   When both contestants poll the same number of votes, draw lots. That's the solution the Supreme Court came up with recently when it conducted a draw of lots to decide the winner in an election dispute. Read more
12:43   Lok Sabha has been adjourned for the day, Rajya Sabha till 2.30 pm after uproar over Telangana and Tamil fishermen issues.
12:43  When former PM PV Narasimha Rao 'gatecrashed' Satya Nadella's wedding:  The year was 1992. So engrossed was the nation with economic liberalization that nothing else was supposed to matter. In the least, the wedding of Anupama Priyadarshini to her 24-year-old beau, Satya Nadella.

But then, this low-key family affair in New Delhi eventually ended up becoming a talking point, thanks to an illustrious guest who decided to turn up at the venue uninvited. It was the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao. Read more
12:13  Caravan: Aseemanand interview NOT a sting op:  Jose also denied the allegations made by Aseemanand in his letter saying that the reporter had posed as a lawyer. Jose said that interview was not a sting op and Aseemanand willingly agreed to speak to Caravan. 
12:09  Caravan: Aseemanand interview genuine, tapes will be released soon:  Caravan editor Vinod Jose says the story is genuine and the magazine would  release the entire transcript of the tapes of the Aseemanand interview. Jose says the magazine stands by the story and the letter is a spin by the RSS.
12:04  Live! Aseemanand denies giving interview to Caravan magazine:  Swami Aseemanand, accused in the blasts in the Samjhauta Express (February 2007), Hyderabad Mecca Masjid (May 2007) and Ajmer Dargah (October 2007), has denied that he ever gave an interview to the Caravan magazine.

The magazine interview claimed that Aseemanand said that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had "sanctioned' the terror attacks. The report quoted Aseemanand as saying that Bhagwat, then RSS general secretary, told him that the blasts should not be linked to the Sangh. "Aseemanand told The Caravan that Bhagwat said of the violence, 'It is very important that it be done. But you should not link it to the Sangh'," said a press release issued by the magazine on Wednesday.

Aseemanand now says that the reporter had come in the guise of a lawyer and came to meet him in court, reports CNN IBN, which has a hand written copy of the note.  In the note, Aseemanand says he never mentioned Mohan Bhagwat.

Also read the Rediff.com report on Aseemanand: Connecting the terror dots.
11:51  MP govt to light up Naxal-hit villages with solar energy:  The Madhya Pradesh government has approved an ambitious plan to provide electricity in 44 Naxal-hit villages of the state with the help of solar energy. Under the plan, 44 Naxal-affected villages of Balaghat, Shahdol, Umaria, Sidhi and Singrauli districts will be electrified by solar energy with an investment of Rs 37.62 crore.
11:49  eet the Indian son of Bofors:  The son of a gun is named Dhanush. Defence minister A.K. Antony and his cohorts in the armed forces are looking at it longingly. It burst last July in the Rajasthan desert while firing. Dhanush is a derivative of -- you guessed it -- the Bofors. It is in Delhi at the Defexpo 2014, the show billed as a window to the world's largest arms bazaar. Read more
11:39  Three Delhi discoms move a larger HC bench against an order refusing to restrain the government from conducting a CAG audit. The HC will hear the discoms' plea on CAG audit on February 14.
11:27  Live! SC notice to Kejriwal, 3 AAP leaders on complaint by Sibal's son:  Just in: The Supreme Court has slapped a notice against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, and AAP members Manish Sisodia, Prashant Bhushan and Shazia Ilmi on the basis of a defamation complaint filed by Kapil Sibal's son.

Kejriwal had attacked the Law Minister over the Vodafone tax case and said all the corrupt ministers have joined the Group of Ministers on CBI autonomy. "Kapil Sibal says he will sort out the tax liability on Vodafone and Hutchinson in an outside court settlement. We have learnt that Kapil Sibal's son is a Hutchinson's lawyer," Kejriwal had said.

"The question arises whether a portion of Rs 2,000 crore has gone to Sibal."

Prashant Bhushan had noted that Hutchinson was bought by Vodafone in 2007 and most of it was done on capital gains. Vodafone is facing the tax liability of over Rs 11,217 crore for purchase of Hong Kong-based Hutchinson Whampoa's stake in Indian telecom business Hutchison Essar in 2007.
11:16   And here we go, both houses of Parliament have been adjourned till noon over the Telangana issue. 
11:07  Adivasi school teacher Soni Sori can now visit Chhattisgarh:  Adivasi school teacher Soni Sori, who was granted bail by the Supreme Court in November 2013, can now visit Chhattisgarh. Soni was arrested in 2011 on allegations that she had Naxal connections. Sori was released along with her nephew, journalist Lingaram Kodopi. The SC had granted bail on the condition that she would not visit Chhattisgarh.

The Chhattishgarh government had objected to their release, but the top court pointed out that others accused in the case had been given bail.
10:58  Lok Sabha cleared 17% of bills in less than five minutes!:  Don't be surprised if Parliament manages to clear a slew of anti-graft bills, the Telangana Bill or the Communal Violence Prevention Bill despite the din in the next few days of the current session -- 17% of bills, 20 to be precise, were passed by the 15th Lok Sabha with less than five minutes' discussion. Read more
10:34  Jan Lokpal controversy: Kejriwal seeks legal opinion from LG :  Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung seeking legal opinion that Centre must clear the Jan Lokpal Bill before Delhi Assembly.

Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran had reportedly said yesterday that before the Delhi legislature debates or votes on the bill, it must be cleared by the Union home ministry. He said that he has only given his opinion on constitutional grounds and is not bothered about politics.

AAP contests that. Prashant Bhushan said, "In my view it is possible to pass Jan Lokpal without going to the LG or the President."

"The Constitution gives us the right. What the solicitor general has advised and what are the clauses he has cited we have to see, but I would like to say that no one is above and more supreme than an elected government and an elected Vidhan Sabha (legislature) and the Constitution guarantees this," Delhi minister Manish Sisodia told NDTV. 
10:25  India's Shiva Keshavan @ Sochi Olympics but without a flag:  The tri-colour will not furl at the Sochi Winter Olympics, which will begin today. India is not officially represented at the Games a it is suspended by the International Olympic Committee after it refused to ban corruption-tainted officials from running for elections.

However, Indian luger Shiva Keshavan will be participating in the Olympics, but without a flag. He will all race under the Olympic flag in Sochi.

"If I cannot represent the country," Keshavan said, "at least I can represent the countrymen," he told AP.

Image: Shiva Keshavan prepares for the start during the men's luge training at the Sanki sliding center in Rosa Khutor, a venue for the Sochi Olympics    

Photograph: Reuters
09:19  Former air force chief Fali Major named in VVIP chopper scam:  Former Indian Air Force chief Fali Major has been named in the infamous AgustaWestland VVIP chopper, reports CNN-IBN.

The defence lawyers for AgustaWestland's parent company Finmeccanica have brought up the name of  Major and claimed that he accepted the hospitality of the company officials in Italy on his trip to the country.

On Wednesday, former senior Vice President of Agusta, Giacomo Saporano had said that former Air chief SP Tyagi had accepted the firm's hospitality in Italy in 2007.

Fali Major was the air chief from April 2007 to May 2009 and Finmeccanica lawyers are claiming that he knew more about technical specifications since he is a helicopter pilot and hence was being hosted by the firm.
08:35  Polls for Rajya Sabha seats in 4 states today :  Elections in 18 Rajya Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Odisha and West Bengal will take place today. 
08:31  Trinamool leader's 'goons' gang rape 2 in West Bengal:   In Howrah, two women were allegedly gang-raped by seven men, led by a Trinamool Congress leader, reports CNN-IBN.

According to relatives of one of the survivors, the seven men, in a drunk state, barged into her house when no family members were present there and raped her.

The police have arrested seven men and named eight in the FIR.
03:42  Sochi has already shattered an Olympic record; it's the most expensive ever:  
Even before the Olympic torch reached Sochi on Wednesday after a 39,000-mile journey, the longest in the history of the Games -- another Olympic record had already been shattered: the cost of the Games.

The 2014 Winter Games, which open in the Russian city on Friday, will be the most expensive Olympics of all time. The estimated price tag is more than $50 billion, or approximately $510 million for each event.

Hosting the Games is never cheap, but the bill keeps climbing as cities try to outbid one another for a chance to throw an Olympic-size party. To put Sochi in context, consider that in 1984, the Summer Games in Los Angeles cost about $546 million, or $1.2 billion in todays dollars.

The Games are often billed as a boon for the host, a two-week bonanza of tourism and valuable television time. But do host countries really benefit economically?

Read more HERE

03:13  Journalists at Sochi are live-tweeting their hilarious and gross hotel experiences:  
Amid continued debate over whether or not Sochi is prepared to host the 2014 Olympics (here are 15 alarming signs that Russia might not be ready) reporters from around the world are starting to check into local hotels -- to their apparent grief. 

Some journalists arriving in Sochi are describing appalling conditions in the housing there, where only six of nine media hotels are ready for guests. 

Hotels are still under construction. 

Water, if its running, isnt drinkable. 

One German photographer told the AP over the weekend that his hotel still had stray dogs and construction workers wandering in and out of rooms.

Read more HERE
02:52  Pope's Harley fetches Rs 2 crore in auction:  
A Harley-Davidson owned by Pope Francis has been sold for Euro 241,000 (Rs 2 crore)

The motorbike was auctioned in Paris to raise money for a charity for the homeless in Rome.

It was sold to an anonymous phone bidder.

The 1,585cc Dyna Super Glide was signed, but apparently never ridden, by the pontiff. It was given to him in June, to mark Harley-Davidson's 110th anniversary.

The reserve price was a modest 12,000 euros, but Ben Walker, from auction house Bonhams, hinted before the auction that it could sell for more than that.

There were so many bidders there were not enough phone lines to cope and some potential buyers were turned away.

A leather jacket which accompanied the motorbike also sold for Euro 50,000.
02:20  'Uncomfortable' Budweiser won't party in Sochi:  
Budweiser has reportedly dropped its traditional Olympics party spot because the company is uncomfortable with the situation in Sochi.

A representative for Anheuser-Busch confirmed to TMZ that Budweiser's Club Bud party spot will not be in Sochi. While the rep would not give a specific reason for the cancellation, TMZ reported "the company is not comfortable with the situation in Russia" and does not want US brand reps there because "the terrorist threat is simply looming too large."

A media contact for Anheuser-Busch was not immediately available for further comment. The company has brought Club Bud to several Olympics in the past.

A new CNN/ORC poll revealed 57 percent of Americans think a terrorist attack at the Sochi Games is likely. Of the 1,000-plus people polled, 55 percent said they have an unfavorable view of Russia. This number is likely reflective of sentiment regarding the nation's anti-gay laws, CNN noted.

Russia has come under fire for its "homosexual propaganda" law, which makes it illegal to "spread information about non-traditional sexual behavior" to minors.

Read more HERE
02:17  Space rock hits Mars, leaves massive crater:  
This image of a 100-foot crater was snapped by a NASA spacecraft last fall and released this week. The space agency says the impact formed sometime between July 2010 and May 2012, and sent debris as far as 9.3 miles away.

The crater and the big scar around it look blue due to the enhanced image and the removal of dust from the area, the agency said in a press release.

The photo was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Mars is hit by some 200 space rocks per year
02:12  Kenya: Names of 2 other mall terrorists revealed:  
A senior security official in Kenya today disclosed for the first time what authorities believe are the names of two previously unidentified gunmen who carried out the attack on a Nairobi mall, killing at least 67 people, including two Indians. 

The official, who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to give the information, told The Associated Press that the two are Ahmed Hassan Abubakar and Yahye Ahmed Osman. No details on the men were made available. 

Authorities previously revealed the names of two other attackers as Abu Barat Al-Sudani, also known as Mohamed Hassan Dhuhulow, and Mohamed Abdinur Said. Dhuhulow had lived in Norway. 

The Al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the September mall attack, saying it was in revenge for Kenya's military deployment into Somalia. Police and soldiers responded to the attack, which devolved into a protracted multi-day siege that saw huge explosions and a large part of the mall collapse.
02:10  SAC's Martoma found guilty of insider trading:  
A jury found former SAC Capital Advisors LP portfolio manager Mathew Martoma guilty of insider trading, a verdict that burnishes prosecutors' virtually flawless trial record in such cases in recent years and could bolster a related civil case against the firm's founder, Steven A. Cohen.

Martoma was convicted of taking part in what prosecutors say was one of the largest insider-trading schemes ever -- illegal trades on two pharmaceutical companies that helped SAC and its traders book profits and avoid losses worth a total of $276 million.

With the win, the Manhattan US attorney's office has gone 79-0 in securing convictions or guilty pleas in its recent insider-trading crackdown.

"Cheating may have been profitable for Martoma, but in the end, it made him a convicted felon," said Preet Bharara, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a statement.

Martoma looked downcast as the jury read the verdict, while his wife's eyes welled up with tears. She began crying as he escorted out of the courtroom, his arm around her shoulder.

Read more HERE
00:17  India warns US of consequences on visa reform:  
India has warned the United States of consequences for its companies if lawmakers tighten visa rules on high-tech firms as part of an immigration overhaul. 

Ambassador Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said that India would see a decision to restrict certain temporary visas for skilled workers as a sign that the US economy is becoming less open for business. 

"We think this is actually going to be harmful to us. It would be harmful to the American economy and, frankly, it would be harmful to the relationship" between the two countries, Jaishankar told AFP in an interview. 

"Once I feel I'm not getting a fair deal, I am less responsive to the concerns of the other party. Then tomorrow if an American company comes and says, 'You know, we've got this set of problems,' the temptation for me is to say, 'I'm out for lunch,'" he said. 

The Republican leadership of the House of Representatives recently laid out general principles for an overhaul of immigration -- whose main goal would be to give legal status to the estimated 11 million undocumented foreigners in the US.

The Republican leadership of the House of Representatives recently laid out general principles for an overhaul of immigration -- whose main goal would be to give legal status to the estimated 11 million undocumented foreigners in the US. 

A version passed last year by the Senate, which is led by President Barack Obama's Democratic Party, offers automatic immigrant visas for foreigners who earn advanced science degrees at US universities. But it changes rules on so-called H-1B visas, which are issued to skilled workers who come temporarily to the United States. 

The Senate bill, while increasing the overall number of H-1B visas available, would hike fees and restrict additional H-1B visas for companies considered dependent on such foreign workers. The move came after complaints by US companies and labour groups that Indian tech firms bring in their own, lower-paid employees rather than hiring Americans. 

Jaishankar charged that the changes attacked the business model of India's showcase IT industry, which he said was making the US economy more competitive by helping companies operate round-the-clock. 
00:09  T.a.T.u., Pop duo with Lesbian image, set to play at Winter Olympic opening:  
The opening ceremony at the Winter Olympics on Friday will feature floating cathedral domes, giant magic horses, and the music of a Russian pop duo that built its image around being lesbian.

Word of the appearance of the duo, t.a.T.u., has caused a stir given the controversy in recent months over a law that bans so-called gay propaganda among children.

Details of the opening ceremony are a closely guarded secret. But two people familiar with the matter say Russias team will enter the stadium to the music of t.a.T.u, made up of Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova. 

Read more HERE
00:07  Why Sochi has no mosques:  
Russian President Vladimir Putin calls Sochi, site of February's Winter Olympics, "the biggest construction site on the planet," and for good reason. 

Since being awarded the games in 2007, the subtropical Black Sea city has built 442 miles of fiber-optic cables, 200 miles of roads, 55 bridges, 13 train stations, nine hotels for media outlets, six post offices, five schools, a new airport, a $265 million ski jump, a bobsled track, a ski course, two Olympic villages, an 815-acre floating archipelago, and a partridge in a pear tree.

But one item on local residents' wish list was met with a pocket vetoa request to build a mosque for Sochi's 20,000 Muslim residents, many of whom have migrated to the city over the last decade to take jobs building the Olympic facilities.

Read more HERE
00:05  Top headlines at this hour::  Pay up our dues or Delhi plunges into darkness: BSES discoms

No money left to buy Rafale fighters: Antony

Nido case: Northeast MPs meet PM

I-T detects $50 million transfer in Yash Birla probe

Sony sells Vaio; to cut 5,000 jobs globally 

NCAER lowers India's FY'14 growth forecast 

IPL 7 auction: Pietersen in premier list as 514 players named 

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