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LIVE! Vodafone, Airtel win spectrum; Govt gets Rs 61,162 cr

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February 13, 2014


22:22  Swamy seeks massive mandate for Modi:  BJP leader Subramanian Swamy today sought a massive mandate for Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls, saying he is an embodiment of "Hindutwa and economic progress". 

"Now he (Modi) is the embodiment of the Hindutwa and economic progress and we sould go to all our areas and ensure he gets absolute majority," Swamy said at a book release function.
22:12  Modi accuses Centre of ignoring pilgrimage places:  Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said the Indian government had ignored development of pilgrimage places in the country as tourism destinations for the sake of "distorted" secularism. 

Speaking at a 'Pranpratishthan Mahotsav' at the pilgrimage town of Ambaji in Gujarat's Banaskantha district, he said that the development of religious places could have strengthened the Indian economy, but Indian government has had adopted a callous approach toward them.
22:10  Ramesh, Shah in war of words over 2002 riots issue:  Union minister Jairam Ramesh and BJP leader Amit Shah today sparred over 2002 riots in Gujarat with the former suggesting that the Ahmedabad court, which accepted the clean chit given to Narendra Modi by SIT, might be under the influence of the state government.
21:48  Kerry tells N Korea to get 'real':  US Secretary of State John Kerry today welcomed new high-level talks between North and South Korea, while warning Pyongyang against trying to derail an upcoming South Korea-US military exercise. 

Kerry, in Seoul to discuss North Korea's nuclear programme at the start of an Asia tour, stressed the US would never accept the North as a nuclear state and that it would not be drawn into "talks for talks' sake" with Pyongyang.
21:38  Vodafone, Airtel win spectrum; Govt gets Rs 61,162 cr:  Vodafone Group and Bharti Airtel won critical wireless telecom spectrum in metros like Delhi and Mumbai and several other cities in an intensely fought 10- day auction that gave the government over Rs 61,162 crore, far exceeding its own target. 

Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio Infocomm, which surprised by entering the fray despite owing pan-India 4G spectrum, bid aggressively for both the bands of airwaves on offer - the premium 900 Mega-Hertz and not so efficient 1,800 MHz, but choose spectrum only in the later band in 14 out of 22 circles.
21:38  Vodafone, Airtel win spectrum; Govt gets Rs 61,162 cr:  Vodafone Group and Bharti Airtel won critical wireless telecom spectrum in metros like Delhi and Mumbai and several other cities in an intensely fought 10- day auction that gave the government over Rs 61,162 crore, far exceeding its own target. 

Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio Infocomm, which surprised by entering the fray despite owing pan-India 4G spectrum, bid aggressively for both the bands of airwaves on offer - the premium 900 Mega-Hertz and not so efficient 1,800 MHz, but choose spectrum only in the later band in 14 out of 22 circles.
21:24  IndiGo flight makes emergency landing in KL over 'bomb scare':  An Indian airliner was today forced to make an emergency landing in Malaysia after a suspicious package found in a toilet triggered a bomb scare though it later turned out to contain three gold bars. 

The IndiGo flight from Singapore to Chennai carrying 145 people was diverted to Kuala Lumpur after a crew member found the package.
21:20  Siddaramaiah expected to present "pro-people" budget:  Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is expected to present a "pro-people" budget in the Assembly tomorrow, as he braces himself for a major popular test in the Lok Sabha polls whose outcome may have a bearing on his standing within the ruling Congress. 

For a seasoned hand with an enviable record in budget presentation, it will be the ninth budget for Siddaramaiah, who also holds the finance portfolio.
21:05  Suspicious packages sent to British military recruitment offices:  British counter-terrorism police today said they were dealing with a series of suspect packages sent to a string of armed forces recruitment offices. 

Bomb disposal units have been called to deal with the packages, sent to at least six offices in southeast England, with police sources saying there was a "low-level" but "viable" threat. 

Packages have been sent to offices in Aldershot, Chatham, Brighton, Oxford, Reading, Slough.
21:04  Karzai tells US to 'stop harassing' Afghan judicial authority:  Afghan President Hamid Karzai today said Washington should respect his country's judicial authority after the release of 65 alleged Taliban fighters triggered US condemnation. "Afghanistan is a sovereign country. 

If the Afghan judicial authorities decide to release the prisoners, it is of no concern to the US and should be of no concern to the US," Karzai told a news conference in the Turkish capital.
20:26  BJP Modi-Powell meeting as US' 'internal corrective':   Terming Ambassador Nancy Powell's meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi an "internal corrective" of the United States, BJP today attacked the government for the "failure" of its foreign policy that led to some countries deciding not to deal with him.
20:13  The MP, who used pepper spray in LS, once moved a bill to curb unruly behaviour:  In what has to be the irony of ironies, the expelled Congress MP L Rajgopal--the man who shot to infamy after he unleashed a can of pepper spray in Lok Sabha--once wanted stringent steps to curb unruly behaviour in Parliament. 

Rajgopal had successfully introduced a private members bill in the Lok Sabha in 2009 to deal with disruptions by MPs and even suggested a mechanism to penalise them.
20:13  CCS clears Rs 1,800 cr deal for night-vision equipment in Army:  The Cabinet Committee on Security has cleared a proposal worth over Rs 1,800 crore for procuring night-vision equipment in a bid to enhance performance of the Army's tank fleet at night. 

The Army's proposal for procuring TIFCS (Thermal Imaging Fire Control System) for the T-90 and T-72 tanks was cleared by the CCS headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in its recent meeting, government sources told PTI here.
20:03  YSR Cong callas for Andhra Pradesh bandh tomorrow:  YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy has called for a bandh in Andhra Pradesh on Friday against the creation of Telangana, NDTV reports.
19:27  Just in: The Lok Sabha secretariat has clarified that 16 MPs have been suspended over today's ruckus over the Telangana Bill.  
18:41  Good time to read Pritish Nandy's column on the power of disruption. Read 
18:33  Keshubhai resigns due to 'age and physical inability':  Keshubhai Patel (86), who submitted his resignation before the Speaker of Gujarat assembly today, said this in a statement: "Due to (old)age and physical inability I have not been able to actively give justice to my responsibilities as Visavdar MLA, therefore I accept moral responsibility and resign today."
18:27  15th LS going to enter record books for no good reason: Omar:  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said the 15th Lok Sabha was going to enter the record books but for no good reason, apparently referring to the unruly scenes in the Lower House of Parliament over the Telangana issue.

"So the 15th Lok Sabha is going to be one for the record books and for absolutely no good reason whatsoever," Omar Tweeted.

In a new low in India's parliamentary history, pepper spray was used in the Lok Sabha resulting in hospitalisation of three MPs following a ruckus over introduction of the Telangana bill after which 18 Seemandhra MPs were suspended.
18:16  Publish and perish:  In a distressing pattern that has come to define the fate of publishing in India, another book whimsically determined to have transgressed cultural sensitivities, has been withdrawn from circulation.

Bowing to the diktats of a Delhi-based Hindutva group, Penguin Books India has agreed, in an out-of court- settlement, to recall, pulp and destroy all copies of Indologist Wendy Doniger's 2009 bestseller, The Hindus: An Alternative History.  Read
18:14  Sonia worse than Hitler: Jagan on T-Bill ruckus:  YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy has charged that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had 'behaved worse than German dictator Adolf Hitler and that her actions, which had led to such trouble in Andhra Pradesh, reflected in Parliament on Thursday.  Read
18:13  Hating Wendy:  Devdutt Pattanaik responds to the decision by Penguin to withdraw and pulp Wendy Doniger's book The Hindus: An Alternative History. Read
18:12  4 MPs in hospital after Parliament pepper attack :  Three MPs were today rushed to a hospital in Delh as they complained of choking and burning eyes after a pepper spray attack by a member during introduction of Telangana Bill in Lok Sabha while another MP was admitted for a heart condition after he collapsed following the fracas.

The pepper spray assault by Congress MP L Rajagopal left several MPs and parliamentarians coughing and teary-eyed and three MPs had to be rushed to the nearby Ram Manohar Lohia hospital.

Later, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP Narayana Rao, who was opposing the Telangana bill, collapsed in the Lok Sabha and was rushed to the same hospital.

"He came to the casualty with complaints of palpitation and uneasiness following which he was examined by a team of physicians and cardiologists. His blood pressure and pulse rate was found to be very high. He was resuscitated in the RR room and has now been shifted to coronary care unit (CCU)," said Dr H K Kar, medical superintendent of RML hospital.

He said Rao had undergone angiography a week back at a hospital in Hyderabad and was advised bypass surgery.

"He was advised bypass surgery. Now based on the report we are yet to decide whether we should give him stents or do a bypass surgery on him.

"His condition is being constantly monitored by a team of cardiologists," said Kar.

Doctors at RML attended to the three MPs, Vinay Kumar Pandey, MP of Uttar Pradesh, Ponnam Prabhakar, Congress MP from Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh and Union Minister Porika Balram Naik, MP of the Mahabubabad Constituency who were rushed to hospital from Parliament.
18:10  Despite Narendra Modi's chai, Arvind Kejriwal seems to have more in his social cup. Here is why. Read
17:45  Sunetra Choudhury tweets: My friend a bureaucrat from andhra just called to say they're calling L Rajagopal `Bhagat Singh' back there. Alright, then!
17:42  LIVE! Kejriwal blames chaos in Delhi Assembly to Cong-BJP nexus :  Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal says the chaos in the assembly today clearly shows the nexus between the BJP and the Congress. Reading out the riot act, Kejriwa said the Congress and the BJP are hand-in-glove with each other and what happened today shows match fixing. "The Congress is not supporting the AAP, but the BJP," said Kejriwal.

Chaos prevailed in the Delhi Assembly today with BJP legislators demanding Law Minister Somnath Bharti's resignation for his controversial midnight raid on a building in south Delhi in January.

The four-day assembly session, which began today, has been called for passage of contentious anti-corruption legislation Jan Lokpal Bill and Swaraj Bills by the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government.

However, attention shifted towards the Law Minister as all BJP legislators started protesting and trooped into the well of the House demanding his resignation.

RP Singh, a BJP legislator from Rajinder Nagar constituency, was seen tearing some papers and throwing them towards Bharti.

Amid chaos, the House was adjourned twice."Unless the Law Minister is sacked, we will not let the House function," BJP leader Harsh Vardhan said.
17:33  T S Sudhir: When 3 states were formed, laddoos were distributed in both parent state and new state. 14 years on, pepper spray has replaced laddoo in AP.
17:25  Second giraffe named Marius at risk of being put down in Denmark:  Jyllands Park zoo says it may kill male giraffe to make way for female, days after death at Copenhagen zoo sparked outcry. Read
17:19  'People must realise division of Andhra is a painful issue':  While bifurcation is a painful issue for many, one must understand it is the way forward, Union Minister of State for Finance J D Seelam tells Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa. Read
17:17  Fake encounters: The expendable Kashmiri:  How do we get to a situation where it's alright for soldiers to go scot-free after committing premeditated murder? An essay on Kashmiri killings. Read
17:10  Exclusive: How Congress pre-planned the action-drama today:  A Congress MP tells Rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt the Congress plan to protect the Speaker and home minister and provide muscle to push through the tabling of the Telangana bill in Parliament. Read
17:08  A People and Their Karma:  Tunku Varadarajan on the Wendy Doniger issue. A militant Hindu once hurled an egg at the author as she lectured in London. He missed. Read
17:02  Marines issue bilateral: says UN chief; fury in Italy:  In a blow to Italy's attempt to internationalise the case of two Italian marines being tried in India for killing two fishermen, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked Rome to resolve the issue bilaterally.

"It's better for the question to be addressed bilaterally, rather than with the involvement of the UN," Ban was quoted as saying by Italian news agency ANSA, sparking fury in Italy.

His comments came a day after Italy petitioned the UN over the trial of the marines under a strict anti-piracy law and vowed to exercise "all options" to bring back its personnel.

Foreign Minister Emma Bonino told Italian parliament that she felt "great bitterness and perplexity" that Ban said the case was a "bilateral" issue. She, however, added that Ban "guaranteed me comprehension and assured he would subsequently take action with the Indian authorities" over the case.

Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone shot dead two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012, sparking diplomatic tensions between India and Italy.
16:48  Parliament pandemonium exposes Congress's incompetence :  BJP senior leader Arun Jaitley's blog of the day, this time of the horror in Parliament. Read
16:43  Hinduism a way of life, charge of extremism only to tarnish RSS' image: Ram Madhav:  Citing a 1995 judgement by a Supreme Court bench on Hindutva, the RSS today said the term "Hindu terrorism" was coined by certain sections with an objective to "malign" the image of RSS.

"To call Hindu a terrorist is a glaring contradiction. This term is floated only to malign this organisation," RSS spokesman Ram Madhav said today.

"Since 2008, some members of the community have been arrested in at least five cases pertaining to terrorism "but as no chargesheet is filed in any of these cases, none of the arrested persons could get bail", Ram Madhav said.

He said the RSS has been working with a goal to ensure "unity" of the country.

"Former Chief Justice of Supreme Court Gajendragadkar in 1966 and Justice J S Verma in 1995 had explained in their detailed judgements that Hinduism is the way of life," Ram Madhav said.
16:37  Anna to campaign for Mamata:  While you digest Mr L Rajagopal's unapologetic statement, Anna Hazare has said that he will campaign for Mamata Banerjee during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The TMC chairperson will meet Anna for talks in Delhi.

Hazare said that although he sent a 17-point charter to all chief ministers in the country, Mamata was the only one who agreed to accept it. "Mamata is an excellent leader. She leads a very simple life", said Hazare.
16:34   Unapologetic MP L Rajagopal says he will use pepper spray again if he is attacked. "The Congress must realise its mistake in trying to bulldoze the passage of the bill," he said. "Govt does not have the time to sit with its own MPs, they want to sit with the opposition," he says. 
16:34   I used pepper spray in self defence: L Rajagopal:   Congress MP L Rajagopal's first statement since he used pepper spray inside the Lok Sabha.

Speaking to TV channels he said he always carries pepper spray for self defence. "I used the pepper spray when I was attacked by TDP MPs. Pepper spray is not a lethal weapon. And if they have suspended me, they should suspend all those who rushed to the well of the house."

And for good measured, he added: "The government should be ashamed of what happened in Parliament today."
16:16  AAP slams Jung for not disclosing association with Ambani:   The Aam Aadmi Party today fired a fresh salvo against Delhi's Lt Governor Najeeb Jung for not making public his association with Mukesh Ambani headed Reliance Industries.

Attacking Jung over the Reliance Gas issue, party spokesperson Ashutosh said that Jung had worked with the "Ambanis" in the past and he should have posted these facts on his website.

"Lt Governor Jung had worked with Ambanis in London, in India, was part of his think tank. Why these facts are not posted on LG's official website!" he tweeted.

This is the third time since last week that AAP has hit out at the Lt Governor. Incidentally, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in his interview to PTI last week, had said that he did not approve Ashutosh calling Lt Governor a "Congress agent". "I think we should be careful with our words. There could be anguish in the minds of some of our party leaders, but whatever be the intensity of our anguish we should mind our words," he had said.
16:10  Obama spent Rs 3.4 cr on dinner for Manmohan, costliest since 2009 :   US President Barack Obama has spent a whopping $ 1.55 million or Rs. 9.3 crore on five of his state dinners since 2009, with the most expensive of them being the first one hosted in honour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Records from the State Department Office of Protocol, whose budget covers state dinners, show they can cost taxpayers in excess of half a million dollars per event, CBS News reported.

In response to a Freedom of Information request to which it took the State Department 13 months to respond, CBS News has obtained the Office of Protocol's expense calculations for the first five state dinners of the Obama presidency.

The Obama administration spent $ 572,187.36 or Rs. 3.4 crore for the State Dinner for Dr Singh at the White House on November 24, 2009.
-- MSN News.
15:59  'Telangana Bill was NOT introduced':  Just in: Leaders of BJP, SP, BJD, CPI and TMC meet Lok Sabha Speaker saying they do not accept that Telangana bill was introduced.
15:42  Medha Patkar to contest polls from Maharashtra :  Just in: Activist Medha Patkar has decided to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Yesterday, AAP said it was willing to extend its full support to Patkar if she contests the Lok Sabha polls.

"If she (Patkar) wants to contest Lok Sabha polls, our party will extend its support to her. Now it is upto her to decide on whether she wants to contest elections", senior party leader and Political Affairs Committee (PAC) Sanjay Singh said on Wednesday.

"Even if she wants to contest as an independent, we will extend our full support to her," Singh said. Although the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader has extended her support to the party, she is yet to join it. She is also a part of National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM)
15:36  Ratnakar Sadasyula tweets: So 18 MPs suspended, 3 from T region, and 15 from Seemandhra, very, very democratic.
15:34  'If PM's heart bleeds at Parl proceedings, crores of hearts bleed over Telangana':  Andhra Pradesh CM Kiran Kumar Reddy hits out at the PM. He said if the PM's heart was bleeding watching the disruption of Parliament proceedings, he should understand how crores of hearts are bleeding over the Telangana Bill. He said the Bill was introduced in an undemorcatic manner. "Quitting is an option, but I will discuss the matter with MPs and MLAs," said Reddy. 
15:22  Elections may force IPL7 out of India to S Africa:   The seventh edition of the high-profile Indian Premier League could be shifted to South Africa due to the security concerns posed by the upcoming General Elections, the dates of which are clashing with the event.

The Indian Premier League Authorities will be meeting Home Ministry officials next week and a final decision on the venue and the exact schedule is expected to be taken in the coming 10 days. The general elections are scheduled to be held in April-May.

"We are considering so many options. We are meeting the Home Ministry officials and the Home Minister (Sushil Kumar Shinde) to know the possible dates on which we can accommodate (the IPL) in India as far as possible, we are keen holding the matches in India. If not, South Africa is the preferred destination. But also the second and third options are open," IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal said.

Also read: And Sri Lanka is also an option.
15:15  Lok Sabha adjourned till Monday.
14:57  Maha govt gives Raj a pacifier: New toll policy soon:  Apparently resorting to a pacifier after the MNS agitation on toll collection, the Maharashtra government today assured party chief Raj Thackeray that it would draft a new policy on the issue before the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections comes into force.

Chavan also said that the state transport buses would be exempted from toll, so that the common man does not bear the brunt of the cost.
14:55  Lok Sabha set to resume at 3 pm. Get set for more drama or a quick adjournment. Or both.
14:54  LS Candidates' poll expense ceiling goes up to Rs 40 Lakh:  The candidates contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls will now be able to spend Rs 40 lakh , an increase of Rs 15 lakh from the last poll expenditure limit.
14:51  Iran's dead poets society :  The execution of Hashem Shabaani shows the pen can be mightier than the sword. Read Robert Fisk's column. 
14:49  Arundhati Roy to Penguin India: 'You owe us writers an explanation':  'The elections are still a few months away. The fascists are, thus far, only campaigning. Yes, it's looking bad, but they are not in power. Not yet. And you've already succumbed?'

Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy writes an anguished open letter to her publishing house Penguin India, which agreed to withdraw and pulp all copies of Wendy Doniger's The Hindus: An Alternative History, following a legal suit.

Read
14:44  How it feels to be diagnosed with cancer...:  In January author Henning Mankell was diagnosed with cancer in his neck and a lung. In the first of an occasional series he describes his initial shock, and the agonising wait for the treatment to start. Read
14:41  How Gandhi made it to the police headquarters in Germany. Read
14:40  Penguin's day in court :  "It seems peculiarly abject and worrying when giant global publishers capitulate at the first sign of legal or extra-legal intimidation."
Mukul Kesavan on Penguin pulping Wendy Doniger's Hindus
14:26  2002 Gujarat riots: SC extends interim bail of Maya Kodnani:  The Supreme Court today extended interim bail of former Gujarat minister and a convict in 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case Maya Kodnani till Monday.

Kodnani has filed the petition challenging the February 8 order of the Gujarat High Court declining to extend her three-month temporary bail granted on medical grounds in November last.

She had sought extension of bail by 180 days.

Kodnani, one of the 32 persons convicted in the Naroda Patiya massacre case, is also facing a criminal trial in the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case.

In Naroda Patiya, 97 persons were killed whereas in Naroda Gam, 11 persons were killed by mobs on February 28, 2002. In Naroda Patiya case, she has been awarded life imprisonment.
14:24  TDP member K Narayana Rao rushed to RML Hospital as he collapsed in Lok Sabha after apparently consuming something, reports PTI. 
14:20  India's urban work boom is leaving women behind:  Under India's labour laws, women engaged in "informal" work - such as domestic work - have few workplace rights. This makes it harder for women to have sustainable jobs, let alone a career. Read
14:19  Filling the gaps :  The history of our freedom struggle is beginning to be more inclusive. Thanks to Jamia Millia Islamia which has just brought out a first-of-its-kind book on freedom fighters from Meghalaya. Read
14:17  The Great Indian racist:  We can be outraged by the racism in India only when we begin to accept that cultural and ethnic contamination is the overriding theme of our identity.
Read
14:16  The seamlessness of difference:  The Lok Sabha will reconvene at 3 pm. Till then, here are some other reads:

Both Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal appeal to the popular in its raw and undiluted form. While Mr. Modi champions the majoritarian instinct in the popular, Mr. Kejriwal takes recourse to the symbolism of the aam aadmi that is also constructed as a majority. Read
14:12   Speaker Meira Kumar has suspended pepper-spray MP L Rajagopal, YSR chief Jagan Mohan Reddy and 15 other MPs involved in ruckus in Parliament today.

The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 3pm.
14:05  Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day:  Rajya Sabha has been adjourned for the day. The Upper House saw uproarious scenes earlier in the day with members of TDP and AIADMK positioning themselves in the Well even before Chairman Hamid Ansari called the House to order.

Opposing division of Andhra Pradesh, two TDP members carrying 'Save Andhra Pradesh' banners and the lone Congress member with 'We Want United Andhra Pradesh' poster stood right below the podium.

They were countered by Congress members, who moved into the aisles carrying 'We Want Telangana' posters. DMK members too were in the Well raising the issue of Tamil fishermen. They held 'Save Tamil Fishermen' banners.
14:01  YSR Cong chief Jaganmohan Reddy questions the way Telangana bill was introduced in LS, says he will move court.
13:54  Cong planting stories against me, says knife-brandishing MP:   M Venugopal Reddy, the TDP MP from Seemandhra told Rediff.com that Jairam Ramesh, Rajiv Shukla and Kamal Nath were planting stories against him.

He said he believes in Parliamentary democracy and would never ever carry a knife inside the Lok Sabha. He said he was carrying a broken mike and that's being dubbed as knife because Congress leaders were frightened. He told Rediff.com that he felt ashamed that MPs were told to do a marshall's job.  
13:46  LIVE! Speaker: DON'T think Telangana Bill was tabled :   Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar says she will consult leaders for initiating action against those involved in the fracas.

But more importantly she raised doubts on whether the Bill had been tabled at all.

"Lok Sabha secretariat said Telangana Bill was introduced, but I don't think it was tabled. I believe this was the gameplan," she said.

The BJP also said the Bill was not table. Sushma Swarja said no papers were given, no information on supplementary agenda was given. "We had told the PM that the bill should not be tabled amid a din. We want the Congress to take action against the Andhra CM. We will not talk to the govt in any form," said Sushma Swaraj. 
13:35  Sushma Swaraj says what happened in Parliament is a Congress conspiracy. 
13:29  LIVE! Pained Speaker says Congress solely responsible for Parl horror today:   The TDP MP who brandished a knife, now says he will complain as MPs beat him up in the House.

The BJP and Sushma Swaraj says the Congress is solely responsible for what happened in the house today.
13:24  Speaker: I'm aggrieved, what happened is a blot on democracy:   TDP MP Venugopal Reddy says he was waving a microphone, not a knife inside Parliament. Kamal Nath says action will be recommended to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on the issue. "It is her prerogative to take action," he said.

Speaker Meira Kumar emerges from Parliament looking disturbed. She says what has happened today is a blot on Parliamentary democracy and said she was extremely aggrieved and in pain.
13:05  The smell of the pepper spray even felt outside the House, say MPs. The home minister has promised to take action against Rajagopal and other erring MPs.
13:02  CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta wants L Rajagopal arrested for using pepper spray in Parliament. 
13:01  Union minister Kamal Natha said the government, Home Ministry and police will take action in accordance with the directions of the Speaker.
12:59  Amid all this chaos and anarchy, it was a blink and miss situation when the Telangana Bill was in fact tabled. But Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde confirms that the Bill was introduced and said "it is now the property of the House."
12:56  Strongest possible action will be taken against MPs: Govt :  Kamal Nath says he will recommend the strongest possible action against the
members to the Speaker. Speaking outside the Parliament House, he said, "I am told that knives, pepper powder and other weapons were brought into the House."
12:49  Attempt to kill members, says MP Rajiv Shukla:   Parliamentary Affairs minister Kamal Nath says the incident is a big blot on democracy, but when asked about how a knife and a pepper could have been got inside Parliament, he said MPs are not allowed to be frisked.

Union Minister Rajiv Shukla said strong action would be taken against erring MPs as it was an attempt to "kill" members.

In the clashes, a computer was flung and broken.
12:41  This TDP MP brandished knife inside Parl when Telangana Bill was tabled:  A Parliament doctor was immediately rushed inside the Lok Sabha after the spray incident. The impact of the spray was so severe that mediapersons in the press gallery atop the Chair started coughing.

And some more... A TDP MP Venugopal brandished a knife inside the House, but other MPs held him back.
12:35  Pepper spray despite unprecedented security:  The pepper spray incident occurred despite unprecedented security in Parliament after a suicide threat by an MP.

Fire extinguishers and blankets had been kept ready in Parliament after a Congress MP allegedly threatened to set himself afire to protest against Telangana.

No visitors were allowed in the Parliament House and even those entering the press galleries were put through rare checks.

Sources say security personnel are also cautious about protesting MPs carrying any suspicious objects, though they cannot frisk them.

And that is precisely how the pepper spray entered Parliament. Will this mean MPs will now be frisked? Unlikely.
12:30  TDP MP Venugopal Reddy breaks mike on Secretary General's table in Lok Sabha.

Incidentally, L Rajagopal also smashed glass on the table. 
12:29  Rajagopal had to be rescued by watch and ward staff after he was attacked by other members after the spraying.
12:29  Action will be taken against Rajagopal: MHA:   MoS Home RPN Singh says the speaker has assured that appropriate action will be taken against Rajagopal. The MP had in fact said, before the session began today, that he would not allow the Bill to be tabled.

In a 2011 Rediff.com report, Lagdapati Rajagopal declared that he owned total property worth Rs 122 crore.

The face of 'United Andhra' movement to counter the intensifying agitation for a separate Telangana state, Rajagopal is the founder the Lanco Group which has interests in construction, power, engineering and infrastructure.
12:24  3 MPs taken away in ambulances after pepper spray attack:   L Rajagopal, the MP from Vijaywada, who used the pepper spray, is also believed to have been injured.

Three MPs were taken away in ambulances brought to the Parliament. Some MPs allegedly hit each other inside the Lok Sabha.

MPs say they are saddened and it's unthinkable that this should have happened.
12:17  In the Rajya Sabha, Seemandhra MPs threw papers and snatched away the deputy chair's microphone. 
12:16  Marshals had to be brought in as MPs came to blows in the Lok Sabha. MPs say they experienced severe coughing and a burning sensation in the eyes.

Parliament has been adjourned till 2 pm.  
12:14  MP uses pepper spray in Lok Sabha as Telangana Bill is tabled :  The Telangana Bill tabled in Lok Sabha, but the House has been adjourned.
In the LS, MP L Rajagopal is believed to have sprayed something like a pepper spray in the house leading to chaos. MPs were coughing and choking in the house. Marshals had to overpower MPs in the Lok Sabha. MPs do not have to go through a pat down while entering Parliament.

In the Rajya Sabha, Seemandhra MPs break the Speaker's microphone.

Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien ‏tweets: Ugly scenes in Central Hall... Dozens of MPs screaming at each other.Unreal...
12:08  Veteran filmmaker Balu Mahendra passes away in Chennai:  Veteran filmmaker Balu Mahendra passes away in Chennai. He was suffering from age-related diseases. Mahendra was born on 20 May 1939 in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka developed an interest towards photography at a very early age when his father had gifted him a camera. But his passion towards cinema started taking shape after watching David Lean's making of The Bridge on the River Kwai.  Read more
11:58  Salman Khurshid: I am not a visa officer of the US:  Rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt reports on External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's first reactions to the US breaking bread with Narendra Modi on Thursday:

"I am not a visa officer of the US. The US is liberal, values human rights and we have a huge strategic commonality. Their assessment of any Indian politician is their business, not mine.

"Humne America se ye nahin puchha ab tak aap kyon nahin mile?" said Khurshid, denying that Modi was getting more international recognition, and added that there are historical truths about the 2002 Gujarat riots. "Let the US take out that page of history."
11:51  Minutes before Telangana Bill is to be tabled in Parl, 4 Cong MLAs resign:  Even as the Telangana Bill is expected to be tabled in the Lok Sabha at noon today, four Congress MLAs from Seemandhra resign from the party.  
11:48  What more does a man need than tea?:  Laxmi and Saraswati do not get along. Wise words from an old man who came to drink Narendra Modi's tea. Read more on Modi's Chai pe Charcha. 
11:42  The seamlessness of difference:  Both Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal appeal to the popular in its raw and undiluted form. While Modi champions the majoritarian instinct in the popular, Kejriwal takes recourse to the symbolism of the aam aadmi that is also constructed as a majority. Read more
11:34  Bureaucrat claims Chidambaram humiliated him over 'poor' English:   Urban development secretary Sudhir Krishna has lodged a complaint against finance minister P Chidambaram for humiliating him at a high level meeting last Thursday.

In a letter addressed to urban development minister Kamal Nath on the same day, Krishna said the incident took place at a meeting called to discuss release of additional central assistance for Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. The projects which were approved are awaiting release of funds by the finance ministry.  Read more
11:27  Both houses of Parliament adjourned till noon after uproar over Telangana and other issues. 
11:22  The Modi-Powell meeting: 'Der aaye, durust aaye':  The US has taken the first step to open its channels of communications with a leader it had so far refused to engage with, at least openly. Rediff.com's Upasna Pandey reports.
11:21  US embassy press release after Modi meet :  The US embassy's press release post the Narendra Modi meet.

"The US US Ambassador Nancy J. Powell today met with Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Gandhinagar. 

This meeting was part of the US Mission's outreach to senior leaders of India's major political parties in advance of the upcoming national elections. 

During her visit to Gujarat, Ambassador Powell will meet with representatives from non-governmental organizations and U.S. and Indian businesses.

Her discussions focus on the importance of the US-India relationship, regional security issues, human rights, and American trade and investment in India.  

The United States and India are moving forward with a strategic partnership that is broad and deep. 

Starting last November, Ambassador Powell has shared and listened to views on the US-India relationship. 

She continues to emphasize that the US-India partnership is important and strategic, and that the United States looks forward to working closely with the government that the Indian people choose in the upcoming elections."
11:13  AAP govt not to table Jan Lokpal Bill in Delhi Assembly today:  In a dramatic turnaround, Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government will not be tabling the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly, reports said on Thursday. The report said that the AAP government will distribute the copies of the bill to all the lawmakers before tabling it. 
Read more
11:08  Indian Penny-wise League :  Sparks did fly and the price for Yuvraj Singh did shoot up but the cash cannon did not boom as loud as it did in the head-spinning days three years ago. The first round of the IPL auction today clocked a record price for an individual with Bangalore scooping up Yuvraj for Rs 14 crore. The previous auction record was held by Kolkata Knight Riders' Gautam Gambhir at Rs 10.8 crore.  Read more
11:02  AP bandh over Telangana Bill in LS paralyses normal life:  The Telangana Bill is to be tabled in the Lok Sabha today. In Andhra Pradesh, normal life was thrown out of gear in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions due to a bandh called against the Centre's move to table the Telangana Bill in Parliament today.

The TDP, YSRCP activists and other united Andhra supporters held rallies at several places in the two regions against the state's division.

They squatted in front of the bus stations and prevented the buses from plying on the roads.

Schools, colleges and other educational institutions remained shut at many places with the pro-united Andhra employees also taking part in the agitation. Attendance in government offices was thin.

The bandh call was given by the Andhra Pradesh Non Gazetted Officers Association against the Centre's plan to table the Bill in Lok Sabha.
10:54  LIVE! Fire extinguishers, blankets in Parl for MP on suicide bid :   Unprecedented precautions are being taken in Parliament as the government decides on whether to introduce the controversial Telangana bill in the Lok Sabha today.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is meeting top ministers to discuss the tabling of the bill to create the new state by dividing Andhra Pradesh, which has led to angry protests in Parliament.

The bill has not been listed and the Centre will reportedly first assess the situation.

"We are still discussing whether to bring the bill today or on Monday," said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath. No visitors will be allowed in Parliament House today and fire extinguishers and blankets are being kept on the ready after after a Congress MP allegedly threatened to set himself afire.
10:39  Andhra bandh paralyses life in Hyderabad:  Normal life was thrown out of gear in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh due to a bandh called against the Centre's move to table the Telangana Bill in Parliament today. 

The TDP, YSRCP activists and other united Andhra supporters held rallies at several places in the two regions against the state's division. 

They squatted in front of the bus stations and prevented the buses from plying on the roads. Schools, colleges and other educational institutions remained shut at many places with the pro-united Andhra employees also taking part in the agitation. Attendance in government offices was thin. 

The bandh call was given by the Andhra Pradesh Non Gazetted Officers Association against the Centre's plan to table the Bill in Lok Sabha. 
09:27  Raj Thackeray meets Maharashtra CM over toll troubles:  Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday met Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray to find a way out over the MNS's protests on the issue of toll collection.

Thackeray was detained on Wednesday for a short period after his party workers staged a rasta roko across Mumbai to demand accountability in the process of toll collection.

He was released soon and the Maharashtra government invited him to hold talks to resolve the issue.
09:18  'Obama should care about creating jobs in Bangalore' :  Given the strategic relationship between India and the US and the strong business ties between the two countries, US President Barack Obama should care about creating jobs in both Bangalore and Buffalo and not only the latter, a former NASSCOM chairman told an American federal body.        

"In reality, the US should care about creating jobs in Buffalo and Bangalore '" truly a win-win approach," former NASSCOM chairman and former CEO of MphasiS Jerry Rao said in his testimony before the US International Trade Commission, which  held a hearing on Trade, Investment and Industrial Policies in India: Effects on the US Economy.
09:14  Nehru Place, Lamington Road top piracy hubs: US:  The US has identified Nehru Place and Gaffar Market in New Delhi, along with four others in India, as "notorious markets" in global piracy and violation of intellectual property rights. 

Manish Market and Lamington Road in Mumbai, and Chenoy Trade Centre and Hong Kong Bazar in Hyderabad are the other four "notorious markets" identified by the US Trade Representatives in its report. 

"Nehru Place continues to be a prominent example of the numerous markets in major cities throughout India that are known for dealing in large volumes of pirated software, pirated optical media containing movies and music, and counterfeit goods," said the report on notorious markets.
09:11  USIBC urges India, US to strengthen partnership :  The US India Business Council has urged New Delhi and America to take steps to strengthen the bilateral trade relationship to realise their "true business potential".        

During his testimony before the US International Trade Commission on Trade, Investment, and Industrial Policies in India: Effects on the US Economy, USIBC President Ron Somers will call on both countries to overcome challenges and strengthen their partnership, a media release said.        

"This will pave the way for the world's two largest free-market democracies to shape the destiny of the 21st century -- for the better," Somers said in his prepared testimony, according to the release.
03:41  Italian PM Enrico Letta's government in danger of collapse:  

The government of embattled Italian prime minister, Enrico Letta, looked close to collapse as he dug in his heels in the face of an increasingly formidable threat to his premiership from the leader of his centre-left party. Letta insisted it was "not in [his] DNA" to break with the agenda of his government and challenged Italy's political players '" chiefly Matteo Renzi, his ambitious young rival '" to "lay their cards on the table".

 

Less than 10 months after it was born from the inconclusive mess of last February's general elections, Letta's coalition government appears close to collapse as long-running criticisms of its lacklustre record gathered force, putting Renzi, the 39-year-old mayor of Florence, in a leading position to take over as prime minister in an election-free process branded by the media as la staffetta '" the relay.

 

The situation was opaque and the likely outcome of the power struggle unclear . The large national committee of the Democratic Party (PD) was due to meet on Thursday to deal with the issue, possibly even putting it to a vote. Giorgio Napolitano, the 88-year-old president whose role it is to appoint prime ministers, has made it clear that the party must give a clear sign of what it wants.

 

Read more on The Guardian

03:40  Inside Joseph Stalin's Sochi home:  

He didn't like carpets, he banned portraits and enjoyed a cinema room in his dacha. Welcome to the former holiday home of Joseph Stalin -- the Soviet leader who helped make Sochi what it is today.

 

Read the full story on CNN

03:38  Obama sued over extent of NSA spying:  

Rand Paul v. Barack H. Obama.

 

That's the name of a lawsuit the Kentucky senator announced Wednesday against President Barack Obama and national security officials over government surveillance.

 

"We don't do this out of disrespect to anyone we do this out of respect to the Constitution," Paul said at a news conference. Paul's class-action suit, filed in federal court in Washington, was spurred by Edward Snowden's public disclosure last year that the NSA had gathered information on nearly every telephone call made in the United States since 2006.

 

At a news conference, Paul called the legal challenge "an important first step" to ending the program that sweeps up numbers and other information known as metadata.

 

Read more on CNN

03:36  Boston bombings: Nov trial date set for Tsarnaev:  

A judge has set a November trial date for Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev, rejecting defence lawyer pleas for more time. The accused has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges, of which 17 carry the possibility of capital punishment.

 

Prosecutors allege that the 20-year-old set off two pressure cooker bombs with his older brother Tamerlan, who later died in a police shoot-out. The twin blasts killed three and injured more than 260 in April 2013.

 

Judge George O'Toole said he believed a trial date this November was "realistic and fair", despite defence lawyers arguing they needed more time to prepare their case.

 

Read more on BBC

00:25  Assam: 30 injured in mob-police clash, 5 lady cops missing:  

At least 30 persons, including two police officers and four constables, were injured in a clash between protesters and security forces who fired in the air in south Assam's Cachar district tonight, police said.        

 

Five police women were missing since the incident, the sources said.         Trouble broke out as locals of Bagabazar area blocked the National Highway protesting against a motor vehicle point on Assam-Mizoram road where 'taxes' were collected 'illegally' from vehicles, the sources said.        

 

The protesters turned violent and pelted stones at the forces seriously injuring DSP Dhruba Bora and Cachar police station officer incharge, besides four other police men, the sources said. To control the situation, police first resorted to baton charge injuring 24 persons.        

 

As stone-pelting continued, police burst tear gas shells and also fired in the air to disperse the crowd, they said. The injured were admitted to the Silchar Medical College Hospital. A search was on to trace the missing police women, the sources added.  

00:22  US 'catastrophic' ice storm rolls north:  

A "catastrophic" ice storm wreaking havoc in the American South is now poised to pummel the eastern seaboard, say forecasters. Some 140,000 people are without power in Georgia, Texas and North and South Carolina and 3,000 US flights have been cancelled due to ice and strong winds.

 

Nearly empty roadways were reported as many heeded warnings to stay indoors. North Carolina and Virginia are bracing for up to 1ft (30cm) of snow as the storm rolls north.

 

Read more on BBC

00:18  Top headlines at this hour:  

Tihar inmates on hunger strike over new rule on meeting kin

AAP to table Jan Lokpal Bill on Thursday despite Law Min's view

Modi launches 'Chai pe charcha', commits to bring back black money

Cong gears up for poll campaigning, but why are its leaders sulking?

Sena sharpens attack on Raj Thackeray over toll agitation

AAP slams Modi, wants him to declare money spent on rallies

LoC trade standoff ends with release of trucks

Malegaon blast accused sadhavi urges HC for bail, NIA opposes

Voting decides Cong poll nominee for Guwahati LS seat

AAP govt snubs LG again, to go ahead with public assembly 

BJP offers conditional support to PM on Telangana bill

Modi must be selling blood, not tea, says Lalu

AAP rewards power stir supporters with 50 pc waiver on pending bills

Naxals extort Rs 140 crore from corporates every year

PHOTOS: Raj Thackeray's 'rasta roko' brings Mumbai to a halt

No constitutional amendment required on Telangana: Law ministry

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