23:37 Par utilises only 24 pc of total time to transact business:
Parliament transacted normal business for only 24 per cent of its total time in the extended winter session that started on February 5.
A report of the PRS Legislative Research said that in the 12 sittings in this period, while Lok Sabha lost 79 per cent of scheduled time to disruptions, the Rajya Sabha lost 73 per cent time to disruptions. "Both Houses together were productive for 24 per cent of the total time.
Question Hour functioned for 11 per cent of its scheduled time in Lok Sabha. Only 8 out of 220 listed Starred Questions were answered in Lok Sabha. No Questions were orally answered at all in Rajya Sabha," the report said.
In the overall productivity figures comparisons of different Lok Sabhas since 1952, the 15th Lok Sabha stood at 61 per cent.
23:05 Odisha tourism minister shot at, admited to hospital:
Odisha's Tourism Minister Maheshwar Mohanty was tonight injured when unknown gunmen opened fire at him in Puri town, the police have said.
Mohanty sustained a bullet injury on his left arm, family sources said. Mohanty was rushed to a private hospital where doctors were operating on his bullet injuries.
22:29 Nilekani to resign from UIDAI by March-end :
UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani today said he will resign from his job by March-end to contest Lok Sabha election on a Congress ticket.
Nilekani, whose name is doing the rounds for the Bangalore South constituency, however, did not say when he will join the Congress party.
"I will be there for a few more weeks. I will be stepping down by the end of March," Nilekani, who also co-founded the country's leading software services firm Infosys, told reporters.
22:28 35 crew members of US ship file fresh bail plea:
The 35 crew members of a private US Ship, who were arrested on charges of carrying weapons illegally and straying into Indian waters, today filed a fresh bail application at the Madras high court bench, saying they were languishing in jail and two months had elapsed after the filing of the charge-sheet.
The crew of M V Seaman Guard Ohio were arrested by Tamil Nadu police after the ship was intercepted by the Coast Guard on October 18 last year.
They were booked under the Arms Act and also the Essential Commodities Act for "illegal" purchase of diesel from local agents.
The crew members include 12 Indians.
22:25 Congress goons attacked us: Kumar Vishwas:
Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas today claimed that he and his party workers were attacked, allegedly by a group of Congress activists, during a 'Jhadu Chalao Yatra' in Amethi.
The AAP leader alleged that the Congress activists, led by party's pradesh committee member Munna Singh, attacked them at Thishundi village of Amethi's Vadar development block, and threatened to kill them.
Vishwas, who is the AAP candidate from the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency currently represented by Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi, said in a tweet that "Congress goons attacked our yatra... Threatened to kill us. Congress leader Munna Singh led the attack on us".
22:24 No meeting between Powell, Mamata:
US Ambassador Nancy Powell today met West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan and several businessmen in Kolkata, but did not have an interaction with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, as was being speculated.
The US envoy spent 45 mins with the governor at Raj Bhavan where she discussed the importance of US-India bilateral relations and the burgeoning business ties, US embassy sources said.
During her one-day visit, Powell also met members of the business community where trade relations were discussed.
22:22 BJP promises to extend special status to Seemandhra:
Expressing satisfaction at the creation of Telangana, the BJP today said it will continue to fight for the concerns of Seemandhra region and promised to extend the Special Category Status to it for 10 years instead of the present five years announced by the government.
BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu questioned the silence of the Congress party over not taking up the issue of Telangana creation for years and coming up with a bill in this regard only three months ahead of elections.
22:09 Can cops file complaint about pepper spray, knife in LS?:
Ponnam Prabhakar, Congress MP from Telangana, has given a written complaint to the Delhi Police against the two MPs who had allegedly used pepper spray and carried a knife in the Lok Sabha while opposing the Telangana Bill.
The complaint was lodged at Parliament Street police station last week, police said.
However, as the incident took place inside Parliament, Delhi police have sought a legal opinion on whether a First Information Report can be lodged in this regard.
22:06 Youth killed by militants in Sopore: Mukhtar Ahmad reports from Srinagar:
Unidentified militants shot at and killed a youth in north Kashmir's Sopore town today evening.
A senior police officer said militants fired at Wasim Ahmad Malla, 23, in Krankshivan area of Sopore town from a close range.
"Wasim was critically wounded and was rushed to the hospital for treatment. However, he succumbed to his injuries," the officer said.
Security forces immediately rushed to the area and they are currently conducting searches.
21:34 Cancer patients to have easier access to morphine :
Cancer patients will have easier access to pain-killer morphine drugs, with Parliament today passing a bill that also provides for control and regulation of narcotic drugs.
Moving the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2011 for consideration and passage in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Finance J D Salem said though India produced 90 per cent of morphines in the world, these were not easily available in leading city hospitals.
21:31 Hyderabad airport security beefed up after threat letter :
A red alert was sounded and security beefed up at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad today after an anonymous letter was received, threatening that explosives will be used and transported through a flight.
"We have stepped up security and intensified checking on two main entry points towards the RGIA. The measure has been taken following the anonymous threat letter. Vehicles passing on the routes are being checked and the personnel have been asked to be more careful," said Joint Commissioner of Police Y Gangadhar.
21:30 Nitish calls Bihar bandh to protest Centre's 'betrayal':
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today gave a call for a statewide bandh on March 2, terming as 'betrayal' the UPA government's decision to grant special category status to Seemandhra while 'ignoring' a similar demand made by his government.
Kumar had at first called the strike on March 1 but later decided to defer it by a day to March 2.
Launching an attack on the Congress-led UPA government for according special category status to Seemandhra after the creation of Telangana while "ignoring" Bihar's plea, he told reporters, "this is the betrayal of Bihar and other backward states".
21:28 VHP leader Babu Bajrangi granted 15-day bail:
The Gujarat high court today granted 15-day temporary bail to Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Babu Bajrangi, who was convicted by a special court in the 2002 Naroda Patia riot case, in which 96 people were killed.
Bajrangi urgently moved a temporary bail plea through his son after his 80-year-old father died. He demanded bail for a fortnight to perform the last rituals.
21:27 Speaker deplores frequent disruptions in Lok Sabha:
Deploring the frequent disruptions that marked Lok Sabha sessions, Speaker Meira Kumar today said irrefutable logic should replace pandemonium in the House.
Expressing anguish, she said frequent disruptions leading to adjournments -- with an entire session being washed out -- pained her so much that it was difficult to recover from it.
21:25 BJP demands probe into 'blackout' of Lok Sabha:
The BJP today demanded a high-level probe by experts and representatives of political parties into the 'blackout' of the live coverage in Lok Sabha when the contentious Telangana Bill was taken up for passage on February 18 and said the presiding officers should take responsibility for it.
Senior party leader Venkaiah Naidu said the prestige of Parliament was at stake and thus accountability should be fixed for the 'blackout' incident.
He expressed apprehension that it could not have happened suddenly without the knowledge of the presiding officers.
21:24 Delhi ministers' office put under lock and key:
With President's rule in place in Delhi, the offices of former AAP ministers were today put under lock and key, while officials and employees deputed with the various ministries have been asked to report back to their parent departments from the forthcoming week.
According to government sources, this step was impending after the Arvind Kejriwal-led government had resigned on February 14 as the Jan Lokpal Bill could not be introduced in the assembly following stiff opposition by the BJP and the Congress.
21:23 Sonia seeks dismissal of rights violation case in US :
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has asked a court in the US to dismiss the human rights violation case filed against her in connection to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case by a Sikh rights group, saying the complaint failed to attribute actual acts to her.
In a 24-page motion filed in the court, her attorney Ravi Batra said the lawsuit by Sikhs for Justice contains no allegations of "torture" or "extra-judicial killing" directed toward any named plaintiff and nor are they any plausible facts linking Gandhi to the actions alleged in the complaint
21:22 Troops capable of facing any threat: Pakistan army chief :
Days after the Pakistan government suspended peace talks with the Taliban over the killing of 23 troopers, army chief General Raheel Sharif today said the armed forces were "battle hardened" and capable of countering any internal or external threat.
Sharif made the remarks during a visit to the Frontier Corps headquarters in the northwestern city of Peshawar. His visit came close on the heels of the execution of 23 Frontier Corps personnel by a Taliban faction.
"Let there be no doubt that Pakistan's armed forces are battle hardened and fully capable to counter any internal or external threat posed to the integrity and sovereignty of our beloved country," Sharif was quoted as saying.
21:20 AAP can become a major force in India, says Amartya Sen :
Commending the Aam Aadmi Party's successful electoral debut in the Delhi elections, Nobel Laurette Amartya Sen today said that the Arvind Kejriwal-led party can become a major force in India.
"How much can you expect from a party immediately? Do I expect AAP to learn from experience? Yes, I do. Can it become a major force in India? I think it can. It has to move a fair distance in terms of policy priority and I hope they will think about that," said Sen.
The noted economist said that AAP's strategy and success in the Delhi elections is a major achievement.
19:49 Rajiv's killers are like 26/11 terrorists: Congress:
Comparing the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, involved in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president today said they did not deserve a remission of sentence.
Stating that four out of the seven convicts hailed from Sri Lanka, B S Gnanadesikan said the conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi was hatched in Sri Lanka, just like the Mumbai attack plan was devised in Pakistan.
Hence, it was important to treat the pleas of former prime minster's killers on a separate footing altogether.
These convicts do not deserve remission of sentence, aimed at reform and rehabilitation under criminal law, Gnanadesikan said.
19:47 No interaction with Sonia or PM for Congress MPs:
The Congress may be preparing for a difficult election after 10 years in power, but party MPs failed to have an interaction with party chief Sonia Gandhi in the last session of the 15th Lok Sabha, which concluded today.
Unlike in the past, there was no general body meeting of the Congress party in Parliament, of which Gandhi has been the chairperson for the past 15 years.
Though the second phase of the winter session had 13 sittings, there was no occasion for an interaction between the party MPs and the Congress chief and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
19:07 Parliament passes Whistleblowers' Protection Bill:
A bill to provide for setting up a regular mechanism to encourage persons to disclose information on corruption or willful misuse of power by public servants, including ministers, was passed by Parliament today.
The Whistleblowers' Protection Bill also seeks to provide "adequate protection to persons reporting corruption or willful misuse of discretion which causes demonstrable loss to the government or commission of a criminal offence by a public servant."
While the measures set out the procedure to inquire into the disclosures and provides adequate safeguards against victimisation of the whistleblower, it also seeks to provide punishment for false or frivolous complaints.
18:53 Autorickshaw driver kills American ex-wife, sets himself on fire:
A 35-year-old American woman was allegedly stabbed to death by her estranged autorickshaw driver husband in Agra after which he committed suicide, police said on Friday. Bunty (32), the autorickshaw driver, killed his American wife Arianne Willinger (35) following a quarrel and later committed suicide by setting himself afire in his room on Thursday night, SSP Shalabh Mathur said. Read more
18:39 Cricket taught me important leadership lessons: Microsoft's Nadella:
Playing in his school's cricket team taught him important lessons on leadership and teamwork early in life, Microsoft's new India-born CEO Satya Nadella has said.
The 46-year-old Hyderabad native, who was named Microsoft's third Chief Executive Officer earlier this month, attributes leadership qualities like building confidence in his team to the lessons he learned while playing cricket.
"I played on my school's cricket team, and there was one incident that just was very stunning to me," Nadella told the New York Times when asked about some of the early leadership lessons for him.He recounted that he was a bowler and was not performing well one day.
But his team's captain did not lose faith in him and gave him another chance, teaching him an important lesson in building confidence in people.
"The captain took over from me and got the team a breakthrough, and then he let me take over again. I never asked him why he did that, but my impression is that he knew he would destroy my confidence if he didn't put me back in."
"And I went on to take a lot more wickets after that. It was a subtle, important leadership lesson about when to intervene and when to build the confidence of the team. I think that is perhaps the No. 1 thing that leaders have to do: to bolster the confidence of the people you're leading,"
Nadella said.Also read
: Nadella wants Microsoft to reinvent itself
18:19 Indias disrupted democracy:
India's 15th Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament) passed into history ignominiously this month, following the least productive five years of any Indian parliament in six decades of functioning democracy. Read
Shashi Tharoor's take on the just-concluded Lok Sabha.
18:12 Most disrupted Lok Sabha session:
The 15th Lok Sabha will go down in the history as the most disrupted in Independet India so far including the pepper spray incident which marked a new low in parliamentary conduct.
Disruptions were the order of the day, so much so that the Lok Sabha witnessed almost a full session being washed away on the issue of JPC in the 2G spectrum scam. This was unprecedented.
There was also uproar galore on the demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the coal block allocation scam. Storm over Telangana led to several unprecedented developments in the last session of the House which had 13 sittings.
Even though Speaker Meira Kumar wanted a "grand finale" to the Lok Sabha it was for everyone to infer if it was so. As many as 16 members from Seemandhra region were suspended ahead of the passage of Telangana bill.
18:08 When capitalists asked Dalai Lama to endorse capitalism :
Some of the brightest pro-business minds in the nation prodded the Dalai Lama on Thursday (Feb. 20) to offer a warm endorsement of capitalism.But during an appearance by the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism at the American Enterprise Institute, one of the world's most stalwart and, in conservative circles, respected free enterprise think tanks, they came up short. Read
17:53 Ukrainian President agrees to hold a presidential election :
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has agreed to hold a presidential election before the end of the year, as part of a deal to end the crisis. He said he had also agreed to a national unity government, and to make constitutional changes reducing the power of the president. The compromise came after hours of talks with the opposition leaders. Read more
17:49 250 Anne Frank books vandalised in Tokyo libraries:
Anne Frank's "The Diary of a Young Girl" and scores of books about the young Holocaust victimhave been vandalised in Tokyo public libraries. Dozens of pages were ripped in the books.
The libraries have counted 265 damaged books at 31 municipal libraries since the end of January.
An official at one library said all the books could have been found using the keywords "Anne Frank" in an online database. The motive is unclear.
At least one library moved Anne Frank-related books behind the counter for protection. Anne Frank wrote the diary while hiding from the Nazis.
After her family was betrayed, she died in a concentration camp at age 15. Her diary has become the most widely read document to emerge from the Holocaust.
17:37 Jhumpa on Mavis :
"Exactly five years ago, in February, 2009, I travelled to Paris to interview Mavis Gallant for Granta. It was my second trip to Paris, my first after discovering her work. And so it was her Paris in which I found myself, a city she had long ago claimed and made her own, a city she had described to me repeatedly and unforgettably in her stories. From reading her, I recognized its dark mornings, its buildings, its streets, though I hardly knew my way around."
Jhumpa Lahiri writes on Mavis Gallant. Read
17:30 India slams Pak as Parliament attack mastermind resurfaces, calls for jihad:
India has slammed Pakistan for allowing terrorist Masood
Azhar, accused of planning the brazen attack on the Indian Parliament in
December 2001, to address an anti-India rally in late January.
after Pakistan's foreign office sought to play down as a "one time
event" reports that Azhar had called for "jihad" or holy war against
India at the rally, New Delhi said, "Once is once too many times...We
have zero tolerance for terrorists."
The Ministry of External
Affairs said it was "concerned that a terrorist who is banned is able to
spew venom on India," pointing out that Azhar's Jaish e Mohammad is "a
terrorist organisation banned by India, the US and more importantly by
Pakistan." Read more
17:21 Assault survivor: They all watched, nobody helped:
Sunita Murmur was 15 years old when the man in charge of the village she lived in ordered a group of men to strip her naked and drag her around the neighborhood as punishment for violating strict local customs governing relationships.
"I was in love with a boy from another community," Murmur, now 19, said in an interview sitting in her tin-roofed mud home in Battala village in the eastern state of West Bengal. "And I was punished for it." Read more
17:17 I'm obliged to the BJP for their support: Shinde praises opposition in Parliament :
This is what the home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had said earlier:
On the Telangana bill: He said he was "obliged" to the BJP for its support. He said he was not sure whether BJP would support the bill but "you did not sit on the prestige that the announcement for creation of the new state had been made by Sonia Gandhi 10 years back and you had also promised it."
Specifically, choosing Swaraj for the eloquent praise, Shinde said "aap ki baat mein mithaas hai, mithai khane se bhi woh mithaas nahi hoti (your tone is very sweet, it is sweeter than the sweets)."
17:14 The PM also said that there should be more women MPs.
Meira Kumar giving her last speech as Speaker.
16:43 United Airlines' plane grounded at Mumbai airport:
A Boeing 777 aircraft of American carrier United Airlines was grounded at Mumbai airport last night after engineers found that its right engine cover was badly damaged, official sources said today.
16:30 I have no desire to listen to his (BJP MP's) speech: Mani tells Speaker :
Congress leader Manishankar Aiyar attracted the BJP's ire today in the Rajya Sabha when he said he was not interested in listening to speech of a BJP member on vote on account, prompting the Chair to adjourn the House amid uproar.
During the Zero Hour, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien allowed Aiyar, who wanted to ask a question, to do so, which was opposed by BJP members. Kurien asked Aiyar whether he yielded to allow others to speak, to which he said he had no objection and he can ask his question later.
As the House got ready to initiate discussion on Vote on Account, Kurien said, "Let us reduce the discussion to two hours from four hours," which was opposed by BJP members including Piyush Goyal who was given a chance to speak on Vote on Account.
When it was agreed that discussion will take place as per schedule, Aiyar remarked he was not interested in listening to the speech by BJP member. "You had given me the chance to ask a question. I have no desire to listen to his speech. Will you give me chance to speak first? You had called me," Aiyar pleaded. This led to angry protest by BJP members including Prakash Javadekar, who wanted an apology from Aiyar.
Kurien, who was in the Chair said, "No argument Mani, you are unnecessarily creating a problem...you had yielded earlier" and adjourned the House amid uproar.
Remember Aiyar's tea vendor taunt to Modi? Read
16:20 Hate mail, live bullet sent to Indian embassy in Italy, MEA asks for security:
The incident is seen as the fallout of the Italian Mariners' issue, which has sparked a row between India and Italy. The Italian government had expressed its displeasure at the delay in the trial of the two Italian sailors, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who are accused of killing two Indian fishermen in Kerala in 2012.
According to the sources, the Indian embassy has been getting hate mails - sometimes even 100 mails a week - on the issue for the past two years now. However, this was the first time a bullet was sent.
16:13 Live bullet, hate mail in Indian embassy mailbox in Italy:
A live bullet and a number of hate mails were found in the mailbox
at the Indian embassy in Rome this week, said sources.
Local police and the Italian foreign ministry has been informed and the
police are trying to find out the sender. Reportedly, the sender has
called India, a land of beggars, ugly people and racists. The MEA has asked the Italian govt for more security for their staff.
Was Arnab trained by CIA interrogators? Indian Express gets tongue-in-cheek. Read
15:57 Mulayam: We should rise above party politics:
SP chief Mulayam Singh thanks all Parliamentarians and says MPs across parties should forget their individual differences and rise above party politics and make a positive difference to the country. He also thanks Sonia Gandhi as UPA chief in his farewell speech before the Parliament is adjourned sine die.
More importantly, Shinde told the Lok Sabha: Don't know how many will return to the 16th Lok Sabha. I wish you luck.
15:56 Distrust between govt, army matter of serious concern: BJP:
BJP today voiced serious concerns over comments of former DGMO Lt Gen A K Choudhary that there may have been "distrust" between the Army and the government in connection with movement of Army units near Delhi in 2012.
Senior party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said though the government lacks trust deficit in all sectors, the distrust with the army was never comprehended.
"The distrust between the government and the army is a matter of serious concern. Army protects the nation and assures to protects its citizen. If this type of reports come, it is a matter of serious concern," he told reporters outside Parliament.
"We need to correct it and we will correct it if we come to power", Prasad said.
Choudhary's comments have triggered a fresh controversy over the movement of army units close to Delhi in 2012.
"There was misconception or there was perceptional difference or there may be distrust," Choudhary said today after he was quoted in an interview, saying that the then Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma had asked him to send the troops back as the government at the highest level was "worried" over this. However, National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon has dismissed the notion that there was distrust between the government and the army.Also read:
Were PM, Antony out of sync over Jan 2012 troops movement?
Rediff was the first to report on troop movement. Read
15:47 LIVE! Shinde praises Sushma in closing speech in LS: She is sweeter than mithai :
Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde who is the leader of the house in the Lok Sabha gives the closing speech before the Parliament is adjourned sine die. Praising Speaker Meira Kumar for conducting the house well, (lots of smiles all around, including Kumar), he then moves on to the oppostion for and lauds it for its constructive participation in the house.
"Sushma Swaraj sometimes gets so angry in the house, we think she will stop talking to us. But outside the house she is sweet, so sweet that we don't need any mithai," Shinde says. Sushma Swaraj smiles and so does almost every member of the house.
He says Mulayam Singh also gets angry, but melts quickly true to his name. "After all he is a teacher, how can he remain angry for very long?" asks Shinde.
15:16 'BJP performed its duty in the creation of Telangana':
"The creation of Telangana, having become a reality, political observers and media persons will now start analyzing the political beneficiaries or otherwise of the decision. It would be unwise to view the decision of the central legislature only through this narrow prism.
"Telangana had become a legitimate aspiration of the people of that region. The sentiment was so overwhelming that to delay it any further would have precipitated greater unrest. It was next to impossible to reverse the aspirations of that region."
Read the full text of Arun Jaitley's blog here.
15:09 Bihar bandh on March 1:
Attacking the Congress-led UPA government for granting special category status to Seemandhra and ignoring a similar demand of Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today gave a Bihar bandh call on March 1. "This is betrayal with Bihar and other backward states," Kumar said.
Since IPL7 may be played in South Africa, a look back at some of the controversies surrounding IPL2 which was also played there. Read
BCCI states all payments made during IPL 2 in South Africa were legitimate.Read
The ghosts of IPL return to haunt Cricket South AfricaRead
IPL money game: BCCI top brass involvedRead
SA bank account was purely Srinivasan's doing: Lalit ModiRead
BCCI controlled IPL 2009 finances
14:47 Govt heaps insults on injured MiG-21 pilot :
Nine years after sustaining debilitating injuries in a MiG-21 crash in Rajasthan, an accident in which he stayed inside the doomed aircraft till the last moment in order to save a village on the ground, Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Sanjeet Kaila now faces the full might of an unapologetic state.
Next week, the still serving officer, who was forced to move to less strenuous duties following severe spinal injuries in the crash, will be at the Delhi High Court to respond to a shocking littany of insults heaped on him in the form of two affidavits filed by the Ministry of Defence and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). Read
14:41 Mayawati vows to prevent Modi from becoming PM:
BSP supremo Mayawati today said her party will make all-out efforts to prevent Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from becoming the Prime Minister of the country. She also dismissed the Third Front as a "weak front" and said the "country will not be benefited from it."
"We will put our entire strength to prevent Narendra Modi from becoming the Prime Minister. It is in interest of the country to prevent the BJP from coming to power (in the next elections)," Mayawati told reporters outside Parliament. She claimed that minority community members were apprehensive about Modi.
14:39 A chance for the outsiders :
The ideology which Lutyens' Delhi today represents is fundamentally at odds with an India which is growing accustomed to the idea of participatory democracy. Read
14:35 Breaking News: German Olympic Committee says one of its athletes in Sochi has failed a doping test.
14:31 'Nitish Kumar sees Modi as a man who imperils secular India':
'I do not think Nitish has ever had any illusions that he could ever give Narendra Modi the run for the prime ministership.''
What he did think, and continues to think, is that by breaking away and aligning with other forces, he can attempt to stop Narendra Modi from becoming prime minister of India.
''That is the primary goal he has set himself, and to pursue that I think it is critical that he remains the main political force in Bihar," says Sankarshan Thakur,
whose latest book Single Man is based on the life and times of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Read
the interview with Rediff.com
14:29 In a rare moment BJP praises UPA in Parliament today:
Government today got a rare compliment from the opposition when Sushma Swaraj appreciated it in Lok Sabha for eradicating polio from the country.
The appreciation by the Leader of the Opposition came during Question Hour when Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was replying to queries. "We appreciate the government for making India free from polio," Swaraj said. Last month, India said it was free from cases of polio for the third straight year.
The Question Hour, which functioned normally for the first time in the extended Winter Session ending today, also saw lighter moments. As her mike was not working when she wanted to speak, Swaraj in a lighter vein said the mike should not be switched off when she is praising the government.
14:08 'I couldn't stop crying for two days after Rajiv's killing':
Lok Sabha member from Puducherry and Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V Narayansamy is a self-confessed loyalist of the Nehru-Gandhi family. He was known to be close to Rajiv Gandhi and after the late prime minister's assassination, he transferred his loyalties to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. In this interview with Rediff.com, he talks about the aftermath of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. Read
14:01 IT, pharma sectors likely to be backbone of Telangana:
Post bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the information technology and pharmaceuticals manufacturing sectors may become backbone of Telangana economy, leaving power production, ports and oil and natural gas to play a pivotal role in driving prosperity in the residuary state.
With a nearly 1,000 km-long coast line, the coastal Andhra has major private ports such as Krishnapatnam, Kakinada and Gangavaram, besides state-owned Vizag Port and can continue to reap rich harvest by way of export and import of commodities such as iron ore and coal.
13:56 Libyan military plane crashes in Tunisia:
A Libyan military plane carrying doctors and patients has crashed in Tunisia, killing all 11 people on board, reports the BBC
. The plane, said to be an Antonov, came down near Grombalia south of the capital, Tunis. It was carrying three doctors, two patients and six crew, a Tunisian rescue worker said. Correspondents say that Libyans often travel to Tunisia for medical treatment.
13:47 Hyderabad's Muslims wonder: 'What if Modi becomes PM?':
Celebrations have not stopped since the creation of Telangana as the 29th state.
But Muslims in Hyderabad are not too happy with the final outcome. The decision to place the control of law and order in Hyderabad, which has been declared as a joint capital for the next 10 years, with the Centre has set the cat among the pigeons among some members of the minority community.
Their main worry: How can they guarantee their safety if the Bharatiya Janata Party's s Narendra Modi becomes the prime minister post 2014 Lok Sabha elections? Read
13:41 The man in the shiny suit: Inside Mr Sen's newsroom:
"Apart from Ranabir Raychoudhury, the editor of The Bengal Post, as the English paper was to be called, none among the editorial staff had met this elusive Mr [Suditpa] Sen.
Ironically, even friends in the business community knew very little about Sudipta Sen and his companies, despite his having so much money that he could fund not one but two newspapers.So my curiosity to meet this man, whom very few knew and even fewer had seen, was well and truly aroused."
A former employee writes on her boss Sudipta Sen, the chit-fund cheat Read
13:36 Yesterday, Sen filed a petition before the Biddhannagar Court pleading that he wants to confess his guilt in connection with the provident fund case. The hearing took place today.
Sen's counsel, Samir Das, said: "Sen pleaded before the court that he would like to confess all details about the provident fund of the employees of the group."
13:32 LIVE! Saradha Group chief Sudipta Sen sentenced to three years jail in PF scam:
A court in Kolkata sentences Saradha group chairman Sudipta Sen to three years in jail. Sen, prime accused in the multi-crore chitfund scam, has asked the Calcutta High Court that a special court be formed to try all cases filed against him, claiming he was ill and overstressed since his arrest in April this year. Sen has admitted to not depositing the provident fund of his employees.
13:25 Troop movement shouldve been avoided if they knew (V K Singhs) court date:
Lt-Gen A K Choudhary, the former Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), assumed the top operational office of the Army on January 9, 2012, and barely a week later got embroiled in one of the lowest points in civil-military relations when a spooked government asked him to explain the movement of two Army units near the national capital on a day the then Army chief Gen V K Singh had moved court on his date-of-birth controversy. Now in Patna days after his retirement, he breaks his silence on the troop movements, the level of distrust between the government and the Army and the "corrective steps' taken. Read
13:23 HC stays Delhi Cabinet decision on waiver on power bills:
The Delhi High Court today stayed the operation of the February 12 Delhi Cabinet decision on providing 50 per cent waiver on power arrears of people who did not pay their electricity bills from October 2012 to December 2013.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul issued a notice to the Delhi government and directed it to file an affidavit stating its "current stand" before the next date of hearing, March 18.
13:11 Advani blesses partymen in Parl: We must return :
Gursharan Kaur, the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's wife, attended the Parliament and watched the proceedings from the Speaker's Special gallery, for 30 minutes today. Since it was the last day of the 15th Lok Sabha, her presence lent an emotional touch to the house.
BJP MPs inside the Lok Sabha went to where senior leader LK Advani was seated and touched his feet. Advani blessed them and said they must get re -elected -- "Vaapas aana hai."
12:50 Shock therapy for 'acutely depressed' Guj minister convicted in 2002 riots:
Maya Kodnani, a former minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet who was convicted for her involvement in one of the worst cases of communal rioting in Gujarat in 2002, is being given electric shock therapy at a government run hospital after being diagnosed with an acute depressive disorder.
The 60-year-old former child and welfare minister was in August 2012 sentenced to 28 years in prison for leading a mob which killed 97 people in Ahmedabad's Naroda Patiya.
Doctors at the civil hospital in Ahmedabad said electroconvulsive therapy or ECT is considered the last line of treatment in cases of depression.
12:46 No darr at this mall :
Thinking of watching Darr @ The Mall this weekend? Read this
: Darr @ The Mall might be an absolute failure in the horror genre but as a revenge drama, it is refreshingly simple and does manage to pull a few heartstrings at the end of the day, writes Paloma Sharma.
12:44 Formation of govt by any political party not possible in AP: governor :
The MHA has received the report filed by the Andhra Pradesh governor, which says that the formation of government by any political is not possible at this stage. A political decision is awaited on imposing President's rule in the state, governor E.S.L. Narasimhan
12:37 Pakistan special court rejects former military dictator Pervez Musharraf's petition to be tried on treason charges by army court.
12:35 Shah Jahan wants his royalty, will Lego pay up?:
If Shah Jahan were to make a return today, probably the first thing he would say would be an irritable: "So, where's my royalty?"
The Mughal emperor, who showed his love for his queen Mumtaz by having the Taj Mahal built between 1632 and 1653, chose marble. Lego, the Danish toy manufacturer, has used plastic to manufacture the 5,922-piece Taj play set, selling each box for about 250. Read
12:28 Is the new Tibetan leader a threat to India?:
Ever since Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru offered sanctuary to the
Dalai Lama and tens of thousands of Tibetan refugees in 1959, India has
reaped a moral and strategic benefit from this act of humanitarian
But with the Dalai Lamas retirement from politics and the
installation of Lobsang Sangay as the new Tibetan political leader in
Dharamsala, the strong ties between India and the Tibetan government in
exile could now be at risk. Here's why
12:25 Oppn creates uproar in RS seeking spl eco package for 7 states:
Opposition parties today created uproar in Rajya Sabha demanding special economic package for seven most backward states including Bihar, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, leading to adjournment of the House till noon.
Raising the issue, Kiranmay Nanda (SP) said the Central government has failed to provide financial package to the seven most backward states identified in the Raghuram Rajan report. The Rajan panel had in September last year recommended a new index of backwardness to determine which states need special assistance.
The late and much lamented Steve Jobs' visiting card. See
12:22 Hyderabad airport put on red alert after threat letter:
The Hyderabad international airport was today put on high alert after an anonymous letter threatening that explosives will be used and transported through a flight was received at the facility. Sources said the Chief Airport Security Officer (CASO) of the sprawling complex received the letter which threatened that "explosives" will be used and transported through a flight which may take-off or land at the airport.
12:14 A constant battle against the sale of bodies in Bihar:
Women's rights activists Ruchira Gupta and Gloria Steinem are keeping a diary of their travels throughout India as they meet the country's young feminists, writers and thought leaders. This is their account from Forbesgunge, a small town on the border of India and Nepal, in Bihar. Read
12:08 Parliament to be adjourned sine die this afternoon:
Parliamentary Affairs minister Kamal Nath says the house will adjourned sine die in the afternoon.
Kamal Nath says the government wanted to extend the session, but the opposition was not willing.
12:06 Here's why the MHA cannot afford to provide foolproof security to IPL7 since the dates clash with the polls. In numbers, the security needed for the polls:
More than 1.20 lakh central paramilitary force personnel, in addition to state police forces, are expected to be deployed for the multi-phased Lok Sabha polls which are likely to be held in April-May.
The Home Ministry has started preparing for the massive exercise of mobilising 1.2 lakh personnel from different paramilitary forces to be deployed for poll duties.
Paramilitary forces are also deployed in Naxal-affected states, Jammu and Kashmir and the north eastern states.
12:00 For defying village rules in India, a penalty of rape:
When the elders in this small Hindu farming village discovered last month that a local woman intended to marry a Muslim, their reaction was swift and savage.
The village chief and 12 others dragged the 20-year-old woman to a shed and gang-raped her, the local police allege. She and her suitor were then tied to a tree overnight, witnesses say, and the village council fined them the next day. Read
11:51 Mahatma Gandhi's grandson joins AAP, may contest from Delhi :
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has got a shot in the arm.
Eminent thinker and writer Dr Rajmohan Gandhi has officially joined the AAP on Friday.
He has been a supporter of the AAP for a few months. Rajmohan Gandhi is likely to get an AAP ticket in the Lok Sabha polls.
He is likely to contest from one of the seven seats in Delhi.After joining the AAP, he said, "I joined the party looking at the enthusiasm. The party has grown from the roots. It does not see politics as dirty and something that should be avoided. I'm open to contesting but contesting against Narendra Modi is a very long shot. At one point, the Congress was an aam aadmi party, now it is the khas aadmi party. BJP is the rich man's party."Read more
11:45 The 16 who did not count :
For Jayalalithaa, seven counted more than 16. The chief minister's head-long rush to free the seven convicts has wounded the families of the 16 who were killed in the suicide blast on May 21, 1991. Rahul Gandhi, the son of the most prominent victim of the blast, voiced his anguish yesterday. Now others have started speaking up. Read
11:39 Kejriwal writes to Modi: Clear your stand on gas pricing :
Arvind Kejriwal has written to Narendra Modi and asked him to "clear his stand" on a gas price hike that he alleges was a favour to Mukesh Ambani.
He plans to write a similar letter to Rahul Gandhi too, and distribute "10 crore copies" of the letters, in various languages, across India.
The Aam Aadmi Party leader, who has been accusing Modi for keeping silent because of his links with the Reliance chairman, took it up a notch today by writing the BJP's prime ministerial candidate a letter.
Kejriwal alleges that Mr Ambani colluded with the Centre to inflate the price of gas and the BJP was deliberately silent on it. Read more
11:36 RS adjourned till noon:
Rajya Sabha adjourned till noon after uproar by Opposition parties demanding special economic package for seven backward states.
For all the behind the scenes drama in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, read this
11:31 The right of the reader:
Author Stephen Alter on Penguin banning The Hindus: Where is the political, judicial leadership to stand up to attempts to silence the writer? Read
11:24 Ukraine athlete withdraws from Olympics over violence :
Elsewhere in the world, at least one Ukrainian athlete is withdrawing from the Olympics in response to the violence in the country. More may follow later today, according to published reports.
A shaky truce crumbled in troubled Kiev on Thursday morning, when gunfire erupted at Independence Square which has been ground zero for anti-government protesters in Ukraine. Watch
the horror unfold in Ukraine
Arvind Kejriwal has written a letter to Narendra Modi asking him to break his silence on gas pricing.
11:16 Pistorius trial soap opera next month:
If IPL7 is indeed moved to South Africa, there's another soap opera there that merits a watch. The Oscar Pistorius trial. When he finally goes on trial next month on a charge of murdering his girlfriend, one question that will not be asked is: Whodunnit?
Since the story of the Valentine's Day killing began to unfold just over a year ago, Pistorius, the double amputee who became an Olympic and Paralympic track star, has admitted that he killed Reeva Steenkamp, a glamorous model and law graduate. Read
11:10 Former Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal addressing a press meet on the gas pricing issue.
11:08 MHA refuses permission for IPL7 in India due to general elections :
Just in: Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde has said that the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League will not be held in India because of the upcoming general elections. The home ministry says it will be difficult to provide security during the IPL matches.
IPL 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 IPL could be held any time between April 9 to June 3.
The IPL governing council has said that the seventh edition of the tournament would be played in South Africa if it had to be moved out of India. Bangladesh and UAE too, were in the short-list earlier, but no longer feature in the race. In 2009, IPL was held in South Africa because of the Lok Sabha elections.
11:00 China calls the Dalai Lama a "wolf in sheep's clothing:
China calls the Dalai Lama a "wolf in sheep's clothing" who seeks to use violent methods to establish an independent Tibet.
The Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising in 1959, maintains he only wants genuine autonomy for Tibet and denies advocating violence.
"The United States' arrangement for its leader to meet the Dalai would be a gross interference in China's internal affairs and is a serious violation of the norms of international relations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement.
"It will seriously damage Sino-U.S. relations. We urge the United States to take seriously China's concerns, immediately cancel plans for the U.S. leader to meet the Dalai, do not facilitate and provide a platform for Dalai's anti-China separatist activities in the United States," she added. -- Reuters
10:57 The politics of remission:
When political parties draft their election manifestos in the coming weeks, they won't be able to woo voters through mere promises, even if some of them are seen as populist or unrealistic, like they have in the past.
Days before announcing the schedule for the Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission has included fresh guidelines in the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) that say manifestos will not just have to "reflect the rationale' for a promise but will also have to "broadly indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirements for it'. Read
10:52 China urges Obama to call off meeting with Dalai Lama:
China urges Obama to call off a meeting at the White House with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama today.
US President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet the Dalai Lama on Friday morning at the White House.
White House made the announcement Thursday while releasing Obama's
daily schedule, adding the meeting would be closed to press, reported
It will be the third time that Obama
meets the Dalai Lama. Their previous meetings in February 2010 and July
2011, respectively, drew strong protests from China.
10:48 The politics of remission:
Commutation of a death sentence to life imprisonment could be seen as an act of compassion, but a straight leap from capital punishment to wholesale release as has been proposed by the Tamil Nadu government in the case of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination convicts raises the question whether the very object of penal laws is being subverted. Read
10:43 Also ahead in the day, US ambassador Nancy Powell will meet West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and governor MK Narayanan.
10:41 Rahul takes charge of campaign, calls CWC meet:
Rahul Gandhi has called a meeting of the Congress working committee on Friday, a strong signal that he has taken charge of the party campaign. CWC members include the Congress's senior-most leaders led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi.
Sources said Rahul is likely to discuss election manifesto and campaign plan with them. The Congress vice-president held a meeting with young party leaders on Thursday to seek suggestions for the manifesto for 2014 elections. Read more
10:25 Sensex up 105 points in early trade:
The benchmark BSE Sensex rose over 105 points in early trade today as stocks of consumer durables, IT, auto and capital goods sectors led the recovery on emergence of buying by funds and retailers amid a firming Asian trend.
The 30-share barometer gained 105.36 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 20,642.00. The index had lost 186.33 points in the previous session.
On similar lines, the National Stock Exchange Nifty moved up by 32.35 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 6,123.80.
Brokers said fresh buying by funds and retailers driven by a firming trend in the Asian region following overnight gains in the US markets helped trading sentiment to improve.
Meanwhile, among other Asian markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose by 0.93 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei was up by 2.02 per cent in the early trade.
The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.58 per cent higher in yesterday's trade.
10:17 Barack Obama to meet Dalai Lama today:
US President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet the Dalai Lama on Friday morning at the White House.
The White House made the announcement Thursday while releasing Obama's daily schedule, adding the meeting would be closed to press, reported Xinhua.
It will be the third time that Obama meets the Dalai Lama. Their previous meetings in February 2010 and July 2011, respectively, drew strong protests from China.
10:03 What on earth are secondary school student in Gujarat learning?:
CNN-IBN reports: "Japan dropped a nuclear bomb on US during World War 2", "Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on October 30, 1948" -- these are just two of the many factual errors in textbooks published by the Gujarat government for state-run schools.
This is not where these textbooks, meant for Classes 6 to 8 and published by Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT), stop. They go on to say, "Bal Gangadhar Tilak brought out an English newspaper called the Marathi", "Proportion of poisonous gas CO3 has increased due to cutting of trees" and "The neighbouring Pakistan is an Islamic Islamabad Nation".
09:31 Confirmed: Army movement towards Delhi did spook Centre:
Two years after a report which said that the government had feared a coup by the army under General VK Singh's command, another top official Lt Gen AK Choudhary has said that he had been summoned by Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma who expressed concerns about the movement of two units towards Delhi.
Choudhary, who was the then DGMO, in an interview to Indian Express has said that the Defence Secretary had summoned him late in the night and said that troops must go back immediately. He later told the Defence Secretary that this was an exercise and that he had already told them to stop and take a different route.
He also stated that the crux of the confusion between the Army and the government was created because of trust deficit distrust between two individuals reigning at that time.
Sources also say that the Cabinet wanted the then Army chief General VK Singh, who had been at loggerheads with the government, to be removed on the same night. But it was Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma who saved his job.
The two units in question were a mechanised infantry, one based in Hisar and a Para unit based in Agra.Read more HERE
09:29 Power tariff subsidy: Delhi HC to resume hearing today:
The Delhi High Court will on Friday resume its hearing on the plea challenging the decision taken by Arvind Kejriwal government of giving subsidy to those who did not pay their power bills from October 2012 to December 2013.
While hearing the plea on Wednesday, a division bench of acting Chief Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Sidharth Mridul directed the Delhi government to clarify whether the Cabinet has taken any decision on waiver of pending electricity bills, an IANS report said.
"You (the government) file a short affidavit. We thought there was no meeting of the Cabinet in this regard. But there is no clarity on this. Get proper instruction whether Cabinet decision has been taken or not," the court said, posting the matter for February 21.
Meanwhile, it also asked Lt Governor Najeeb Jung not to take further decision on waiver of power bills.
The court's decision came after a a plea was filed challenging the subsidy given by AAP government to persons who did not pay their power bills.
09:25 UPA to push anti-corruption bills on last day of Parliament:
After the passing of the Telangana Bill, the UPA government is mulling of pushing through six anti-corruption bills on the last day of the extended winter session of Parliament before general elections on Friday.
These bills are key to Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi's election campaign who is being projected as an anti-corruption crusader by the party. The bills include the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, and the Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Grievance Redressal Bill.
Rahul had earlier blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party of stalling the bills. The BJP hit back saying Rahul has woken up too late to the problem of corruption.
Parliamentary Affaris Minister Kamal Nath said, "It will be my effort till the end to see the anti-corruption bills which are necessary, at least some of them are passed. The BJP must come forward and say that we would like to pass them."
02:05 BJP using black money for election campaign: Jaiswal:
Attacking BJP's multi-crore election campaign, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal today said that the money came from common people, industrialists, and consisted black money.
"The BJP has collected nearly Rs 4,000 crore for election campaign and image-building of their leaders. This money has come from the hard work of common people and industrialists and has lot of black money.
"BJP leaders raise their voice against black money, but they use it for the elections," Jaiswal said here while announcing benefits for Kanpur railway station.
On the commuting of death sentence of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts, the Minister asked why BJP and Left parties were silent on the matter. Responding to questions on the turmoil over Telangana, Jaiswal said the demand for separate Telangana has been the oldest since independence, and Congress president Sonia Gandhi granted the wish. PTI COR
01:48 Obama calls Merkel to discuss Ukraine:
US President Barack Obama today called German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the fast deteriorating situation in Ukraine, as both the European Union and America ramped up the pressure on the Ukrainian government.
"They agreed that it is critical that the United States, Germany and the European Union continue to stay in close touch in the days ahead on steps we can take to support an end to the violence and a political solution that is in the best interests of the Ukrainian people," the White House said.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the government of Ukraine has a unique responsibility to allow and protect the rights of assembly and peaceful protest and freedom of speech that the Ukrainian people are seeking.
00:36 Don't block parents' release: Nalini's daughter to Rahul:
The daughter of Nalini and Murugan, two of the seven convicted killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, today appealed to Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi not to block an opportunity for her to reunite with parents after 23 years.
"Obviously their family, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, they know how much pain you go through when you do not have your loved ones. I believe there is an opportunity for me to have them and please do not stop that," said Harithra, who is studying in London.
"I am begging you please do not stop that, that would be the best thing they could do for me," she told a TV-channel.