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February 26, 2014

23:45  Rahul Gandhi 'new superman', PM 'tragic figure', says Sinha:  BJP leader Yashwant Sinha today attacked UPA government's style of functioning, saying Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is the 'new superman' and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a "tragic figure". 

"Sri Rahul Gandhi for UPA government has emerged as a new superman; his every word is a command," he said at an interactive session organised by BJP's Karnataka unit..
23:43  Malaysia's AirAsia reports drop in profit:  AirAsia today reported a sharp fall in fourth quarter net profit, as the flamboyant boss of Asia's largest budget carrier by capacity called for "creative" ways to slash costs amid stiff competition. 

Net profit for the three months ended December fell 19 percent from a year earlier to 245 million ringgit (USD 74.6 million), in large part due to Malaysian currency fluctuations, while revenue remained flat at 1.35 billion ringgit. 
23:27  Tata Power, RInfra suppressed taxes worth Rs 434 cr: AAP:  AAP today accused Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) and Tata Power of misrepresenting taxes and putting a burden of Rs 434 crore on consumers over the last three years, a charge strongly denied by the two private power distribution companies. 

The party also alleged that Maharashtra power regulator MERC made no moves to correct the misrepresentation of taxes by RInfra and Tata Power and didn't take it to next judicial level after it was upheld by the appellate tribunal APTEL. 
23:24  Democrats want Hillary over Biden in 2016:  An overwhelming majority of Democrats want Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016.More than 80 percent of Democrats surveyed said they would like the former secretary of state to run, while 13 percent would not, according to a New YorkTimes/CBS News poll released Wednesday. 

Five percent were undecided. A majority of independents (52 percent) said they would support a Clinton candidacy as well.
23:09  Putin orders test of Russian forces amid Ukraine crisis:  Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered a test of the "battle readiness' of military forces deployed in the western and central areas of the country, a likely show of Kremlin muscle to reassure ethnic Russians in Ukraine that their rights and interests will be defended.

The announcement of the "immediate and thorough' readiness exercises was made by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and reported by the Interfax news agency.
22:55  Stable, independent Ukraine key to Europe security: NATO:  A sovereign, independent and stable Ukraine is essential to security in Europe and beyond, NATO said today as tensions between pro- and anti-Russian factions stoked fears the country could break apart. 

Such a Ukraine, "firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security," NATO said in a statement agreed by member state defence ministers.
22:11  India, Russia agree to finalise deal for 2 more KNPP reactors:  India and Russia today held wide- ranging talks on nuclear, space, energy and economic cooperation and agreed to finalise the long-pending deal for the third and fourth reactors of Kudankulam power plant soon.

Chairing the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission meeting, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin deliberated on a range of issues to further enhance cooperation in key areas. Sources said the progress made in Kudankulam nuclear power plant was assessed by both sides. It was hoped that by April-May, the nuclear power plant will achieve full capacity.

They also reviewed the "rapid progress" being made on completion of Kudankulam unit two and hoped that it would be connected to the power grid before the end of the year.

The sources said there was a general agreement to build on the momentum underway and conclude at an early date the general framework agreement on Kudankulam 3 and 4.
21:59  Court rejects Vanzara's plea seeking chargesheet copy:   A court here today rejected suspended IPS officer D G Vanzara's plea seeking a copy of the supplementary chargesheet filed by CBI in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of CBI court H S Khutvad had reserved the order yesterday. Vanzara's counsel, V D Gajjar, had contended that even after 20 days of filing of the chargesheet it had not been taken on record by the court.

"Under section 206 of the criminal procedure code, it is magistrate's duty to provide the copy to the accused," Gajjar contended. Khutwad had earlier told Gajjar that the charge sheet had not yet been verified, so the copy could not be given.
21:32  Vice Admiral Anil Chopra frontrunner for navy chief's post:  After the sudden resignation of Admiral D K Joshi, Eastern Naval Commander Vice Admiral Anil Chopra is the front-runner to succeed him as the next navy chief.

His name along with Acting Navy Chief Vice Admiral Robin Dhowan and Western Navy Commander Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha will be considered by the government for the appointment asthe regular Navy chief.

Western Naval Commander Sinha has been under scanner after the number of accidents that have taken place under his command, the issue over which Admiral Joshi resigned from service.
21:19  46 lions, 37 cubs died in Gir in last two years:  Gujarat has lost 46 lions and 37 cubs in the Gir forest area in the last two years, the State Assembly was informed today.

All these deaths, barring one, in the protected area which is the last abode of Asiatic lions, were due to natural causes, Forest and Environment Minister Ganpat Vasava said in a written reply to a question from Jawahar Chavda (Congress).

"Twenty-four lions and 10 cubs died in 2012," he said, adding all of them were natural deaths. "In 2013, 22 lions and 27 cubs died in the Gir forest area. One of the lions died under unnatural circumstances," the minister said.
19:59  Saudi crown prince in India to finalise defence pact:  Seeking to further deepen ties with India, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrived in New Delhi today on a three-day visit during which the two countries are expected to finalise a defence cooperation agreement.

Vice President Md Hamid Ansari received the crown prince at the airport, signalling importance India attaches to the trip. It is highest level political visit to India from Saudi Arabia after the landmark visit of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in January 2006.

Al Saud, who is also deputy prime minister and defence minister, will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A K Antony and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid. He will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee.
19:28  Vice Admiral R K Dhowan to officiate as navy chief :   The government has accepted Navy Chief D K Joshi's resignation with immediate effect.

Vice Admiral R K Dhowan will officiate as the navy chief.

D K Joshi took over as the naval chief in August 2013. He was to retire next year.       
19:11  Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi quits:  Indian Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi resigns after a submarine mishap today. He took moral responsibility for a series of naval accidents in the past.

A fire engulfed Russian-made submarine INS Sindhuratna off the Mumbai coast, causing serious illness to seven sailors and leaving two officers missing today.

This is the third naval mishap in seven months.
19:01  AAP members protest against party's ticket distribution system:   Five members of Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party are sitting on an indefinite fast outside the party's Hanuman Road office in Delhi in protest against the alleged lack of transparency in ticket distribution.

The five AAP activists, all of whom are from the capital, have been sitting on a dharna since February 22, and have vowed to continue their protest till corrective action was taken.

Their main grouse is that the ticket-distribution exercise put in place by the party's top brass was opaque, and that decisions were being taken behind closed doors.  Read more
18:50  Why is it that it is 'shocking' for an actress to smoke in real life? The Times of India gets incredibly judgmental. Don't miss the one on Manisha Koirala. Read
18:38  HC relief for Yukta Mookhey's estranged husband:  In a minor relief to Prince Tuli, the estranged husband of former Miss World Yukta Mookhey, the Bombay High Court today relaxed the condition imposed on him about recording his presence at a police station here in connection with the domestic violence case filed against him by his wife.
18:35  Just in: Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) recommends prorogation of Winter Session of Parliament. 
18:22  Lone LJP MLA and party Vice President Zakir Hussain Khan resigns from the party.
18:12  Elaborate security for rallies of Modi, Mulayam, Kejriwal:  Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the rallies of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal in the state on March 2, a senior police officer said in Lucknow today. Modi will address his party's rally in Lucknow, Mulayam in Allahabad and former Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal in Kanpur on the same day.
18:01  The very 'potent' Mr Khurshid:  After Salman Khurshid called Narendra Modi impotent, he released some pictures of him, where he is posing in manly and "potent' manner. See the take by Faking News.
17:52  Congress misusing CBI against Paswan: Venkaiah Naidu:  Amid speculation of LJP joining hands with it, BJP on Wednesday alleged that UPA was now misusing the CBI against Ram Vilas Paswan as it had targeted its other opponents.

Naidu was reacting over reports that CBI may question former Union Steel Minister Paswan in connection with alleged illegalities in the Bokaro Steel plant recruitment process in which relatives of some high-profile personalities are under the scanner of the agency.

Paswan, who is negotiating seating arrangements in Bihar for the upcoming general elections, has come under the lens following recovery of some documents which, agency sources claimed, indicate that his staff may have been actively involved in extending favours to some candidates.
17:36  How a parrot helped Agra cops crack a difficult murder case:  This is true story...

In an unusual case highlighting heightened animal sensibility, a pet parrot has helped Agra Police zero in on the killer in a blind murder case.

According to a news story published in Amar Ujala, a married woman Neelam Sharma and her pet dog were murdered earlier this month and the police had failed to make any headway in the case.

The deceased woman was an animal lover and kept the dog and a parrot who were very close to her, the family told the newspaper. Read more
17:26  Sensex touches 21,000 as FIIs remain optimistic of India story:  The benchmark BSE Sensex today breached the 21,000-mark after a month, but settled the day a tad lower at 20,986.99, a gain of 135 points, amid mixed trends from global markets. India's largest gas distributor GAIL rose 2.97 per cent to end the day as the biggest Sensex gainer.
17:04  While on polls, read this: 20 questions a journalist or anyone for that matter, should ask about poll results. Read
16:59  And this is what the Congress feels about opinion polls:
Ajay Maken tweets: At Election Commission to support its views to ban opinion polls till expiry of polling in wake of recent expose of manipulated opinion poll.
16:55  LIVE! AAP: EC should monitor, NOT ban opinion polls :  AAP leader Yogendra Yadav holds a press conference slamming opinion polls. The press conference is in reaction to a sting operation which showed that companies are willing to accept bribes to manipulate their findings, which suggess that pre-election opionion polls have a purpose other than helping the voter make an informed choice. The sting showed a media house asking the poll company to manipulate results.

At the presser today, Yadav says that media houses need to introspect. "The dark side of the media is exposed and the entire raw data must be available to experts," he said.

"We request the Election Commission to regulate, but not ban opinion polls. Meda houses must reveal ownership patterns," said Yadav, who was flanked by Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan.

This is what the sting showed.
16:32  Sting operation finds firms willing to tweak data. So, does the case for regulating pre-election opionion polls make sense? Read
16:28  As a certain gent who only answers to the nation would have told Ms Lekhi: Never ever EVER say stoop so low. 
16:28  Khurshid's brain scan would show a cockroach's brain: BJP's Lekhi:   BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi's tweet in response to a person telling her that Congress leader Salman Khurshid needs to get a brain scan for calling Narendra Modi.

Meenakashi Lekhi: "Brain scan may actually show a cockroach's brain or a vacuum!"

Definitely a new low in political rhetoric.
15:53  Ugandan newspaper prints list of 200 top gays:  A Ugandan newspaper published a list Tuesday of what it called the country's "200 top" gays, outing some Ugandans and raising fears of violence against those named just a day after the president enacted a severe anti-gay law.

Many on the list "are scared and they need help,' said Pepe Julian Onziema, a prominent Ugandan gay activist who was named in in the Red Pepper tabloid. "Some want to leave the country and they are asking to be helped." 
15:49  Modi win unlikely to boost grwoth, says Moody:   Though downside risks to the economy have receded in recent months, it is likely that the growth engine will continue to sputter until 2015 even if "business-friendly" Narendra Modi becomes prime minister, says a report by rating agency Moody's analytical arm.

"The May elections offer the chance for better governance, especially if the business-friendly Narendra Modi becomes prime minister, but it will be a long road for the there is little on the horizon to lift the economy in 2014," Moody's Analytics said in a report titled, 'India Underwhelms.'
15:38   The Supreme Court has adjourned the hearing for two weeks. The 1993 attack was also believed to have been in retaliation for a government backed raid in 1984 on the Golden Temple.
15:36  LIVE! 1993 Delhi blast convict Bhullar will NOT be executed, Centre tells SC:   Just in: No question of KLF terrorist Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar's execution in his present health condition, Centre tells Supreme Court.  The Centre tells the SC that another mercy petition filed by Bhullar's wife is pending with the President.

The Delhi government has pleaded with the Supreme Court to commute death sentence of Khalistani terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar to life imprisonment on the ground of his mental illness.

In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the government referred to the opinion of the Delhi Lieutenant Governor in which he had favoured commutation of the death sentence.

"On principles of human ethics and natural justice, I cannot bring myself to recommend the rejection of the mercy petition of Navneet Kaur (wife of Bhullar) and my comments may kindly be forwarded to the President of India for the final disposal in the matter," the governor had said.
15:25  The importance of impotence in India :  Salman Khurshid, India's foreign minister, triggered a storm of criticism when he called Narendra Modi, the standard bearer of the main opposition party, "impotent' Tuesday.  Khurshid's use of the Hindi word napunsaka to describe Modi, upset his BJP and sparked a row over the use of words and their proper definitions Wednesday.  Read
15:21  Navy fears the worst for missing two on Sindhuratna :  Update on the Sindhuratna mishap. The two officers missing (and feared dead by the Navy) were inside compartment 3 of the Sindhuratna that was sealed shut after heavy smoke was detected. Navy says all seven sailors who had been evacuated after smoke inhalation on the Sindhuratna are out of danger. Navy says there was no explosion on board the submarine, but heavy smoke was observed leading to the sealing of compartment 3.
15:12   Meanwhile, TRS says Digvijaya's announcement of an alliance with the Congress is premature. So a day of many a slip between the cup and the lip. 
15:09  Nitish Kumar: Surprised at Paswan's alliance with the BJP:  First reactions from JD-U chief Nitish Kumar on Ram Vilas Paswan saying that the alliance with the JD-U is uncertain. "It is surprising that Paswan is allying with the the BJP because once he was known for his stand against communalism," says the Bihar CM. 
14:58  LJP keeps BJP, Cong guessing: Alliance decision in four days :   Paswan keeps the suspense going. "I will take a decision on alliances shortly." "We haven't taken a decision on alliances yet, the moment we do, we will let you know," says Chirag Paswan.

Paswan said everyone knows he was secular even when he was in the NDA.

The decision on the alliance will be taken in four days.

14:47  Paswan: Cong lacked seriousness in forming an alliance :  Paswan says the Congress was dilly-dallying and lacked seriousness in forming an alliance. "So the parliamentary board was looking for alternatives. Some members in the party wanted an alliance with the BJP. We need to build strong alliances as the polls are near," says Paswan. 
14:44  Ram Vilas Paswan's son Chirag (a wannabe filmstar with one unwatchable movie to his credit)says there was an uncertainty in the alliance with Bihar.  "We have reservations about the RJD. There was no seriousness with talks with the Congress."
14:36  Ram Vilas Paswan's presser begins 
14:35  SC issues arrest warrant for Sahara chief :   The Supreme Court has issued a warrant against Sahara chief Subrata Roy for failing to appear before the court today. The SC directs Roy to appear before it on March 4.

The top court had yesterday rejected Roy's plea for exemption from personal appearance.

The Supreme Court had summoned Mr Roy and three directors over the non-refund of Rs 19,000 crore by two Sahara companies to millions of investors.

"We have lost faith in you. You come to court and we know where to send you," the top court had said on Thursday while asking the top Sahara executives to appear in court.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had barred Roy from travelling abroad.
14:27  My grandmother (Indira Gandhi) was the boss of the family: Rahul on women's equality:  More of Rahul's wisdom, while addressing students at the Don Bosco University in Guwahati.

"In my mind I have 45 years of experience that women are at least smarter than men. They are more intelligent than men, more capable than men. Yet we spend our whole time in this country every day disrespecting them and we talk about super power," the Congress leader said.

"Sorry to be angry, but I am emotional about this because I have been brought up in a family where women are treated well, they are powerful," he said.

"My father (Rajiv Gandhi) treated my sister exactly as me. My grandmother (Indira Gandhi) was the boss of the family. My father listened to my grandmother. So that is the family where I come from," he said.

"People focus when there is a rape case. The entire country gets up and focuses on the rape case. That is very important because these type of crimes should be punished. But what we don't focus on is the everyday problem women face," Gandhi said.

"How many women do you see in Parliament, in Vidhan Sabhas, business? So it's not only about rape. Rape is the extreme manifestation. It is the suffering of the women every single day," he said.
14:21  Rahul Gandhi is trending on Twitter, but unfortunately for the Congress vice-president the tweets are hardly laudatory. Most of them are in response to Rahul's speech addressing students in the north-east.

Here's a sampling...

Angry Bombay Girl: Rahul Gandhi's contribution to Politics is the same as @kamaalrkhan 's contribution to Indian Cinema .

Abhijit Majumder ‏: Does Rahul Gandhi realise what these statements by Salman Khurshid, Mani Shankar Aiyar are doing to Congress' chances? It's almost sabotage

Jithu Joseph: Call me Rahul, it makes me more comfortable. Makes me feel slightly younger than I am: Rahul Gandhi

Pankhuri Totla: Rahul Gandhi was once considered sexiest man..this mere thought depresses me.

Sanjay Kaul: Listening to him, sometimes I think Rahul Gandhi is an avatar of Nirmal Baba.

Pritish Nandy: In one ad Rahul Gandhi is seen picking his nose (or something like that). Can't his campaign managers do better than that?

14:15  Rajiv Shukla: Khurshid's decision whether he should apologise :  Congress leader Rajiv Shukla says it's entirely Salman Khurshid's decision whether he wants to apologise for his remarks targetting Narendra Modi. Khurshid had called Modi (without naming him) impotent. Shukla says he would advise Congress leaders not to make such statements.
13:58  India growth likely less than 5% :  India's economic expansion was likely stuck below 5 per cent for the fifth consecutive quarter in the three months ended December 31, indicating that the country is still struggling despite a few recent encouraging economic indicators. Read
13:57  Karachi Diary:  More than 3,200 people died due to violence in Karachi in 2013, making it the city's deadliest year, writes Suhasini Hyder. Read
13:51  'Hindus will suffer most from the withdrawal of Doniger's book':  For over a decade, the United States has been shaping the contours of Hinduism. It has been doing this from the perspective of upper caste and conservative interests,' Professor Shefali Chandra tells's Arthur J Pais. Read
13:42  TRS chief meets PM:   Yesterday, Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrashekhar Rao along with a delegation met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to thank him for getting the Telangana Bill passed in Parliament and also discussed issues related to the new state. Emerging out of the meeting, MP Manda Jagannath said the "purpose of the visit was first to thank the Prime minister for the initiative".
13:42  TRS-Cong, LJP-BJP merger confirmed :   Ramvilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party is going to go with the BJP, with a likely eight seats. Paswan is expected to announce the alliance at a press conference at 2 pm today.

Congress spokesperson Digvijaya Singh says TRS has indicated its willingness of an alliance, but the modalities still have to be worked out.  
13:20  Navy fears the worst for the two unaccounted for personnel in the Sindhuratna mishap. The men are believed to be officers. 
13:15  Fight that made Muhammad Ali a star may have been fixed:  A sporting legend was born on February 24, 1964, when Cassius Clay defeated Sonny Liston at the end of the sixth round and jumped on the ropes bellowing: "I shook up the world!".  However, the fight that launched him to greatness at 22 and in which he began as a 7-1 underdog may have been fixed by the Mafia, newly released FBI documents indicate.  Read
13:09  Nido case is a barrier for movement of people: Rahul :   Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today said that poor connectivity in the North East would have to be aggressively addressed to remove the barriers of movement in the rest of the country and to properly utilise the productivity of the people.

"The reason for the energy of the North-East people not being properly utilised is because of poor connectivity in the region", Gandhi said while interacting with students at the Don Bosco University in Guwahati.

"Also incidents like the Nido (Taniam of Arunachal Pradesh) case are barriers for movement of people. They don't want to move because they are scared. We'll have to reduce those barriers as well", Gandhi said while answering a question by a student from Shillong, through video conferencing.
12:53  'Greatest buried treasure' in the US found in couple's backyard:  Don't you wish you had their luck? For many years, John and Mary took daily walks along a trail on a section of their property they nicknamed Saddle Ridge. 

But last year, as they were walking their dog, they noticed an old can sticking out of the dirt. Curious, they brushed away some moss, used a stick to dig it out and carried the heavy container home.And that's all it took for the couple living in California's gold country to discover a cache of 19th-century U.S. gold coins that rare coin experts say is the greatest buried treasure ever unearthed in the United States.  Read
12:42  Sindhuratna mishap: Two navy men unaccounted for:  Just in: Update on the mishap aboard the submarine Sindhuratna. Seven navy personnel were airlifted to the navy hospital INS Ashvini, up from the earlier figure of five. However, two navy personnel are unaccounted for.

If you've just joined us, here's what happened today: Five personnel of the Indian Navy were seriously injured in a mishap involving the Russian-origin Kilo Class submarine INS Sindhuratna off the coast of Mumbai.

This is the tenth accident involving an Indian Navy warship and the third submarine mishap in the last seven months.

INS Sindhuratna was involved in an exercise along the Mumbai harbour when a leakage in the battery compartment of the submarine occurred, resulting in five naval personnel suffering suffocation, said navy sources.
12:37  Amit Mitra and Derek O'Brien to be TMC National Spokespersons in the run up to the elections. 
12:35  Poll schedule on Friday?:  Our sources say that the election schedule may be issued on Friday at 3.30 pm, though the date remains unconfirmed. The other date that is doing the rounds is March 6, after the PM returns from Myanmar.

12:34  Cover Naxal areas in phase-I, govt. urges EC:  In the wake of intelligence inputs indicating a spurt in Naxal violence in the run-up to the general election, the Union Home Ministry has recommended to the Election Commission that polls in 33 districts be conducted in the first phase itself to facilitate maximum possible deployment of security forces in the rebel strongholds. Read
12:21  LIVE! Khurshid: Won't apologise, impotent means he failed to do his duty:  Congress leader Salman Khurshid reacts to the BJP's insistence that he should apologise for calling Narendra Modi impotent. Speaking to the CNN IBN, Khurshid said he had nothing to apologise about. "Why should I apologise? What should I say but impotent? Impotent means he failed to do what he was supposed to do. It is politics of incompetence, the BJP should look it up in the dictionary."

Khurshid, who targeted Mr Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots at a rally at his Lok Sabha constituency Farukkhabad in Uttar Pradesh yesterday, said, "I want to ask him this question that you claim to be such a strong and powerful man and wish to be the PM, and you could not protect the people of Godhra. Some people came, attacked and went, and you couldn't protect. Are you not a strong man?..Our allegation is not that you get people killed...but that you are napunsak (impotent)."
12:04  Pritish Nandy tweets: In one ad Rahul Gandhi is seen picking his nose (or something like that). Can't his campaign managers do better than that?
12:02  Doniger row: Dont blame the law:  "So you have our idiotic law too!'' a relative from Islamabad crowed after the Wendy Doniger affair hit the headlines.

 He was referring to Doniger's statement that described Section 295A of the IPC as "the Indian law that makes it a criminal rather than civil offence to publish a book that offends any Hindu."

Why did Doniger, who must be familiar with the section under which her book, The Hindus: An Alternative History, was sought to be banned, describe a law which applies to all faiths as one that applies only to Hindus? Read Jyoti Punwani's piece on the Hindu.
11:58  Modis frontier:  The frontier is where domestic politics meets diplomacy. It was no surprise then that the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, dwelt on foreign policy issues during his swing through the northeastern states earlier this week. Read
11:56  On gender justice and human rights:  The court's refusal to recognise that the right to adopt is an integral part of Article 21, which guarantees the rights to life and liberty, is striking. Read
11:50  Amartya Sen on leaks, plants and Indian Express. Read
11:49  A probe has been ordered into the submarine mishap, says the Navy PRO. 
11:48  Govt committed to provide best facilities to forces: PM:   Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the government is committed to providing the best possible facilities to the Central Armed Police Forces personnel who are serving the nation in very adverse conditions, risking their lives.

 After laying the foundation stone for the Central Armed Police Forces Institute of Medical Sciences (CAPFIMS), Singh said men and women of these Forces -- CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP, SSB, Assam Rifles and NSG -- work in very adverse conditions, often at considerable risk to their lives.
11:46  Farmers struggle to escape middlemen:  The rising cost of food that has hurt both Indian pockets and politicians' electoral prospects in the past year is often blamed on a multi-layered system of middlemen involved in the distribution of produce from farm to fork. Read
11:34  The picture that's doing the rounds on social media. 
11:28  If there is a dada in the area, it should only be the police inspector :  One of India's best-known police officers, Rakesh Maria has a persona that has found its way into both books and celluloid. Noted for his hands-on style and investigative skills. Read his interview to the Hindu. 
11:23  In politics, only one permanent friend: Facebook. Read 
11:19  US company to beam free wi-fi to entire world from space... soon:   A US company is planning to build an 'Outernet - a global network of cube satellites broadcasting Internet data to all the people on the planet - for free.The idea is to offer free Internet access to all people, regardless of location, bypassing filtering or other means of censorship, according to the New York based non-profit organisation, Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF).  Read
11:13  When all is foul:  Whatever the troubles within the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the split in its Bihar Legislature Party seems to have been encouraged and engineered by its rival, the ruling Janata Dal (United).

That the Speaker of the Assembly, Uday Narayan Choudhary, chose to recognise 13 of the rebels in the 22-member Legislature Party as a separate group was surprising as even if their action was considered to be a split, they did not constitute two-thirds of even the Legislature Party, the minimum required for the benefit of exemption from the provisions of the Tenth Schedule, which provides for disqualification on the ground of defection.  Read more

The cartoon in the Hindu today on the RJD split
11:07  Pakistans path to Perdition:  The Tehreek-e-Taliban see themselves as patriots -- and that goes to the rupture at the heart of the idea of Pakistan. Read more
11:01  Complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan means civil war, Pak warns:  In other reads: Seeing President Karzai as unlikely to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement, President Obama has directed the Pentagon to prepare for a full withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.  Read
10:57   The sailors were airlifted to the navy hospital in Mumbai. The submarine was on a testing mission after its refit, when the incident occurred 40-50 km off the Mumbai Coast. The submarine is now heading back to Mumbai. Thankfully, no weapons or ammunition were on board.
10:50  LIVE! Another submarine mishap: 5 sailors hospitalised after smoke on INS Sindhuratna :  Details coming in on the mishap on another submarine. Smoke has been detected on the INS Sindhuratna docked off the Mumbai coast. At least five sailors have fallen ill and have been rushed to hospital.

In August 2013, the lives on 18 sailors including senior navy personnel were lost on board the INS Sindhurakshak.

The INS Sindhurakshak had sunk on August 14 in the Mumbai naval harbour after an explosion probably in its torpedo section killing all 18 personnel on board.

A Board of Inquiry is still on to find out causes behind the accident.

The Vindhyagiri had also sunk over couple of years ago while returning from a sea sortie.
10:41  Woh filmstar hamare ek neta ke saath ayee thi: Mulayam on Jaya Prada:  Apart from Salman Khurshid calling Narendra Modi 'impotent' for failing to deal with the 2002 Godhra riots, other politicians across party lines have been spewing vitriol as well. Here's a sampling...

"Dekhne mein theek thaak thi. Woh film star hamare ek neta ke saath aayee thi, unke saath hi party chhor ke chali gayee (She was okay in looks. She had come to the party with one of our leaders and left with him)."

-- Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday.

"I did not run away from the party with Jayaprada. Both of us were expelled. I don't know what Mulayam Yadavji wanted to mean by saying she was okay in looks. Jayaprada revers the Samajwadi Party chief as her father."
-- Amar Singh on Tuesday.

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10:35  Just in: Navy personnel injured in a mishap involving a Kilo class submarine off Mumbai coast: Navy sources
10:31  Congress may name Andhra CM today:   The UPA government is to take a call on the next government in Andhra Pradesh today, reports the Times of India.

This was announced by AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh after the party central leaders interacted with Seemandhra Congress leaders on Tuesday.

Digvijaya also said that the consultation process on the merger of Congress and TRS is over and that only the seat-sharing remains to be finalized.

He also said that two new PCC chiefs for the two new states will be announced in a week. However, late in the night, TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao said no discussions had taken place on the merger of his party with Congress.
10:24  Ready to sign security treaty with Afghanistan: US :  Notwithstanding President Hamid Karzai's reluctance to sign the bilateral security agreement, the US has said that it is open to signing of the pact later in the year, as the longer it takes, the more challenging it will be to execute any mission post 2014 in Afghanistan.        

President Barack Obama called Karzai on Tuesday in order to discuss preparations for Afghanistan's upcoming elections, the Afghan-led peace and reconciliation efforts and, specifically, the Bilateral Security Agreement, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
10:23  Singapore panel recommends use of 'lathi' during violence :  A committee constituted to probe Singapore's worst riot in 40 years in the Little India precinct has recommended police to carry a lathi in handling violent street protesters, according to a media report today.        

The chairman of the state-appointed Committee of Inquiry into the December riot has recommended police to carry a lathi (baton) in handling such street protesters, The Straits Times reported.        

"Although you have a gun, you don't use it (and) this (lathi) might be more useful," the Singapore daily quoted a senior police official as saying during a public hearing on how police initially faced the riots on the night of December 8 last year.
10:21  Clinton's decision wont change my presidential plans: Biden :  US Vice President Joe Biden has said his decision to run for president in 2016 won't be swayed by whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chooses to seek the Democratic nomination.        

When asked if he had said he would not run for presidency if Clinton runs for the top position, Biden replied, "No, I haven't."        

"The only reason to run for the President of the United States is if you truly believe you are in a better position to do what you think is most needed in the country," he said.
10:19  'Impotent' Modi comment: Control your leaders, BJP tells Sonia:  A furious BJP on Wednesday admonished External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid for calling the saffron party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi 'impotent' over the latter's handling of the Gujarat riots in 2002.

"Is this how Rahul Gandhi has trained Congress spokespersons? We urge Sonia Gandhi to control and mend the language of her leaders," said a fuming leader of the BJP. 
09:03  Uttarakhand minister accused of molesting woman:  A minister in the Uttarakhand Cabinet -- Harak Singh Rawat -- has been accused of molesting a woman.

Rawat molested the woman at his residence in Delhi last year, the woman stated in her complaint at the Safdarjung Enclave police station in Delhi.

While the Congress government in Uttarakhand has claimed that it will 'research' the issue, the opposition has asked for Rawat's resignation.
03:33  Dozens killed in attack on Nigerian school:  Islamic militants set fire to a locked dormitory at a school in northern Nigeria, then shot and slit the throats of students who tried to escape through windows during a pre-dawn attack Tuesday. 

At least 58 students were killed, including many who were burned alive.They "slaughtered them like sheep" with machetes, and gunned down those who ran away, said one teacher, Adamu Garba.

Soldiers guarding a checkpoint near the coed government school were mysteriously withdrawn hours before it was targeted by the militants, said the spokesman for the governor of northeastern Yobe state.
03:30  Turkey PM vows action against fake leaked recordings:  Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday condemned leaked recordings of him and his son allegedly discussing how to hide large sums of money as a "vile attack' by rivals, as calls mounted for his beleaguered government to resign. 

"What was done is a vile... and a treacherous attack against the prime minister of the Republic of Turkey. It will not go unpunished,' Erdogan told his ruling party lawmakers in parliament.
02:25  South Korea committee to prepare for reunification with North:  South Korea's President Park Geun-hye, has announced a committee to prepare for reunification with North Korea. 

President Park said unifying with the north would be an economic bonanza, but analysts say the south would face a heavy financial and legal burden. 

President Park announced the plans to create a blue print for reuniting South Korea with the North on Tuesday.
02:23  US expels three Venezuelan officials in diplomatic row:  The United States has expelled three Venezuelan diplomats, in response to the expulsion of three of its own consular officials from Caracas.

Just over a week ago, Venezuela had accused the expelled Americans of having links with violent groups.

President Obama said the claims were baseless and false.

At least 13 people have been killed during weeks of protests in Venezuela, although the opposition puts the number of dead at 15.
01:48  Pakistan plans military operation in North Waziristan:  The Pakistani government is on the verge of launching a major military offensive in the North Waziristan tribal region following a series of brutal Taliban attacks in recent weeks and the apparent failure of peace talks with the militants, according to a senior Pakistani official.

"It could be any day,' said the official, who added that military plans have been shared with top U.S. officials who have long urged an offensive.
01:47  Gays in Uganda 'at risk' after tabloid publishes list:  Gay individuals and those who were said to be gay in a Uganda tabloid report today could be "at risk in their local community," according to a human rights expert who has watched the anti-gay political movement in the country spread.

The English-language tabloid Red Pepper published a list this morning of the country's alleged 200 top gay individuals under the headline "Exposed!" just a day after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a sweeping anti-gay bill into law.

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01:22  No deal with Saudi Arabia on arming Syrian rebels: Pakistan:  Pakistan today said there is no change in its policy on Syria and it did not discuss any plan with Saudi Arabia to arm rebels in the troubled country. 

"We strongly reject the media speculation that Pakistan has changed its position on Syria or is supplying arms to Syrian rebels directly or indirectly. These impressions are totally baseless and misleading," Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told the parliament.
01:21  Iranian teacher builds robot to teach prayer:  An Iranian schoolteacher has innovated an amusing way of encouraging young children to say their daily prayers robotics. 

Akbar Rezaie, 27, attended private robotics classes and learned to develop and assemble customised humanoid robots. 

He teaches the Quran to boys and girls at Alborz elementary school in the town of Varamin, 35 kilometers southeast of Tehran.
01:21  Suicide bomber kills 8 in Afghanistan:  A suicide car bomber killed eight people and wounded 41 in an attack today in southern Afghanistan, officials said. 

Gen. Matiullah Khan, police chief of Uruzgan province, said the explosion hit a building with a hotel and restaurant in Tirin Kot, southern Afghanistan.
00:42  NASA to launch satellite in collaboration with ISRO:  US space agency NASA today said it would launch a water-related satellite in collaboration with India's ISRO. 

The NASA-Indian Space Research Organisation Synthetic Aperture Radar mission is a part of its plan to launch in the next seven years a series of satellite related to water and draught, the agency said.
00:30  US planning full Afghan pullout, Obama tells Karzai:  President Barack Obama has warned his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai that the US may pull all of its troops out of his country by the year's end.

Obama conveyed the message in a phone call to Karzai, who has refused to sign a security agreement.

The US insists this agreement must be in place before it commits to leaving some troops behind for counter-insurgent operations and training.
00:30  Nigeria school raid in Yobe state leaves 29 dead:  At least 29 students have been killed after suspected Boko Haram militants attacked a boarding school in north-east Nigeria.

The BBC's Will Ross in Lagos says the remote school in Yobe state was attacked overnight when students were in their dormitories.

All the victims were teenage boys and 11 others were seriously injured. Most of the school was burned to the ground.Islamist militants have attacked dozens of schools in north-east Nigeria.
00:29  Ukraine crisis: Turchynov warns of 'separatism' risk:  Ukraine's interim President Olexander Turchynov has warned of the dangers of separatism following the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych.

His comments came amid continuing opposition in Ukraine's Russian-speaking regions to the new administration in Kiev.

The formation of a unity government has been delayed until Thursday
00:12  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  It's too early: Naveen says on Left, secular parties meet
Govt set to bring Ordinances on two anti-corruption bills
Tainted Kalmadi, Ashok Chavan and Koda want tickets for their wives
TRS chief meets PM; party considering merger, alliance options
Fatwa can't be forced upon people: Supreme Court
Bihar BJP leaders express disapproval of tie-up with LJP

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