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Live! Viktor Yanukovych: I'm still Ukraine's president, will fight for its future

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February 28, 2014


23:28  Thai opposition protesters to end Bangkok shutdown:  The leader of a movement aimed at ousting Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today announced that protests in Bangkok will be shut down this weekend but made it clear that the fight against the government was far from over. 

The surprise announcement by the opposition People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who has led protests against the government for four months, came hours after the army chief refused to rule out the possibility of a coup. Suthep did not give any reasons for his decision.
23:08  Viktor Yanukovych: I'm still Ukraine's president, will fight for its future:  Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych gave a defiant performance Friday in Russia, as he insisted that he remained the country's legitimate elected leader and was not giving up yet.

"I intend to continue the fight for the future of Ukraine against those who, with fear and with terror, are attempting to replace the power," he said, speaking Russian, not Ukrainian.

Read more
22:41  Court denies bail to Asaram in rape case for third time:  The sessions court here today rejected the bail petition of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, arrested in a rape case. Judge G K Upadhyaya said that a bail could not be given at this stage as the charges were of "serious nature". This is the third time Asaram has been denied bail.
22:41  Rajapaksa says Lanka must not face UN rights resolution:  President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said that Sri Lanka should not face a UN Human Rights Council resolution, as he accused the US of bullying his country. 

"A resolution is something that we are uncomfortable with, there should never be a resolution," the president said addressing Colombo-based foreign correspondents.
22:13  Three of family commit suicide in Chennai as daughter remains unmarried:  A retired Metrowater employee, his wife and daughter allegedly committed suicide by consuming pesticide in their house near Avadi in Chennai on Friday, upset over their failure to find a groom for their younger daughter.

On Friday afternoon, Durai, 60, his wife Anammal, 50, and their daughter Venila, 30, were found unconscious on the floor, frothing at the mouth, by Durai's brother Dayalan. He alerted neighbours who took them to a private hospital where they were declared 'brought dead'.
22:06  Afghanistan to slide into chaos after NATO troops leave: US:  Afghanistan's slide towards chaos and political disintegration is likely to be more rapid after US and NATO forces withdraw from the war-torn country by the end of this year, a top American official warned today.

The presence of US and NATO forces is essential to train and assist Afghan security forces, which despite remarkable progress still need international help, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins said.

"In the absence of a continued train, advise, and assist US and NATO military mission, Afghanistan's descent to widespread violence and political disintegration is likely to be much more rapid," Dobbins said in his key note address at a conference on Afghanistan by the US Institute of Peace.
20:34  Khurshid indicated Modi's administrative 'impotence': Singhvi:  Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi today defended External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid calling BJP's prime ministerial candidate "impotent" by claiming he had referred to Modi's administrative incapacity. "His context was different.

He was not talking about physical incapacity. He was talking about administrative incapacity," Singhvi said.

Singhvi was in Gujarat to appear at high court on behalf of JP Cement, in connection with a pasture land dispute petition.

"Khurshid used the term symbolically. It did not mean that in the literal or physical sense," Singhvi said. On Modi's recent attacks on Congress for allegedly neglecting the poor and the downtrodden for 60 years, he said,

"Such remarks are being made everyday. Such remarks do not need any comments". When asked to comment about some Congress MLAs in Gujarat switching over to the BJP, he said, "Such things are not new. This is an old practise".
19:18  No alliance with Cong, says TMC:  Trinamool Congress today ruled out any alliance or electoral understanding with Congress in West Bengal, saying the party would fight the upcoming Lok Sabha elections alone. "I have no such report," said TMC leader Mukul Roy when asked whether his party would align with Congress in the general polls.
19:05  13/7 blasts: Bhatkal, Akhtar get judicial remand till March 13:   A special MCOCA court today remanded till March 13 the Indian Muhahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and his aide Asadullah Akhtar in judicial custody in connection with the July 13, 2011 Mumbai triple blasts case.

"The court has remanded Bhatkal and Akhtar to judicial custody till March 13 after we submitted to the court that the ATS intends to conduct their identification parade in jail," special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said.

Accepting Nikam's plea, designated Judge Yatin D Shinde remanded the duo in judicial custody. Later, Nikam had also moved another application seeking not to lodge Bhatkal and Akhtar in the high security Arthur Road jail but to Thane jail.
18:54  Just in: Petrol price hiked by 60 paise and diesel by 50 paise effective midnight. 
18:51  So, Subrata Roy spends the weekend in a police lock-up, which is where he will stay till March 4. 
18:48  Navy had warned govt of vulnerable state of submarines in 2010:  NDTV reports: The Indian Navy had warned the defence ministry and the Prime Minister's Office about the highly 'vulnerable' state of submarines in a report submitted in 2010.

"The submarine arm of the nation has never before been poised in such a vulnerable situation with regard to operational availability and strength. In the next five years, India will have its lowest submarine capability in the history of submarine arm," the report had said.

Read the full report here
18:42  Sahara chief Subrata Roy sent to police custody till March 4:  The court has remanded Sahara chief Subrata Roy  to police custody till March 4.
18:31  Lucknow reserves order in Subrata Roy case:   Just in: The Chief Judicial Magistrate Anand Kumar Yadav reserves the order in the Subrata Roy case. The Sahara chief says that he wants to stay in Lucknow. Incidentally, the CJM asks the media to leave the court. 
18:31   As Rediff.com's Sharat Pradhan tells a TV channel, Subrata Roy wasn't in police custody, but the police was in Roy's custody. 

Sharat, who is based out of Lucknow, and is easily one of the most influential journalists in the country, says Roy is extremely well-connected in Lucknow and is very close to Mulayam Singh Yadav.
18:25  'Navy chief's resignation will dent morale of young officers':  'If the navy was part of the ministry of defence then, of course, the defence minister would have been jointly responsible for everything that happened. But that is not so.

"The defence minister can shrug his shoulders and say, 'Look I don't know what is going on in the navy, so let the chief handle it'.

''The politician is free to do what he feels. If his conscience hurts him, he is welcome to quit,' former naval chief Admiral Arun Prakash tells Rediff.com. Read
18:13  Live! Subrata Roy in Lucknow court says he would 'prefer' to stay home till hearing:  Subrata Roy's convoy exited at about 5.15 pm from the rear gate of the Lucknow magistrate's court to evade the large number of mediapersons who had been camping there since morning.

There was heavy deployment of police force and Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel at the main gate of the Sahara Sahar.

Roy is said to have been taken in a convoy of three to four vehicles will tinted windows to the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Lucknow.

Roy was arrested in the morning after having evaded for two days a non-bailable warrant issued by the Supreme Court for his failure to appear before it in a case of non-refund of Rs 20,000 crore to investors
17:57  Lucknow police seek transit remand for Roy. Roy says he would prefer staying at home till the hearing is on. 
17:47  Roy reaches court :  Meanwhile, Subrata Roy has reached the CJM court in Lucknow and has entered the court premises through the rear entrance, effectively evading the press camping outside the court.
17:38  Maha PAC chief demands case against Kalmadi in CYG scam:  In potentially more trouble for Suresh Kalmadi, the Public Accounts Committee of Maharashtra legislature has recommended a criminal offence to be registered against the Organizing Committee of the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games headed by the suspended Congress MP for alleged misappropriation of funds.

PAC Chairman Girish Bapat told the legislative assembly that Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had given the Organizing Committee three months' time to submit the final statement of expenditure, failing which criminal offence will be filed against Kalmadi.

"The stipulated three months time is over. Some papers have been received and the government should go ahead with filing of a criminal offence," Bapat said.
17:32   A cavalcade has already left Sahara City for the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court. Roy is probably on his way to the court. 
17:28  Live! Subrata Roy's last ditch effort to evade arrest: Calls in docs to examine him:  Meanwhile, Subrata Roy's legal team is on his way to the Lucknow court. Subrata Roy, meanwhile, has not been arrested by the police and is not yet in police custody as announced this morning. Roy has called in a team of doctors led by the head of the Sahara hospital in Lucknow, to possibly get a last moment reprieve on health grounds.  
17:14  Paternity case: HC rejects ND Tiwari's proposal for out-of-court settlement:  The Delhi Court on Friday dismissed the proposal of veteran Congress leader ND Tiwari for settlement of paternity case outside the court after his biological son Rohit Shekhar refused to do so.

Seeking to settle the matter peacefully, the proposal to settle the matter "amicably' outside the court was put forth by Tiwari on February 19.

The paternity suit was filed by Shekhar in 2008, in which he had claimed that Tiwari was his biological father. However, the Congress leader has denied the claim.
17:04  Latest London lunch: Prison food:  Your phone's confiscated. Your fingerprints are taken. You're going to prison. But don't worry, it's just for lunch. So, would you dine at a high-end restaurant inside a prison? Read
16:38  The Delhi High Court rejects N D Tiwari's proposal to settle the paternity case as the youth claiming to be his biological son did not consent to it.
16:37  Northern Lights illuminate the UK:  The Aurora Borealis - better known as the Northern Lights - has been giving rare and spectacular displays over parts of the UK. See
16:34  Cabinet defers consideration of anti-graft ordinances:  The much talked about anti-graft ordinances being pushed by Rahul Gandhi were today put off by the Union Cabinet.

The Cabinet which met for nearly two hours decided to postpone the ordinances amid speculation that its special meeting could be held early next week on the issue.

There was, however, no official word on it by the government. As soon as the Cabinet had taken up the packed agenda for the day, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth announced that items relating to the ordinances stand "postponed", sources said.
16:19  Just in: Sonia Gandhi is hosting a farewell dinner on Monday to Congress MPs for the 15th Lok Sabha. It is a courtesy meet for outgoing MPs. 
16:01  The lure of a roof in Lutyenss Delhi :  There were two things going for Jawaharlal Nehru in his relatively trouble-free 17 years as prime minister of India. The first is that most Indians, but particularly the middle classes, were in awe of him.

His demeanour, patrician style, easy familiarity with the white man (and woman) and Anglophone cosmopolitanism put him in a separate league from the rest of the political class.

It accorded him the licence to meddle in things that were outside the scope of politics. Secondly, Nehru lived in a pre-media age when every action of the prime minister and his government wasn't subject to exacting scrutiny. This information deficit proved very handy.

Read Swapan Dasgupta's column for the Telegraph.
15:57  When Nitish Kumar cancelled the Modi dinner:  When the morning's papers were brought to Nitish Kumar the next day, what he saw left him so irate he couldn't hold his cup of tea straight.

Full-page advertisements had appeared in two of Patna's largest circulated Hindi dailies -- Jagran and Hindustan -- thanking Narendra Modi for the Rs 5 crore flood relief money...

''The text on it was irrelevant, it was the subtext that burned into Nitish -- the Ludhiana photograph leapt off the page: there it was again, Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar, palms clutched and held aloft.

''Nitish thought it a distasteful and offensive taunt; worse than a rude joke, a makhaul, mockery...'A fascinating excerpt from Sankarshan Thakur's new book, Single Man, The Life & Times of Nitish Kumar of Bihar, Harper Collins India.  Read
15:39  Asaram denied bail once again:  Meanwhile, self-styled guru Asaram Bapu has been denied bail again. Asaram has been charged with rape and unnatural sex and has been cooling his heels in the Jodhpur jail. 
15:28  Live! Modi in Karnataka: Congress will be wiped out because of its sins:  Excerpts from Narendra Modi's speech in Gulbarga, Karnataka:

"I see a sea of orange here. If people want to see the mood if India, they should circle this area in a helicopter," he said.

"Elections have not been announced yet but there is already a storm brewing. Once the elections are announced the storm will become a tsunami," he added.

He hit out at the Congress saying it won't be able to survive the upcoming political tsunami and that the Congress Party is going to be wiped out because of its sins.

People of India have understood that the reason for their troubles is the Congress party

"Madam came here a few days ago, did she give you an account of the work done by the government? What kind of a democracy is this? In any democracy, the elected representatives must give an account for every paisa and every minute spent," he said. 
15:24  CBI seeks fresh analysis of evidence in VK Singh bribery case:   CBI will go for fresh forensic analysis of an audio recording submitted by former army chief General (Retd) V K Singh to buttress his allegation of purported bribe offer made by a retired senior officer of the army to clear supply of Tatra trucks.

CBI sources said the agency is seeking fresh forensic analysis of the CD which supposedly carries audio recording of the conversation during which the alleged offer of Rs 14 crore was made to the then army chief V K Singh.

The sources said an earlier analysis could not retrieve anything from the CD and nothing was audible after which it was sent for examination at the Central Forensic and Scientific Laboratory (CFSL). "We have sent the CD to CFSL for a fresh forensic evaluation," a senior CBI official has said.
15:06  Road rage: Two shot dead in scuffle over parking space in Delhi:  Two brothers were shot dead in an apparent road rage case in outer Delhi's Bawana area on Friday. The incident took place at around 10:30 am when the two brothers, identified as Shadab Singh and Kaptan Singh, had an argument with Rahul alias Kalu over parking of his car.

"Rahul then shot the two brothers and fled from the spot in his car. The two were rushed to a nearby hospital where they were declared brought dead," said a senior police official.
15:03  KM Abraham: The man who showed Subrata Roy the way to jail :  If Subrata Roy, the recalcitrant head of the Sahara Group, today finds himself in police custody in Lucknow after the Supreme Court issued a non-bailable warrant in his name on 26 February, it is simply because he has tried to be too clever by half.

However, there was one bright and diligent officer in Sebi, the markets watchdog, who was cleverer than him. And it is due largely to the efforts of this one man, an upright man called KM Abraham, that Roy is now getting his comeuppance. Read more
15:00  Karuna's thumbs up for Modi: He is a hard worker and good friend:  DMK President M Karunanidhi today described BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as a 'hardworker' and a 'good friend.'

Karunanidhi's response came in an interview to one of the leading Tamil dailies 'Dinamalar,' in which the 90 year-old DMK patriarch also refrained from commenting on a possible tie-up with the saffron party post-elections.

"The hectic election campaign by Modi shows he is a hardworker. He is also a good friend of mine," he said when asked about his 'personal opinion' on the Gujarat Chief Minister.

Asked if his announcement in the recent DMK state conference that his party would not align with 'communal forces', meant BJP, Karunanidhi shot back "are you giving a confessional statement that BJP is communal."

When asked if there was a chance for DMK joining BJP-led alliance after elections, he said he "cannot speculate and tell what will be the situation after the Lok Sabha polls."
14:57  The Congress Core Group is meeting today. 
14:09  Wreath laying ceremony for victims of Submarine mishap:  The Navy will today conduct a wreath laying ceremony in memory of its two personnel who lost their lives battling the fire in submarine INS Sindhuratna.

"The Navy has organised the wreath laying ceremony today for Lieutenant Commander Kapish Munwal and Lieutenant Manoranjan Kumar," defence PRO Narendra Vispute said. After the ceremony, the Navy will send the bodies to their natives places later today, a naval source said.

"The bodies were handed over to the respective families last night itself," said Dr Tatya Lahane, Dean of JJ hospital.
13:53  The Doctor and the Saint:  Ambedkar, Gandhi and the battle against caste; Arundhati Roy's essay in the Caravan magazine. Read if you haven't as yet.
13:49  Live! Six cops killed in Maoist attack in Dantewada:   Just in: An SHO and five police jawans have been killed in a Naxal ambush in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district.The attack happened in Nakulnar where a road construction project was on. The cops were deployed to guard the site.
13:40  'Not a ripple, only silence answers my silence' :  A poem dedicated to Lieutenant Commander Kapish Muwal and Lieutenant Manoranjan Kumar who died on board the Sindhuratna trying to ensure their mates escaped the toxic fumes. The poem was written by an officer who was closely associated with both the men. Read
13:26  Live! Mamata mithai sweetens Bengal :   Mamata Banerjee has said several times that she is "rough and tough'. The tough talk notwithstanding, her name does sell sweets called "mishti mukh'.

Yes, there is a sweet called Mamata mishti mukh. Like its inspiration, it's not an ordinary orb. It is a 500gm sphere -- more than 25 times the weight of a regular rosogolla -- selling at the annual Jalpesh Temple mela in Mainaguri.

However, if Mamata's sweet-connect is tracked, the 500gm sweet is not the biggest that was made in her honour.  Read more
13:18  IPL scandal: IPS officer who named MS Dhoni suspended:  IPS officer Sampath Kumar, who had deposed before the Supreme Court committee probing the Indian Premier League match-fixing and betting scandal, has been suspended by the Tamil Nadu government. No reason has been given for this decision. Read
13:15  Admiral Joshi says Shano Varuna one last time :  The admiral came in civvies to say "Shano Varuna" this morning. The naval ensign did not adorn the bonnet of his black Ambassador any more. As Devendra Kumar Joshi drove off from South Block for the last time, he left in his wake a turbulence stirred by defence minister A.K. Antony. "Shano Varuna" -- may the Lord of the Seas be auspicious to us -- is the naval motto and also a greeting.  Read
13:11  Naval Chief was proving too tough on the babus?:  Sources from the Navy disclosed that there was a buzz for over ten day that something was brewing up against the Naval Chief as he was proving too tough for the Babus of the MoD to handle.

It just happened that this tragic accident occurred and the Chief rendered his resignation, no wonder it was promptly accepted. A morally upright officer has herby set very high standards for the existing and the future military leadership. Read
13:01  PM to move to Sheila's old Lutyen's bungalow after retirement :  A sprawling bungalow on Motilal Nehru Place will be the abode of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh once he retires after the Lok Sabha elections.

The 3, Motilal Nehru Place type VIII bungalow, spread over 2.5 acres, was vacated by former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit recently.

The four-bedroom bungalow with well maintained lawns and office space meets the requirement of a former Prime Minister.

"Some work has to be undertaken at the bungalow before the VIP moves here and CPWD has been given the responsibility for it," said a senior Urban Development Ministry official. With the allotment of a Lutyen's bungalow, Singh and his wife would be entitled to occupy the house for their lifetime.

Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP, is currently staying at 7 Race Course Road, the official residence of the Prime Minister.
12:53  Delhi High Court reserves verdict on PIL alleging that Congress, BJP received foreign funding in violation of the law.
12:43  Son who wanted to come home for Holi:  Manoranjan Chaudhary (26), who was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-commander on February 15, badly wanted to come home to the city to celebrate Holi with his family after seven long years. Instead, he will come a little earlier, in a coffin.  Read
12:38  Supreme sacrifice in submarine:  Lieutenant Commander Kapish Muwal, 32, and Lieutenant Manoranjan Kumar, 30, died not because they were slow to leave a submarine compartment filled with toxic gases but because they chose to risk their lives to save their comrades, naval sources told The Telegraph. Read
12:36  Cabinet approves Rs 1,000 per month minimum pension under EPFO scheme.
12:32  From austerity to growth:  In a noticeable change in its stance, the G-20, comprising the worlds biggest economies, at the recent meeting in Sydney decided to shift emphasis from championing austerity to promoting growth at a time when the financial crisis in seen to be receding. Read
12:31  Looming military breakdown:  In a nation where instances of admission of individual responsibility are depressingly rare, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi's resignation following the tragic accident on INS Sindhuratna is welcome evidence that some officials, at least, still hold themselves to the highest standards. Read
12:15  Cabinet approves President's rule in Andhra :  Just in: Union Cabinet clears President's rule in Andhra Pradesh. The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs on Wednesday evening recommended prorogation of the Parliament. Unless the two houses are prorogued, the government cannot issue the ordinance on President's rule in AP.

12:06  Who will India's next Navy chief -- the lobbying begins:   Had Admiral D K Joshi completed his tenure, then Vice Admiral Satish Soni, currently Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Navy's smallest command, the Southern Naval Command, would have taken over as the next Chief of Naval Staff.

After Admiral Joshi's abrupt departure, three officers senior to Vice Admiral Soni have become eligible to head the Navy. R S Chauhan reports on the lobbying underway to replace Admiral Joshi. Read
12:01  Court summons Kejriwal over Gadkari defamation suit :  Meanwhile, Arvind Kejriwal has been summoned by a Delhi court to appear before it by April 7 in a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari. Gadkari had alleged that he was defamed by the AAP leader, who had included his name in the party's list of "India's most corrupt".
11:58  When a dynasty read the future:  Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the former President of Sri Lanka, has among her photographs a collector's item taken when she was an 11-year-old girl.

Crowded into the frame are no less than five South Asian Prime Ministers who served at different times over five decades in the 20th Century: her father S.W.R.D.

Bandaranaike, mother Sirimavo Bandaranaike, herself (she was Prime Minister before she went on to win the presidential election in 1994), Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

There might have been six Prime Ministers in that photograph had Mrs. Gandhi taken her son Rajiv along on that visit to Colombo in 1956. 
Read more
11:47  'Subrata Roy is the father of 12 lakh people':  Seemanto Roy, who along with his brother Sushanto holds key positions in the Sahara group, also said, "Since he (Subrata Roy) is the father of over 12 lakh people, I have so many brothers and sisters... It won't impact anything," he said.

"It is a very delicate relationship between a son and a mother. She is 92 and is really sick. We expect the court to understand that... Sahara Shri is a law abiding citizen. We have faith in law and lets see what happens," he said
11:38   The UP police is set to produce Subrata Roy before a magistrate shortly.  Roy will be produced before the CJM court in Lucknow.
11:36  'I have started hating myself':   More from Subrata Roy's high-octane press release. Apart from bail, what Roy needs is an editor.

"I am absconding? I have started hating myself. Now I can't handle this level of agony and humiliation. I feel ashamed and sad for some negative minded, emotionally confined media people (like few journalists vomited venom against Sahara today who were some time back thrown out of Sahara) and who are probably not remained as human being.

They are bullying and indulging in character assassination of a son who is trying to perform his emotional duty towards his ailing mother. God forbids if any un-toward thing happens with my mother, in my absence, I shall never forget in my life those people."


11:21  Sahara Housing Finance stocks fall :  The immediate fallout of the Subrata Roy's arrest is that Sahara Housing Finance stocks have fallen by 3.62 per cent.

Earlier, Seemanto Roy said that Subrata Roy's arrest would not impact the Sahara empire.
11:14  Roy also appealed to the Supreme Court to allow him to be with his "ailing mother under house arrest till March 3, 2014", while adding that he was ready to reach Delhi even today, if court wants him to do so.
11:08  Live! Subrata Roy: I am a law abiding citizen, I would hate myself if I absconded:  In his press release Subrata Roy says, (reproduced her verbatim):

"Last evening I had gone out of Sahara Shaher, Lucknow, to consult a panel of doctors with certain medical reports of my mother and then I had gone to a lawyers' house also.

"I was informed by my family members that the police had come and they said something to media, then whole media in the country started saying that I am absconding 

"I am not that human being, who will abscond. Infact, being a law-abiding citizen, I shall hate myselt to do any such thing ever in my life."
10:55  The Supreme Court declined Sahara lawyer's plea that the case be heard today itself. 
10:55  Live! Subrata Roy arrested, in custody till March 4:  Seemanto Roy, Subrata Roy's on says his father is cooperating with the police as per the directions given by the Supreme Court. "Misconceptions are being created about Sahara. Subrata Roy willfully surrendered before the Lucknow police. Sahara has always put the reputation of the country before the company. My father returned to Lucknow to be with his ailing mother. Despite this, Roy and Sahara's reputation has been tarnished," says Seemanto.

Seemanto reiterated that Subrata Roy had willfully surrendered and trashed media reports that he had been absconding.

The Supreme Court will hear Roy's case on March 4, and till then he will remain in police custody.
10:48  Sahara chief Subrata Roy has been arrested and has been taken into custody by the Lucknow police. 
10:41  Defamation case: Delhi court summons Kejriwal:  
A Delhi court on Friday summoned Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal in connection with a defamation case filed by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari

Gadkari has alleged that he was defamed by the Aam Aadmi Party chief, who had included his name in the partys list of Indias most corrupt.
 
During the last hearing, Gadkari's counsel had argued that Kejriwal had made the statement against the BJP leader with a malafide intention to tarnish the image and lower the dignity of their client. 

The counsel contended that Kejriwal had made baseless and false allegation against 57-year-old Gadkari.

The former BJP president had said that on January 31 this year, Kejriwal had issued a list of alleged Indias most corrupt in which he had named various politicians, including him. 

On January 31, Kejriwal had accused several politicians of being corrupt and had said AAP will field candidates against them in the coming Lok Sabha polls. 
10:01  No change in policy on communal riots in Gujarat: US:  
The United States continues to express concern about communal violence in India, the Obama Administration has said, strongly refuting reports that it has gone soft on the Gujarat communal riots in 2002 and the alleged role of its Chief Minister Narendra Modi. 

"I wouldn't characterise our assessment that way. I think you'll find if you review the text that we're very clear about our concerns about several episodes of communal violence across India," US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters on Thursday. 

Psaki was responding to a question on the latest annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released by Secretary of State John Kerry. 

"If Modi was mentioned in previous human rights reports for India by name, and (why) he is not mentioned in this one," she was asked. 

Paski said that there is no change in the US policy on communal riots in Gujarat about a decade ago. Both the annual reports of the 2011 and 2012 mention Modi in its report but it no way refers to his role in the communal riots.
09:45  Decision on President's Rule in AP likely today:  
The United Progressive Alliance government is likely to decide on Friday whether or not to impose Presidents Rule in Andhra Pradesh. 

The government is keen to decide on a number of issues during the meet.

Over a week after Parliament passed a bill for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the central government is yet to decide on the day when two states will formally come into being. 

Since neither the Congress nor any other party has staked claim to form government, Presidents Rule seems inevitable in Andhra Pradesh.

The assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh are due along with the Lok Sabha elections. 

Since it may take three months for the two states to formally come into being, the assembly elections may not be held simultaneously with Lok Sabha polls. 
09:43  While cops hunt for him, Subrata Roy says he ain't hiding:  
Sahara chief Subrata Roy on Friday said that he is not absconding. He also added that he is ready to "unconditionally" obey the Supreme Court's direction. 

In a statement, Roy said that he wants to be with his "ailing mother under house arrest" till March 3, if the Supreme Court permits.

"I have informed police to do their duty as per the direction of the Supreme Court," Roy said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, the police are expected to search other locations in Lucknow for Roy today.

Cornered and facing imminent arrest, the Sahara chief had yesterday tendered an "unconditional apology" to the Supreme Court for his non-appearance in a contempt case and sought recall of the non-bailable warrant issued against him.
08:35  'Blasphemous' Katy Perry video edited:  
The video for Katy Perry's track 'Dark Horse' has been edited following claims from some Muslims that it was blasphemous.

More than 65,000 people signed a petition which stated the clip -- featuring a pendant with the Arabic word for God on it being reduced to sand -- was offensive, reported BBC online. 

The music video has not been cut, but the pendant has now been digitally "scrubbed" out of the scene. 

Petition instigator Shazad Iqbal, said he was "thrilled" with the outcome. 

"The name of Allah has been removed from the Dark Horse video -- we couldn't have done it without everyone's support so I thank each and every one of you deeply, our voices have been heard," he wrote on Change.org. 

"I feel that the impact we have made and the total number of signatures obtained does convey just how worthy a cause this is, it is a significant step towards the right direction," he added. 
08:29  Obama image tarnished in new poll:  
Almost six in 10 Americans express disappointment with Barack Obama's presidency, according to a new poll, which also shows Republicans with the edge heading into mid-term elections in November. 

The survey, by CBS News and the New York Times, also found that 82 per cent of Democratic voters want Hillary Clinton to make another White House run in 2016. 

Obama's popularity continues to thin, according to the survey, which puts his approval rating at 41 per cent with 57 per cent of those asked saying they actively disapprove of his performance. 

The polling, carried out between February 19 and 23, showed that the Democratic president's exposure to Washington's bitter political battles is shaping long term views of his White House years. 

Fifty-nine per cent said that they were somewhat or very disappointed with Obama's presidency. But the US leader is retaining support in his political base, with 24 per cent of Democrats very satisfied with his performance and 51 per cent stating they were somewhat satisfied.
08:28  Special status for Bihar: BJP's 'rail roko' today:  
The BJP is all set to stage a rail roko stir to demand special status for Bihar. 

Regretting that the agitation may cause inconvenience to the public, party leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi urged the people of state against travelling by trains during the stir. 

Modi also asked the railway authorities to stop all trains entering Bihar to the border areas as a precautionary measure. 

The senior BJP leader also slammed the UPA government for ignoring Bihar's long pending demand for grant of special status, echoing Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, as the latter took no time in giving similar incentive to Seemandhra after creation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh last week, 
 
Sushil Modi promised the BJP-led NDA under the leadership of Narendra Modi will provide special status and package to Bihar upon coming to power at the Centre. 
08:27  Dearness Allowance may be hiked by 10 pc on Friday:  
In a move that could benefit 50 lakh employees and 30 lakh pensioners, the Union Cabinet may on Friday hike dearness allowance to 100 per cent from the existing 90 per cent, a 10 percent increase.

The increase in DA comes ahead of the imposition of the model code of conduct by the Election Commission.

In September 2013, the government had hiked the DA by another 10 per cent to 90 per cent effective from July 1, 2013.

This would be the second double digit hike in a row and if hike, it would be effective from January 1 this year.

"The Union Cabinet will take a proposal to hike Dearness allowance for its employees and dearness relief for its pensioners to 100 per cent this Friday as per agenda listed for the meeting," a source had said.

As per reports, it is also very likely that the Union Cabinet could approve a proposal to merge dearness allowance (DA) with basic pay. However, no date has been fixed for the merger.
08:26  Modi, Rahul, Kejriwal dominate Google's search trends:  
As India inches closer towards general elections, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Aam Aadmi Party founder Arvind Kejriwal and Congress vice- president Rahul Gandhi have emerged as the most searched politicians online, Google said. 

According to Google Trends, on a scale of 0-100, Modi scored 65 points, followed by Kejriwal (52 points) and Gandhi (41 points) for the month of February so far. 

In January this year, Kejriwal (72 points) was ahead of Gandhi (64 points) and Modi (56 points) in terms of search on Google, the world's largest search giant. 

Google Trends records search queries containing keywords related to Modi, Kejriwal and Gandhi and shows the data using graphs. The query numbers are plotted on a scale of 0-100.
08:25  BCCI set to zero in on 2 prospective countries for IPL 7:  
The BCCI Working Committee will meet in Bhubaneswar today to shortlist two prospective countries which will be kept as alternative venues for the seventh edition of the IPL which is co-inciding with the general elections.

While South Africa is the front-runner having had the experience of hosting the second season of IPL, United Arab Emirates is also among the countries being considered for the event to be held between April 9 to June 3 window.

The final decision on a alternative location will be taken only after the government announces the dates of the general elections as the BCCI is hard-pressed to organise it in India due to pressure from the sponsors.

"As per the agenda, the report of the last IPL governing council meeting will be placed before the working committee. The Working Committee will then recommend a couple of alternative locations which would be forwarded to to IPL Governing Council. The IPL Governing Council and primarily, the CEO Sundar Raman will have a say in the final outcome," a senior working committee member said.
03:35  Palestinians reject US push for peace talks beyond April:  A senior Palestinian official on Thursday rejected US moves to extend an April deadline for nine months of hard-won talks with Israel to culminate in a framework peace deal.

"There is no meaning to prolonging the negotiation, even for one more additional hour, if Israel, represented by its current government, continues to disregard international law,' Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP. 

"If there was a committed partner, we wouldn't even have needed nine hours to reach that deal,' he said.
03:34  West warns Russia amid rising tensions in Crimea:  Western nations have called on Russia to ease tensions in Ukraine's Crimea region after armed men seized the local parliament and raised the Russian flag.

Russia also scrambled fighter jets along its borders as part of military exercises it announced a day earlier.

Moscow said it was willing to work with the West on averting a crisis, but warned foreign powers against taking decisions on behalf of Ukrainians.
02:43  Obama image tarnished in new poll :  Almost six in 10 Americans express disappointment with Barack Obama's presidency, according to a new poll, which also shows Republicans with the edge heading into mid-term elections in November. 

The survey, by CBS News and the New York Times, also found that 82 per cent of Democratic voters want Hillary Clinton to make another White House run in 2016.
02:43  Israel cut land offer by half, Palestinian ex-negotiator says:  Israel told the Palestinians it's willing to withdraw from only 40 percent of the West Bank, a Palestinian official close to the peace talks said, indicating how far U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is from delivering an accord.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, who negotiated on behalf of the Palestinians until November, says the offer made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's team was less than half the area previous Israeli governments have been ready to concede for a Palestinian state.
02:10  Disgraced Capt. Schettino returns to Concordia wreck:  When Capt. Francesco Schettino abandoned the Costa Concordia after the cruise ship ran aground on the Italian island of Giglio two years ago, a furious harbor master ordered him to "get back on board, damn it!"

On Thursday, Schettino finally did.

Sporting his trademark sunglasses, permanent tan and slicked-back hair, Schettino was mobbed by a crowd of journalists and curious locals upon his arrival at Giglio's pier. He fought his way through with the help of local authorities, and finally began the short trip to the cruise liner he is accused of crashing on the island's reef.
01:36  US slams armed crackdowns on pro-democracy protests:  The United States today denounced what it said was the growing use of security forces by repressive regimes to crackdown on a worldwide groundswell of pro-democracy protests. 

"The fundamental struggle for dignity, for decency in the treatment of human beings... is a driving force in all of human history," Secretary of State John Kerry said as he released his department's 2013 human rights report.
01:19  Baghdad motorbike blast, other attacks kill 42 in Iraq:  At least 42 people were killed Wednesday as a motorcycle rigged with explosives detonated in Baghdad's Sadr City and militants targeted mostly Shi'ite neighborhoods around the country.

The motorcycle was parked in a second-hand market in the Shi'ite Muslim neighborhood that sells used bikes and was filled with people, mostly young men, when it exploded late Thursday afternoon, killing 31 and wounding 51 others, Iraqi medical and police sources said.
01:18  US downplays N Korean short-range missile launch:  The United States is downplaying North Korea's launch of four short-range missiles off its east coast. 

Pentagon spokesman U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren Thursday confirmed reports of North Korean missile tests, but said the U.S. military does not consider the launch a provocative action.
01:18  US downplays N Korean short-range missile launch:  The United States is downplaying North Korea's launch of four short-range missiles off its east coast. 

Pentagon spokesman U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren Thursday confirmed reports of North Korean missile tests, but said the U.S. military does not consider the launch a provocative action.
01:04  Significant rights abuses by Indian police, forces: US report:  A US Congress-mandated report today said that abuses by police and security forces are the most significant human rights problems in India, but that the government had made some "progress" in cases seeking to punish officials for killings during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
00:39  Report: UK spy agency collected Yahoo webcam images:  Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, aided by the National Security Agency, have intercepted and stored the webcam images from millions of Yahoo chats by users who were not being targeted for any wrongdoing, The Guardian reports, quoting from secret documents.

The British newspaper says GCHQ files dated from 2008 to 2010 show that a program codenamed Optic Nerve collected the still images in bulk and stored them in databases.
00:13  Ukraine fugitive president to hold news conference:  Russian news agencies say Ukraine's fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, will hold a news conference in southern Russia. The reports say the news conference will be held tomorrow in the city of Rostov-on-Don. 

They earlier carried Yanukovych's statement, in which he claimed he remains the legitimate leader of Ukraine and denounced the new Ukrainian authorities as illegitimate.
00:11  'Boko Haram attacks' kill 32, including at Christian college:  Suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed at least 32 people in three separate attacks in northeast Nigeria, including at a theological college, a local government official and residents said today. 

The coordinated attacks in Adamawa state late yesterday came just a day after Islamist militant fighters were blamed for killing 43 people, most of them students, as they slept at a boarding school in Yobe state.
00:10  Sindhuratna fire: Cops register accidental death case:  Police today registered a case of accidental death over the fire incident on board the submarine INS Sindhuratna in which two naval officers lost their lives. 

The case over the incident yesterday was registered at the Yellow Gate police station in south Mumbai under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, said Additional Commissioner of Police, Krishna Prakash.
00:09  Top headlines in that last 24 hours:  

BJP releases first list of candidates for Lok Sabha polls 
Support to Mamata ONLY for coming LS elections: Hazare
Former army chief V K Singh to join BJP
2 missing INS Sindhuratna officers dead
No more benefits in jail for Tarun Tejpal
Navy sets up high-level probe in submarine mishap
Soldier kills 5 colleagues asleep in camp, then himself
63 per cent Indians favour BJP in polls, says US survey

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