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LIVE: Jairam Ramesh, Shinde, Pilot and Scindia to quit UPA govt?

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January 04, 2014

20:45  Jairam Ramesh, Shinde, Pilot and Scindia to quit UPA govt?:  
There are speculations in the power circles of New Delhi that four Union ministers -- Jairam Ramesh, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia -- have been asked to resign and return to All India Congress Committee Organisation.

Sources said that the four ministers are likely to submit resignation by Tuesday and move on to take control of the Congress election 'War Room'

This move is being seen as efforts to clear the path for Rahul Gandhi's appointment as the party's prime ministerial candidate. 

Sources said that Home Minister Shinde was being given an honourable exit as the Adarsh housing society scam loomed large.
19:35  Despite being a Punjabi Manmohan has 'failed': Sukhbir:  
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has "failed this time" despite being a Punjabi, who by nature are enterprising and leading in all the fields of the country, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said today. 

"You look at all the top industry of India. Majority of them are Punjabis. You look at all the film stars of India, majority of them are Punjabis. Punjabis by nature are enterprising. The Prime Minister of India is a Punjabi.... but he failed this time," Badal said. 

His remarks came a day after the Prime Minister strongly rejected the criticism that his leadership was "weak" and asserted that history will be more kind to him than the Opposition and contemporary media as he did the best in the given political circumstances. 
19:08  India beat Pakistan to lift U-19 Asia Cup:  
India skipper Vijay Zol (100) and Sanju Samson (100) scored contrasting centuries as India colts posted a comprehensive 40-run win over arch-rivals Pakistan to clinch the Under-19 Asia Cup title, in Sharjah today. 

While Zol's knock came off 120 balls laced with seven fours and two sixes, Samson took just 87 deliveries for his ton that included eight boundaries and four sixes, to help India reach 314 for eight in their allotted 50 overs.

In reply, Pakistan could reach 274 for nine, despite a fighting ton from Kamran Ghulam (102 not out; 89b, 12X4s). 
19:04  Just In: Arvind Kejriwal says he will not contest Lok Sabha election.
19:03  Marathi actress disappears, police clueless:  
Alka Punekar, a Marathi actress, has been missing since December 27 from Thane, police said. 

What has deepened the mystery is the fact that her car was found at the bottom of a ravine near Khopoli on Mumbai-Pune road.

Police Inspector Meera Bansode of Kopri police station here said today that the probe was underway, but the police were yet to get any clue about her whereabouts. 

Alka (49), a resident of Thane city, went missing on December 27. Her husband Sanjay Punekar lodged a complaint with the Kopri police. 

As per the complaint, Alka left home on December 27 for a show at Uran in neighbouring Navi Mumbai. From there she was to travel further to Pune. 

Her car was found in a mangled state at the bottom of a 700-feet deep gorge in Khopoli in Raigad district on December 30. Police found her bag and cellphone in the car, but she was nowhere to be found.
18:32  Senior Indian officials leave for South Sudan:  
A team of senior Indian officials left today for Sudan, which is witnessing ethnic conflict that has killed at least 1,000 people so far. 

Led by Sandeep Kumar, Joint Secretary (West Asia & North Africa) in the Ministry of External Affairs, the team's visit comes a day after the US Embassy in Juba announced that most of the Mission's personnel are being evacuated and the Embassy would now have the bare minimum staff. 

Indian officials have already said they have no intention to close down the Indian Mission and will in fact assess if it needs to be further strengthened in the light of key Indian interests in South Sudan. 

Meanwhile, all eyes are set on Addis Ababa where the South Sudanese government delegation, led by former Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial, and representatives of Riek Machar are believed to have reached. They would be meeting the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediators and are likely to meet each other over the weekend. 
18:16  Samajwadi hooligans bash up toll plaza staff:  
Ruling Samajwadi Party leaders and their supporters allegedly assaulted staff at two toll plazas and brandished their weapons when they were asked to buy tokens, just days after SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav warned his partymen that hooliganism won't be tolerated.

Ajitmal Block pramukh Devendra Yadav and his gunner allegedly beat up the employees of Mohari toll plaza in Auraiya last night when they were asked to pay the tax, sources said.

They also did not spare the officials who rushed to mediate and beat them up, they said.

An FIR was filed by the victims at Ajitmal Kotwali later against unknown persons, the sources said. Police said that efforts were on to trace the culprits and action would be taken against them as per the law.

In the second incident, a local SP leader along with his aides were caught on camera assaulting toll plaza staff on Lucknow-Faizabad highway when they were asked to pay the fee. 
17:25  Follow protocol, accept bungalow: Khurshid to Kejriwal:  
Union minister Salman Khurshid today said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should follow the protocol and accept the official accommodation, vehicle and security provided to him. 

"Kejriwal should not desist from accepting the facilities provided to him as per the protocol," the External Affairs minister told reporters. 

Khurshid wondered whether the Aam Aadmi Party chief will not accept security arrangements on foreign trips or when a foreign dignitary visits him.

Kejriwal today announced his decision not to take up the two five-bedroom duplex flats he has been alloted in Central Delhi.
17:24  AAP, a movement worth joining: Remo:  
Renowned singer Remo Fernandes, who recently joined the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP), today said that for the first time in his life he felt there is a movement worth joining. 

Fernandes said that for last two to three decades he has been penning songs on political and social issues. 

"People have been asking me to join politics. 

"The reason why I didn't join politics was that every party was an embarrassment," the singer, who is known for his hit songs like 'Oh meri munni' and 'Humma humma', told reporters. 

Praising AAP, Fernandes said it has become a political party by force after trying its best to change the system from outside for years. 

"During Mahatma Gandhi's time the politicians were gentlemen but today they are criminals...," he added. 
15:02  Back channel talks are on with India: Pak PM's advisor:  Back channel talks are on with India on Kashmir' Sir Creek and Siachen issues, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said today.   

However' he said that any breakthrough or forward movement on these issues could only be expected after the elections in India. He said it is Pakistan's "utmost endeavour" to improve relations with India.   

Though the composite dialogue is facing delay due to the elections in India but certain groups on trade' energy andvisa are in negotiations with each other, Aziz told state-run Radio Pakistan. He said now when India is heading towards elections' peace at the Line of Control and continuation of talks is necessary to avoid any tension in bilateral relations.
14:59  Veteran actress Suchitra Sen's health improves:   There has been slight improvement in the health of ailing veteran actress Suchitra Sen today, but poor oxygenation of blood due to a lung infection remains a cause of concern, according to doctors.

"Mrs Suchitra Sen's medical condition is stable since yesterday. However, her oxygen saturation is still fluctuating continuously necessitating intermittent non-invasive ventilation," a medical bulletin from the hospital where she was admitted on December 23 said.

Doctors attending to the 82-year-old said her vital parameters like heart rate and blood pressure level was satisfactory.
14:04  3 Union ministers to go along with PM: Sources :  Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's press interaction yesterday where he announced that he will not run for the third term was watched by many of his cabinet colleagues.

At least three Union minsters have now decided to begin winding up their offices. They are not sure of contesting the Lok Sabha polls, sources tell our Delhi correspondent. 
14:00  9 decomposed bodies found in Nagaland, victims were blindfolded and shot:   Highly decomposed bodies of nine unidentified persons, who were blindfolded with hands tied up, have been found buried in a gorge near Chumukedima in Dimapur district of Nagaland.

Police discovered the bodies lying atop each other last night, Dimapur SP V Z Angami said today.

The victims were found blindfolded with hands tied behind and shot from close range on the heads, he said, adding that the bodies were covered with a blue polythene sheet over which some boulders were placed.

It was suspected they might have been killed about two weeks ago as their bodies were in a decomposed state beyond recognition.

Image: Representation purpose
13:42   Maharashtra resident doctors call off stir:  Around 4,000 resident doctors across Maharashtra, who were on an indefinite strike after an assault on their colleague allegedly by three policemen, have called off their stir.   

The development follows orders from the Bombay high court, which asked the government to invoke a special law that seeks to protect doctors and medicare personnel/institutions,against the policemen.
12:58  The Model Code of Conduct for the Lok Sabha polls will come into force from first week of March soon after the vote-on-account is passed by Parliament, reports our correspondent from Delhi. 
12:56  EC to meet political parties in mid-February to discuss LS poll dates:   Our Delhi corespondent reports: Preparations for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls has begun.

The Election Commission has scheduled a meeting of all political parties in Delhi in the first week of February first to get their views on polling dates.

The EC will have interactions in mid-February with chief secretaries and directors general of police to identify suitable dates keeping in mind examinations.

The EC will have a special meting with the chairman of the railway board in the third week of February. Input from the meteorological department on weather conditions will also be taken .

Union home secretary and chiefs of central police organisations like the BSF CRPF, ITBP will also hold meetings with the EC. 
12:48  Lok Sabha polls likely in 6 phases, first phase may be held in mid-April:   Here's a tentative schedule of the Lok Sabha polls. The elections are likely to be held in six phases with the first phase to be held in mid-April -- 16th or 18th.

The elections will continue till mid-May, reports our correspondent from New Delhi.
11:54  AAP to announce first list of Lok Sabha candidates in 2 weeks:  The Aam Aadmi Party will declare its first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls within two weeks.

The national executive meet was held today to chalk out the party's plans for the elections expected to he held in May.

AAP had earlier said it will fight all the seats in Gujarat and will also contest in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.  
11:32  Arvind Kejriwal says he won't take duplex new house :   Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said he will not take the new duplex house allotted to him. "There is a lot of controversy over the new house I am shifting in. I will ask for a smaller house and till then I will work from my  house in Ghaziabad."

Kejriwal has been allotted two five-bedroom duplex flats on Bhagwan Das Road, of which one will be used as his office.

The Bharatiya Janata Party members of Legislative Assembly had criticised Kejriwal over the issue in the Delhi assembly. The party claimed that the CM's decision to accept the two flats was in "total contradiction" of the AAP's claim that it will practice austerity. 
11:32  AAP national executive meet today to discuss plans for Lok Sabha polls:   The Aam Admi Party is expected to chalk out its strategy for the general elections today.

The 23-member AAP national executive will meet at the Constitution Club in Delhi this morning to discuss its plans for the Lok Sabha elections to be held by May, reports NDTV.

AAP's Yogendra Yadav said, "The national executive meet will discuss the party's strategy for the Lok Sabha polls. We have always said Rahul vs Modi for the PM's post is not a good idea." 
11:11  US agrees with PM, says working to get ties on track:   The United States has agreed with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the arrest of an Indian diplomat has caused hiccups in bilateral ties, but said it is now focused on getting the relationship back on really strong footing.

"When you hear the secretary (of state) express regret about something, that means that everything hasn't gone as it should," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters at her daily news conference yesterday.

She was responding to questions about the remarks made by Prime Minister Singh in New Delhi that the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in the US has resulted in hiccups in the bilateral ties.
11:02  Hazare seeks Rajnath Singh's help to install his own statue:  Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has written a letter to Bharatiya Janata Party chief Rajnath Singh, complaining that a leader of his party from Haryana was creating hurdles in the installation of his statue in Gurgaon. Hazare has urged Rajnath Singh to help.

Singh met Hazare's Gurgaon-based activists at his Delhi residence yesterday following the letter he had received.

09:57  Justice Ganguly likely to meet President today:  Justice (retd) A K Ganguly, who has been accused of sexually harassing a law intern, is likely to meet President Pranab Mukherjee today. He may ask President House for an appointment. He is likely to meet the judges who were part of inquiry panel formed to probe allegations against him.

The former Supreme Court judge is staying at the guest house of the India International Centre. He is expected to return to Kolkata on Monday.
02:00  11 killed as Bortherhood protests turn violent in Egypt:  

At least 11 protesters have been killed as Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed with police in Cairo and other Egyptian cities, the country's Health Ministry has said.


The ministry told Al Jazeera that four deaths were recorded in Cairo on Friday, two each in Alexandria, Ismaliya and Fayoum, and one in Minya in upper Egypt. Protesters said the figure was much higher.


Among those killed was a protester shot dead by police in Ismailia after joining a march following midday prayers, and a protester shot in the head in the Fayoum, southwest of Cairo. A further 42 people were reported injured, while at least 122 people have been arrested, according to medical and security officials.


Read more on Al Jazeera

01:58  Is tourism destroying the world? :  

A new documentary suggests tourism is out of control in parts of the world, irreversibly damaging the environment and indigenous cultures. "Gringo Trails," a film more than a decade in the making by American anthropologist Pegi Vail, looks at the effect of the unplanned or mismanaged growth of the tourism industry in developing countries.


Using dramatic examples from different continents, such as the devastating impact of hedonistic full moon beach parties on Thailand's Koh Pha Ngan island, the film is moving and informative, if sometimes elementary.


The story starts and ends in Bolivia, focusing on the impact of the autobiographical book "Lost in the Jungle" by Israeli traveler Yossi Ghinsberg. In 1981, Ghinsberg headed into the Bolivian rainforest and soon got lost, but miraculously survived for three weeks despite near-death experiences.


Read more on CNN

01:56  'Nearly million people displaced by Central African Republic violence':  

The number of internally displaced people in the Central African Republic (CAR) has more than doubled to 935,000 since December, the UN says.


Around 500,000 have fled their homes in the capital Bangui alone - almost half the city's population. Some 60% of those displaced are children. The UN also warned the escalating violence was hampering efforts to reach "those in need of urgent assistance".


The conflict has pitted Christian and Muslim militias against each other. The CAR is ruled by Muslim ex-rebel leader Michel Djotodia who seized power last March, forcing then-President Francois Bozize, who came from the majority Christian population, to flee into exile.


Read more on BBC

00:43  US and Canada snowstorm causes travel chaos:  

A winter storm has blanketed parts of Canada and the north-eastern US with up to 2ft (61cm) of snow. The storm has been blamed for 11 deaths and forced the cancellation of more than 4,000 flights since Wednesday.


With the wind chill, the temperature dropped as low as -29C (-20F) in Toronto and -38C in Quebec City, the lowest seen in two decades. Authorities warned residents to remain indoors, both for their own safety and to keep roads clear for snow removal.


Read the full report on BBC

00:35  Top headlines at this hour:  

BJP can't call us corrupt after embracing Yeddyurappa: Sibal

Delhi Police orders chargesheets in rape cases within 20 days

Manmohan's swansong springs a few surprises!

Who becomes the PM is not an important issue: Kejriwal

'Aam Aadmi' Kejriwal will live in a 5-bedroom house

Cong will go the AAP way to name Rahul as PM candidate

Patna HC acquits 16 accused in 2009 Khagaria massacre case

17 months, 20 surgeries: Sikar gang rape victim still awaits justice

'At the UN, there were times I wished India had a stronger government'

'French spy planted bomb in London to test security'

Pakistan says will welcome visit by PM Manmohan Singh

Truce violations: BSF, Pak rangers agree on new mechanism for talks

Polio vaccination for Pak travellers must from Feb 14

India can generate 27,000 MW of nuclear power in 10 years: PM

I will work for the BJP with all my heart: Yeddyurappa

Will remain quiet on resignation issue: Justice Ganguly

Rahul rightful person to carry PM's baton: Manish Tewari

December 16 gang rape: HC reserves verdict on appeals

Yasin Bhatkal, aide sent to police custody for 10 days

Security to US embassy based on threat perception: Khurshid

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