21:26 Judge's remark on pre-marital sex invite criticism:
The remark of a sessions judge of a Delhi court that pre-marital sex is "immoral" and against the "tenets of every religion" today drew criticism from a CPI leader, who sought Supreme Court's intervention into the matter.
Amar Jeet Kaur, CPI leader and National Secretary of All India Trade Union Congress, condemned the remarks and urged the apex court to "urgently correct the verdict".
"A Delhi court verdict that pre-marital sex is immoral and against the tenets of every religion holding that every act of sexual intercourse between two adults on the promise of marriage does not become rape is shocking...," she said in a statement issued to the media. Kaur said in the statement that the apex court will agree the "judge has no business" to quote religions to defend a crime accepted nationally and worldwide as a crime by law and general consensus.
21:22 Afghanistans worsening hunger crisis:
: In the Bost Hospital, a teenage mother named Bibi Sherina sits on a bed in the severe acute malnutrition ward with her two children. Ahmed, at just 3 months old, looks bigger than his emaciated brother Mohammad, who is a year and a half and weighs 10 pounds.
Read the full story here
21:13 AAP minister Rakhi Birla attacked in her constituency:
reports : Delhi minister for social welfare and Aam Aadmi Pary leader Rakhi Birla on Sunday was attacked by unknown people as they surrounded her car and smashed the glasses of the vehicle.
The incident took place in her constituency in R Block of Mongolpuri around 6 pm.
21:06 Ramdev hits out at Cong; calls Nehru 'maut ka maha saudagar': IBNLIVE
reports: Yoga guru Ramdev on Sunday hit out at the Congress for targeting BJP prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi about calling him 'maut ka saudagar
Ramdev said if Modi is branded 'maut ka saudagar
', then Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was a bigger mass murderer.
Read the story here
20:40 AAP's success could prove to be an accident: Sharad Pawar:
Saying that Aam Admi Party's success could be a fluke, Union Agriculture Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar today advised his party workers not to get demoralised.
"In Assam, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta fought elections for the first time and became Chief Minister at a very young age. After that I have not heard about him in the last 25 years. Such 'Aap-ghats
' (accident, in Marathi) do happen in politics. So don't lose heart," Pawar said, addressing NCP workers in Mumbai on Sunday.
The Delhi assembly elections and national elections are two different things, he said. "There is no need to worry about the Delhi assembly results. Such waves come and go," he said.
20:19 Jet in 'near miss' with UFO close to Heathrow:
A terrified pilot of a passenger jet has reported a near miss in which a rugby ball-shaped UFO passed within a few feet of his aircraft while flying near Heathrow Airport, baffling aviation authorities here.
The captain of the A320 Airbus told British aviation authorities who have investigated the incident that he was certain the object was going to crash into his aircraft and ducked as it headed towards him.
The investigation has been unable to establish any earthly identity for the mysterious craft, which left the aircrew with no time to take evasive action. The incident occurred while the plane was cruising at 34,000ft, around 32 km west of the airport, over the Berkshire countryside, The Telegraph
20:14 BJYM activist held for jumping in front of PM's motorcade in Kochi:
An activist of BJP's youth wing allegedly attempted to jump in front of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's motorcade with a black flag here and was taken into custody by the police.
The incident occurred as Singh was on his way to attend the 85th birthday celebrations of former Meghalaya Governor M M Jacob at a college here after inaugurating the 90th anniversary celebrations of 'Mathrubhumi'.
Bharathiya Janata Yuva Morcha Ernakulam District President Sreekanth Sreedharan was taken into custody and allegedly beaten up and taken to the central police station.
BJP District President P J Thomas alleged that police used third degree methods to torture the youth activist, who has been admitted to hospital.
At least 12 BJYM activists, who protested in various other places in the city against the LPG and petrol prices hike, were taken into preventive custody. They would be let off later, the police said.
20:05 Go by track record and not by promises: Modi:
Modi promises to have a relook at taxation system if the BJP comes to power. "One who was born and brought up in suffering does not need to undertake journeys to understand the pain of others," he added.
19:59 CISF jawan returns Rs 1lakh lost in Delhi Metro:
Not everyone who loses their belongings on Delhi Metro is as lucky as a commuter, who was given back his bag containing Rs one lakh by a CISF jawan after he forgot it while travelling on the city's lifeline.
The incident occurred late evening yesterday at the Chawri bazar Metro station when constable Sudhir Kumar found an unattended bag at the X-ray screening machine.
The alert CISF constable immediately informed his superiors about the unclaimed bag and after security checks, it was deposited with the station controller as it contained Rs one lakh in cash, a senior official of the CISF said.
The commuter later returned to the station and after proper verification, the bag was given back to him, the official said. The CISF guards the Metro network.
19:48 Narendra Modi shares stage with Ramdev in Delhi: Zeenews
reports: A day after Yoga guru Baba Ramdev offered issue-based support to Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi the duo shared dais in the national capital on Sunday along with BJP president Rajnath Singh and senior party leader Arun Jaitely.
The Yoga guru has invited Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to share the dais with him. A fitting reply to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's remark that the BJP's prime ministerial candidate will be disastrous for the country will be on the cards.
Read the story here
19:21 Kejriwal, Modi to vie for dominance in Indore skies:
The Lok Sabha elections may be four months away, but Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal would be fighting it out in the Indore skies much before that. Ahead of the Makar Sankranti festival, kite makers here have come out with Modi and Kejriwal brands of kites.
No 'Rahul brand' kites are to be seen. "We have introduced Modi brand and Kejriwal brand kites of different sizes, carrying the photographs of the two leaders," kite-seller Sohrab Hussain says.
Price ranges from Rs five to Rs 50, he says. Modi brand kites come in -- no prizes for guessing -- saffron colour, carrying the photograph of the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, while Kejriwal kites show him with the trademark AAP cap.
19:15 Joshi exhorts BJP workers to chant 'Har Har Modi':
Despite Samajwadi Party demanding unconditional apology from BJP over chants of "Har Har NaMo
" cheering BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi during a recent rally in Varanasi, Murli Manohar Joshi today again raised slogans of 'Har Har Modi
' while addressing party workers.
Joshi asked BJP workers to shout "Ghar Ghar Modi, Har Har Modi
, booth booth par Joshi" during a 'Karyakarta Sammaan Samaroh
' (Honour Workers Function) organised on his 80th birthday to honour party workers for the success of the recent Vijay Shankhnad rally held here on December 20 last. Terming the "Har Har Modi
" chant during Modi's December 20 rally in Varanasi as an insult to the followers of Hindu religion, the Samajwadi Party had demanded an unconditional apology from BJP.
"I will have no objection if all BJP workers raise this slogan," Joshi said and encouraged the workers to chant it in support of Modi.
18:46 AAP's emergence a warning for all parties: Ramesh:
The emergence of Aam Aadmi Party is a warning for established parties and if they do not listen to people's voice, they will soon become history, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said today.
"The Aam Aadmi Party has redefined the political scenario. It has also altered the political discourse. It was limited to Delhi till now. But, if the Congress, the BJP and regional parties do not listen to people's voice, they will soon become history," Ramesh said.
"AAP's performance in the Assembly elections in Delhi is a victory of the voice of people. The party's emergence is a warning for all the parties," he said.
18:28 NASA to send another rover to Mars in 2020: chief scientist:
After the success of Mars orbiter rover 'Curiosity', NASA would send another rover to the red planet by 2020 to explore "biosignatures" on Mars, a top scientist of the American space agency said today.
"Yes. By 2020, we will send another rover which has similar architecture (of Curiosity) with new instruments that are geared more towards looking for biosignatures (on Mars)," Lead Scientist of NASA's MARS Exploration Programme Michael Meyer told PTI.
Asked what would happen to Curiosity, he said, "Curiosity will keep going. In fact, this month, the rover is celebrating its 10th anniversary. It is still going. It is still doing good science. By 2020, Curiosity will also be there".
On India's maiden Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) launched by Indian space agency ISRO, Meyer said it would be "fantastic" for science and for India. "It is a fantastic mission for India. It is working so well and I am very hopeful that the mission will be great for science. I also think it will be great for India," he said.
Launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre of Sriharikota on December 4, MOM has escaped the Earth's sphere of influence and is now on course to reach Mars after a journey of about 300 days.
18:14 Not successful in ensuring return of Kashmiri Pandits: Omar:
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister OmarAbdullah today expressed regret that his government had notbeen successful in ensuring return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley, and vowed to regenerate a "sense of security" amongthem so that they willingly go back to their homes.
At a youth convention of displaced Kashmir Pandits, theChief Minister said "nobody can forcibly take you back to the Kashmir Valley", but "we (the people in the government) want to give you the sense of security."
"...you have left homes in lakhs. The return of 50 to 100people that too on employment, cannot be called as return. Wecannot pat our backs on that," Omar said, adding that "Kashmiris incomplete without Kashmiri Pandits". "You (Kashmir Pandits) have been forced to leave the Kashmir Valley.
Nobody can deny it. You were snatched of thesense of security (in Kashmir). Nobody can forcibly take youback to the valley," Omar said at the convention of the Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj at Patta-Bohri in Jammu.
"...we can only give you a sense of security, and it is endeavour of me and my colleagues that we want to give you the sense of the security. But we have not been successful in this so far. The day I feel that I have done something with regard to it, I will feel I have the right for your honour of a traditional cap," he said.
18:11 GSLV D-5 launch: Ansari, PM congratualte ISRO scientists:
Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today hailed the successful launch of GSLV D5 satellite as an important step in the area of science and technology and congratulated the ISRO scientists for the feat.
Ansari said that with this launch using the indigenous cryogenic engine, India has joined a select group of countries that have mastered this sophisticated space technology.
"All credit goes to our scientists and engineers for their competence, hard work and dedication. The nation is proud of them," he said in his message.
Singh, while congratulating the scientists, said the launch marked "another important step that the country has taken in the area of science and technology."
17:50 SP backs withdrawal of charges in Muzaffarnagar riots case:
The Samajwadi Party today backed the withdrawal of case against accused in Muzaffarnagar riots,saying it was "trying to give justice to the victims". Cabinet Minister Rajendra Chowdhury clarifying the move,said the party had, in its manifesto, promised to withdraw cases against innocent youths on terrorism and other charges.
When asked about the move of government to withdraw cases against Muslims in the Muzaffarnagar riot cases, Chowdhury avoided a direct reply, but said, "Whatever happened in Muzaffarnagar was unfortunate. Our government is trying to do whatever it can to give justice to victims."
Earlier, the state government said it was considering to withdraw a case of inciting violence through inflammatory speeches filed against Muslim leaders during Muzaffarnagar riots.
16:46 Team ISRO has done it: K Radhakrishnan:
The first words after GSLV D5 with indigenous cryogenic engine successfully placed the GSAT-14 communication satellite, a visibly jubilant and relived K Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation said, "Team ISRO has done it."
16:37 GSLV-14 satellite separates from GSLV rocket:
According to ISRO, the GSLV-14 satellite has separated from the GSLV rocket. The GSLV is a three stage/engine rocket.
The first stage is fired with solid fuel, the second is the liquid fuel and the third stage is the cryogenic engine. Geosynchronous satellites are placed in orbits 36,000 km above the earth.
16:28 Why the launch of GSLV-D5 rocket is crucial to India:
The launch is crucial for India as it seeks to prove the design, realisation and sustained firing of its indigenously built cryogenic engine after two back-to-back failures of the GSLV flights in 2010 -- the first, with an indigenous cryogenic engine, on April 15 and the next -- with a Russian cryogenic engine, on December 25.
The launch of the last GSLV was called off at the eleventh hour due to a fuel leak in its second stage -- in a setback to the mission to test its homegrown cryogenic engine -- after its failure three years ago.
16:20 GSLV-D5 rocket launched successfully at Sriharikota:
The Indian Space Research Organisation has launched India's heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Development 5 (GSLV-D5) from the spaceport at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
Experts say that it is a make or break for ISRO.
16:06 Former first lady Barbara Bush discharged from hospital:
Former first lady Barbara Bush has been discharged from a hospital where she spent six days being treated for pneumonia.
Doctors at Houston Methodist Hospital decided to let the 88-year-old wife of former President George H W Bush go home yesterday morning, after "a couple truly great days" that family spokesman Jim McGrath said left her eager to leave.
Bush was hospitalised on Monday for what was initially described as "a respiratory-related issue" but later confirmed to be pneumonia. McGrath downplayed the condition, noting it was "caught early."
He said on Friday that doctors were pleased at Bush's response to treatment and were discussing post-hospitalisation medication scenarios, Houston Chronicle
15:45 R Chandrashekhar takes over as Nasscom President:
Former Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar, under whom a government IT department was set up for the first time, today took over as President of Nasscom -- a body representing the $108 billion Indian IT-BPM industry.
He succeeds Som Mittal, who served as the President of Nasscom from 2007-13.
"I feel privileged and look forward to leading Nasscom in its next journey of achieving the vision and aspiration of USD 300 billion revenues by 2020. The opportunities are very vast at this particular juncture and exciting times lie ahead for the industry," Chandrashekhar told PTI.
He said the future looks positive for the Indian IT-BPM industry as the sector is evolving dramatically in terms of scale, complexity and innovation.
15:43 Jaitley attacks Sonia, Rahul on Virbhadra issue:
Launching a blistering attack on Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for their "silence" over allegations of corruption against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, BJP today dared the state government to give its consent for CBI inquiry into these charges.
"The Congress Party and Virbhadra Singh have decided to brazen out the allegations of corruption. Sonia and Rahul Gandhi will hide behind silence," Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley today said on his blog.
Noting that the Himachal Pradesh chief minister has dared anyone to either lodge an FIR against him or to prove the allegations of corruption, Jaitley said that his letter to the CBI Director on December 29 in this regard constitutes an FIR.
"In order to investigate the same, the consent of the state government under section 6 of the Delhi Special Police (Establishment) Act is required.
15:23 Third Front an illusion: BJP:
Dubbing hopes of forming a Third Front ahead of 2014 elections as an "illusion", BJP today said the party would dethrone "scam tainted" Congress government at the Centre and the BJD in Odisha.
"Hopes for formation of a Third Front is an illusion. It can never happen. Similar experiments in the past have failed miserably," senior BJP leader and party's Odisha in-charge Chandan Mitra told reporters here.
"Even if the Third Front is formed, nobody knows who will be its leader", the BJP MP said.
15:07 Shivaji didn't loot Surat, says Modi:
BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today said Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had not looted Surat, but plundered Mughal emperor Aurangazeb's treasure in the city with the help of local people.
"Saying that Shivaji Maharaj looted Surat would be an insult to the Maratha warrior," said Modi during a function at the Raigad fort organised by Sangli-based foundation Shiv Pratishthan.
"He looted Aurangazeb's treasure with help of local people which was used for welfare of the common man," he said. A "distorted" image of Shivaji has been projected for long, Modi said.
"He is shown just as a warrior. But, Shivaji was an excellent administrator whose style of functioning is relevant even today. This aspect is ignored," Modi lamented. Local Shiv Sena MP Anant Gite, Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Vinod Tawde and Maharashtra BJP president Devendra Phadanvis were present during the function, attended by over 7,000 people.
Tight security was put in place at the Raigad fort for the event.
14:07 Goa building collapse: Toll rises to 15:
ith the recovery of two more bodies, the death toll in the building collapse at Goa's Cancona town rose to 15 today even as fire personnel feared that around 20 people could still be lying under the rubble.
A search was, meanwhile, on for the missing builder and contractor of the under-construction five-storey residential building that caved in Cancona town, yesterday.
"The death toll in the building collapse has risen to 15," Goa acting Chief Secretary R K Srivastava said. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said he will announce compensation for the victims tomorrow.
13:42 So will Dr Singh retire to his library? :
M J Akbar writes for the Dawn
: one person who does not seem unduly bothered about what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will do once he fades into the sunset is the prime minister himself. This is in character.
As a bureaucrat, Dr Singh used his skills to clamber up the slippery rungs of government ladders. His career, from scholarship boy to Cambridge to the governor of the Reserve Bank of India, is impressive.
Read the full article here
13:10 US icebreaker to rescue ships stuck in Antarctic:
The US today sent its heavy ice-cutter to rescue over 120 crew on board the Russian and Chinese ships trapped in the Antarctic, with ice up to four metres thick surrounding them.
The US Coast Guard announced yesterday that it would send the Polar Star after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority requested it to assist the Russian-flagged Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese-flagged Xue Long that remain ice-bound in the Antarctic.
Russia and China have also requested assistance from the US.
13:01 Low turnout in B'desh elections; 6 killed in violence:
Bangladesh's violence-plagued general elections, being boycotted by opposition BNP-led alliance, today witnessed low turn out in initial hours amid heavy security, as voters preferred to stay inside home fearing violence that has left six persons dead in last 12 hours.
Polling began at 8 a.m in 147 out of 300 constituencies in 59 districts of Bangladesh, officials said. Paramilitary Border Guards and elite Rapid Action Battalion forces were deployed along with police as 390 candidates of mostly ruling Awami League and its ally Jatiya Party were contesting for the 147 seats in the "one- sided" election, being closely watched by India and the world powers.
There is no election in remaining 153 constituencies which have returned winners without a contest, as opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led 18 party alliance is boycotting the polls.
11:49 How the unthinkable happened in 2013: From TOI blogs
: The unthinkable happened in 2013: Arvind Kejriwal became CM of Delhi. What's the most unthinkable thing that could actually happen in 2014? Kejriwal could become prime minister of India.Readers may laugh incredulously at the very suggestion.
But the revolutionary success of the Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi election shows it's time to abandon conventional political logic and think the once-unthinkable.
Conventional analysis suggests that the next national government will be headed by the BJP. But if the Aam Aadmi Party can scale up nationally, conventional analysis will become junk
Read the full article here
11:42 Crucial GSLV rocket launch today: NDTV
reports: Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation are keeping their fingers crossed as they prepare for the lift-off of ISRO's larger rocket, the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle or GSLV, from the space port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh today.
The GSLV program suffered twin back-to-back failures three years ago and its last launch in August was aborted minutes before lift-off. The countdown for today's launch, scheduled for 4:18 pm, is progressing normally.
Read the full story here
00:47 Modi launches mobile app named 'India272+':
In a bid to consolidate the mandate received in the recent state assembly elections and achieve the magic figure of 272 in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi launched a mobile application called 'India272+'.
According to Modi's website, the application is available on the Google Play Store and can be downloaded for free by Android users. The application, which was launched on Thursday, seeks to take BJP's Mission 272+ to a wide range of volunteers across the country. The mobile application enables volunteers to participate in open fora and share thoughts, ideas for upcoming speeches by Modi.
The application allows volunteers to share latest updates through social media including Facebook and Twitter as well as smartphone applications like WhatsApp. "Launched India 272+ mobile app. the app will further empower volunteers to contribute easily, effectively and creatively," Modi tweeted.
00:43 Iraq government 'loses Fallujah':
The Iraqi government has lost control of the strategic city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, eyewitnesses say.
Al Qaeda-linked militants now control the south of the city, a security source told the BBC. An Iraqi reporter there says tribesmen allied with al-Qaeda hold the rest of Fallujah.
Fighting there erupted after troops broke up a protest camp by Sunni Arabs in the city of Ramadi on Monday.
They have been accusing the Shia-led government of marginalising the Sunnis.
The recent fighting in Fallujah and Ramadi has pitted government troops on the one hand and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), which is affiliated with Al Qaeda, and Sunni tribesmen on the other.
Local Sunni Arabs have been angered by they perceive as discrimination by the government of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.
They also say their minority community is being targeted by anti-terrorism measures implemented to stem the surge in sectarian violence.
00:42 Yoga's greatest guru deserves Peace Nobel:
Curiously, although India is often associated with ideas of peace and tolerance, no Indian has ever been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (Mahatma Gandhi remains the most prominent of those denied it.) Is there an Indian today who deserves it? There certainly is, and its curious that his claim on it has apparently never been taken with the seriousness it merits, when one might say he hasn't just advanced the cause of peace in the world, but considerably enlarged its meaning.
As the Dalai Lama, the winner of the Peace Prize in 1989, has said, World peace must develop from inner peace. And theres perhaps no man alive who has taught humanity as much about inner peace and its many dimensions -- peace as a physical science, peace as a state of self-awareness and power -- as the great Indian yoga master B K S Iyengar.