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LIVE! Will soon appoint SC judge to probe snooping charge: Shinde

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January 06, 2014


23:42  Merkel suffers pelvic fracture on ski holiday:  German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suffered a pelvis fracture in a ski accident during her Christmas holiday in a Switzerland, forcing her to cancel several meetings and visits scheduled for the coming weeks.

Merkel, 59, fell during a cross-country skiing at the resort of Engadin on the foothills of the Swiss Alps and sustained "severe bruise linked to a partial fracture on the left, rear part of the pelvic ring", a government spokesman said.

Initially, it was presumed that she had a painful bruise, but medical examination last Friday showed a fracture of the pelvis bone. The Chancellor did not require a hospitalisation and has been advised by her doctors to take bed rest at least for three weeks, the spokesman told a news conference.

She has been walking with the help of crutches and she intends to attend Wednesday's first meeting of her new conservative-social democrat "grand coalition" cabinet, which assumed office on December 17, according to the spokesman.

However, several official engagements scheduled for the coming weeks, including a visit to Poland, the first foreign trip of her third term and a meeting in Berlin with Luxembourg's new prime minister Xavier Bettel have been cancelled.
23:30  US calls for fresh elections in Bangladesh :  The US today called for a fresh elections in Bangladesh as soon as possible, saying the polls held over the weekend do not appear credible.

"While it remains to be seen what form the new government will take, United States commitment to supporting the people of Bangladesh remains undiminished," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said.

"To that end, we encourage the Government of Bangladesh and opposition parties to engage in immediate dialogue to find a way to hold as soon as possible elections that are free, fair, peaceful, and credible, reflecting the will of the Bangladeshi people," Harf said in a statement.

The United States, she said, is disappointed by the recent Parliamentary elections in Bangladesh.
23:29  US furious at Israel equipment transfer to China:   algemeiner.com reports: The Israeli Defense Ministry's head of defense export control, Meir Shalit, resigned last week after the United States expressed anger over a decision he made to sell sensitive military equipment to China, Israeli daily Ma'ariv reported on Sunday.

Read the article here
23:12  Will soon appoint SC judge to probe snooping charge: Shinde:  A retired judge of the Supreme Court would be appointed "soon" to probe charges of spying on a young woman by Gujarat government in 2009, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today said.

"The union ministry has decided to set up an inquiry commission and a retired Supreme Court judge would be appointed soon to head the probe panel", Shinde told reporters on the sidelines of a function in the Union Territory of Diu.

Two investigative news portals, Cobrapost.com and Gulail.com, had claimed on November 15 that former minister of state for Home in Gujarat government, Amit Shah had ordered illegal surveillance of a woman at the behest of one "Saheb", an apparent reference to Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

They had released taped conversations between Shah and suspended IPS officer G L Singhal to support their claim, but said that its authenticity could not be confirmed.

At the function, Shinde inaugurated various projects undertaken by the central government.
22:40  Dhumal asks Virbhadra to clarify on allegations:  Opposition leader, P K Dhumal today asked Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to clarify charges levelled against him regarding his and his family's financial transactions.

Holding that counter allegations wouldn't work, Dhumal asked Singh to introspect and resign before it was too late, in a letter, copies of which were sent to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi.

"Instead of giving specific reply, he is trying to misguide the party high command and the common man," Dhumal said.
22:07  I am not interested in getting married: Salman:  

Superstar Salman Khan says he is not interested in getting married and is happy being single. "I am not interested in getting married or having a girlfriend. I am loving my single status. In 30 years I must have been single...I am loving it. I am absolutely having a blast...you have no idea how I am feeling," Salman said in an interview in Mumbai.  

 

In the past, Salman was uncomfortable and always dodged queries on his marriage but now he seems to have a way around questions on his single status.        

 

"Now that I am single.. I can do whatever I can. There is no need to give explanation, or lie to anyone. Whoever wants to come (in my life) can come.. but don't expect anything," Salman said.        

 

Ask him if he is commitment phobic, the 48-year-old says, "When I commit...then I commit. Right now, I am non-committal about anything."   But he does respect women.        

 

"I respect women and I will always continue to do it. I have never spoken ill about anyone," Salman said.        

Salman has had relationships with various actresses including Somy Ali, Sangeeta Bijlani, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Katrina Kaif. His love-life and link-ups still continues to be the stuff of gossip mills.

21:05  Edior-in-Chief Manu Joseph quits Open magazine:  Manu Joseph quits Open magazine as Editor-in-Chief.   He will continue to hold charge till the magazine finds a replacement, CNN IBN reports.
20:07  Live! Will resolve pending issues with India through talks: Hasina:  

Fresh from victory in the controversial general elections, Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina today said she was confident of resolving all pending issues with India, including the Land Boundary Agreement, through talks.        

 

Replying to a question about her government's ties with India in the past five years, Hasina said she wants good relations with all regional countries with the common interest of fighting poverty and deriving mutual benefits.        

 

"We may have some problems on some bilateral issues like the pending Ganges Water treaty, water sharing in 53 other common rivers and the Land Boundary Agreement, but I believe we can settle them through talks," she said in her first comments to the media after the victory in yesterday's polls.        

 

The Land Boundary Agreement envisages exchange of 161 enclaves adversely held by India and Bangladesh in each other's territories and alteration of borders between the two sides at some places.        

Hasina's Awami League won 104 of the 147 seats for which polling was held. Having won 127 seats uncontested, the party now has 231 seats in the parliament.        

 

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia boycotted the polls, which were marred by widespread violence and a low turnout.

18:49  Lokpal not a solution to eliminate corruption: Sukhbir Badal:  

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today said the setting up of Lokpal as demanded by Aam Aadmi Party is not a solution to eliminate corruption, and called for administrative reforms to "change the system".    

 

Sukhbir, president of Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, which is an ally of BJP, said he would tell the NDA to make administrative reforms an agenda of the alliance to end corruption.        

 

"Corruption will not be eliminated with Lokpal, just like crime cannot be eliminated by setting up more police stations. Lokpal is not the solution... the only solution is to change the system," Sukhbir told reporters in Chandigarh.   However, he clarified that SAD was not against Lokpal. "The Lokpal, once formed, could also become corrupt," he said.        

 

"Administrative reforms departments should be set up at Central and state level in the country to change the system by removing obsolete rules," he said.         Sukhbir claimed that the AAP was "copying" its work, and said the SAD was the real party of 'aam aadmi' (common man).  

18:12  Only a 'miracle' can save Ariel Sharon: Doctor:  Only a 'miracle' can save former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who clings to life facing imminent death, hospital authorities said today.        

"While Sharon remains in critical condition, there is an increased danger to his life," said Ze'ev Rotstein, the director of Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, where the 85-year-old has been in a coma since 2006, after suffering a massive stroke.        

"If a miracle doesn't happen, the situation is getting worse day by day," he said in a televised statement.
17:48  Justice A K Ganguly resigns as chief of WBHRC:  
Former Supreme Court judge Justice A K Ganguly, under fire over allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by a law intern, has resigned from the post of the chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission.

Justice Ganguly submitted his resignation to Governor M K Narayanan. 

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a PIL seeking its direction to stay all proceedings against Justice Ganguly.
17:37  American arms company refuses to supply guns to Pakistan:  A US-based arms company has turned down a multi-million dollar offer to supply high-tech guns to Pakistan, arguing that these weapons might end up being used against American soldiers.        

The decision by Utah-based Desert Technical Arms to turn down a lucrative offer to supply sniper systems to Pakistan estimated to be worth $15 million was announced by the company recently on its Facebook Page.
17:14  Introducing Al Qaeda Version 3.0!:  Do not write off terror group Al Qaeda just yet. 

Despite the death of its chief Osama bin Laden and a concerted assault on it by the US administration, an entire new generation of young men, and women, are embracing the destructive ideology of the global terror group.

Read the report here
16:56  Police file charge-sheet in Rs 5,600 cr NSEL scam:  Mumbai police have filed a 9,000-page charge-sheet in the Rs 5,600-crore National Spot Exchange Ltd scam.
16:52  Resolve India-Pakistan issues with dialogue: Shahbaz Sharif:  All contentious issues between India and Pakistan should be resolved through dialogue as the two countries had achieved nothing except wars in the last 65 years, Pakistani Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said.

Sharif, the younger brother of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, made the remarks during a meeting with Indian High Commissioner T C A Raghavan, who called on him in Lahore.
16:51  Musharraf's lawyer, prosecutor squabble in court:  A war of words ensued today between Pervez Musharraf's lawyers and the prosecution at the special court conducting his treason trial after the prosecutor called the former Pakistani dictator a "fugitive" who was "hiding" in a military hospital.        

During the hearing, prosecutor Akram Sheikh accused Musharraf of intentionally avoiding court hearings and called on the three-judge bench to issue an arrest warrant for him.        

However, the court rejected his demand.
16:47  Why Naxals reacted differently to Chhattisgarh polls:  The story behind the high voter turnout in the recently-held Chhattisgarh polls may not be quite black and white. 

Maoist retaliation, usually violent, was comparatively subdued as the left-wing ultras had covertly extended support to a number of candidates in the fray.

Read the full story here
16:41  German Chancellor Angela Merkel injured in skiing accident:  
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been injured in a cross-country skiing accident in Switzerland, according to a BBC report.

Merkel has fractured a bone in her pelvis and suffered serious bruises in the accident, stated the report.
16:17  Appoint regulator to monitor environmental clearances: SC to Centre:  
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to appoint an independent national regulator to monitor environmental clearances given by the Ministry of Environment and Forest. 

The Apex court has given the deadline of two months to the government for the same.

Earlier also the SC had asked the Centre to appoint a regulator because of growing criticism in the recent past over delay in key proposals being passed. 

However, the Centre has been opposed to the idea because they according to them, the move will encroach upon the authority of the Environment Minister and other bodies like the National Green Tribunal.

The outline of the process has not been specified by the apex court.
16:16  Choose words with care, Pawar tells PM over comment on Modi:  
In a veiled attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over his comments on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that one must choose their words carefully and should not use such strong language against political opponents.

"Be it an ally or an opponent, I choose my words carefully. Whether I am in support of someone or not, he said," Pawar said.

However, defending the PM, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said that what he said was merely the truth. "I respect Sharad Pawar but the PM spoke the truth," he said.

Dr Singh had in a press conference on Friday said that Modi as PM would be disastrous for India.
16:14  BlackBerry slashes Q5 price; now available at Rs 19,990:  
Canadian handset maker BlackBerry today slashed the price of Q5 smartphone by 20 per cent to Rs 19,990 to boost sales of devices powered by its latest operating system BB-10. 

The device with a QWERTY keypad was earlier priced at Rs 24,990. 

Keeping up with the festive spirit, BlackBerry today introduced a New Year Bonanza offer for its popular BlackBerry Q5 smartphone under which customers can purchase BlackBerry Q5 smartphone at Rs 19,990, the smartphone maker said in a statement. 

"The New Year Bonanza aims at providing a powerful mobile device, with cutting edge BlackBerry 10 OS at an affordable price point to the consumers," BlackBerry India Director (Distribution) Sameer Bhatia said. 

The offer is in line with BlackBerry's commitment towards the Indian market and will help the brand to reach out to more potential customers, he added. 
15:54  Just In: Sensex falls over 64 points to end at 20,787.30
15:30  No international tours for ministers:  
18 requests for international tours from Union ministers, chief ministers and parliamentary  committees are pending with the Prime Minister Office.

The PMO has been rejecting many of these requests because of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

It is also now clear that President, vice-president and prime ministers foreign visits will now be reduced, keeping 2014 poll in mind.
15:30  Parliamentary committees come to a grinding halt:  
Come February, and most parliamentary committees will not be meeting as the chairmen of standing committees and members of many consultative committees will be busy with their parliamentary constituencies for party work and electioneering. 
15:30  Kejriwal on an apology spree:  
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is now being termed as minister for tendering apologies.

His first apology was when Bharatiya Janata Party leader Harsh Vardhan mentioned that Prashant Bhushan indicated that the Aam Aadmi Party wanted a referendum in Kashmir which is objectionable, Kejriwal apologised.

Second when Kumar Vishwas made a remark about the minority community, the lone Janata Dal-United member in the Delhi assembly objected, Kejriwal apologised again.

And the third is not in public domain. The chief minister conveyed his regrets to a judge that his minister should not have spoken to the judge directly. 
15:29  ECs rush for EVMs:  
The Elections Commission is trying to cajole the only two public sector units that make Electonic Voting Machine to provide 20,000 new EVMs for the general elections. Seems that EC did not envisage the sudden increase in polling booths and increase in voters in 154 parliamentary constituencies. 
15:22  Myopia, distortions and blind spots in the AAP's vision document:  
The Vision Document of the Aam Aadmi Party offers a simplistic understanding of the issues confronting Indian society, and confuses and conflates symptoms with the disease.

Click HERE to read
15:21  Facing down the Taliban on the Himalayas' killer mountain:  
Last June, 11 climbers were shot on one of the world's highest mountains. 

So why is Simone Moro now chancing a winter ascent of Nanga Parbat? He talks to Ed Douglas about fear, extreme cold and refusing to be cowed by the Taliban

Click HERE to read
14:45  Suchitra Sen's health stabilises to some extent:  
Ailing actress Suchitra Sen's health stabilised to some extent today but she continued to be on intermittent non-invasive ventilation. 

"Sen's condition has stabilised to some extent. Her oxygen saturation although fluctuating, is maintained at a reasonable level," said doctors of Belle Vue Clinic.

"She still needs non-invasive ventilation at irregular intervals for oxygen support. She is also being given chest physiotherapy by specialists at a private Intensive Treatment Unit cabin," said the bulletin issued by Belle Vue Clinic where the 82-year-old actress was admitted on December 23 with a respiratory tract infection.

Doctors said her heart rate and blood pressure were satisfactory and she was being monitored around-the-clock by a six-member team of doctors led by critical care specialist Dr Subrata Maitra. 
13:11  Statement by minister based on newspaper reports, not facts:  Union Minister for Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi has been reported as telling the media on Monday morning that the Devyani Khobragade issue was over, but the minister, it seems, clearly spoke out of turn and without full knowledge of the facts. 

When Rediff.com asked Ravi for details of how the matter, which has bedevilled ties between the US and India, was sorted out, this is what he had to say:   

"I don't deal with that subject. There is no official confirmation about it. When the media asked me if the issue was resolved I said the issue seems to be resolved based on what I read in a newspaper today." 

Naturally, Uttam Khobragade, Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade's father, was peeved at the statement. Earlier, when Rediff.com asked him how he was not aware that his daughter had been cleared of any wrongdoing in the Sangita Richards case, this is what he had to say: "Go and ask Vayalar Ravi." 
13:01  Meet the 5-time chief minister of Mizoram:  At a time when the security cordon, residence etc of elected chief ministers is in the news, Debaashish Bhattacharya of The Telegraph meets Lal Thanhawla and files a dispatch. His opening paragraphs tell a story of their own:   

Lal Thanhawla doesn't need security to feel secure. The only security visible at the residence of the Mizoram chief minister is a paramilitary jawan who opens the gate to his bungalow atop a hillock in Aizawl, the capital of the northeastern state bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar. There is no one else to frisk a visitor or his bag. Neither is there a CCTV watching you. 

Even the dog that stands guard at the door to his living room with a golden chain around its neck doesn't move or bark. Lal Thanhawla says he picked up the clay dog at a Mumbai shop a few years ago because "it resembled a real dog". He has a "real" dog too, a cocker spaniel wrapped up in a woollen cloth against the freezing Mizoram cold. 

But dogs or not, in a way, Lal Thanhawla's home, with its scant security, mirrors what Mizoram is today. Once a hotbed of insurgency, it is now perhaps the most peaceful state in a region still beset with militancy. 

Read the full report here.
12:47  Supreme Court to decide Lalit Modi's fate on Jan 17:  
The Supreme Court on Monday did not declare the results of the Rajasthan Cricket Association elections held in Jaipur on December 19.

It effectively keeps on hold Lalit Modi's return as Rajasthan cricket chief. The apex court, which is hearing a Special Leave Petition filed by former RCA president Kishore Rungta, decided that status quo will continue and the next hearing will be on January 17.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India is also backing Rungta's petition.

The Supreme Court on Monday said that the RCA election votes will be counted on January 17 and if Modi gets more votes, it will hear the other parties (BCCI and Rungta). Rungta and BCCI have challenged the controversial Rajasthan Sports Act that enabled Modi to contest the RCA presidential elections,

On December 28, the BCCI decided to "intervene" in the SLP filed by Rungta in the Supreme Court challenging the Rajasthan Sports Act, 2005 that abolished individual members' voting rights. The Act allowed only district associations to vote. In 2005, Modi had beaten Rungta by just one vote to become the RCA president. Modi ruled the RCA from 2005 to 2009.

Rungta, whose family ruled the RCA for a number of years, challenged the Sports Act in the High Court in 2005 but his application was rejected. Rungta then filed a SLP in the Supreme Court in 2007.

The RCA, which is governed by the Rajasthan Sports Act, had ignored a BCCI diktat and went ahead with the elections that were supervised by Supreme Court-appointed former judges NM Kasliwal and SP Pathak. The former judges had cleared Modi to contest. The RCA elections were held in Jaipur on December 19 but the results were not declared due to legalities. The Modi group claims to have the support of at least 29 of the 33 district units.

The BCCI is angry that the RCA allowed Modi to contest despite the life ban on the former Indian Premier League commissioner. Modi was banned in September 2013 after a probe committee found him guilty of financial wrongdoings. Modi has also challenged the Board's ban in court.
12:42  Kolkata braveheart's family moves HC for CBI probe:  
The family of the teenage girl who was gangraped and allegedly murdered has moved Kolkata high court seeking a CBI probe into the case.

The family on Monday filed a writ petition in the court and sought financial compensation from the West Bengal government.

In the petition, the family said that it has no faith in the state police investigating the case in the wake of the alleged negligence earlier.
12:34  SC dismisses plea against action on Justice Ganguly:  
The Supreme Court has refused to hear a PIL seeking a direction to restrain the government from taking any action against former Apex court judge Justice Ganguly, who faces charges of sexually harassing a law intern. 

The PIL also sought quashing of the report in which a three-member panel of apex court judges indicted Ganguly for unwelcome behaviour against the law intern, who has accused the judge of sexually harassing him in a Delhi hotel last year.

The PIL was filed in the apex court on Friday. The petitioner said Ganguly was being maligned and was a victim of conspiracy as he had in an arbitration suspended Mohun Bagan for walking out of a football league match against the East Bengal club.

The All India Football Federation subsequently revoked Mohun Bagan's suspension but slapped a Rs 2 crore fine on it. 

The three-judge committee looking into the allegations of sexual harassment levied by an intern on retired Justice Ganguly prima facie disclosed an "act of unwelcome behaviour" and "conduct of sexual nature" on the part of the retired judge. 

The committee had observed that "statement of (victim) both written and oral, prima facie discloses an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature) by Ganguly judge with the intern in a hotel last year. 
11:48  Ailing legend calls West Bengal chief minister to her bedside:  Forty-eight hours after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called on screen goddess turned recluse Suchitra Sen, in vain as it turned out, at Kolkata's Belle Vue clinic, she was called by the ailing screen legend to her bedside on Sunday, The Telegraph reports.

Confirming the meeting with someone most of Bengal has not met for over three decades, Chief Minister Banerjee posted on her Facebook page on Sunday: 'Everyone knows that she has kept herself away from public view for more than 30 years. I am undoubtedly fortunate enough to get an opportunity to meet her in person. It is an emotional moment.' 

'Day before yesterday, I had visited Belle Vue Nursing Home to enquire about the health of Mahanayika Suchitra Sen as her condition was critical. I met her daughter Moonmoon Sen and Dr Subrata Moitra and his medical team.' 

'Later on, when she became little stable and came to know that I visited the Nursing Home to enquire about her health, she expressed her desire to meet me. Dr Moitra communicated her desire and accordingly I rushed to the hospital and met her for about 25 minutes today. I also met Moonmoon Sen, Raima Sen, Dr. Moitra and others,' Mamata said in her FB post. 

The 82-year-old actress has met few people over the last 33 years, except her immediate family and assorted care-givers. Mamata's meeting, The Telegraph reports, is the first one to be confirmed officially.
11:40  Teesta Setalvad, husband booked for usurping money for Gulbarg Society museum:  
An FIR has been lodged against social activist Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand, Zakia Jafri's son Tanvir Jafri and two others for allegedly usurping Rs 1.51 crore collected by them for turning Gulbarg Society into a museum, police said.

"An FIR has been lodged under Sections 120(B), 406 and 420 of the IPC and Section 72 (A) of the IT Act against Setalvad, Anand, Tanvir Jafri and two others for allegedly usurping Rs 1.51 crore, which they had collected (as donation) for converting Gulbarg Society into a museum," a senior Crime Branch official said on Monday.

"The funds, according to the residents, were collected between 2007 and 2012 by Setalvad from abroad under the promise that Gulbarg Society would be converted into a museum. However, the funds are lying as fixed deposits with Setalvad," the official said. ACP KN Patel is investigating the case.

Residents of Gulbarg Society, which came under attack during the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002 with 68 people losing their lives, had demanded the Rs 1.51 crore back from Setalvad last year after alleging that the money collected in their name had not been used for the purpose stated.

Twelve Gulbarg Society residents, including some of the witnesses of the Gulbarg case trial, had sent a notice in this regard to the Citizens for Justice and Peace secretary Setalvad and alleged that she has not fulfilled the promises of providing financial support to reconstruct their houses.

Since the post-Godhra riots in which more than 1,000 people lost their lives, Setalvad has through her NGO been actively providing legal and other assistance to the victims. 
11:36  Virbhadra asks Dhumal to go to Lokayukta:  
Under attack from BJP over alleged corruption, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today asked state BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal to go to the Lokayukta to make whatever charges he wanted against him or anybody else, saying, "We will face the consequences there." 

"If he (Dhumal) has anything to say against me, as I said earlier also, he should go to the Lokayukta," Singh told reporters. 

Noting that Himachal Pradesh was one of those states where Lokayukta was set up long back, the Chief Minister said, "During my tenure and at present, we have an eminent Lokayukta who is a retired judge of the Supreme Court. 

"Let him (Dhumal) go there make whatever charges he wants to make against me or anybody else and we will face the consequences there rather than running state to state, house to house. This is not going to serve any purpose."
11:22  Air India aircraft suffers tyre burst at Jaipur airport:  
Flight operations were halted at Sanganer airport here after a plane suffered tyre burst in the process of landing, but no one was injured, airport sources said today. 

Guwahati-Delhi flight of Air India with 173 passengers on board, which was diverted to Jaipur airport due to poor visibility in Delhi, suffered a tyre burst during landing last night, they said.

However, the passengers escaped unhurt, they said. 

"Schedule of 15 flights, including three international flights, has been disrupted as the runway is blocked since last night. It is likely to be restored in the afternoon," the sources said. 

Emergency services were pressed into service and restoration work is in progress.
11:20  Kolkata: Private bus operators on strike:  
Commuters in Kolkata were greatly inconvenienced on Monday due to a 24-hour bus strike called by six unions of private bus operators demanding immediate fare hike. 

Private buses were almost off the roads in the city, except on some routes. Taxis were, however, plying. 

Though the government is running its fleet of buses and trams all of them were overcrowded. 

The only fare hike since Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government came to power was on November 1, 2012. 

The private bus operators including the Joint Council of Bus Syndicate and Bengal Bus Syndicate and some mini bus operators associations have called the strike demanding fare revision in view of the hike in the price of diesel. 

West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra said the government was not considering the demand.
11:16  CAG can audit accounts of pvt telecom cos: Delhi HC:  
In a landmark judgment, the Delhi high court has given the Comptroller and Auditor General the jurisdiction/powers to audit accounts of private telecom companies. 

A division bench of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice V K Rao gave its order after conducting marathon hearings on the issue where it took on record submissions of the Centre, the CAG and the petitioners -- Cellular Operators Association of India and Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers. 

Both associations had approached the high court after losing before TDSAT and argued in essence that CAG can't audit private companies. To achieve the purpose of audit, the operators have pointed out, they already put in place mechanism of special audit as envisaged in the license agreement between department of telecom and the companies. The firms claim they maintain accounts in line with the TRAI rules and can't be forced to furnish financials to CAG. 

The CAG has vigorously staked its claim to audit the accounts and sought revenue sharing details from the telecom companies. In lengthy written submissions CAG has cited the Constitution of India and the CAG Act 1971 to contend that it is duty bound to audit accounts of the Union and those "in relation to accounts of the Union." 

CAG has said it has full powers to audit accounts of the telecom firms to ensure that claims to receipts have been "pursued with due diligence by Union and no loss occurred due to fraud and efficiency and effectiveness of the transactions has been maintained." 

In June 2010, in an interim order, the HC had directed private telecom operators to submit their account books to CAG national auditor so as to enable it to determine if there was any underreporting of licence fees by the companies. But HC restrained CAG from demanding any additional documents except revenue-sharing details and had further directed it to not disclose the same information to the public or to any third party. 

The order was later modified by SC which directed the firms to furnish their financials to CAG, but stopped the auditor from vetting the papers till HC decides the case
10:47  Death toll in Goa building collapse rises to 17:  
More bodies were retrieved from the debris of the collapsed building in Canacona town of Goa on Sunday night, taking the death toll to 17, while over a dozen more people are still feared trapped in the debris.

Rescue operation by Army personnel and local civic agencies, using earth-moving machinery, continued without a pause for the second night on Sunday after the building collapsed on the afternoon of January 4.

A senior fire and emergency services officer at the site told PTI that one body was recovered late Sunday night and another at midnight, taking the toll to 17.

Sixteen people have been admitted to state-run Hospicio Hospital in Margao and Goa Medical College and Hospital near here.

Rescuers said 15 more people are still trapped in the debris.
10:46  Ganguly yet to take a call on stepping down as WBHRC chief:  
Former Supreme Court Judge A K Ganguly, who faces charges of sexually harassing a law intern, on Monday said he is yet to take a decision on resigning as chairman of West Bengal Human Rights Commission.

He, however, declined to comment on his telephonic conversation with former attorney general Soli Sorabjee. 

Sorabjee had on Sunday said that Justice Ganguly had called him over telephone and told that he had been thinking of resigning as WBHRC chairman 

"I have read about it in newspapers. I don't want to make any comment on it," Justice Ganguly told PTI.

When inquired whether he has been contemplating resignation, Ganguly said, "I have not decided anything." 
10:46  While CM Kejriwal hunts for a 'smaller' house, Sisodia opts for a 3-bedroom flat:  
CNN-IBN reports: Drifting from the party's stand to end "VIP culture" in Delhi, Delhi Urban Development Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia chose a three-bedroom apartment in Mayur Vihar as his official residence.

The AAP had earlier come under fire after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal decided to shift to 5-bedroom duplex flats on Bhagwan Das road. 

But with criticism pouring from all quarters, Kejriwal rolled back his decision and instead asked the government for a smaller house. 

"Since there has been a lot of controversy regarding my new house, I have decided not to stay there. I will ask the government to find a smaller house for me somewhere. Till then I will work from my Ghaziabad house," Kejriwal had earlier said.

The party MLAs have also been receiving flak for accepting the official Toyota Innova cars when they had pressed for a life like a common man in their poll manifestos.
10:21  Sensex down 91 points in early trade:  
The benchmark BSE Sensex fell over 91 points in early trade today on sustained selling by funds and investors amid a weakening trend in other Asian markets. 

Extending losses for the fourth straight session, the 30-share barometer fell by 91.07 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 20,760.26 with IT, banking, power, metal and oil & gas sector stocks leading the fall.

The index has already lost 320 points in the past three sessions. 

Similarly, the National Stock Exchange index Nifty shed 33.90 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 6,178.95. 

Brokers said continued selling by funds as well as retail investors amid weak cues from other Asian markets dampened the trading sentiment here. 

In the Asian region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed 0.56 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei fell 2.18 per cent in early trade today. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.17 per cent higher in Friday's trade.
10:15  Fog badly disrupts air traffic, 150 flights affected:  
A heavy blanket of fog forced authorities to suspend flight movement at the Indira Gandhi Airport for around three hours, leading to delay and diversion of around 150 domestic and international flights on Monday.

Between 8pm on Sunday and 8 am on Monday, around 150 flights, either arriving in Delhi or departing from there have been cancelled or diverted due to extremely poor visibility at the airport due to dense fog, airport officials said.

Around 51 domestic and international flights departing from here and 39 scheduled to arrive in Delhi, between 8 pm-8 am, have been cancelled.

Also 52 incoming flights have been diverted to Amritsar, Lucknow and other destinations, they said.

A SpiceJet flight from Goa to Delhi, with 132 passengers and four crew onboard, had to make an emergency landing at around 9.50 pm as it ran short on fuel.
09:42  Telugu film actor Uday Kiran found dead at home:  
Telugu film actor Uday Kiran, who was one the youngest winners of the Filmfare best actor award, allegedly committed suicide at his house in Hyderabad on Sunday night.

33-year-old Kiran's parents and his wife found his body hanging from the ceiling at his flat in Sri Nagar colony, police said today. 

He was declared dead upon arrival at the hospital.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (West Zone) V Satyanarayana told PTI that as per the available information, it seemed to be a case of suicide and the actor was apparently suffering from depression.

An autopsy would be carried out at Usmania General Hospital and the procedure would be video-recorded), he said. 

"Only after getting the autopsy report we will come to know what caused the death. Exact circumstances leading to the death would be known only after the probe," he said.

Kiran's first three films were Chitram, Nuvvu Nenu and Manasantha Nuvve, earning him the title "Hat-trick Hero". 

Subsequently, he starred in romantic films including Nee Sneham and Kalusukovalani.

In 2001, he won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu for the film Nuvvu Nenu, and became the youngest winner of the Filmfare best actor award after Kamal Hasan.
09:36  14 killed in China mosque stampede: Xinhua:  
Fourteen people were killed and 10 injured in a stampede during a gathering at a mosque in China's Ningxia region, state media reported today. 

The stampede occurred at lunchtime yesterday while traditional food was being handed out to people attending an event to commemorate a late religious leader, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the local government. 

The injured were hospitalised, with four in critical condition, the brief report said. 

Pictures posted online showed a large crowd, most of them men and many wearing white Islamic caps, standing outside the
green mosque, apparently after the incident.

Clothes and shoes were scattered on the ground, along with what appeared to be a collapsed section of scaffolding.

An investigation was under way into the cause of the stampede at the mosque in Xiji, around 280 kilometres (174 miles) south of the regional capital Yinchuan.
08:51  Fog envelopes Delhi, flight operations hit at IGI airport:  
Cold wave maintained its grip in north India, with temperatures settling below normal in most parts as fog enveloped the region disrupting air, rail and road traffic. 

Dense fog enveloped the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport in Delhi on Sunday night leading to delay in schedule of around 40 flights. 
 
Around 150 domestic and international flights at the IGI airport had been affected earlier in the day due to fog, causing inconvenience to passengers. 

The flight operations were suspended after the fog became more dense around 9.30 PM due to which the general visibility was almost nil while the runway visibility was below 50 meters.

Around 40 trains coming towards Delhi were running late while 10 trains were rescheduled due to fog in parts of north India, an official of the Northern Railway said. 
08:48  SC to hear PIL seeking to restrain action against ex-judge AK Ganguly:  
The Supreme Court on Monday will hear a PIL seeking a direction to restrain the government from taking any action against ex-Supreme Court judge Asok Kumar Ganguly, accused of sexually harassing a law intern. 

The PIL also seeks quashing of the report in which a three-member panel of apex court judges indicted Ganguly for unwelcome behaviour against the law intern, who has accused Ganguly of sexuallly harassing her in a Delhi hotel last year.

A public suit seeking to quash the complaint against the retired judge was filed in the apex court on Friday. 

The petitioner said Ganguly was being maligned and was a victim of conspiracy as he had in an arbitration suspended Mohun Bagan for walking out of a football league match against the East Bengal club.
08:47  Good Morning.

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