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Live! AAP to contest all Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra: Damania

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January 08, 2014


23:34  13,000 families flee Fallujah amid Iraq standoff:  More than 13,000 families have fled Fallujah, NGOs said today, warning of a "critical" humanitarian situation as masked gunmen locked in a days-long standoff with Iraqi troops hold the city. 

And though traffic police returned to its streets, some shops reopened and more cars could be seen, Fallujah was still hit by clashes and shelling, after an Al-Qaeda-linked group urged Sunnis to keep fighting the Shiite-led government.
23:07  Pak minister warns of 20 hours of load shedding in Khyber:  Pakistan's power minister today warned that there could be 20 hours of load shedding in certain areas of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province due to rampant power theft. 

Addressing a press conference here at Peshawar Electric Supply Company office, Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali deplored the role of public representatives and especially MPAs of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for not curbing power theft in their respective areas.
22:06  AAP to contest all Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra: Damania:  Anjali Damania, the convener of Maharashtra unit of Aam Admi Party, has said her party would contest all the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Damania was addressing a press conference here late last evening.

As many as 73,000 aspirants had filed applications all over the country for AAP tickets for Lok Sabha poll so far before the January 15 deadline, she said.

She said those who wanted to contest assembly elections in Maharashtra on AAP ticket should file applications with 600 supporting signatures. AAP membership in Maharashtra now stood at 9,840, she claimed.
21:31  Cong distances itself from Ramesh's remark on AAP:   Congress today distanced itself from the remark of Union minister Jairam Ramesh in which he appeared to have suggested that Aam Aadmi Party would not have emerged had the Lokpal bill been passed two years ago.

"This can be his personal opinion and observation and he does not have any information on it," AICC general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said at the party briefing when asked about Ramesh's comment.
20:40  Rahul does not need PR agency for image make-over: Congress:  The Congress today denied reports that it has roped in Japanese advertising and communication firms to brush up the public image of Rahul Gandhi before Lok Sabha polls, saying the party vice president does not require any PR agency for his image make-over

"Rahul does not require any advertising agency for his image make-over. Congress functions with the strength of its ideology and that of its crores of ordinary workers. No image-building agency has been hired by the Congress party," party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters at the AICC briefing.

Party's communication department Chairman Ajay Maken also denied reports that a hefty amount of Rs 500 crore is being given to Japanese firms for Rahul's image build-up, saying "we do not have such huge budgets."
20:14  Aamir wants to make film on his ancestor Maulana Abul Kalam Azad:  Bollywood actor Aamir Khan has said that he wants to make a film on his ancestor, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

Khan said this on Wednesday while delivering the keynote address at the inauguration of Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2014 at Victoria Memorial in Kolkata.
20:00  Live! Cong may to finalise 100-150 LS poll candidates by Jan-end:  

With Rahul Gandhi keen on early declaration of candidates for Lok Sabha elections, Congress is understood to have decided to come out with a list of 150 to 200 nominees by the end of this month.        

 

Lok Sabha elections are likely to be held in April-May and the decision will give at least three months time to the candidates to prepare for the elections.         The exercise of finalizing candidates will begin immediately after the AICC meeting on January 17, a senior party functionary said.        

 

"The meeting of screening committees to shortlist candidates will begin soon after the AICC meeting and we will be deciding candidates for much more than 100 Lok Sabha seats by the end of January," the AICC functionary closely associated with the exercise said.        

 

The A K Antony panel entrusted with the task of drawing up an action plan for the party for assembly and Lok Sabha a elections few years ago had recommended that the candidates for the elections should be declared at least a few months ahead of the polls.

19:08  Ramesh fumes after being held up in traffic due to army chief's convoy:  

Irked over being held up in traffic by army chief's security, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday criticised the "ridiculous" VIP security system in the country, which according to him is "state within a state within a state" where there is no accountability.        

 

The furious Rural Development Minister said he would write to Defence Minister A K Antony, who doesn't keep a security ring around him, about the military police taking over Delhi police's duty and clearing the routes for service chiefs when they move around the national capital.        

 

Ramesh, who never uses a red beacon on his vehicle, said his car was blocked near Army Chief's residence this afternoon by military police when he was going to Teen Murti to attend a meeting.        

 

"It is ridiculous....Mr Antony does not do this. There is no security to Antony at all. And they (Military) have their own policemen to regulate traffic. That is wrong. Delhi Police should regulate traffic....I am going to write about this to Antony," the Minister said.        

 

Ramesh said once he was blocked by military security in the city when he was walking to his home after work.

18:37  Saudi men blame mascara, eyeliner for rise in molestation :   A new opinion poll conducted in Saudi Arabia showed that 86.5 percent of men blame mascara and eye liner for the rise in molestation cases in public places, reports the Emirates 24/7 news website. Read
18:30  Yogendra Yadav: AAP will fight for additional quota for lower castes :  Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav has said that the party has 'more clarity' now specially on issues relating to caste and reservation.

"The party will fight for additional quota for the lower castes, women and the economically backward," Yadav said.

The AAP was heavily criticised for being silent on issues relating to caste and reservation and focusing more on populism.

Saying that the AAP is in favour of a quota for the SC/STs and OBCs, Yadav said that the party will work more for these issues. "We came from different backgrounds. We didn't have clarity about it until recently," he said.
18:18  Schumacher accident not due to skis or faulty signage:   Investigators probing Michael Schumacher's accident on Wednesday ruled out faulty skis, inadequate signage and excessive speed as possible causes of his life-threatening off-piste fall in the French Alps.

They said that signs marking the edge of the piste Schumacher skied off just before the accident on December 29 were in line with legal requirements, and said the Formula One legend had appeared in control of his speed. Read more
18:15  Srinagar-Jammu NH closed following fresh snowfall:   The Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir to the rest of the country, was closed for vehicular traffic as the valley including Srinagar experienced fresh snowfall today.

"The highway was closed for traffic around 2 pm after heavy snowfall between Qazigund and Banihal rendered the arterial road unsafe," a spokesman of the traffic department said.

He said so far about three inches of snow had accumulated on the ground around Jawahar Tunnel -- the gateway to the Kashmir valley -- and snowfall was still on.
18:00  LIVE! AAP's anti-graft helpline for Delhi is 011-27357169:   As promised, the AAP government's anti corruption number in Delhi has been launched. This is the number: 011-27357169. It will be manned from 8 am to 10 pm.

AAP which won a phenomenal 28 seats in the Delhi polls on the anti-corruption platform, says the Vigilance Department, which will follow up on the complaints received, has only 11 inspectors presently, as opposed to the sanctioned strength of 30 inspectors.

Kejriwal added that the Delhi Police Commissioner had assured the government that eight more inspectors will be assigned to the Department in two days.

An Assistant Commissioner of Police and seven inspectors have already been posted with the Anti-Corruption Branch, which is presently investigating 165 cases.

During his oath taking as Delhi CM Kejriwal had mentioned the helpline and said citizens should use it to not just report graft but also help nab those taking bribes.

17:29  Andhra Cong MLA's thank you for Telangana: 'Goddess' Sonia statue :   A Congress legislator from Andhra Pradesh has taken his devotion to party president Sonia Gandhi to new heights, or nine feet to be exact.That is the height of Shankar Rao's 'Goddess Sonia' statue, depicting her as 'Telangana Talli' (Telangana mother) as a thank-you for the Centre's decision to create a Telangana state.

It will be installed at what Dr Rao intends to call the 'Sonia Gandhi Shanti Vanam', in a patch of land near the Bangalore-Hyderabad highway registered in his daughter Sushmitha's name.  Read more

Pic: This is a picture created by the UP Congress depicting Sonia Gandhi as a goddess, and not the statute made by the AP Cong MLA
16:47  Boy shot in Chennai police station recovering :  A minor boy, who was allegedly shot in his throat by a police inspector inside a police station in Chennai on Tuesday, is on the way to recovery after an operation, an officer said.

"The boy underwent an operation yesterday (Tuesday) night. The operation lasted for around two-and-half hours. There was no damage to his vocal chords, only some tissues were damaged," the officer told a news agency, preferring anonymity.

The 16-year-old boy was picked up by the Neelaankari police officers for an enquiry about a theft in a temple on Monday and was detained in the station that night, a violation of the norms. The boy's parents were not informed about his detention. -- Zee News
16:45  Kejriwal on AAP office attack: Did they want to kill Prashant Bhushan and me?:   Hours after the attack this morning on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) headquarters in Kaushambi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal questioned the miscreants' motive and wondered whether they wanted to kill him and Prashant Bhushan because of the latter's remarks on Kashmir.

"Let us assume that Prashant Bhushan indeed said something objectionable, so what do they want? Do they want to kill Prashantji?"

"We have cleared the stand of our party and (Bhushan) has also said many times that his opinion was misinterpreted. He has even stated that he doesn't want a referendum," Kejriwal said, adding, "Do they also want to kill me?".

Reiterating his stand on Kashmir, Kejriwal said it was an integral part of India and nobody could separate it from the country. "Army deployment in various parts of the country is a matter of internal security assessment, which is done by the government. The sentiments of local people should be respected in such decisions," he said, adding that the issue cannot be solved by a referendum.

He further added that, "No god can create such a 'sena' (army) that attacks the offices and houses of people. It is against the principles of Lord Rama. I am also a Hindu."
16:41  Plea in HC after Kejriwal stubbornly refuses security :  In the wake of an attack on Aam Aadmi Party headquarters today, a plea was hurriedly made in the Delhi High Court for directions to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal not to refuse security offered to him.

An advocate mentioned the issue before a bench of justices B D Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul and was asked by it to file a proper petition which will come up for hearing in due course.

"The Chief Minister is refusing security offered to him by the Delhi Police time and again. He is exposing himself and his cabinet ministers to grave danger," advocate Anoop Awasthi submitted before the bench.

He sought directions to the Centre, Government of National Capital Territory and Delhi Police to provide Kejriwal round-the-clock security.

Awasthi said, "India has lost many leaders in attacks and it is a prevalent demand of residents of Delhi that Kejriwal should take security cover."

He contended, "Since the Chief Minister is not an individual in isolation but an institution himself, he can be subjected to directions issued by a constitutional court."
16:30  LIVE! Danseuse Mallika Sarabhai to join AAP:  Noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai will be joining the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today, sources close to her today said.

"Mallika Sarabhai will be joining the AAP later in the day by going to their office in the city," they told PTI. "She will be joining the party not as a politician but as a citizen of the country," they said.

In 2009, Sarabhai fought elections as an Independent candidate against BJP veteran L K Advani from the Gandhinagar constituency but had lost. She has been constantly taking up the issue of oppressed and victims of the 2002 riots.
16:27  The British PM and the doll :  David Cameron showed how being Prime Minister is like child's play today, as he strolled along Whitehall carrying a doll. The British Premier was spotted with the toy as he tried to catch up with his daughter Florence while she scooted through central London. Read
16:20  Facebook buys Indian startup:  Facebook Inc. has acquired Little Eye Labs, a little known Indian startup that analyzes data, in a move tipped to strengthen its mobile services globally. Read more
16:12  LIVE! Jaitley concerned about Hindu minorities in Pak, Bangladesh :  Arun Jaitley's blog on concerns over Bangladesh:

"India has an inherent interest in the stability of its neighbourhood. A disturbed neighbourhood adversely affects India. 

In some cases the consequences of a disturbed neighbourhood spill into Indian boundaries.                

One had hoped that elections in Bangladesh would enhance the democratic process there. As the nation which had supported Bangladesh at the time of their liberation struggle, India, which has thousands of kilometers of borders with Bangladesh, would like to see a peaceful poll accompanied by  continuation  or  transfer of power.  It has not happened.

We hope that the political process in Bangladesh stabilizes and important political parties are in a position to settle their domestic political issues.                

There is, however a key concern which we have. The post election violence has started attacking the minority Hindu community. Houses have been burnt and individuals are being attacked. The already insecure Hindu minority is being threatened further. 

Media reports suggest that most of these attacks have taken place at the behest of the Jamat-e-Islami and even the BNP.  It is noteworthy that the Hindu population which was around 30% at the time of independence is currently between 10 to 12% as per the recent estimates.                

The position of the Hindu minorities in Pakistan is a little worse. In the recent past thousands of them migrated to India. On my visits to places like Indore, Ajmer and other towns of Punjab, many of these groups have met me. Even in Delhi the Hindu migrants from Pakistan have been meeting political leaders and explaining to them the plight of the minorities in Pakistan. A leading English daily today carries a statement by the Pakistan Hindu Council complaining of sexual assaults on Hindu women in Pakistan.                

These are developments with which everyone in India particularly the Government of India should be concerned with. I hope we see a response from the Government of India"
15:58  Update on the Michael Schumacher accident: The BBC says investigators probing Michael Schumacher's ski crash say he was eight metres off-piste when he hit a rock and fell.
15:52  One arrested for attack on AAP office, Kejriwal won't reconsider security:  Arvind Kejriwal remains adamant saying neither he nor his Aam Aadmi Party would reconsider their refusal to take security after an attack this morning on the party's office that AAP leader Prashant Bhushan has blamed on the BJP. A case has been registered in Ghaziabad and one person has been arrested for the attack.
15:49  Arvind Kejriwal flies high in Gujarats skies :   Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Admi Party (AAP) have caught the imagination of many, including those in Gujarat. The party has also attracted kite-makers.

The January 14 kite festival is a huge public event in the State.After the party's huge victory in the Delhi assembly elections, it has been drawing members by the hundreds in Gujarat as well.

AAP Gujarat convenor Sukhdev Patel told The Hindu that his party had enrolled as many as one lakh members during the last around a fortnight.
Read more
15:47  Mapped: Here's where it got colder than Antarctica. See
15:46  Kejriwal attends NCC day camp, his first public function as CM:  Making his first appearance in a public ceremony as Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal today inspected a guard of honour of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) at a function in New Delhi.

"It's a tradition that the Chief Minister is the chief guest at the NCC Republic Day Camp every year and inspects the guard of honour," a defence official said.

The Chief Minister, who was accompanied by his IRS officer wife Sunita, inspected the guard of honour along with defence officials at the Delhi Cantonment.

In his address to over 2,000 cadets, of which 762 were girls, Kejriwal lauded the work done by the NCC in "national building" and developing the "character of the youth," and advised students to become good human beings and serve the nation.
15:36  Five ways to improve Rahul's image:  The leaders of the Congress party aren't known for their slick appearance, well-timed utterances, or prowess at political spin. So it is perhaps wise, as they head towards national polls this spring, that they have called in the professionals to work on their image. Read more
15:08  LIVE! Madhuri, Salman to dance for Akhilesh tonight, Dedh Ishqiya made tax free:   In what is being seen as the ruling Samajwadi Party's gift to Madhuri Dixit, the Akhilesh Yadav government has exempted 'Dedh Ishqiya' from entertainment tax in Uttar Pradesh, reports Rediff.com's Sharat Pradhan from Lucknow.

Madhuri arrived Wednesday in the Yadav clan's village Saifai, where she will dance tonight when the final curtain will fall on the 15-day Saifai Mahotsava -- an annual cultural extravaganza held in memory of Mulayam's  nephew.

The superstar was flown in to Saifai in a state aircraft and ushered into the village in a cavalcade of limousines and SUVs. The state plane then went to fetch Salman Khan, Ranveer Singh and Soha Ali Khan, who will also dance at the show.


News coming in now says that TV crews have been banned from entering Saifai. 
14:56  Venezuelan beauty queen slain; daughter survives shooting:  In one of her last Twitter posts, Venezuelan beauty queen Monica Spear wished her fans peace, health and love.The 29-year-old soap opera star was gunned down by the side of a country road less than a week later.Spear and her ex-husband, Thomas Henry Berry, were driving in Venezuela's Carabobo state Monday night when their car broke down, officials said. Armed robbers opened fire, killing both of them. Read
14:55  Choosing goodwill over rancour:  The US may have secret agreements with some countries granting their officers at the consulates immunity. However, it felt no need for such an agreement with India as its consular officers were already afforded personal immunity. Read more
14:48  Over 20 Indian-origin in Forbes list of 'brightest young stars':  Over 20 Indian-origin youths are among Forbes magazine's annual list of the world's "brightest young stars" under the age of 30 from diverse fields like finance, media, sports and education, described by the publication as "prodigies reinventing the world right now." Read more
14:45  A journalism graduate from Kashmir denied a passport misses dream internship. Read
14:40  Congress's Tuesday message: It's now Rahul and (not or) Priyanka:  Informed sources in the Congress party feel that had Priyanka cared about keeping this meeting a secret, it would have remained so. But the attempt to alert the media, thus setting off wide speculation, is part of the Congress's design to enthuse its workers that Rahul's candidature for the top job would bring in Priyanka as well. Read more
14:34  U.S.-Indian cultural, political divide revealed by diplomats arrest:  For the past decade, senior US officials have portrayed India as an emerging strategic partner of the United States as well as an emerging power, a democracy that respects the rule of law and shares US values.

It's mostly a true story, even if the rosy view of the bilateral relationship has never entirely been reciprocated on the Indian side. But there remains a considerable political and cultural divide between the two countries --as the ongoing furor over the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York has vividly illustrated. Read more
14:20  A battle for the soul of Islam:   With Osama bin Laden dead and al-Qaeda in disarray, moderate Muslims were set to reclaim political Islam from extremists. But 2 years later, the Islam projected by extremists is back with a vengeance. Read more
14:05  Meanwhile, the Mumbai police will provide security to AAP's office at Chakala in Mumbai following the attack on the Ghaziabad office.
13:57  My version was ignored: Ganguly:  Justice Ganguly says his version was ignored and added that he was open to any inquiry under the law, but says the fact remained that the West Bengal government was uncomfortable with him and used the issue to defame him.

He said the media must be fair in reporting the issue and not play to the gallery. He said he was unfairly treated by the Supreme Court and he resigned in disgust because he could not continue with dignity and honour. 
13:48  This is what the law intern wrote in her statement to the Supreme Court panel.

"During the dinner, the judge put his hand on my back and thanked me for agreeing to help him. I moved away, clearly indicating to the judge that this physical contact was unwelcome and not proper behaviour on his part. However, the judge did not remove his hand from my back, and then moved forward to embrace me. At this point, the judge approached me and, standing next to me, he put his hand on my head, and said, 'You are very beautiful'."

"I immediately rose from my seat, but before I had a chance to respond to the statement, he caught hold of my arm, saying, 'You know that I'm attracted to you, don't you? You must be thinking, what, this old man is getting drunk and saying such things. But I really like you, I love you'. When I tried to move away, he kissed my arm and repeated that he loved me," she said in the statement.
13:47  Justice Ganguly: Did not force law intern to dine or wine with me :   Justice (Retd) AK Ganguly's first interview since he resigned from the WBHRC to CNN IBN's Rajdeep Sardesai. He says he has nothing to be ashamed of and the only reason he resigned is to uphold the dignity of his family and the WBHRC office.

He says at no point did force the law intern to have dinner with him or drink a glass of wine with him. He ask why did she complain 11 months later. "If she had felt uncomfortable, she could have walked out of the room. There are no charges against me, only allegations," he says.

He loses his cool when Rajdeep asks him if he normally offers a glass of wine to interns who work with him.

He also maintains he did not follow the girl to the lift. 

He says the SC has no jurisdiction over a retired judge and the whole thing was organised to defame me. The Visakha guidelines on sexual harassment at the workplace do not apply here, he says.
13:20  Bhushan: Attack on AAP office shows BJP's tremendous frustration :   AAP member Prashant Bhushan says the attack on the office at Ghaziabad shows the tremendous frustration of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar on the rise of AAP. He says Tejinder Singh Bagga who had attacked him in 2011 has joined the BJP and has allowed him to go away scot free. The BJP has allowed its goons to unleash terror on the AAP. He said he had a neither he nor the party had called for a referendum for Kashmir.

BJP' Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had condemned the incident earlier and said action should be taken against the miscreants.

Pic: CCTV image of the attack on the AAP office
13:02  LIVE! Parl session in Feb to pass pending Telangana, anti-graft bills :  Just in: A Parliament session will be held in the first fortnight of February to pass the Vote on Account, says Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath.

The government will make an attempt to get legislative agenda approved: this includes the controversial Telangana Bill, currently before the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, and a slew of anti-graft laws.

The winter session has not been prorogued, only adjourned sine die, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said and can be convened at short notice.

The minister added that he would talk to all parties and take a decision on this to strengthen all anti-corruption efforts to which the government is committed.


12:58  In anticipation of shut down, US Embassy disabled ACSA website days ago:  With reports abounding that New Delhi was likely to further tighten screws as a fallout of the Devyani Khobragade incident, the US Embassy in the national capital had disabled the website of the American Community Support Association (ACSA) which runs an American Club and commissary services within its premises.  Read more
12:41  Justice Ganguly's decisio to quit belated, but right:  Justice (retd.) AK Ganguly has done the right thing by resigning from his position as chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission. Although belated, his resignation will help preserve the dignity of his office, which was seriously undermined after he was accused by a law intern of making improper sexual advances.  Read more
12:27  BJP gears up for Modi's rally in Goa:  In a bid to cash in on Modi's popularity, BJP's Goa unit is collecting a registration fee of Rs 5 per person to attend the rally of its prime ministerial candidate in Panaji on January 12, which will kick start party's Lok Sabha campaign in Goa.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said that so far over 90,000 people have registered their names for the rally.

The organisers are charging Rs 5 per ticket for the event.

Apart from the general public, the BJP workers, who wish to attend the rally, will also have to pay. The public rally will be held in the open ground located on the periphery of Panaji city, where the party president Rajnath Singh will also be present.

"More than one lakh people are expected to participate in the rally," Parrikar said.
12:22  Newslaundry founder Abhinandan Sekhri tweets: Cong keeps it classy by bashing AAP volunteers in Amethi & Hindu Rakshak Sena keeps it classy by doing same in Kaushambhi. Apologists for both keep it classy by their deafening silence on twitter while outraging over even a "rude tone" used by Arvind during his speeches. 
12:13  Cops say AAP had refused security for party offfice :  With police at the scene now, the protestors have disappeared. The cops say the AAP had refused security for the office, but the police acted immediately on learning about the attack and said the miscreants would be booked.  

This incident should be an eye-opener for Kejriwal and co, that it is necessary to have police security. AAP only comes across as a party that is immature. He gains no brownie points by consistently refusing security.  

In October 2013,  Prashant Bhushan was attacked with ink for the same statements on Kashmir. 
12:07  Hindu Rakshak Sena claim responsibility for attack on AAP office :  Outside the AAP office in Ghaziabad, flag-bearing members of the Hindu Rakshak Sena, who have claimed responsibility for the attack, continue pelting stones at the office. The office was also vandalised. Police say nobody has been hurt.
12:02  All is well, PM assures Indian diaspora :  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today sought to dispel apprehensions of the Indian diaspora on the state of the economy, saying the country was heading towards "better times" and there is no reason to despair about its present or worry about the future.

He also said that regardless of the outcome of the next elections, they will once again demonstrate the strength of India's democracy and its institutions.

"I know that many of you have questions about the future of the Indian economy and concerns about social challenges, the shape of our polity and the issues of governance in our country. There is a perception in some quarters outside India that the country is losing its momentum of the past decade," he said.

Singh said the issue is also amplified by the "political contestations in India, which are inevitably louder in the election season" that is now on the horizon.

"I wish to assure you that there is no reason to despair about our present or worry about our future. Indeed, as I have said earlier, we are heading into better times ahead and I would urge you to remain engaged in the future of this country with confidence and optimism," the Prime Minister said at the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in New Delhi. 
11:56  Kejriwal helps auto drivers, commuters may pay the price:  Is the AAP succumbing to vote-bank politics? The Kejriwal government wants to take away from the Delhi Police the power to fine autorickshaw drivers who refuse to carry passengers, a move that is bound to please his party's biggest votebank but is likely to put commuters at a disadvantage. Read more
11:50  AAP office in Ghaziabad attacked over Prashant Bhushan's statement on J-K:  Early reports say that around 30 to 40 people have attacked the AAP office in Kaushambi, Ghaziabad. The attack was believed to be a protest against AAP member Prashant Bhushan's statement on Kashmir. Nobody is believed to have been injured in the incident.

On January 6 Bhushan had said that in keeping with participatory democracy, locals in the Kashmir Valley should be allowed to determine whether they want the army for internal security or not. He had said the government should decide if the army should deal with external threats along the border. Bhushan had also said earlier that he wanted a referendum on Kashmir.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had already distanced himself from Bhushan's comments and said that it was his personal view. He had said that whatever the army wants to do regarding deployment, there is no question of a referendum on it.
11:42  Watch out Modi! Aam Aadmi Party is making inroads in Gujarat:  The AAP's mandate in Gujarat is similar to the one in Delhi -- address issues related to corruption and other grievances of the common man, says Vinay Umarji and Premal Balan on Rediff.com. Read
11:39  Delhi discoms get notice, say CAG scrutiny not legal:  A week after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a CAG audit for private discoms, BSES Rajdhani, BSES Yamuna and Tata Power Delhi were officially informed about the decision on Tuesday.

The three companies said they would reply to the letter by Wednesday. However, two letters have been sent in the past few days by the discoms - which have closed ranks-to the Delhi government, challenging the legality of the audit.

The first letter was sent last week, the next followed on Monday. The government is yet to reply.  Read more
11:35  Of bhadraloks, nationalists, cricketers and their colonial masters. Read
11:30  UP ministers, MLAs fly out on five-nation 'study tour':   At a time when Uttar Pradesh is struggling with the aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar riots and allegations of mismanagement, eight state ministers and nine legislators have left on a five-nation study tour that is looking more like a paid holiday. Read more
11:28  India has asked the US embassy to shut down a club within the premises which includes a bar, pool, parlor, restaurant, bowling alley and tennis court. Outsiders are allowed in the club, a violation of the Vienna Convention that India is no longer prepared to ignore, said officials.
11:27  Arctic chill means parts of US colder than Mars!:   A blast of Arctic air gripped the vast middle of the United States with the coldest temperatures in two decades bringing life to a standstill. Businesses and schools were forced to shutdown and thousands of flights were cancelled. Lowest temperatures recorded in the states stood at -37 C.

At least 16 deaths were recorded as the blast gripped the US Midwest and pushed toward the East and South and eastern Canada.

Iin Kentucky, an escaped inmate begged to be let back into prison so he could warm up after spending the night shivering in an abandoned house.

See the slideshow.


Pic: The Korean War Veterans Memorial after a heavy snowstorm in Washington.
11:22  Devyani Khobragade slams Preet Bharara:  Senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade has berated US Attorney Preet Bharara for publicly disclosing plea discussions underway to resolve the visa fraud case against her, saying it was a "distressingly calculated" move which could further polarise the situation.

Noting that the two sides had agreed not to make public the plea discussions, her lawyer Daniel Arshack gave a strong rejoinder to Bharara who had written to Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn stating that he had outlined reasonable parameters that could resolve the issue.
11:20  Vikram Sarabhai's love affair gave birth to IIM-A, book says:  Ahmedabad got an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) because its founder Dr Vikram Sarabhai had an intimate relationship with his protege, Kamla Chowdhry, and wanted her to stay in the city, says a book by psychoanalyst and Chowdhry's nephew, Sudhir Kakar. Read more
11:16  India Inc happy with AAP's anti-graft plank, but...:  A survey of CEOs shows corporate India is unsure about the party's ideology, with some feeling its left-of-the-centre politics can be detrimental in the long run. Read
10:59  Stop commercial activities from embassy from Jan 16: India tells US :  Toughening its stand over the Devyani Khobrage case, India has asked the United States of America to stop commercial activities from its embassy premises from January 16. The government has also indicated that US diplomatic vehicles will now attract a penalty for all traffic-related offences.

This comes after Devyani's father led a march outside the American Consulate in Mumbai on Tuesday to protest against the treatment meted out by the US authorities to her.

10:51  Andhra Assembly adjourned as Telangana stalemate continues :  The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly was caught in a deadlock for the fifth consecutive day today over the issue of the state's bifurcation. 

Barely three minutes after the day's proceedings began at 9 am, Speaker Nadendla Manohar was forced to adjourn the House for an hour as legislators from Seemandhra region as well as Telangana trooped into the Well, raising slogans for a united and separate state respectively.
10:16  Former US defence secy mixes praise with criticism for Obama:  Former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates in his memoir mixes strong praise with scathing criticism for President Barack Obama, lauding his "courageous" decision to order the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, but criticising him for lacking faith in his own Afghan strategy.        

Excerpts of Gates's forthcoming memoir Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War was released by The New York Times, in which he appears to be highly critical of Obama on a number of fronts and also slams Vice President Joe Biden.
10:15  CBI registers two fresh cases in coal allocation scam:  The CBI has registered two fresh cases in the coal allocation scam.

Further details are awaited
09:30  Railway minister announces compensation:  Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge has expressed grief over the death of passengers in the fire mishap on board the Mumbai-Dehradun Express and announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh each to the next of kin of those killed. 

"The railway minister has expressed deep grief over the incident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh for those who died in this unfortunate incident and Rs one lakh to those seriously injured," said Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar. 

A sum of Rs 50,000 will be given to those who received minor injuries. 

The commissioner of Railway Safety will conduct an inquiry into the fire incident, he said. 

"The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. However, the fire has been put out and the train has made its forward journey," Kumar said. 

The coaches have been separated from the train and the train has it made its forward journey, he said. 

Senior railway officials have rushed to the site.
09:22  Most Indian trains DON'T have fire alarms:  Despite repeated fire incidents in trains, railways is yet to install an automatic fire alarm system in a majority of long-distance services.      

On December 28, 2013, 26 passengers were charred to death in an AC coach in the Bangalore-Nanded Express. 

Earlier, a fire in the Tamil Nadu Express had claimed 32 lives.       

Seven perople were burnt to death in November, 2011 when a coach of the Howrah-Dehradun Express train caught fire.

Later, the fire spread to another coach and both the coaches were badly burnt.     

Three coaches of the Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express had caught fire near Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh on April 18, 2011.
09:04  US, South Korea urges North Korea to denuclearise :  United States Secretary of State John Kerry and his South Korean counterpart, Yun Byung-se, have urged North Korea to start fulfilling its international obligations and commitments starting with the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.        

"Together, we call upon Pyongyang to start down the path of fulfilling its international obligation and commitments,"Kerry said at a joint press conference with his South Korean counterpart.
09:00  Fire in Mumbai Dehradun Express kills 9:  Nine people were charred to death when a fire broke out in three coaches of Mumbai-Dehradun Express train near Dahanu road in Thane district in the wee hours of Wednesday. 

Among the nine dead, one is a woman and four are men while the rest were yet to be identified, said Western Railway PRO Sharat Chandra. 

The fire erupted in one of the three coaches and soon spread to other two coaches when the passengers were sleeping at about 2.50 am, Chandra said, adding that the cause of the blaze is not yet known.
03:54  Gates: Obama lost faith in his Afghanistan policy:  Robert Gates' new book is starting to leak out, and it may give President Obama and his aides some heartburn.

The former defense secretary writes that Obama "eventually lost faith in the troop increase he ordered in Afghanistan, his doubts fed by top White House civilian advisers opposed to the strategy, who continually brought him negative news reports suggesting it was failing," reports The New York Times, which obtained an early copy of the memoir.

Read more
03:36  Rodman appears to blame U.S. missionary for North Korean captivity:  Dennis Rodman, in a television interview on Tuesday, appeared to blame Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae for his captivity in North Korea, the latest in a series of controversial comments by the former US basketball star.

During an expletive-ridden interview with CNN about his fourth trip to the reclusive state, Rodman seemed to say that Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, held in North Korea since May 2013 on charges of crimes against the state, was responsible for his own situation.
03:14  Musharraf suffering from 9 medical conditions: Report:  Former Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf is suffering from nine medical conditions and a coronary angiography is needed to determine if he needs a bypass surgery, a media report today said. 

Citing a medical report submitted to the special court that is conducting Musharraf's trial for high treason, Geo TV reported that the 70-year-old former military strongman was suffering from calcium deposits in his coronary artery, mental stress, frozen shoulder, excess cholesterol in the bloodstream, prostrate enlargement, and spinal and bone pain.
03:13  Pentagon official applauds India's growth in space industry:  Describing India as one of the largest space industries in Asia, a top Pentagon official today applauded India's remarkable growth in the sector. "India has one of the largest space industries in Asia. 

Their extensive satellite communications network spans the globe," US Air Force General William Shelton, Commander Air Force Space Command, said during his remarks at the George Washington University's Elliot School of International Affairs.
03:12  US denounces Iran role in Syria ahead of conference:  The United States today accused Iran of helping "brutalise" Syria as Secretary of State John Kerry prepared to talk to Russia about Tehran's potential role at a peace conference. 

Kerry will meet in Paris on January 13 with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss whether Iran should take part in the conference later this month in Switzerland aimed at ending the nearly three-year-old war in Syria, the State Department said.
03:12  Gunmen kill 7 police in attack on Iraq checkpoint:  Gunmen attacked a police checkpoint north of the Iraqi capital today, killing seven including a captain, a police officer and a doctor said.  

The attack took place on the highway north of the city of Samarra, the sources said.
02:15  US to deploy additional units in S Korea:  The US will deploy an additional Army combat force of 800 soldiers to South Korea with tanks and armored troop carrier as part of its ongoing rebalancing efforts within Asia-Pacific region. 

"The deployment of 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment to S Korea is part of US enduring rebalancing efforts within the Asia-Pacific region, and allows for greater responsiveness to better meet theater operational requirements," Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren told reporters.
01:39  Ex-UBS banker pleads not guilty in US tax case:  A former top executive with Swiss bank UBS AG who was a fugitive for years pleaded not guilty today to US fraud conspiracy charges stemming from a broad federal tax evasion investigation. Raoul Weil, 54, entered the plea in a Florida courtroom to charges first filed in 2008. 

He was a fugitive until his arrest in October in Bologna, Italy, and he was later extradited to the US He is free on USD 10.5 million bail, but he can reside or travel only in South Florida, New Jersey and southern New York.
01:11  Ex-Miss Venezuela shot dead in roadside robbery:  A former Miss Venezuela and her ex-husband were shot dead in a roadside robbery in central Venezuela late Monday, authorities said Tuesday.Mnica Spear, 29, was a soap opera actress and winner of the 2004 Miss Venezuela contest. 

She was killed while on vacation with her ex-husband Henry Berry and their 5-year old daughter, Reuters reports.

Read more: 
00:33  First batch of deadly chemicals exported from Syria:  The first batch of the most dangerous materials in Syria's banned chemical weapons stockpile was exported from the country on Tuesday, loaded onto a Danish commercial vessel in the Syrian port of Latakia in an operation overseen jointly by the United Nations and the group responsible for ensuring the arsenal's destruction.
00:31  New Indian envoy to China presents his credentials:  Ashok K Kantha, the new Indian ambassador to China, has presented his credentials at the Chinese Foreign Ministry here, expressing his determination to maintain the present momentum in the bilateral ties. 

Kantha presented the copy yesterday to Assistant foreign minister Zhang Kunsheng. Kunsheng welcomed Ambassador Kantha to Beijing and expressed the hope that the latter would have a successful tenure.
00:30  Britain High Commissioner praises Nitish cycle scheme:  The cycle scheme to boost education among girls in Bihar today drew praise from British High Commissioner to India, James Bevan. 

Bevan during an hour long meeting with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar here this evening said initiative to link education with growth in Bihar was a matter of discussion.
00:24  Obama pushes GOP on unemployment insurance:  President Barack Obama lauded the Senate's advancement of a bill to extend jobless aid on Tuesday as a "very important step' and called on Republicans in both chambers to back the legislation "without obstruction or delay.'

"Voting for unemployment insurance helps people and creates jobs and voting against it does not," Obama said in remarks at the White House. 
00:18  'Missing' actress Alka Punewar in Chennai with her boyfriend:  Marathi actress Alka Punewar, who mysteriously disappeared while on her way to Uran in neighbouring Navi Mumbai for a stage show ten days ago, was traced to Chennai, where she had been staying with her boyfriend, the police said here today. 

The Mumbai police said that the actress, her boyfriend and their mutual friend had faked her 'accident' at Khopoli in Raigad district so that they could elope.
00:17  Will meet Hooda to discuss row over sharing of water: Kejriwal:  Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwaltoday said that he will meet his Haryana counterpartSingh Hooda to discuss the issue of Munak canal, built by Haryana government with financial assistance from Delhi on the condition that it will be supplied 80 MGD water.

Kejriwal said Delhi was not getting its share of 80 MGDwater from Munak canal as promised.
00:10  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  INS Vikramaditya finally reaches home base in Karwar
Govt may lack knowledge, but intention is pure: Kejriwal
Congress' big dilemma over Priyanka Gandhi
Top opposition leaders arrested as shutdown drags on in B'desh
Priyanka 'turning active' won't help Cong in polls: BJP
Devyani's father leads protest outside US consulate in Mumbai

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