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LIVE! Turkey drops charges against 'woman in red' protester

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January 16, 2014


Turkey drops charges against 'woman in red' protester:  
Turkish prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against a protester who became known globally as the "woman in red" during last year's mass street demonstrations against the government. 

The decision, reported in the Turkish media today, comes after prosecutors said they were demanding up to three years in prison for a policeman who tear-gassed the woman, Ceyda Sungur, during a rally in Istanbul.

Pictures of the academic being pepper-sprayed went viral, making her an unwitting symbol of the protest movement against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

Istanbul public prosecutor Huseyin Nazmi Okumus yesterday decided to drop charges of "provoking people to disobey laws" against Sungur and four other demonstrators, the Hurriyet Daily News reported on its website.
Disillusioned with AAP: Anupam Kher:  
Actor Anupam Kher today said he was disillusioned with AAP and alleged the party has lost its focus.

"I think in the last 20 days, I feel disillusioned. I feel the goals and commitments (of the party) have changed. It is not against any individual or against the team. The focus has gone to something different. The U-turns are happening", he told a news channel.

The actor, who had extended his support to the movement against corruption called upon by social activist Anna Hazare, said "after Mr Arvind Kejriwal took oath, journalists asked him what action he would take against Sheila Dixit. I was surprised when he said that let BJP leaders get proof and I will take action in two hours. What was the whole rhetoric?" 

In his tweets, Kher also said he was not contesting any election on AAP ticket. 

"A worried producer called me to ask if I am contesting elections as an AAP candidate, so what about his shooting. To clarify: I AM NOT.
Disillusioned with AAP: Anupam Kher:  Actor Anupam Kher today said he was disillusioned with AAP and alleged the party has lost its focus.

"I think in the last 20 days, I feel disillusioned. I feel the goals and commitments (of the party) have changed. It is not against any individual or against the team. The focus has gone to something different. The U-turns are happening", he told a news channel.

The actor, who had extended his support to the movement against corruption called upon by social activist Anna Hazare, said "after Mr Arvind Kejriwal took oath, journalists asked him what action he would take against Sheila Dixit. I was surprised when he said that let BJP leaders get proof and I will take action in two hours. What was the whole rhetoric?" In his tweets, Kher also said he was not contesting any election on AAP ticket.
Dubbing me ISI agent has put my life in jeopardy: Mehr Tarar:  Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar, at the centre of a controversy involving Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, today said being labelled an ISI agent by his wife Sunanda Pushkar has put her life in jeopardy.

"I am very happy if there are happy. But I really want to know why Sunanda has put my life in jeopardy by labelling me an ISI agent. My life has been put in danger not only in India but in Pakistan also," Tarar told PTI.

On Pushkar's allegation that she was "stalking" Tharoor, she said: "I am not a 15-year-old to stalk someone. She said I am out to spoil Shashi's election. But Kerala and Lahore are very far off."

The row erupted yesterday after messages involving the three, some of them intimate, were posted on 57-year-old Tharoor's widely followed Twitter account.
Elaborate security at Jaipur Lit Fest:  Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place for Jaipur Literature Festival, which begins tomorrow, to deal with any untoward situation as witnessed earlier.

A reserved staff of police officials in plain clothes will be inside the venue so that any untoward situation can be handled effectively, police said. "We gave permission to the organisers on condition that no unwarranted event takes place during the festival.

"The organisers also said that they have asked the participants to be careful and not to do anything which might lead to a problem," a senior police officer told PTI. "As of now, we have deployed policemen for the purpose of regulation in and around the venue. Male and female staff in plain cloths will be inside and a reserved staff will also be there for contingency," he said.
Current Lok Sabha to meet for last time from Feb 5:  The current Lok Sabha will meet for the last time from February 5 to February 21 to pass a 'Vote-on-Account' budget ahead of the Lok Sabha elections expected to be held in April-May.

"Parliament will meet from February 5 to 21. Yes, it will be continuation of the winter session," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told reporters after the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs here chaired by Defence Minister A K Antony.

Sources later said the 'Vote-on-Account' is likely to be taken up on February 17. The coming session will be a continuation of the winter session as both Houses were not prorogued.

During the session, government also plans to ensure passage of some anti-corruption legislations which have been identified by Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi as the broader "framework" to fight graft.
Sena in a fix as NCW takes note of harassment of 2 party women:  Shiv Sena is finding itself in a tight spot, with the National Commission for Women taking a serious note of reports about harassment of two women party corporators allegedly by its MLA and his son.

NCW member Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar has written to Mumbai police commissioner, seeking a thorough probe and asked him to submit a report in 10 days.

"The commission has taken cognisance of the various media reports relating to depriving of modesty, insinuation and molestation allegedly done by MLA Vinod Ghosalkar and his son (who is) the municipal councillor, which has now come in the public domain.

"It has caused tremendous mental trauma to the municipal councillors Sheetal Mhatre and Dr Shubha Raul (former mayor). It is also alleged that a local builder is also involved in the said act of molestation," Prabhavalkar said in the letter to Mumbai police chief Satyapal Singh
7 killed in blast at religious centre in northwest Pakistan:  At least seven persons, including two children, were killed and over 50 injured in a blast at a proselytising centre in Pakistan's restive northwest today.

The explosion ripped through the "Tableeghi Markaz" in Bashirabad area of Peshawar district when worshippers were offering evening prayers, police officials said.

Seven persons, including two children, were killed instantly. Rescue workers said children were also among the injured.

The condition of 10 injured was decribed as critical by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa health minister. Hundreds of people were present at the centre run by a Sunni group at the time of the blast. Bomb Disposal Squad chief Shafqat Malik said an estimated 5 kg of explosives hidden in a ghee container was used in the attack.
SC reserves order on scrapping of coal block allocations:  The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on scrapping of around 200 coal blocks allocation after holding a marathon arguments spanning over 16 months during which the Centre's role in awarding the natural resourses to private companies came under sharp criticism.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice R M Lodha, which had agreed to look into the alleged irregularities in coal block allocation on September 14, 2012, wrapped up the proceedings which witnessed the Centre itself putting in motion the process of deallocating some coal blocks.

 The bench heard the arguments of all concerned parties involved in the allocation, including the seven mining states and the association of mining companies.

Private companies contended any order of the apex court should have prospective effect and all the allocations should not be scrapped in one go and it should be decided on a case- to-case basis.
56 cr Aadhaar numbers issued, 60-cr target to be achieved soon:  The Unique Identification Authority of India today said it has issued as many as 56 crore Aadhaar numbers to the residents in the country and likely to complete its mandate of covering population of 60 crore people in a few weeks time.

"The UIDAI has completed issuance of 56 crore Aadhaar numbers. With generation of about 13-14 lakh Aadhaar numbers every day, the flagship programme appears all set to complete its mandate of covering 60 crore population in the next few weeks," the authority said in a statement.

The UIDAI was established as an Attached Office of the Planning Commission, through a government notification in January 2009.
Will build a house in Amethi to stay unlike Rahul: Vishwas:  Taking a swipe at Rahul Gandhi, AAP leader Kumar Vishwas today said he would build a house in Amethi and live with the people, unlike "Yuvraj" who stays in 'Rajmahal (palace)'.

Stating that he would not leave Amethi, Vishwas, who is likely to contest the Lok Sabha polls in an Aam Aadmi Party ticket from here, said, "I am a servant and not Yuvraj. I will build a house here to stay."

"He (Rahul) claims that the people of Amethi are his family... But he stays in 'Rajmahal' and travel by air while the people here do not have roof over their head... Which type of family relation is this?" he asked.
It's confirmed: Sourav Ganguly is NOT joining politics:  So, here it is: Former cricketer and Team India captain Sourav Ganguly today put a lid on speculations about him contesting Lok Sabha elections, saying he would not join politics.

"I am not in politics. I am a man of sports," he said. "It is confirmed," Ganguly told reporters after a visit to state secretariat, Nabanna.

He said he visited Nabanna to discuss matters related to his upcoming school project in Kolkata.

Last month, Ganguly had said that he had received an offer from BJP to contest next year's Lok Sabha elections, but was undecided.

Speculation was doing the rounds after he met Varun Gandhi through a common friend in Delhi in mid-November last year
Ganguly meets Mamata:  Just in: Sourav Ganguly meets West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, but denies that he is joining politics. 
Maneka on Rahul as PM candidate: Nobody can revive a dead party:   This is what BJP leader Maneka Gandhi said to a TV channel when asked to comment on the likelihood of Rahul Gandhi being the PM candidate.
Maneka, who is also Rahul's aunt (Sanjay Gandhi's widow) said that nobody can revive a dead party and that the party has been long dead, squashed under the weight of corruption.
'Dear Daddy' in Seat 16C letter goes viral:  Heartwarming letter from the mother of an autistic child thanking a fellow passenger on a flight for his patience and compassion has gone viral, even reaching its addressee, 'Daddy in Seat 16C'. Read
The Congress Working Committee meet begins. 
LIVE! Jaitley: Disparate, self-opinionated persons have flocked AAP:   Arun Jaitley predicts AAP's failure: "I had personally hoped that alternative politics promised by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), would lead to larger footprints on the Indian society. Conventional political parties and politicians would realize the importance of probity and accountability. The country is being presented with gimmickry and the road to anarchy."

Read his blog.
Will the Lion win? Or will the Congress's foxes survive?:  The present-day Congress party does not lack leaders who want a Rahul-led Congress to taste electoral success, but wish he fails in his efforts to cleanse the party. Read
Those who have a problem with Rahul will have to go, Khurshid warns partymen:  Amid reports that a section of its top leaders are against naming Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate of the party, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid on Thursday warned that those who have a problem with the party vice president will have to go.

Speaking to a TV news channel, the External Affairs Minister said, "If anyone has a problem with Rahul, they will have to leave."

Khurshid, who endorsed Rahul's nomination as PM candidate, was also quoted as saying, "Time has come for generational change. There shouldn't be adjustment problems with Rahul. Those who have a problem with him will have to go."

The reaction from Khurshid came shortly after many top leaders, including Jyotiraditya Scindia, Rashid Alvi and Oscar Fernandes, backed Rahul's name for the top job. Read more
HC curbs on media reporting allegations against ex-SC judge:  In a relief to former Supreme Court judge Justice Swatanter Kumar, the Delhi High Court today restrained the media from publishing and telecasting the contents of the law intern's complaint of sexual harassment against him.

Ordering deletion of alleged defamatory parts of the news items and the photograph of Justice Kumar within 24 hours, Justice Manmohan Singh, in his interim order, also asked the media not to carry the photographs of Justice Kumar, who is also the National Green Tribunal Chairperson in their future news reports.
Thatcher supported Indira after Operation Bluestar: report:   Margaret Thatcher in a personal note to Indira Gandhi extended Britain's full support in the aftermath of the 1984 Operation Bluestar to flush out Sikh militants holed up in the Golden Temple, a media report has said.

Thatcher, the then British prime minister, sent the note to her Indian counterpart Gandhi, saying Britain supported India's unity in the face of demands for a separate Sikh homeland and that police were investigating threats against the safety of Indian diplomats here, the Guardian reported.

In what appears to be the first letter to Gandhi after the operation, sent on June 30, 1984, Thatcher wrote: "These have been anxious weeks for you, involving difficult decisions. I have followed closely your efforts to restore calm there, and I very much hope that the 'healing touch' for which you have called will open the way to a peaceful and prosperous future in that troubled region."


Read: Why India needs politicians like Margaret Thatcher
Jackie Kennedy 'had an affair with ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev and so did Bobby Kennedy' :  Driven to distraction by the amorous betrayals of her husband, Jackie Kennedy embarked on a wild fling with ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev while she was still in the White House, according to a new tell-all book.

Nureyev, who was nine years younger than the First Lady, was also once spotted with Jackie's brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy 'kissing each other passionately in a phone box', the book claims. Read
AAP downplays Gopinath's remarks against decision on FDI:  The Aam Aadmi Party today downplayed Air Deccan founder Captain Gopinath's comments against its government's decision to reject FDI in retail in Delhi, saying members can have different opinions.

Senior party leader and member of the national executive committee Yogendra Yadav said that the party had over 1.5 million members and it was only the opinion of the party officer bearers and spokespersons that was relevant.

"We came to know that many people (popular personalities from different fields including Captain Gopinath) have become the members of the Aam Aadmi Party.

"It would be an extraordinary expectation to assume that all those 1.5 million members of the Aam Aadmi Party will have consensus on any major issue. Of these 1.5 million members, some are office bearers, some are official spokespersons. If they say something then that is the party's line," Yadav said.

Read what Capt Gopinath said on AAP
Rape accused Asaram's men beat up a lawyer outside the Jodhpur court. 
And now, Nirupa Roy trends on Twitter :   The late Nirupa Roy, an actress who symbolised the Indian mother and motherhood in Hindi films of the 70s, is trending on Twitter for no apparent reason. Just as Neil Nitin Mukesh and Alok Nath were.

Here's a sampling...

"After Nirupa Roy's first marriage, her father said by mistake: "Sada abhaagan raho!"

"Nirupa Roy is blackmailing my Shashi with her tears -  Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor"

"Nirupa Roy lives in a 'Ro' house!"

"Apparently, Nirupa Roy would always arrive weeping at a film set, knowing it was the only requirement for her role.

"Dear Shashi Tharoor, Nirupa Roy is no more, so please stop asking me for her number. Thanks."

Nirupa Roy's WhatsApp:
Available
Busy Crying
At Blind School
At Funeral
My husband about to die
Can't scream, sobbing only
In the hospital
Just in: F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to be tried on bribery charges, German court rules.
Bharti told media that Malviya Nagar police station officer Vijay Pal, who had come to the spot, went away without taking any action. "This is my area, Khirki village. People complained about Nigerian people indulging in prostitution and drugs supply, and the local people were facing trouble because of this," said Bharti.

"I attend meetings to listen to people in which, people complained about Nigerian people who indulge in prostitution and drugs supply," he said.

"We came here with a police gypsy and some of the girls tried to run away. We managed to stop two of them red-handed. Another car came with three girls," he added.

"A local said the building is full of girls. We called police. First, they took much time to come here, and then, left us by refusing to raid the premises. They are not listening to me," the Law Minister said.
LIVE! Kejriwal vs Delhi police: Why did cops obstruct my minister?:  Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal defends his law minister Somnath Bharti says the police are highly compromised. He said the incident last night shows how the police are operating and wanted to know why the police was obstructing ministers. He said the police were not acting drug addicts.

Last night, Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti carried out raids in South Delhi's Khirki Extension and is reported to have had a brush with the local police.

Bharti and his supporters alleged that a sex trade and drug peddling racket was flourishing in the locality with the help of foreign nationals, mostly Nigerians.

Bharti had a heated argument with an assistant commissioner of police, even as his supporters created a lot of commotion. Bharti demanded that the police take action against the offenders.
The Supreme Court says it was for the Centre to take a decision whether there should be reservation in super speciality posts in medical institutions like AIIMS.
AP CM to skip AICC meet tomorrow?:  Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy may not attend the AICC meet tomorrow in protest over the division of Andhra Pradesh. He has conveyed his decision to the central leadership.
AAP effect in Haryana: Bhupinder Singh Hooda reduces power tariff drastically:   Taking a cue from Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, chief minister of neighbouring Haryana, today drastically reduced power tariff across the board in his state.

In a move that is expected to help 38 lakh domestic consumers and 5.50 lakh farmers from the state, Mr Hooda gave a relaxation of Rs. 1.30 per unit to domestic consumers who use up to a thousand units every two months. The tariff per unit for farmers was reduced from 25 paise to 10 paise. The changes will come into effect from January 1.  Read more
The judges dilemma:  The Supreme Court faces an extraordinary dilemma. By ordering an internal probe into the allegations made by a former law intern against Justice (retd.) AK Ganguly, it had shown alacrity in protecting the image of the judiciary and responsiveness towards the plight of an aggrieved woman. Read more
How Kejri put a brake to economic reforms:  Alright then, moving on from Tharoor and his alleged shenanigans to this editorial on the Telegraph -- Kejriwal's mistake in putting a stop to FDI in retail in Delhi and thereby a brake in economic reforms.

"The ship of Indian economic reforms has never been able to escape from the choppy waters of populism and antiquated ideas. The latest victim is foreign direct investment in retail. The new government in Delhi led by Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party has withdrawn the permission given by the previous government to allow FDI in retail."

Read
Got A Girl, Named Sue And she knew just what to do. Sunanda's eye-popping life-story on Outlook. Must read.
Sunanda accuses Tharoor of extra-marital affair with Mehr Tarar:   While Sunanda Pushkar has maintained that: "Shashi an& I are very happy together sad for her to know i guess i get sick and go away 4 treatment &the vultures pounce." 

This is what she told the Indian Express yesterday after the controversy broke on Twitter:

Sunanda Tharoor alleged that her husband was having an "extra-marital affair" with a Pakistan-based journalist and that she would "seek divorce".

Sunanda Tharoor said she felt "destroyed as a wife and a woman" over her husband's "rip-roaring affair" with the Pakistani journalist which she claimed had been going on since April last year.

Sunanda Tharoor also claimed there have been a series of Blackberry Messenger exchanges between her husband and the Pakistani journalist in which, among other things, the possibilities of his divorce with her have also been discussed.

Asked what her next move would be, Sunanda Tharoor said she would seek a divorce from Shashi Tharoor. The Congress minister of state for human resource development and MP from Thiruvananthapuram married the Dubai-based entrepreneur in August 2010.

Who said what on Twitter:   These are the tweets allegedly between Mehr Tarar and Shashi Tharoor...

"I love you, Shashi Tharoor. And I go while in love with you, irrevocably, irreversibly, hamesha. Bleeding, but always your Mehr, Shashi. I'm not crying any more. I'm not falling to pieces. I'm more lucid than ever. How little I knew you became visible to me."

You unfollowed me. You don't RT me and you don't answer me on twitter. I can live with your favourites. I have your personal validation have your personal validation of my words, I don't need any public one. For that I will wait until we are together publically really mehr."

And this is what Sunanda tweeted from her own account:

"For her information Shashi an& I are very happy together sad for her to know i guess i get sick and go away 4 treatment &the vultures pounce."

"The the audacity of a woman desperaely in love with an Indian "please shashi dont make me go i pleaded and begged i love u Shashi "

"Leave us Indians alone and stop talking to my huband and pleading with him its digrading respect youself as a women."

Pic: Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar
I have nothing to say to a woman clearly out of her mind: Mehr Tarar on Sunanda Pushkar:   This is Mehr Tarar's response on Twitter:

"I have nothing to say to a woman clearly out of her mind. To be called an ISI agent, a stalker. I have nothing to add. Just shows who she is I'm not avoiding answering any of u. I just consider it beneath me 2 respond 2 personal attacks on me here.

"Not a Jerry Springer-reality show I interviewed 2 politicians in India;Apr,Dec.Hv them on tape.Doing a show on Business+ nxt mth..And I'm a mother.Trashing me w/ ISI..grow up."
LIVE! Pak journo accused of having affair with Tharoor calls Sunanda a RAW agent:   Joint statement by Sunanda and Shashi Tharoor today on the Mehr Tarar controversy:

"We are distressed by the unseemly controversy that has arisen about some unauthorised tweets from our Twitter accounts.

"Various distorted accounts of comments allegedly made by Sunanda have appeared in the press. 

"It appears that some personal and private comments responding to these unauthorised tweets -- comments that were not intended for publication -- have been misrepresented and led to some erroneous conclusions.

"We wish to stress that we are happily married and intend to remain that way.

"Sunanda has been ill and hospitalised this week and is seeking to rest.

"We would be grateful if the media respects our privacy."


So, what was all that about?

Shashi Tharoor is at the centre of an unseemly but hilarious (for readers, for sure) cat fight between his wife Sunanda Pushkar and Mehr Tarar, a Pakistani journalist.

Yesterday, Twitter was abuzz with a series of romantic tweets that had been sent out from Shashi Tharoor's account and were addressed to Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar.

"I love you, Shashi Tharoor. And I go while in love with you, irrevocably, irreversibly, hamesha. Bleeding, but always your Mehr", "sadly my wife @sptvrock who gave up everything for me found out about my affair with u Mehr", "@mehartarar says if you don't end me the bbms by the time I wake up, I will get your message loud and louder. That is @sptvrock 's bbms", were some of the tweets that were sent out from Tharoor's account.

Tharoor then said his account and had been hacked.

Mehr Tarar speaking to TV channels said she has a great respect for Tharoor.  "How can I stalk someone sitting in Pakistan? I am being maligned. Why am I being called an ISI agent?

"I have met him just twice in my life. Should i call Mrs Tharoor a RAW agent?

"I met him during my last trip in June and I have been very open about my admiration and respect for Tharoor. Everything I have ever said about Dr Tharoor is on my timeline. Sunanda is trying to insult people's common sense. People in India have not accepted what she has said. Everything she has said is outrageous." 
Binny: If raising issues is indiscipline will do it a 100 times :   Binny reacts to AAP: He says if raising issues is indiscipline, he will do it a hundred times.
Left with no option but to take disciplinary action against Binny: AAP:  Extremely unlikely that there will be a rapprochement between Kejriwal and co and Vinod Kumar Binny.

A day after Binny went to the press accusing the party of being among other things: dictatorial, reneging on its poll promises, having a liar (Arvind Kejriwal) as the leader, playing second fiddle to the Congress etc., Yogendra Yadav, easily the most erudite and balanced voice in the party said Binny would be disciplined. 

AAP also accused the BJP of scripting Vinod Kumar Binny's public accusations and said he spoke as if he was reading out notes of the BJP.

Yogendra Yadav said categorically that there was no place for indiscipline in the party. "We are left with no option but to take disciplinary action," he said
LIVE! Binny is speaking in the voice of the BJP: AAP:  AAP's Yogendra Yadav throws back the challenge saying name one party that has instituted so many of the promises made in its manifesto in just 15 days.

Yadav says Binny should substantiate on Congress-AAP links.
Disclose details about 'closed door' meetings: AAP to Binny:  AAP leader Yogendra Yadav also dismissed MLA Vinod Kumar Binny's allegations about the party renegading on the promises made in its manifesto. 

Reacting to Binny's claims about "closed door meetings" between leaders of the Congress and the AAP, Yadav challenged the disgruntled MLA to share details about the alleged meetings.

"Since he knows so much about them, let him tell us where the meeting was held and who was involved".

On why the AAP government was not acting against the alleged corruption practiced during the earlier Congress regime led by CM Sheila Dikshit, he said that "due process" was being followed in the matter.
Ask people of Delhi if we cheated them: Yadav:  AAP leader Yogendra Yadav admitted that "We are expected to do more for the people than we have done until now".

On the issues raised by Binny, he said, "The party had 1.5 million members today. It is not possible for every member to agree on every point".

Speaking on the AAP MLA's accusation -- that the party had cheated the people of Delhi -- Yadav retorted, "Why don't you ask the people of Delhi if they feel cheated? I have talked to them and I don't think they feel that way. But maybe you will get a better picture if you talk to them".

He reiterated CM Arvind Kejriwal's charge -- that Binny was upset about being denied a minister's post and a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls -- and said that the latter had been present in all party meetings.
We will have to act against Binny: AAP leaders:  AAP leaders on Thursday hit out at party MLA Vinod Kumar Binny, claiming that the latter had never expressed his concerns during party meetings.

AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said, "Binny is talking in the voice of the BJP. He went directly to the media (with his concerns). We are surprised and saddened by his comments. The party has no option but to act against him".
AAP Minister Somnath Bharti wanted us to search without warrant: Delhi cops :   Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti's attempt to carry out a surprise raid on what he alleged was a drug and prostitution ring ended in an unseemly roadside argument between the minister and the Delhi Police and is now snowballing into a controversy. Read more
LIVE! HP CM Virbhadra Singh files defamation suit against Arun Jaitley:  Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has filed a defamation case against BJP leaders Arun Jaitley, Anurag Thakur and PK Dhumal.

The three opposition leaders have alleged that the Congress leader accepted Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 2.4 crore through cheques in his and his parliamentarian wife Pratibha Singh's name from Venture Energy and Technology Pvt Ltd, which was executing a power project in the state.

Thakur last week had asked Virbhadra to quit and sought a CBI probe in corruption charges against him. Read more
AAP should admit it is young, inexperienced in governance: Capt Gopinanth :  "The ban on FDI in retail is a bit of a shocker, especially the manner in which it was done. AAP is in danger of being branded like other political parties of resorting to cheap and populist measures and opposing for the sake of opposing. This means it is running  the risk of losing the huge ground swell of support and optimism. It will send a wrong message to investors that India is an unstable country with regard to continuity in economic policies."

AAP member Capt Gopinanth on his disillusionment with the party. Read his blog .
'Danish woman's alleged rapist swapped clothes with her, left evidence':  Police investigating the alleged gang rape of a Danish woman in Delhi on Tuesday night say they have crucial evidence after learning that one of the alleged rapists allegedly pulled on the woman's track pants and left her his  pair of jeans. The attacker's jeans and the woman's clothes will provide DNA evidence, said police sources. Read more
Spouses of US diplomats come under govt scanner:  The Devyani Khobragade affair may be over for now but that has not stopped India from continuing to clamp down on excesses allegedly committed by US diplomats.

While India has already ruled out restoring what it describes as non-reciprocal privileges and facilitations -- like special airport access and blanket immunity -- it is now insisting on getting details about spouses of US officials teaching in American schools in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

The US has not yet provided these details or those related to the pay scale of 'Indian staff working with the US embassy and consulates. Read more
'Paranoid' Serena admits waking up at night to 'keep hydrated' in 'hot' Australian Open:  In other news, world number one Serena Williams has admitted that heat wave enveloping the ongoing Australian Open has made her paranoid, with the American waking up during the night to keep hydrated and avoid cramps.

Nine players either retired or forfeited their matches on Tuesday in either heat or fitness-related incidents.

According to Sport24, the top-seed player, who played in searing 40 Celsius conditions, admitted that the though of the heat kept her awake overnight after players fainted and vomited in the heat on Tuesday, adding that she is drinking a lot of water to make sure that she stays hydrated in the oven-like conditions.

Stating that she wants to take the heat in her stride and do the best that she can, Williams, who cruised into the third round with a straight-sets win over Serbia''s Vesna Dolonc, said that she is also drinking water in order to avoid cramps. 
AAP MLA Binny does an Anna: On fast from Jan 27 for Jan Lokpal Bill:   Borrowing from Anna Hazare's penchant for going on fast to get the government to act on his demands, disgruntled AAP MLA Vinod Kumar Binny says he will go on fast from January 27 to protest against Arvind Kejriwal's government for not delivering its promise on the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Kejriwal had promised that the Jan Lokpal Bill would be passed within 15 days of his coming to power.
Among other things, Binny has accused the Delhi government of of misleading people on power and water promises.
He said AAP is deviating from its principles -- formation of government by taking support of the Congress is against the principles on which AAP was founded.

He said AAP had promised to waive electricity bills, and its decision on water and power did not benefit many.

Binny has accused Kejriwal of acting on the behest of the Congress, and said it was especially close to Sandeep Dikshit, former Delhi CM, Sheila Dikshit's son.

He has also accused Kejriwal of behaving like a dictator and not accepting divergent views. He said all decisions in AAP are taken by just four or five people.
AAP is cheating the people of Delhi: Angry MLA:   The AAP government is cheating the people of Delhi, party MLA Vinod Kumar Binny said on Thursday.

He claimed that the party had not kept any of the promises made to the people of Delhi, including those over water and power bills.

Binny claimed that the Arvind Kejriwal-led government "said something and is doing something else".

Kejriwal had earlier dismissed Binny's allegations, saying the MLA was venting his ire against the party as he had not been given a ticket for the Lok Sabha polls.

Binny claimed that the AAP had used his "name and work to win the goodwill of the people". 

"I am not greedy for any post," said the AAP MLA, as he accused his fellow party legislators of "only being interested in drama".

"The AAP believes in drama, but not in any kind of work or action," he said. 
AAP ministers just want photo-ops: Binny:  The Aam Aadmi Party is going about its duties of governance halfheartedly, claimed MLA Vinod Kumar Binny. 

He also dismissed Kejriwal's allegation -- that his outburst had come after he was denied a Lok Sabha ticket.

"I came to the AAP when it had nothing. They had nothing to give me. In fact, I have given them so much," he said while addressing a press conference in Delhi.

"The people are still suffering from various problems. But AAP ministers just summon media people, take photographs, go home and sleep," alleged Binny.
Rahul may not be the Congress's PM candidate...:   The Congress may NOT take a final call on making Rahul Gandhi the party's candidate for the prime minister's post at the much-hyped meeting of the All India Congress Committee today.

However, Gandhi may be anointed the working president of the Congress Working Committee, according to media reports which quoted party insiders.
Firefighting: That's how AAP spent its Wednesday :  The Aam Aadmi Party would like to forget Wednesday, January 15, as soon as possible.

The newbie party witnessed rebellion on multiple fronts yesterday. 

While AAP MLA Vinod Kumar Binny called party leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal a 'liar', AAP member Captain Gopinath questioned the 'lack of internal democracy' over the issue of disallowing FDI in retail.

Meanwhile, an unpleasant war of words broke out between party leaders Mallika Sarabhai and Kumar Vishwas over the latter's comments about Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.
Obama declares 2014 as 'year of action':  US President Barack Obama has declared 2014 as a year of action to accomplish his key administrative goals. 

"This has to be a year of action," Obama said at an event in North Carolina. 

"The President has declared 2014 a year of action, and while he will continue to use his executive authority -- his pen and phone -- to get things done, he will also work with Congress to make progress on behalf of the American people," the White House.
China tested hypersonic missile vehicle: US officials:  
China for the first time has tested a hypersonic missile vehicle designed to travel several times the speed of sound, the Pentagon said today. 

The test makes China the second country after the United States to conduct experimental flights with hypersonic vehicles, a technology that could allow armies to rapidly strike distant targets anywhere on the globe. 

"We're aware of the test of the hypersonic vehicle but we are not commenting on it," said Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Pool, a Pentagon spokesman. 

The flight was conducted on January 9 and the Chinese vehicle, dubbed the WU-14, is supposed to travel at Mach 10, or 10 times the speed of sound, according to a report in the Washington Free Beacon, an online publication.

In its annual report on the Chinese military, the Pentagon made no mention of hypersonic test flights but did say the Chinese had built a hypersonic wind tunnel for experiments.

China's surging economic power has been matched by increasing military might, including investments in an aircraft carrier, anti-ship ballistic missiles, satellites and other hardware.
With change, Lalu changes, finally joins Twitter:  
Recognising importance of social media used successfully by political leaders like Narendra Modi and others, RJD president Lalu Prasad has opened an account on Twitter.

"Only change is constant. With change, we change, finally on twitter," said the first message of the RJD chief on his account,twitter.Com/laluprasadrjd.

"Let us all work together towards a common goal for better future," said his another message.

Known for his earthy style and comments, Prasad has drawn 68 followers with the start of the account yesterday.

Prasad's entry on social media has been radical considering his famed comment "Ye IT YT kya hota hain" (what is this IT (Information Technology).

Besides BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, twitter is being used by many other leaders like L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Digvijay Singh and Arun Jaitley.
No Gandhi can save Congress: Maneka:  
Taking on Congress after its massive debacle in the recent assembly elections, BJP MP Maneka Gandhi has said that the ruling has hit such a low that it would not "rise again" even if it announces "any Gandhi" as their Prime Ministerial candidate, referring to Rahul Gandhi's proposed upcoming nomination.

"Even if Congress announces any Gandhi as their Prime Ministerial candidate, they will not rise again now," Maneka said, on the sidelines of a workshop on conservation of wildlife.

Talking to mediapersons, Maneka said Congress has hit such a low that it would not be able to fight BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. 

"Earlier, if a king touched something, it would turn into gold. Now there is nobody in Congress like that," she said. 

Taking on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the BJP MP said the Aam Aadmi Party had fooled the people on the promise of water and electricity. 
Sulking Binny says he won't quit AAP:  
Sulking Aam Aadmi Party party MLA Vinod Kumar Binny, who accused the party's government in Delhi of deviating from its poll promises and principles, has said that he will not leave the organization. 

The AAP MLA accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of betraying the people of Delhi by promising something before the elections and not fulfilling it and adopting double standard in dealing with Law Minister Somnath Bharti indicted by a court for in a case of tampering with evidence.

"It is a rumour that I will leave AAP and join BJP. There is no truth in it," he told a news channel. 

Binny earlier in the day accused Delhi government of deviating from its principles and poll promises and dubbed Kejriwal a "liar". 

"We have not joined the party to maintain relationships or make someone a CM, MLA or MP. We are concerned about the welfare of the people.. If they (AAP) divert from the issues of the people, I will protest it as many times required," the MLA said.

"I will stay within the party and protest. If required I will sit on a fast against Kejriwal. If the government, after coming to power, changes its path, it is our duty to remind them of not diverting from the core issues," the MLA said.
Gujarat panel on "snoopgate" lacks jurisdiction: Website:  
The Gujarat government-appointed judicial commission probing the alleged surveillance of a woman by police is an attempt to shield the state administration and functionaries and has no jurisdiction to inquire into the matter given the inter-state nature of the case, according to an affidavit filed before the panel. 

In an affidavit filed before the commission, journalist Ashish Khetan, head of investigative portal Gulail.com, said, "The terms of reference clearly points towards an attempt to shield the state government and its functionaries from grave charges of violation of the privacy of a young woman as well as of perverting the facilities and forces available to the state government for the completely unlawful purpose of stalking a women." 

The affidavit said, "Given the inter-state nature of the alleged illegal surveillance (by Gujarat Police), this
Commission does not have jurisdiction to inquire into the matter."

Gulail.com was one of the two investigative websites which exposed the scandal late last year, creating a political storm and triggering a war of words between BJP and Congress. 

The BJP Government-appointed panel is headed by retired High Court Sugnya Bhatt. 
Benedict toasts brother's 90th with Mass, music:  
Retired Pope Benedict XVI is marking a milestone of sorts. 

Today he toasted his brother Georg on his 90th birthday, celebrating Mass together and attending a concert in the Vatican gardens. 

Monsignor Georg Ratzinger was ordained a priest the same day as the future pope in 1951 and they share a love of music. Ratzinger was a frequent visitor when Benedict, 86, was pope and has continued visiting in Benedict's retirement. 

The brothers spent Christmas together at Benedict's retirement home in a converted monastery in the Vatican gardens, and Ratzinger stayed on a few weeks so they could celebrate his birthday together. 

The Vatican said they started their day concelebrating Mass, having a festive breakfast complete with Bavarian songs and toasts and ending with a concert in Ratzinger's honour. 
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Danish tourist gang-raped near Delhi railway station 

12 lakh devotees take holy dip at Gangasagar

Economy will get back to high growth path in 3 years: FM 

Tendulkar considered playing in Australia's Big Bash League?

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