22:59 Cong ticks off Aiyar for his teaboy remarks against Modi:
Congress today ticked off party leader Manishanker Aiyar for his controversial remarks that the party would welcome Narendra Modi to sell tea at AICC meetings.
"The party does not approve of the statement," Congress general secretary Ajay Maken, who is in charge of the media department, told PTI. Aiyar had mocked Modi's Prime Ministerial ambitions and said a place will be identified for the Gujarat Chief Minister to distribute tea here.
"I promise you in 21st century Narendra Modi will never become the Prime Minister of the country. ...But if he wants to distribute tea here, we will find a place for him," Aiyar had said at the venue of the AICC meeting in New Delhi.
21:07 LIVE! Jumbo Congress election committees in Delhi, Punjab:
Congress tonight set up jumbo Pradesh Election Committees for Delhi and Punjab giving representation to leaders from all groups in the faction ridden state units, seeking to keep pace with the decision to announce the names of candidates early.
Union Ministers Kapil Sibal and Krishna Tirath, former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, AICC general secretaries Janardan Dwivedi, Ajay Maken, Delhi PCC chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, CLP leader Haroon Yusuf, party veteran and former Union Minister R K Dhawan are part of the 28-member panel.
The committee also includes party MPs from Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha Karan Singh, Sandeep Dikshit, Mahabal Mishra, Ramesh Kumar, Parvez Hashmi and former PCC chief JP Agrawal along with AICC secretaries Manish Chatrarth and Naseeb Singh.
In the 24-member PEC of Punjab, state Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa, CLP leader Sunil Jakhar, AICC general secretary Ambika Soni, former Chief Ministers Captain Amrinder Singh, Rajendra Kaur Bhattal and Union Ministers Manish Tewari, Preneet Kaur and Santosh Chaudhary have been made members.
19:08 We will expose CWG wrongdoings, Cong can withdraw support: Kejriwal:
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kjeriwal has told CNN IBN that the AAP-led government will go ahead and expose the wrongdoings committed by the previous Congress government in the CWG case. "Congress can withdraw support; we are not here for power,' Kejriwal dared.
He also said that he wants to remain an 'aam aadmi', didnp;t even want to become chief minister, but if party wants he can consider contesting the Lok Sabha polls.
18:17 Sunanda's cremation over; BJP demands CBI probe:
Union minister Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar's cremation is now over at Lodhi Road crematorium. Minister of State for Home RPN Singh and Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan were present at the cremation.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has now demanded a CBI inquiry into the case.
17:11 China's lunar probe observes stars, explores moon:
China's lunar probe mission, which made the first soft-landing on the Moon since 1976, has collected a large amount of space observation and exploration data, authorities said today.
The mission, comprising the lander Chang'e-3 and rover Yutu, was launched in December as part of the second phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Programme.
A moon-based optical telescope on the lander has observed lights from many celestial objects at near ultraviolet wavelengths and detected 23 stars, said a statement from the state administration of science, technology and industry for national defence.
17:10 Biocon Chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw rules out joining AAP:
Contrary to the recent trend of political activism of top some corporate figures who have joined the Aam Adami Party, Biocon Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw today ruled out joining any political party.
"I will not be a part of AAP and for that matter any other political party," she told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of a Biocon product here. Mazumdar-Shaw said said she would like herself to play the role of giving suggestions to political parties on good governance and economy.
Her reaction comes in the wake of established corporate figures Captain Gopinath, pioneeer of low cost airline in the country, and former Infosys Director V Balakrishnan joining AAP, as also some others.
16:04 Congress divides on religious lines: Rajnath:
Hitting back at UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for calling BJP communal, party chief Rajnath Singh today accused the Congress of practising politics of dividing people along religious lines.
Singh also criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his remarks that it would be "disastrous" if Narendra Modi became the PM, and said that it was his tenure which had been a disaster while Gujarat had become a model state under Modi.
"I want to remind Sonia Gandhi that it was Manmohan Singh who had said that Muslims have the first right on India's resources. If there is any party which takes decisions based on religious considerations, it is Congress. If there is any communal party, it is Congress," Singh said while speaking at the National Council meet of the BJP.
15:15 Rahul Gandhi holds consultations with state leaders:
After being formally assigned to lead the campaign in the Lok Sabha polls, Rahul Gandhi today held consultations with state leaders on the strategy ahead. Gandhi met AICC delegates from each state separately seeking to know about the issues that will play in the next Lok Sabha polls in their state and the strength of the organisation there.
The party is all set to begin the process of its ticket distribution exercise by holding meetings of newly-set screening committess to meet its plan for early declaration of candidates.
A number of meetings of the party's committee on alliance, manifesto and campaign strategy have already been held and some quick decisions on all these are expected soon.
Gandhi's consultations with the chiefs of Pradesh Congress Committees and District Congress Committees are also intended at incorporating the views and suggestions from the states on issues on which Congress will go to Lok Sabha polls in respective states.
15:02 Sunanda's death a case of 'unnatural sudden death': Doctors:
The doctors at AIIMS have said that Union Minister Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar's death is a case of unnatural sudden death and no poisoning have been found.
AIIMS forensic head Dr Sudhir Gupta said, "The samples for toxicological analysis have ruled out any poison. This is a case of unnatural sudden death."
14:48 Kejriwal's new address: 3-bedroom flat in plush Tilak Lane:
The hunt for a suitable residence for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal finally comes to an end with Urban Development Ministry allotting him a three-bedroom house at Tilak Lane in the Lutyen's zone.
The Directorate of Estates has allotted a ground floor house C-II/23, at Tilak Lane, a type VI house, to Kejriwal, sources said. The corner house with three bedrooms, drawing, dining, two servant quarters and a common garage near the Patiala House court is spread across about 1,600 square feet area with a lawn and community park nearby.
The Delhi government had made a request for a suitable accommodation in Central Delhi for its chief minister. Though the Delhi government has a few bungalows in its possession at DDU Marg and Shamnath Marg, Kejriwal has preferred for a house in the central Delhi given his Gole Market constituency in the area.
14:11 Delhi law minister surrenders his licence to practice law:
Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti, indicted by a court for "tampering of evidence" in a case he appeared as a defence lawyer, has informed the Bar Council of Delhi that he intends to surrender his licence to practice law.
Murari Tiwari, Secretary of Bar Council of Delhi, confirmed that Bharti's application was received last evening and the lawyer's body has asked for his enrollment certificate which is issued when a person is granted the licence to practice law.
"Right now by way of his application, received last evening, he has informed us that he intends to surrender his licence. The process would be complete when he hands over his enrollment certificate, which we have asked for. As soon as his enrollment certificate is received, his licence would be put in a suspended state," Tiwari said.
13:55 Read: Mehr Tarar's emails to Shashi Tharoor on Sunanda: India Today
reports: A day after Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Minister of State for Human Resources Development Shashi Tharoor, was found dead in a Delhi hotel room soon after a Twitter war with Pakistan journalist Mehr Tarar, India Today Online is in possession of an email that had been sent by the scribe to the minister.
Read the full story here
13:38 Obama signs $1.1 trillion spending bill, rider for Pak aid:
US President Barack Obama has signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that puts conditions on continuation of American aid to Pakistan.
"Goodness gracious, that is a big piece of business. That is a big bill," Obama said as he signed the bill yesterday that funds the federal government through the end of September.
The 1,582-page bill passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate requires a certification from the Secretary of State and the Defence Secretary that Pakistan is co-operating with the US in counterterrorism efforts against the Haqqani Network, Quetta Shura Taliban, Lashkar e-Tayiba, Jaish-e- Mohammed, al-Qaeda, and other domestic and foreign terrorist organisations.
13:03 CBI plea for dropping Chavan's name in Adarsh scam rejected:
In a setback to Maharashtra's former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, a special court today rejected the CBI's plea to drop his name from the list of accused in the Adarsh scam case.
"The CBI's plea stands rejected," CBI court judge S G Dighe said, dismissing the plea. The judge said even though Governor K Sankaranarayanan had rejected CBI's plea for sanction to prosecute Chavan, he could be tried under the Prevention of Corruption act as he has been accused of criminal misconduct.
The judge will pass a detailed order later in the day. In the course of arguments, Special Public Prosecutor Bharat Badami said the CBI would be "very happy" to prosecute the former Chief Minister but "our hands are tied".
12:44 Syedna's final journey begins; lakhs pay respects:
The funeral procession of Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin on Saturday began from his Malabar Hill residence in Mumbai, where lakhs of mourners gathered to pay tributes to the spiritual leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community amid tight security arrangements.
The procession, which moved at a snail pace commenced around 10 am from Saifee Mahal, where community members converged in huge numbers for the final journey of the 102-year-old leader, who will be laid to rest at Raudat Tahera mausoleum at Bhendi Bazar later in the day.
11:34 Behind the iron curtain of Belle Vue: Suchitra Sen's doctor speaks: Telegraph
reports: "It's a personal loss. I will never get that call from her again.
"The first time I saw her was in December 2007, when someone in her family had called me to see Mrs Sen. I was dumbfounded when I got the phone call and initially couldn't believe it.
Read the full article here
11:11 US man pleads guilty to sending ricin letter to Obama:
A 41-year-old Mississippi man has pleaded guilty to sending poison-laced threatening letters to US President Barack Obama and other officials. James Everett Dutschke admitted he sent poisoned letters to Obama, US Senator Roger Wicker and a Mississippi judge.
Dutschke is expected to be sentenced to 25 years in prison as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Police initially arrested a local Elvis impersonator in the case but later determined Dutschke had framed him. In the plea agreement, Dutschke agreed to serve a 300 month prison sentence, the Justice Department said Friday.
His sentenced is scheduled in about 60 days. According to court documents, Dutschke developed a scheme to frame another individual by mailing threatening letters. As part of the scheme, he used the Internet to research how to produce and use ricin.
11:09 Tharoor not to attend Jaipur Literature Festival:
Sanjoy Roy producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival, told rediff.com
when asked about the absence of Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, said, " All the events have other speakers as well, we'll manage."
11:07 Shashi Tharoor discharged from AIIMS:
Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, whose wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead on Friday night, was discharged from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences after he suffered a "cardiac condition".
Doctors said that his condition was stable now. Fifty-seven-year-old Tharoor was rushed to the hospital at around 3 am after he complained of severe chest pain, anxiety and palpitation, sources at the AIIMS said
The Union minister was admitted to the ICU of the cardiothoracic centre of the AIIMS and a number of investigations including ECG have been carried out on him.
10:56 Bharara given time till Jan 31 to respond to Khobragade's plea:
A US judge here has granted Manhattan's top prosecutor Preet Bharara time till January 31 to file his opposition to the motion submitted by Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade seeking dismissal of the indictment against her on visa fraud charges.
Khobragade's lawyer Daniel Arshack had on January 14 filed a 13-page motion in US District Court on 39-year-old diplomat's behalf seeking dismissal of the indictment, termination of conditions of her bail and of any "open" arrest warrants or requests for her extradition over the charges.
India-born Bharara wrote to US District Judge Shira Scheindlin yesterday seeking January 31 as the deadline to file the government's opposition brief and permission that the response be of up to 25 pages in length. Arshack said that the prosecution should be given only 14 days time till January 28 to file its reponse to his motion.
Arguing that "a prompt resolution" of the case is "essential," Arshack said he does not agree with the prosecution seeking three more days till January 31 to file their response.
10:07 Shashi Tharoor admitted to AIIMS:
Union Minister Shashi Tharoor was hospitalised to the AIIMS in New Delhi last night, hours after his wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a 5 star hotel in the city.
He had complained of chest pain and uneasiness last night.
Sunanda, who was upset over an alleged extra-marital affair between her minister husband and a Pakistani journalist, was found dead in a five-star hotel room which police suspect may be a case of suicide.
03:28 Prez speaks to Tharoor, condoles Sunanda's death:
President Pranab Mukherjee spoke to Union Minister Shashi Tharoor and condoled the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.
An official spokesperson of Rashtrapati Bhavan said the President called Tharoor and conveyed his condolences.
Sunanda Pushkar, who was upset over an alleged extra-marital affair between her minister husband Shashi Tharoor and a Pakistani journalist, was found dead in a five-star hotel room which police suspect may be a case of suicide.
The body of 52-year-old Pushkar, a woman entrepreneur who married Tharoor in August 2010, was found in mysterious circumstances in luxury Leela Palace hotel in South Delhi.
03:26 Obama surveillance pledge will change little: Assange:
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange today dismissed President Barack Obama's proposals to curb the reach of the National Security Agency (NSA), saying they would change very little.
In a speech intended to quell the furor over surveillance programs leaked by Edward Snowden, Obama said spy taps on friendly world leaders would be halted while foreigners caught in US data mining would be given new protections.
Obama however argued that bulk data collection must be allowed to continue in order to protect America from terrorists.
Assange described Obama's speech as "embarrassing", telling CNN in an interview from London that the proposals would have little effect.
Obama had been "dragged, kicking and screaming" into making today's comments, only because of revelations from Snowden and other intelligence leakers before him, Assange said.
"It's embarrassing for a head of state to go on like that for 45 minutes and say almost nothing," Assange told CNN.
"He is being very reluctant to make any concrete reforms. And unfortunately today we also see very few concrete reforms."
03:25 California declares drought emergency:
California's worst drought in a century is devastating the state's agriculture and destroying its forestland, which is being consumed by wildfire, Governor Jerry Brown said today as he declared a state emergency.
The emergency declaration allows California to access federal help to battle the drought, which has left huge swathes of tinder-dry forest vulnerable to catching fire.
Yesterday, a massive blaze raged just outside Los Angeles, damaging several homes and forcing residents to evacuate the area, where the fire risk had been elevated for weeks.
Brown urged residents of his state to reduce their water use by at least 20 per cent.
"I've declared this emergency and I'm calling on all Californians to conserve water in every way possible," he said in his statement.
"We can't make it rain," he added.
"But we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California's drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities, and increased fires in both urban and rural areas."
03:24 Pope defrocked 400 priests in 2 years for molesting children:
A document today shows Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for molesting children.
The statistics in the document obtained by The Associated Press for 2011-12 show a dramatic increase over the 171 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of priests who have been defrocked. Prior to that, it had only publicly revealed the number of alleged cases of sexual abuse it had received.
The document was prepared from data the Vatican had been collecting to help the Holy See defend itself before a UN committee this week in Geneva.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's UN ambassador in Geneva, referred to just one of the statistics in the course of eight hours of oftentimes pointed criticism and questioning from the UN human rights committee.
The statistics were compiled from the Vatican's own annual reports about the activities of its various offices, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles sex abuse cases. Although public, the annual reports are not readily available or sold outside Rome and are usually found in Vatican offices or Catholic university libraries.