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LIVE! WB: Gang-rape victim records statement in court

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January 30, 2014

22:27  WB: Gang-rape victim records statement in court:  The tribal girl who was gang-raped on the orders of kangaroo court on January 21 at Subolpur village in Birbhum district today appeared in court to record her statement as a witness.

The girl appeared before Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate Pijush Ghosh, Bolpur, to record her statement under CrPC 164. The girl was taken to the court from Suri hospital where she was admitted after the shocking gang-rape which took place after she unable to pay a fine of Rs 25,000 for being in love with a man from a different community.

The girl, accompanied by her mother and hospital doctors and staff, reached the court at around 2:00 PM and was there for around three hours for the proceedings.

The girl was taken back to the hospital in the evening. The 13 people, including the 'morol' (community head) Balai Murdy accused of the gang-rape were sent to police custody for 13 days since January 24.
22:03  AAP strongly condemns Cong attempts to disrupt CM's press conference:  The Aam Aadmi Party strongly condemns the nefarious attempts by a Congress MLA to disrupt the press conference of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday.

MLA Asif Mohammad Khan inappropriately barged into a press briefing at the Delhi Secretariat and indulged in highly objectionable behavior, which is totally unbecoming of an elected representative.

He raised the issue of Batla House encounter and the AAP would like to set the record straight. This encounter had taken place on 19 September 2008, when there were Congress governments in Delhi as well as at the Centre.
22:01  Reconstructed Dastageer Sahib Shrine thrown open to devotees:  The reconstructed Dastageer Sahib Shrine at Khanyar here was thrown open to devotees today by Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Rural development Ali Mohammad Sagar.

Sagar dedicated the new shrine building which was reconstructed within 18 months after it was gutted in a fire incident on June 25, 2012, an official spokesman said.

The management of the 200-year-old Dastageer Sahib Shrine was able to save the relics housed in the building.
21:36  Indian-American woman kills daughter in murder-suicide bid:  A distraught Indian-American woman has shot dead her teenage daughter, fearing there would be no one to care for her after she commits suicide, Florida police said today.

Sujatha Guduru, 44, is under arrest after she admitted to detectives that she killed shooting her 17-year-old Chetana Guduru twice before turning the gun on herself. "She admitted to them that she intended to commit suicide and that she did shoot her daughter as well," Lt Mike Beavers was quoted as saying by

The police believed that Sujatha had been planning the murder-suicide for weeks. She recently bought a .38 caliber revolver, wrote a last will and detailed her plans in an email to her brother.

He didn't see it until it was too late, and found the two bloodied inside their Farmingham Court home in Florida. Chetana died on Monday.
20:47  People won't spare Cong for fixing LPG cap in first place: BJP:  BJP today said it was the UPA government which had in the first place imposed a cap on subsidised domestic LPG cylinders and claimed that the people of the country would neither spare nor forgive it for the same even though it has now agreed to increase the number of such cylinders.

"The Congress government wants people to cheer about their announcement of increasing the cap of subsidised LPG cylinders from nine to 12 per family per year. "(But) people are in no mood to appreciate. They are instead asking a simple question, 'who brought in the cap of six cylinders in the first place?'
20:33  HC to hear appeals together in anti-Sikh riots case:  The Delhi high court today ordered that all appeals relating to a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was acquitted whilefive others were convicted be jointly put before it for hearing.

"We will order requisition of all the case files. We feel that the files of all the convicted appellants be placed before us," a bench of justices P K Bhasin and J R Midha said.

The court was hearing the appeal of Balwan Khokhar, one of the five convicts, seeking setting aside of the trial court's verdict awarding him life imprisonment for murder.
20:30  Rahul takes feedback from labour representatives in New Delhi:  Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi interacted with Labour leaders, Rehri-Patri Union leaders and representatives from the unorganised sector from all over the country and sought their inputs for the Congress manifesto in New Delhi on Thursday.

"We must create a floor under the 70 crore Indians who are above the poverty line but below the middle class threshold; ensuring that they have access to basic health, education and income standards," he said.

He said that he would push for the clearance of Street Vendors Bill in the upcomingsession of the parliament.

He added that he will also push for the implementation of the recommendations to empower the denotified and nomadic tribes in the country.

Read the details here
20:08  Cabinet approves Wakf bill :  Meeting a long-standing demand of the Muslim community, the Union Cabinet today gave its approval to a bill that seeks to give Wakf properties the status of public premises and make unauthorised occupation of Waqf land a criminal offence.        

The Waqf properties (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Bill is expected to be tabled in the resumed winter session of Parliament on February 5.  
19:45  'Death sentence to marines will be an act of war on Italy':  Giving death sentence to the two Italian marines charged with the killing of Indian fishermen will be an act of war, a top Italian lawmaker has warned.        

"(If the punishment is approved, it will be) an attack on Italy," chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Fabrizio Cicchitto was quoted as saying by ANSA news agency today.        

He recently met the marines -- Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone --currently lodged at the Italian embassy in New Delhi.
19:43  India, Pak agree to resume cross-LoC travel:  India and Pakistani authorities today agreed to resume from next week the cross-LoC bus service along the Line of Control in Kashmir Valley, which has been stalled since January 17, but a breakthrough remained elusive over resumption of trade.    

"A meeting took place at Kaman Post along the Line of Control in north Kashmir between officials from this side and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir which agreed to resume the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service from Monday," a senior government official said.
19:41  Karat criticises Mamata govt over rising rape cases:  CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat today criticised the Trinamool Congress led government in West Bengal for the rise in incidents of rape in the state.        

"It is shocking that the Trinamool Congress government led by Mamata Banerjee is not considering the incidents of rapes and gang rapes seriously," Karat told reporters.       

"We expect the government will take firm action against the culprits,' he said.
19:40  HC to hear Jethmalani's plea against expulsion from BJP:  The Delhi high court today fixed May 2 as the date for hearing of the plea of noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani challenging his expulsion from primary membership of the BJP on charges of "breach of discipline".        

The hearing on the law suit of Jethmalani, 89, was deferred after Joint Registrar Brijesh Kumar Garg of the high court was informed that the report, regarding the service of notices on BJP Parliamentary board members, has not been received.        

Earlier, the court had asked BJP and its Parliamentary Board members to respond by January 30 to the plea of the former law minister against his expulsion from the party.
19:17  Italian marines case may impact ties with India: EU :  The European Union is opposed to the death penalty to two Italian marines held in India and any decision on the issue may impact bilateral ties.        

President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Durao Barroso met Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, where the issue of the two Italian marines being held in India also came up for discussion.        

"Finally, a point that Prime Minister Letta has raised with me and on which we have been in close contact with the Italian authorities, is the issue of the Italian marines in India. The European Union continues to follow the situation very closely," Barroso said in remarks following the meeting.
19:03  Target to upgrade 70 crore people to middle class: Rahul :  Reaching out to the strata between BPL and middle class, Rahul Gandhi today said the Congress will focus on giving these 70 crore people a better life and basic social security, as he sought direct feedback from labourers and street vendors for the Lok Sabha poll manifesto.        

"The meaning of policy should be that 70 crore people of the country have a concrete base support so that they are assured that whatever be the circumstances, their condition will not plummet beyond that base. The target in the next five-ten years should be that we upgrade these 70 crore people to middle class. These are the people who run the country," Gandhi said.
19:02  JK govt to take legal recourse against Pathribal case closure :  The Jammu and Kashmir government is contemplating a legal challenge to the army's closure of the infamous Pathribal encounter case.    

"Yes, we will take legal recourse," state Law Secretary Mohmmad Asharaf Mir told PTI.   

"We are first awaiting the judgment pertaining to the closure of the case by the army," he said
19:00  Cabinet nod to changes in OBC list:  Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the government today gave its go-ahead to the amendment of the central list of Other Backwards Castes to ensure reservation benefits to nearly 60 castes and communities which have not been able to avail of these so far.        

Based on the recommendations of the National Commission for Backward Classes, the Union Cabinet gave its approval for making amendments in the Central List of OBCs in respect of 60 castes in 13 states by way of inclusion, correction, deletion of these castes and communities.        

The amendments will notify 115 changes recommended by the NCBC, an official statement said.
18:51  Delhi Lt Guv returns file on removal of DCW chief:  Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has returned the file on the removal of DCW chief Barkha Singh to the Delhi government and sought some clarifications.
18:49  HC quashes NBW against Preity Zinta in cheque bounce case:  In a relief for actress Preity Zinta, the Bombay high court today quashed a non-bailable warrant issued against her by a magistrate court for failing to appear before it to record her statement in a cheque bounce case.        

Justice Sadhana Jadhav, while quashing the warrant, observed, "the approach of the magistrate in issuing the warrant was pedantic."        

The Andheri metropolitan magistrate had on January 27 issued a warrant against Zinta after she failed to appear before it to record her statement in the cheque bounce case, filed by scriptwriter Abbas Tyrewala.
18:48  Wrong to compare 1984 and Godhra riots: Badal :  Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said it was wrong to compare the post-Godhra riots to the 1984 "carnage", saying what happened in Gujarat was a result of clashes between two communities while the "carnage" of Sikhs was carried out by the then ruling Congress at the Centre.        

"The unfortunate incident that took place in Godhra, Gujarat was a riot while the killings in 1984 was a carnage of Sikhs undertaken at the behest of the then Congress government at the Centre," Badal told reporters.
18:23   AAP to field 350 candidates in Lok Sabha polls :  Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party that stormed to power in Delhi last month plans to field 350 candidates in Lok Sabha elections due by May, reports NDTV.

Following its strong performance in Delhi, interest in the year-old the AAP has surged. Since an announcement earlier this month that it would contest the general election, its membership has passed 10 million.
18:18  Ready to contest Lok Sabha election: Cong's RS nominee Digvijaya:  Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh, who has been nominated for the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh, has said he is ready to contest Lok Sabha election if his party wants him to do so.   

"If my party wants, I am ready to contest Lok Sabhapolls from any seat," he told reporters.
17:56  Cong-RJD-LPJ alliance final in Bihar: Ram Vilas Paswan :  The Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Lok Janshakti Party and the Congress alliance final in Bihar is final. The talks now are only about seat sharing, said Ram Vilas Paswan.
17:40  Another case against Raj Thackeray for inciting workers to vandalise toll booths:  Another case has been registered against MNS chief Raj Thackeray for inciting his party workers to not pay toll.

After a speech from Thackeray on Sunday, MNS workers went on a rampage in Maharashtra and vandalised toll plazas. Over 100 of them were arrested.  
17:17  GoAir, Indigo and Jet penalised over pilots not trained to land in fog:  The DCGA has penalised three private airlines -- GoAir, Indigo and Jet -- for not using pilots trained to land in foggy conditions. It has also withdrawn six landing slots allotted to these airlines. 
16:53  Tehelka: Virulent campaign to falsify facts, alleges victim:  The former woman journalist with Tehelka, who has accused the magazine's founder editor Tarun Tejpal of sexually assaulting her, has complained to the Goa police that a "systematic and virulent campaign" has been launched to falsify facts and the truth in the case.   

The Goa crime branch, which is investigating the case, has received the complaint from the victim, whose statement was also recorded by its sleuths in Mumbai this afternoon.   

Deputy Inspector General of Police O P Mishra told PTI that the crime branch team in Mumbai will be arriving in Goa this evening with the content of the complaint, only after which further action would be decided.
16:45  Cong to remove U'khand CM Vijay Bahuguna: Sources:  Congress has decided to remove Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, sources tell CNN-IBN

The party will send observes to decide who will be the next CM, ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The observers include Ghulam Nabi Azad, Janardhan Dwivedi and Ambika Soni, say sources.

Harish Rawat and Preetam Singh are frontrunners for the post.  
16:35  Will Justin Bieber be deported from US?:  Justin Bieber faces the threat of deportation from America after thousands of people signed a petition to get him kicked out of the country. In a few days, the petition titled as 'Deport Justin Bieber and revoke his green card' has received 1,00,000 signatures, which means that it will automatically be reviewed by White House staff, who must officially respond to it, reported.

The petition was posted online on January 23, a day after the 19-year-old singer was arrested for DUI and resisting arrest in Miami.

Bieber has been charged with assault today after he allegedly attacked a limousine driver last month in Toronto.
16:31  Delhi HC chief justice promoted to SC:  Chief Justice of Delhi high court N V Ramana has been elevated to the judge of Supreme Court, reports our Delhi correspondent.

The warrant of his appointment is being processed in the law ministry and is likely to be issued by the first week of February. Ramana is likely to assume office by mid-February.
16:24  Formation of Telangana cannot be stopped: TRS:   Hitting out at Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy for rejecting the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, TRS today said the move cannot stop the formation of Telangana.   

"The chief minister and Speaker colluded and they are claiming that they have passed a resolution. This is a useless attempt. Nothing is going to happen by this. Telangana would not be stopped with this. The Telangana Bill will be moved in Parliament in the second week of February," TRS MLA and party president K Chandrasekhar Rao's son K T Rama Rao told reporters.
16:08  Congress weak in 'marketing' its good work unlike BJP: Digvijaya:  
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday said his party is weak in "marketing" its welfare schemes and policies unlike BJP and alleged that the saffron party not only exaggerates its achievements but even resorts to "lies". 

"Congress government has launched several public welfare schemes and polices but failed in marketing them," he said and added, "BJP is good at the same job as it does one work and publicises it ten times". 

"They (BJP) tell a lie hundred times and project it as truth to the public," the Congress general secretary told reporters.
The former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, who is all set to enter the Rajya Sabha, said Congress has started the process of selection of candidates for Lok Sabha elections and the party manifesto would be announced by end of February. 

He ruled out the possibility of Congress' poor performance in recent assembly polls having any adverse effect on Lok Sabha election results, saying "issues and agenda of both assembly and Lok Sabha elections are different".
16:03  Big B loses over Rs 2 crore in Just Dial selloff:  
NDTV reports: The shares of Just Dial have lost over a fifth of its value in just six sessions, underperforming the broader markets. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who has nearly 0.09 per cent stake in Just Dial or 62,794 shares, saw the value of his holdings lose over by over Rs. 2.2 crore in just six trading days.

At its day's low, Just Dial shares fell as much as 10.3 per cent today, extending its selloff to 20.7 per cent since closing at Rs. 1,693.25 on January 22.

The selling pressure in Just Dial shares intensified after the company reported its quarterly numbers on Monday. Its October-December quarter earnings fell short of some analysts' expectations.

The company's net profit for the quarter was at Rs. 29.55 crore, almost flat from Rs. 28.66 crore in the previous quarter. In addition to a slowdown in profit growth, Just Dial's revenue growth has been also easing. For the nine months of the current fiscal, the search engine provider's revenue growth slowed to 27 per cent vs 38 per cent in FY13.
15:21  Mumbai gets monorail this Sunday:  
NDTV reports: Starting Sunday, Mumbai will become the first city in India to use a monorail. 

The major new addition to the city's public transport system will be inaugurated on Saturday and made available for public use the next day. 

Just a few weeks ago, the new international terminal of the Mumbai airport was made operational. 

The Maharashtra government, which is up for re-election later this year, is ensuring that big new facilities are made available before the national election, due by May.

Here's a 10-point cheat-sheet
15:02  Cabinet raises subsidised LPG cylinder cap from 9 to 12:  
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has decided to raise the quota of subsidised LPG cylinder from nine to 12 per household at a meeting on Thursday.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had strongly pitched for raising the cap to 12 cylinders per household while addressing the AICC meet earlier this month. He also said there was a need to increase the quota to 12 cylinders.

Supporting the stance, Oil Minister M Veerappan Moily informed that the Cabinet was likely to consider hiking the quota of subsidised cooking gas cylinders from nine to 12 per household this week.

"After our vice president Rahul Gandhi said nine cylinders are not enough, I have moved a Cabinet note to increase the quota to 12. I think the Cabinet is likely to consider the proposal this week," Moily had said.

Moily also informed that 89.2 percent of the 15 crore LPG consumers use up to nine cylinders in a year and only 10 percent have to buy the additional requirement at the market price.
15:02  Cabinet raises subsidised LPG cylinder cap from 9 to 12:  
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs may consider raising the quota of subsidised LPG cylinder from nine to 12 per household at a meeting on Thursday.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had strongly pitched for raising the cap to 12 cylinders per household while addressing the AICC meet earlier this month. He also said there was a need to increase the quota to 12 cylinders.

Supporting the stance, Oil Minister M Veerappan Moily informed that the Cabinet was likely to consider hiking the quota of subsidised cooking gas cylinders from nine to 12 per household this week.

"After our vice president Rahul Gandhi said nine cylinders are not enough, I have moved a Cabinet note to increase the quota to 12. I think the Cabinet is likely to consider the proposal this week," Moily had said.

Moily also informed that 89.2 percent of the 15 crore LPG consumers use up to nine cylinders in a year and only 10 percent have to buy the additional requirement at the market price.
13:53  Congress MLA disrupts Delhi CM's press conference:   Just In: Congress MLA Asif Mohammed disrupts Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's media address alleging that Kejriwal was playing politics with 1984 riots. 

Kejriwal's decision to hand over the 1984 riots to an SIT has angered the Congress. They are accusing him playing communal politics for votes.

The incident happened just after Kejriwal released his government's report card on the completion of one month in power. 
12:17  Schumacher being woken up from induced coma: reports:  
Formula One legend Michael Schumacher is reportedly being woken up from induced come, according to French media reports. Schumacher's manager on the other has urged to the public not to pay attention to the 'speculation' but did not deny the report.

L'Equipe, a French daily, reported on Wednesday that Schumacher had "reacted positively" to the medical processes that begun this week at the CHU hospital in the city of Grenoble, where he's been since the December 29 fall. (Read: A month after ski fall, Schumacher's fate remains uncertain)

Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm urged his fans to ignore anything other than the official comments on his health.

"I am stressing again any statement regarding Michael's health not coming from the doctors treating him, or from his management, must be considered as speculation," she said. "I repeat, we will not comment on any speculation," she is quoted as saying by the Telegraph.
11:45  Andhra assembly rejects Telangana Bill:  
The Andhra Pradesh assembly has rejected the Telangana Bill.

Speaker N Manohar introduced Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy's resolution to reject the Bill.

A majority of MLAs backed the CM's resolution.
11:30  Sensex falls 200 points, rupee nears 63/dollar :  
The BSE Sensex fell nearly 200 points to 20,448, while the Nifty shed 0.9 per cent to 6,058 tracking global selloff across risk assets. The Indian rupee slipped 0.5 per cent to 62.90 per dollar before paring losses.

The trigger for Thursday's fall comes from the US, where the Federal Reserve said it will cut its monthly bond purchases starting in February by $10 billion to $65 billion.

Many global investors fear that reduced Fed bond buying will raise US interest rates and cause investors to move money out of emerging markets and into the United States for higher returns.

Indian markets are dependent on foreign institutional investors for liquidity. FIIs invested $20 billion in India last year and close to $500 million in January.

The rupee has been in a range of 62-63 over the last few months. Fundamentals supporting the rupee have improved dramatically ever since Raghuram Rajan took charge of the Reserve Bank. India's current account deficit, the single biggest factor weighing on the currency, has come down sharply, easing pressure on the rupee. The RBI also upped the repo rate earlier this week, a move that will support the rupee.
11:27  Mamata's mega rally in Kolkata today:  
Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress will kick off its campaign for the national elections, due by May, by holding a mega rally in Kolkata today.

The ruling party in West Bengal has also decided to observe its Shaheed Diwas or Martyrs Day today, an event it usually holds on July 21 every year in memory of 13 party workers killed during a demonstration in 1993.

Banerjee, buoyed by her party's impressive performance in the recent panchayat elections in the state, is expected to address the rally around 2 pm.

The rally, likely to be attended by almost three lakh people from across West Bengal, is being held at the Brigade Parade Ground with the iconic Victoria Memorial serving as a backdrop.

The sprawling ground in Kolkata is also slated to host BJP's PM hopeful Narendra Modi's rally on February 5 and the Left Front's on February 9.
11:23  Check out the day's headlines from, as well as our archives, here!
11:17  Jayalalithaa to be prosecuted in I-T case:  
The Supreme Court today refused to discharge Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa from the cases against her for not filing income-tax returns from 1991-94.

The apex court has dismissed Jayalalithaas plea and allowed the trial court to proceed against her.
11:16  Open defiance in DMK, 3 MPs cosy up to Alagiri:  
In an apparent show of defiance to DMK chief Karunanidhi, party MPs K P Ramalingam, D Napoleon and J K Ritheesh met Alagiri on his birthday eve and greeted him. 

The three held discussions with Alagiri for a long time and expressed their solidarity with him.

Last Friday, Karunanidhi suspended Alagiri from the DMK for indiscipline. The immediate provocation was his open criticism of an alliance that Stalin was trying to nurture with another regional powerhouse, the DMDK.

Over recent years, the rivalry with his brother has created two distinct camps within the DMK. It is centred around Stalin being projected as Karunanidhi's political heir.
10:30  Will Raj Thackeray be arrested today?:  
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray will on Thursday appear before a court in Pune in connection with the recent attacks on toll booths. 

Thackeray is currently on way to Pune from Mumbai, and there is speculation that the MNS chief could be arrested in connection with the case lodged against him.

Two case were registered against Thackeray on Wednesday for allegedly inciting violence and engendering public peace. 

The cases were lodged after MNS workers vandalised toll booths in the state on Tuesday, after Thackeray issued a diktat not to pay the road levy. The MNS chief had even said that those who raise a voice against his diktat should be thrashed.

The first case was registered with Rajgad police station in Bhor taluka against Thackeray for damage to the toll collection centre at Khed-Shivapur on Pune-Satara Road. 

A similar offence was registered with Loni Kalbhor police where another toll booth was vandalised by MNS activists.
09:52  Delhi heist: Robbed car was used by Vindu Dara Singh?:  
CNN-IBN reports: New details have been emerging in the Lajpat Nagar robbery case where about Rs 8 crore were stolen from a Honda City car in broad daylight.

Investigations now reveal that this car was used by Vindu Dara Singh when he was arrested by the Mumbai Police in connection with the IPL betting case in May 2013.

The robbery has brought spotlight on the victim, Rajesh Kalra, who was also named in the 2000 Hansie Cronje match-fixing scandal. 

Police suspect that Kalra is still active in the betting circuit and that the money was being used as a hawala pay-off for illegal betting.

The police have also zeroed in on Kalra's driver and are investigating him. They are also conducting raids across Haryana, including Rohtak, in connection with the case.
09:40  Coaching class for Delhi MLAs begins today:  
For the next two days, the newly elected Delhi MLAs, more than half of whom are first timers, will get lessons on the working of Assembly, especially procedures, traditions and protocol.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will inaugurate the orientation programme for the MLAs of the fifth Delhi assembly on Thursday. 

"45 out of the 70 legislators are first-timers, and therefore they are not aware of the protocols and proceedings of the House. And, therefore we felt that this was necessary," Speaker MS Dhir said on Wednesday.

The programme which will be held in the Assembly premises only will impart basic tenets of the House proceedings with an aim to make them effective legislators, he said.

On the first day, sessions will be held on discipline, traditions and protocols in the House, legislative proceedings and Question Hour and Zero Hour among others.

The second day will see sessions on Delhi's administrative structure, history of the Assembly House, etc. The programme is being jointly held by the Delhi Legislative Assembly Secretariat, the Lok Sabha Secretariat, and the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training, premier training body for legislators and Parliamentary officials.
09:36  Rajiv killers' plea comes up before SC today:  
The plea of three death convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, to commute their death sentences to life imprisonment keeping in mind delay of more than 11 years in deciding their mercy petitions by the President, cones up before the Supreme Court on Thursday. 

At the last hearing, an apex court bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam had rejected the Centre's plea seeking to postpone the hearing to another day after senior advocate Ram Jethmalani appearing for the condemned prisoners -- Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan -- said he suspected that the government is trying to delay the case.
"I have a strong suspicion that they want to take time in the case so that they can file review petition (on apex court verdict holding that delay in deciding mercy plea can be a ground for commuting death sentence)," Jethmalani said. 

Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra also said that the Centre is considering for seeking review of the recent apex court verdict in which it held that inordinate and inexplicable delay by government in deciding mercy plea of death row convicts can be a ground for commuting their sentence.
09:35  Sonia, Nitish to share stage in Bihar today:  
Congress president Sonia Gandhi will on Thursday lay the foundation stone of Aligarh Muslim University's centre in Bihar's Kishanganj amidst war of words with the state government. 

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will, though, share the stage with Gandhi. 

Notably, Kumar was reportedly angry with the Congress for keeping him in dark about the event. The Bihar CM got the invitation just two days ago after he said: "It shows the UPA government's work culture and nature."
In a letter to Union HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju, Bihar HRD Minister PK Shahi, according to a newspaper, said: The least that is expected is that for an event like the present one, the central government ought to have taken the state government into confidence and we would have been very happy to make all official arrangements for its success." 

Shahi further accused the Centre of breaching the spirit of federalism by not extending even this basic courtesy. 

The Bihar CM had claimed that it was his idea to establish a branch of the Uttar Pradesh-based university in the state. However, the Congress said the AMU centre was Gandhi's 'dream project'.
03:13  Ukraine parliament passes protest amnesty law:  

The Ukrainian parliament has passed a law providing amnesty to protesters detained during recent unrest. The amnesty will only apply once other protesters leave government buildings they have occupied in recent days.


The measure, intended to ease unrest on the streets, was adopted after a day of intense debate. The protests began in November after the president reversed a decision to sign a trade deal with the EU in favour of closer ties with Russia.


Late on Wednesday, the amnesty bill was backed by President Viktor Yanukovych's majority Party of the Regions, but opposition MPs abstained from voting, Ukrainian media report, as they objected to the conditions it imposed.


Read more on BBC

03:09  Editor knew about hacking at News of the World, court told:  

London: A journalist told Britain's phone hacking trial on Wednesday that Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid routinely eavesdropped on celebrities' voicemail messages and editor Andy Coulson "knew exactly what was going on".


Reporter Dan Evans, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hack phones, said "even the office cat" knew the illegal practice was widely used at the now defunct paper. Coulson, a former media chief to Prime Minister David Cameron, stared out from the dock as Evans told the jury at London's Old Bailey court: "The truth is that Andy Coulson knew exactly what was going on on his watch."


Read more here

02:28  Norwegian politician nominates Edward Snowden for Nobel Peace Prize:  

A former Norwegian minister nominated fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize Thursday in a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.


"He has contributed to revealing the extreme level of surveillance by nations against other nations and of citizens," former Socialist Left Party minister Baard Vegar Solhjell told AFP, explaining his move.


"Snowden contributed to people knowing about what has happened and spurring public debate" on trust in government, which he said was "a fundamental requirement for peace."


In a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee obtained by AFP, Solhjell and his party colleague Snorre Valen said that they do not necessarily condone or support all of Snowden's disclosures, but praised him for revealing the "nature and technological prowess of modern surveillance."


Read more on Global Post

02:27  Obama's speech contained a distinct nod to bin Laden's stated goals:  

Barack Obama's State Of The Union address presented a restrained foreign policy, contrasting past years when he has talked about smashing Al Qaeda. In one part he even acknowledged how past U.S. aggression may have been exactly what terrorists wanted: I will not send our troops into harm's way unless it is truly necessary, nor will I allow our sons and daughters to be mired in open-ended conflicts. We must fight the battles '" (applause) '" that need to be fought, not those that terrorists prefer from us '" large-scale deployments that drain our strength and may ultimately feed extremism.


Bin Laden, who was killed in 2011, stated as early as 1996 that he aimed to draw the U.S. into a protracted and economically costly conflict.


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01:42  Sharif offers 'last chance' talks to Pakistan's Taliban:  

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told parliament Wednesday that he would give Taliban militants "one last chance" to halt their spree of killings and bombings and join peace talks.


Mr. Sharif has been trying to bring the Pakistani Taliban, known formally as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, into negotiations since September. The group has said it is interested in dialogue but no substantial talks have taken place while the violence has increased.


Mr. Sharif said Wednesday he formed a four-member committee to steer the renewed effort at talks. For the first time, he also set a condition: that the violence must cease. "A peaceful solution will be given one last chance," Mr. Sharif told parliament. "Terrorist attacks and peace talks cannot go on together at the same time."


Read more on The Wall Street Jornal

01:11  Assad adviser says he may run again:  

President Bashar Assad's adviser said Wednesday it would be difficult to hold a presidential election in Syria, given its raging violence, and she rejected the opposition's call for a transitional governing body.


Earlier in the day, Louay Safi, a spokesman for the opposition's negotiating teams, said the issue of a transitional government was put on the table for the first time. But he added the government delegation stuck to its demand that putting an end to terrorists was still its No. 1 priority.


"Today we had a positive step forward because for the first time now we are talking about the transitional governing body, the body whose responsibility is to end dictatorship and move toward democracy and end the fighting and misery in Syria," he said.


Read the exclusive AP interview here

00:40  'Nothing substantive' from Syria talks:  

UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi has said he does not expect to achieve "anything substantive" in the first round of Syria talks before they end on Friday. He said he was "not disappointed" and that "the ice is breaking slowly".


He also said that the UN and Syrian government were still negotiating on access for a humanitarian aid convoy into the besieged city of Homs. The idea of a transition process has proved to be a major sticking point at the peace talks in Geneva.


Mr Brahimi told reporters that the gap between the two sides remained "quite large" but there was a willingness to continue the talks. He voiced hope that Russia and the US would exert greater influence over the two sides to help bridge that gap.


Read more on BBC

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