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LIVE! Bringing down Malaysian plane act of terrorism: Ukrainian President

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July 17, 2014


23:49  This is not an accident: Ukrainian President on plane crash:   "Bringing down of Malaysian passenger plane was a terrorist act. This is not an accident," Petro Poroshenko, Ukrainian President said.
23:44  AI, Jet to avoid airspace over war-torn eastern Ukraine:   Indian carriers, Air India and Jet Airways, are likely to avoid the airspace of war-torn eastern Ukraine in view of reported shooting down of a Malaysian airliner in which all 295 people on board were killed today. 

Air India will abide by any international advisory "to avoid airspace over conflict zone like Ukraine", an Air India official said.
23:41  AI, Jet to avoid airspace over war-torn eastern Ukraine:  Indian carriers, Air India and Jet Airways, are likely to avoid the airspace of war-torn eastern Ukraine in view of reported shooting down of a Malaysian airliner in which all 295 people on board were killed today. 

Air India will abide by any international advisory "to avoid airspace over conflict zone like Ukraine", an Air India official said.
23:32   A press conference on MH17 incident with PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be held at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport soon.
23:23  The number of dead from crash of MH17 more than 300, includes 23 US citizen: interior ministry adviser, quoted by Interfax.

However, a US state department spokeswoman tells reporters they have no information on the cause of the crash or of casualties.
23:06  Obama, Putin discuss Malaysian airline crash:  US President Barack Obama has asked his advisers to keep him updated on reports of a plane shot down over Ukraine. But the White House says it cannot confirm the reports.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Thursday that Obama spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin before leaving on a trip to Delaware and New York.
22:46  Obama, Putin dicuss Malaysian crash over phone :   The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama have discussed the Malaysia Airlines plane incident over eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin website published a statement late Thursday that says "the Russian leader informed the U.S. president of the report from air traffic controllers that the Malaysian plane had crashed on Ukrainian territory, which had arrived immediately before the phone call."
22:45  Air France says has decided to avoid airspace of Eastern Ukraine.
22:40  Aircraft was 'shot down' over Ukraine by 'terrorists': Ukrainian interior ministry:   The aircraft was "shot down" over Ukraine by "terrorists" operating a Buk surface-to-air missile system, according to the Facebook page of Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.
22:31  Not capable of bringing down commercial airliner: Pro-Russian separatists :  A spokesman for pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk region told Russia's Rossiya TV that they were not capable of bringing down a commercial airliner flying at 10,000 metres.

"The portable air defence systems which we have, they work at a maximum of three to four thousand metres. Therefore, it is possible to say virtually before the start of the investigation that the Ukrainian armed forces destroyed this," separatist spokesman Sergey Kavtaradze says.

22:28  We didn't shoot the plane: Ukraine President :   Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said, "The plane may have been shot down. We did not shoot the plane."   
22:01  Russia 'shoots down Ukraine attack jet' on Wed night :   Al Jazera reports: A Russian jet has shot down a Ukrainian SU-25 attack plane over the east of Ukraine, a Ukrainian military spokesman said earlier in the day.

Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's national defence and security council, said that the plane was shot down on Wednesday night by an air-to-air missile but the pilot safely ejected. 

According to the Reuters news agency, it was the third reported incident this week in which a Ukrainian plane has been hit by a missile.


21:52  Last known location of the plane was Ukraine:  This image shows path of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight just before it crashed.Image:

Courtesy: Flightradar24.com
21:43  Earlier, Ukraine accuses Russia of shooting down its ground jet:  The plane was allegedly shot down, says Ukrainian interior ministry. 

A number of Ukrainian military planes have been shot down by missiles in recent weeks, with Ukraine accusing Russia's military of supplying advanced missiles to the rebels, reports BBC

Earlier on Thursday, Ukrainian officials accused the Russian air force of shooting down one of its ground attack jets on Wednesday.

21:38  Malaysian PM: Launching immediate investigation in crash:  Malaysian PM Mohd Najib Tun Razak tweets: I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation.
21:32  Plane flying over troubled area: Aviation expert :  CNN aviation safety consultant Mary Schiavo says: The route taken by the Malaysian flight is a very common one between Kuala Lumpur and the Netherlands. She noted that the plane was flying over a troubled area and said close communication with air traffic controllers would be a key necessity.

In a hostile or disputed areas, "any alteration from your course and you can have a problem," she said.

21:25  First image of the crashed Malaysian plane:  Here is one the first images of the crash of the Malaysian Airlines flight, which crashed near the Ukraine-Russia border.   
21:22  The Ukrainian interior ministry adviser says Malaysian plane was shot down above eastern Ukraine. The 280 passengers and 15 crew dead: Interfax 
21:17  Last known position was over Ukrainian airspace: Malaysian Airlines:  An official statement by Malaysian Airlines: We have lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace.

More details to follow.
21:00  The Malaysian Airlines plane left Amsterdam at 12.10 am local time and was expected to reach Kuala Lumpur 6.10 am local time.   
20:56  Crashed plane is a Boeing 777-200:   The crashed plane is a Boeing 777-200, which is the same as the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing on March 8. 
20:50  Malaysian plane crash in Ukraine:  A Malaysian Airlines passenger plane with nearly 300 people on board crashes in Ukraine near the Russian border.

The plane was reportedly flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

More details are awaited.

Image: Representation purpose     
20:08  No heated argument took place between Ness and Preity: Witness:  

A witness listed by industrialist Ness Wadia has told police she saw him having a conversation with Bollywood actor Preity Zinta during an IPL match in Mumbai on May 30 but did not see him grabbing arm or pulling her as alleged by the film star.        

 

The witness, Farah Oomerbhoy, recently recorded her statement in the Wadia-Zinta episode involving charges of assault and molestation levelled by the actress.        

 

Oomerbhoy, who was watching the match from Garware Pavilion, said there was no heated argument between the two and she did not see him (Wadia) pulling Zinta by her arm on the day of alleged incident.        

 

"Around 30 minutes into the match, Ness went to Preity and leaned over to have a conversation with her after which he just walked away. I couldn't hear them due to noise (in the stadium). But he was leaning over her seat as if to speak to her softly. I didn't see anything that made me to feel that Ness was speaking to her loudly. I didn't see any argument happening between the two," Oomerbhoy said.        

 

"At half time, I, my husband and son went to the air- conditioned box, where Ness was standing with his family members and friends. I was standing with Ness' mother and his sister-in-law. All seemed fine between them (Preity and Ness)," the witness said.

18:55  Monsoon covers entire country: Met department:   India's monsoon has covered the entire country, the weather office said on Thursday, two days behind the normal schedule in a year that is forecast to bring below average rains.

The revival of rains in the grain bowl of northwest and central regions should help speed up sowing of main summer crops such as rice, corn, soybean and cotton.
18:52  Hurry up and remove the silt, Uttarakhand CM tells officials:  Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat today directed officials to expedite removal of silt from major rivers so that populated areas located close to their banks are safe from flooding.

Keeping in mind the complaints of rampant illegal mining in the state, Rawat said it should be insured that illegal mining is not encouraged on the pretext of silt removal exercise. 
18:51  BJP slaps Rs 1-cr suit on Kejriwal for 'mental agony':  The BJP has served a legal notice to Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, accusing him of "causing mental agony, harassment and defamation," by accusing the party of "horse-trading."

It has in its notice demanded Rs. one crore in damages and says, "desist and restrain yourself from making false and unsubstantiated allegations forthwith."

Kejriwal has made allegations - in radio ads and on Twitter - that the BJP is attempting to form government in Delhi by trying to "buy" the support of his party's MLAs.-- NDTV
18:24  Railways to develop 10 swanky stations :  Indian Railways will develop at least 10 major stations of metro cities and important junctions to International standards with modern facilities and passenger amenities through Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.

A dedicated organization, Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Ltd. (IRSDC) has been set up to undertake such station redevelopment projects. Stations to be redeveloped are to be identified based on adequacy of land, redevelopment cost, expected returns from real estate development, capacity of approach infrastructure to handle enhanced traffic, etc.
17:52  Maharashtra minister Narayan Rane to quit post on Monday, but not party :  Sulking Maharashtra Industries Minister Narayan Rane today said he will quit the Prithviraj Chavan ministry on Monday, but has decided to remain in the Congress.

"I will announce my future political plans on Monday,' Rane told reporters when asked if he would campaign for the party in the coming assembly elections.

Clarifying that he is very much in the Congress and not joining any other party, Rane said, "I have not met BJP leader Nitin Gadkari. I had met him last when Gopinath Munde  passed away."

Rane, a chief ministerial aspirant, is upset with the party for not giving him the top post, which he always claimed was promised to him when he joined the Congress after leaving the Shiv Sena in 2005.

The ex-Chief Minister will travel by road to Kankavli, his constituency in Konkan on Friday.
17:46  BJP slaps Rs 1-cr suit on Kejriwal for 'mental agony':  BJP serves a legal notice to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and seeks Rs 1 crore in damages for 'causing mental agony harassment and defamation', reports NDTV. Details awaited.
17:43  Babar Ahmad: The godfather of internet jihad?:  This week has seen the jailing of a man the Americans consider to be one of the most dangerous facilitators of terrorism in the West. But he is likely to be free in less than a year. He was a pioneer when it came to using the web as a tool of jihadist propaganda. Read
17:37  Israel-Gaza five-hour humanitarian ceasefire officially ends :  A ceasefire reached to end fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militants in Gaza, for five hours today, has officially ended.

It took effect on Friday at 06:00 local time. Hamas have not yet officially commented on the purported ceasefire, said to have been reached after talks in Egypt.

Some 227 Palestinians have died in Israeli air strikes since the current crisis began on 8 July.

Militant mortar fire has killed one Israeli.

Israel launched its military operation in Gaza nine days ago with the stated objective of halting Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.

However, the United Nations says most of those killed in Gaza have been civilians.-- BBC
17:20  Israel says children were acting as 'human shields' for Hamas:   An Israeli official said the shelling was another example of Hamas using civilians as human shields -- intimating that the boys had been left to play near a rocket launcher.

"What they are deliberately doing is seeking to kill as many Palestinians as possible in order to yell to the world to, 'Help us,' " Israeli Cabinet member Naftali Bennett told CNN.

"This is cynical and this is cowardly."

A Hamas official, however, called the shelling by an Israeli gunship a "massacre" and a "war crime" and demanded UN action.
17:01  Four Gaza children playing football on beach killed by Israeli shelling:  Four Palestinian children were killed and one was critically wounded on a Gaza beach on Wednesday by a shell fired by an Israeli naval gunboat, a Palestinian health official said.

Asked about the incident, an Israeli military spokesman in Tel Aviv said he was checking the report.

"The kids were playing football on the beach. They were all ... under the age of 15," said Ahmed Abu Hassera, 22. "When the first shell hit the land, they ran away but another shell hit them all," said Abu Hassera, whose shirt was stained with blood.

"It looked as if the shells were chasing them," he told Reuters.

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, said four of the youngsters were killed and a fifth youth was in critical condition. "This is a cowardly crime," he said.

The Gaza beach area has been shelled frequently since Israel began its offensive in the enclave on July 8 following a surge in Palestinian cross-border rocket strikes. Gaza health officials said 207 Palestinians, most of them civilians, had been killed in air and naval barrages, in the worst flareup of Israeli-Palestinian violence in two years. Read more

Read the eyewitness report
16:52  Abenomics and Modinomics means greater opportunities: Nomura:   Drawing comparisons between 'Abenomics and Modinomics', Japanese financial major Nomura has said that Japan can play an important role in developing India's infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.

'Abenomics' is widely used for economic policies and reform measures initiated by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while 'Modinomics' refers to that of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had recently said that partnership with Japan was of high priority for his government.
16:37  RP Singh, BJP: If Arvind Kejriwal has any evidence where anyone from the BJP is offering Rs 20 crore to AAP MLA then I will give up my 37yrs of politics.
16:25  Pune blast: IED had chemicals and shrapnel, no RDX, says ATS:  The bomb that exploded in Pune last week was made by mixing ammonium nitrate with potassium chlorate and small ball bearings were used as shrapnel to inflict injuries, but there was no gelatin or RDX in it, Maharashtra ATS said today.

"The forensic reports we have received suggest that the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which exploded (in Pune) was a mixture of ammonium nitrate and potassium chlorate. Small ball bearings, like the ones used in cycles, were used as shrapnel. But there was no gelatin, RDX or Trinitrotoluene (TNT) in the bomb," Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Himanshu Roy said.

An analogue clock was used as a trigger for the low intensity bomb, he said. The IED would have caused much more damage had the perpetrators not miscalculated their move, he observed.
16:16  BREAKING: Senior Israeli official tells the BBC there will be a comprehensive ceasefire from 6am tomorrow morning following talks in Egypt.
16:15  No investigative agency has called me, but I'm not scared: Vaidik :  Ved Pratap Vaidik on reports that the NIA will question him on his meeting with Hafiz Saeed: "No investigative agency has called me. I am not scared of anyone, anyone can come and question me."
16:12  Mulayam tells Cong: 'Enjoyed power a lot, now agitate':   "You have enjoyed power a lot. Now you agitate on the streets." This was the terse advice of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to Congress in the Lok Sabha today. Incidentally, SP was a key outside supporter of Congress for ten long years when it was in power in UPA-I and UPA-II.

Congress has now the lowest ever tally of 44 in the 543-member House. The angry remark by Yadav came when he was asked by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to resume the discussion on the Union Budget 2014-15.
15:32  Power tariff hiked in Delhi:  Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) hikes power tariff. It's a  8.32 per cent hike across Delhi and 9.52 per cent hike in areas that come under NDMC. DERC says the hike is marginal and the effect will be very minimal on domestic consumers. The bill is likely to fall for those consuming less than 800 units, but a steep rise in bill for those consuming above 800 units. Electricity up to 200 units will hike by 10 paise, 200-400 slab will see hike of 15 paise and 400-800 slab will see hike of 50 paise/unit, says DERC.
15:09  "Was wonderful to meet President Zuma in Brazil. We will make India-SA relations stronger in the years to come," tweets the PMO. 
14:55  Fantastic story on the Hindustan Times today of a family in MP which accepted a transgender person as their daughter-in-law. Read
14:53  Gas leak at Worli:  Just in: Leak from the underground Mahanagar Gas pipelines at Worli Naka.
People evacuated from the area as a precautionary measure. Fire brigade says the situation is under control.
14:42  When Saddam met Indira :  A 1974 picture of Saddam Hussein, who was then Vice President of Iraq, with then PM Indira Gandhi, as he arrives in India./
14:37  Amended draft of Juvenile Justice Act may be tabled in winter session of Parl:  Just in: The draft of the amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act is ready and has been presented to the law ministry. It is expected to be tabled in the winter session of parliament.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday pushed for a more stringent Juvenile Justice Act. "You can't have a cut-off date for crime like you have for government jobs," the Supreme Court was quoted as saying.

The Supreme Court reaction came after Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi on Sunday favoured treating juveniles accused of heinous crimes like rape on par with adult offenders.

Speaking to reporters, she said according to the police, 50 per cent of all sexual crimes were committed by "16-year-olds who know the Juvenile Justice Act so they can do it."

Here is what the present JJA says.
14:26  Dr V Maitreyan apparently saved the day for the Modi govt in Rajya Sabha today by warding off the Congress's demand for discussing the impact of the Hamas. The Congress and the ADMK's tug-of-war also began on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue. The Congress is now trying to settle scores with the ADMK as Dr Maitreyan alleged that the first benchers on the Opposition benches in the Rajya Sabha did not condemn the genocide in Sri Lanka during the UPA regime.
14:13   Gaza situation rocks RS for second day:  The situation in Gaza rocked Rajya Sabha for the second consecutive day today with a determined opposition demanding an immediate discussion even as Chairman Hamid Ansari said the matter can be taken up at a later date while rejecting the government's plea against a debate.

Giving his ruling on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's request made yesterday, Ansari said, "I am unable to accede to the request of the Minister" and cited rules in favour of the notices given by the opposition in this regard.
13:58  Angry parents protest 6-yr-old's rape in posh Bangalore school:  The alleged rape of a six-year-old girl inside the premises of a prominent school in Bangalore has enraged the city and triggered massive protests by parents.  Parents protested outside the Vibgyor International School today, waiting for the authorities to address their demands for action.

The school has now promised that additional CCTVs will be installed and that "no stone will be left unturned to ensure the safety of students." The school founder/principal has promised that additional verification of the staff will be done. Saying that the culprits should be hanged, the principal said they were ready to cooperate fully with the parents.

The parents say they will not send their children to this school and demand action against the staff members. 

A form that many schools have now asked parents to sign, declaring that they can't be held responsible for the child's safety has led to even more rage.

The child, a student of Class 1, was allegedly raped by two gym instructors during school hours on July 2. The incident was reported a week later.
13:34  Metro train runs with doors open, operator suspended:   The doors of a metro train on the HUDA City Centre-Jahangirpuri route were found to be open between two stations, following which the train operator has been suspended for negligence, a DMRC spokesperson said today.

Around 9:40 am today, the left side doors of the train moving from Arjangarh to Ghitorni metro station on Line-2 were found to be open.

Prima facie, it is an error by the train operator and he has been suspended with immediate effect, the spokesperson said. There is no report of injury to any passenger or damage and metro trains are running as per schedule. The spokesperson said the matter is being investigated.
13:04  Delhi caught in Gaza fix :  External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has written to Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari requesting that a short discussion on the Gaza attacks by Israel be "de-listed' from the House's agenda.

The proposal for the discussion, which was scheduled for Wednesday but did not take place, and the "de-list' request have brought to the fore several pulls and pressures under which the Narendra Modi government is working.

One, Sushma's request has reflected the Modi government's reluctance to be seen as taking sides against Israel in West Asia. Read
12:54  No ice-cream for Ajit Pawar spells trouble for two engineers:   Two engineers in the Public Works Department have received a notice to explain why Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was served lunch without ice-cream for dessert on Monday.

Pawar had stopped at a state-run guest house in Aurangabad for lunch on his way to Jalna, where he was to address workers of his Nationalist Congress Party after its crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.

Lunch ended without incident, but the the trouble began when Pawar asked what was for dessert.

Embarrassed housekeeping staff at the guest house said there was none.

Pawar left without a fuss, but his supporters complained to the District Collector's office and insisted that it shoot off show-cause notices to the two engineers for the "lapse."

MB More, the executive engineer in charge of the guest house explained, "The menu is decided by the liaisoning officer. I was not aware of the menu or if it had dessert. I wasn't even around when lunch was served."
-- NDTV
12:45  Kejriwal lays claim to Delhi govt :   Delhi politics heated up some more this morning with Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal speculating in a series of  tweets on whether Delhi's Lieutenant Governor would invite the BJP to form government today.

Kejriwal tweeted, "I hv sought an appointment from LG for all AAP MLAs to meet him today. Waiting for his response."

AAP sources say the Lieutenant Governor has not agreed to meet them yet.
12:43  Ashok Singhal says Muslims must learn to respect Hindu sentiments:   Vishwa Hindu Parishad convenor Ashok Singhal's statement that Bharatiya Janata Party's victory in Lok Sabha polls 2014 was a "setback to Muslim politics' has created a furore, reports Zee News.

The Congress has not only condemned Singhal's statement but also hit out at the BJP.

Manish Tewari, the Congress leader, said the statement given by Singhal is "condemnable".

"True colours of a party is seen in how they protect their minority,' added Tewari.

Another Congressman Rajiv Shukla said that Muslims and Hindus live together in India. "I don't think even PM Narendra Modi will agree with Ashok Singhal's statement,' added Shukla.

When asked to share his views over Singhal's interview, senior Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut said that India belonged to everyone and "everyone is equal".

"This time Muslim vote bank politics did not work," Raut, however, added.

In an interview to a daily, the right-wing Hindu leader cited Narendra Modi's major win in the Lok Sabha polls for claiming that "tables had turned'.

He added that the results had proven that a poll could be won "without Muslim support'. It was time the minority community learn to respect Hindu sentiments, said the senior RSS leader.

The 88-year-old went on to add: "Muslims will be treated as common citizens -- nothing more, nothing less. And, they must learn to respect Hindu sentiments. If they keep opposing Hindus, how long can they survive?"

He also said that Muslims should withdraw claims over Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura and also accept a uniform civil code. "We'll then give them love, and not claim any other mosque sites even though there are thousands built on the ruins of temples. But if they don't accept it, they should be prepared for further Hindu consolidation. It has happened at the Centre, it will happen in other states,' the daily further quoted Singhal as saying. Singhal also said that he sees an "ideal swayamsevak" in Modi.
12:19  "Want to ask Modi ji on what grounds BJP will form Govt in Delhi when they still dont have the nos?" AAP leader Manish Sisodia tweets.
12:14  Hello, Mr Prime Minister :  Dr Bharat Barai and his wife Panna with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The couple will be organiser an event at Madison Square Garden in New York where NRIs will felicitate Modi during his visit to the US in September. 
12:06  India's complaint over England's James Anderson smacks of 'Jellybeangate':   India have a history of blowing things out of proportion in an attempt to unsettle the opposition, like at Trent Bridge in 2007, but this will inspire England to fight harder. Read
11:51  Whats in store for INS Vikrant?:  Will India's first aircraft carrier be scrapped or made a museum? Read
11:43  Kabul airport assault ends, all attackers killed:  AFP reports that a brazen Taliban attack on Kabul airport ended this morning more than four hours after it began after all the insurgents involved were killed, officials said.

Gul Agha Hashimi, a senior police official, said: "The attack is over, and the area is cleared from the insurgents. All the insurgents who were holed up in an under-construction building were killed."
11:41  Rajnath on Delhi govt formation: BJP has never done horsetrading:  Home Minister Rajnath Singh's statement on govt formation in Delhi. Singh said today that the BJP has never done any horsetrading nor will it do in future.

The BJP on Wednesday indicated that it may take a shot at government formation in Delhi if invited by Lt governor Najeeb Jung. Sources said in case BJP decides to form government, senior leader and former finance minister Jagdish Mukhi could be a strong contender for the chief minister's post.

The Aam Aadmi Party has accused the BJP of trying to "buy" its MLAs and engaging in horse-trading. AAP leader Ashutosh on Wednesday said the way the BJP is shamelessly indulging in horse-trading to lure MLAs to form a government in Delhi is a blot on democracy.
11:25  Sensex up 60 points in early trade:  The benchmark BSE Sensex today rose over 60 points in early trade, extending gains for the third straight day as funds and retail investors made selective buying ahead of the TCS and Bajaj Auto quarterly earnings.

The 30-share index gained 60.75 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 25,610.47 with IT, power, FMCG, healthcare and consumer durable sector stocks leading the rise. The index had gained 542.74 points in the last two sessions. The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty moved up by 15.65 points, 0.20 per cent, to 7,640.05.
11:24  Pounding Gaza with impunity :  With Gaza reduced to Hamas, 1.8 million people who live in Gaza are made responsible for Hamas. This is the doctrine of collective responsibility, illegal by international law. Read
11:17  Breakthrough for the blind:  India under the Narendra Modi government has become the first country in the world to ratify the Marrakesh Convention that codifies exemptions to copyrights to benefit blind and vision-impaired readers.

The government should now build on this momentum and enact the comprehensive and path-breaking law, now before a Parliamentary Standing Committee, that could transform the lives of millions of people with various disabilities. Read
11:08  Chit fund money was used to pay Messis fee :  Argentine footballer Lionel Messi, the star attraction of a 2011 friendly football match between Argentina and Venezuela at Kolkata's Salt Lake Stadium, refused to take the field unless he was paid Rs 20 crore as his fee. It was then that Saradha group boss Sudipto Sen came up with the money and saved the day. It was part of his Rs 2,500 crore chit fund scam money. Read
11:07  World Cup final watched live by record 40,000 airline passengers :  Germany's 1-0 victory over Argentina in the football World Cup final was watched in real-time by 40,000 airline passengers, a record for a live in-flight television broadcast. Read
10:34  Hundreds stranded in Uttarakhand; heavy rains cause river surge:  
Hundreds of pilgrims continued to remain stranded in Uttarakhand on Thursday with heavy rains lashing the hill state. 

The Char Dham Yatra to Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri has already been suspended in view of the heavy rains that have led to surge in major rivers across the state, with Mandakini and Alaknanda crossing danger marks. 

Landslides have also blocked many routes in Uttarakhand.

The Rishikesh-Badrinath national highway and the road connecting Kedarnath-Gaurikund continue to remain blocked following heavy downpour and landslides. 

A bridge constructed over the Saraswati river near Kalimath in Rudraprayag was washed away late Tuesday, after which 164 devotees returning from Kedarnath were stranded and have taken refuge in a government camp. 

This bridge was constructed last year after another bridge on the river was washed away in the flash floods of June 16-17 last year. 

As many as 300 pilgrims undertaking the Char Dham Yatra are reported to be trapped in Joshimath area en route to Badrinath. 

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev is also stuck at Gangotri, along with over 400 students, after the road to Uttarkashi caved in at many places.
10:03  Typhoon paralyses Philippines; death toll hits 38:  
Millions of people in the Philippines endured a second sweltering day without power today after a ferocious typhoon paralysed the capital and tore down flimsy rural homes, claiming at least 38 lives. 

Authorities expressed frustration as reports from badly damaged areas filtered in and the death toll from Typhoon Rammasun, the first major storm of the Southeast Asian archipelago's rainy season, was nearly doubled to 38. 

"We still have to find out what exactly are the reasons a lot of our countrymen refuse to heed the warnings," National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chief Alexander Pama told reporters.

As part of a "zero casualty" effort, the government evacuated nearly 400,000 people from the path of Rammasun and warned others to stay indoors.  

But many of the people who died were outdoors, killed by falling trees, collapsing buildings and flying debris, according to the council's data. 

Pama said the death toll could rise further, with mobile phone and other forms of communication still cut to some rural areas. He said at least eight people remained missing. 

09:58  NTPC: 27 plants have just 4 days of coal stock left:  
CNN-IBN reports: The National Thermal Power Corporation has sent out an SOS to the government, informing them that they have coal stock left only for four days.

According to sources, six plants of NTPC with capacity of 17,000 MW are running on low stock and out of 100 thermal plants, 27 plants running on coal stock available for 4 or even less than that.

Five of these thermal plants each are in northern and southern region. Thirteen coal based power plant in Western and 4 in Eastern region also have hit super critical level.

Click HERE to read
08:55  Is Rupert Murdoch eyeing Time Warner?:  
If content is still king in a media business challenged by new technologies and nimble upstarts, Rupert Murdoch hungers to wear the crown.

His biggest and boldest bid yet emerged on Wednesday: an $80 billion takeover offer for Time Warner Inc, which would be the biggest media deal in more than a decade.

While Time Warner has rebuffed his effort and no talks are underway, Murdoch is determined and unlikely to walk away anytime soon, people briefed on the matter said. 

And he has a track record of pursuing companies that first said no before giving in.

Read more HERE
08:49  Kabul airport under militant attack:  
A militant attack was underway at Kabul airport today as explosions and gunfire rang out. 

The interior ministry said a group of insurgents had opened fire with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades after seizing a building under construction at the airport. 

The attack began around 0530 IST but no casualties have been reported so far, the ministry said. 

"The situation will be brought under control before long," General Ayub Salangi, the deputy interior minister, told AFP as security forces armed with automatic rifles took up position.

Civilian flights from the international airport north of Kabul have been suspended, another Afghan official said. 

The airport lies next to a sprawling military base run by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, whose troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan after more than a decade of war, as the country lies in the grip of a power struggle following disputed presidential elections. 

ISAF and Afghan military helicopters were seen hovering over the area during today's attack, which came after a devastating suicide bombing at a busy market in southeastern Paktika province on Tuesday killed at least 42 people.
08:47  'Game of Thrones' season 5 to have four directors?:  
The fifth season of Game of Thrones will get four new directors. 

The new names will pave the way for acclaimed director David Nutter who will be in charge of the last two episodes of the season, reported Ace Showbiz. 

Michael Slovis, Mark Mylod, Jeremy Podeswa, and Miguel Sapochnik will each direct two episodes in respective order. Although new to the hit HBO show, these four have had experience in directing other TV shows. 

Podeswa in particular has worked for the network's 'Boardwalk Empire'. 

Nutter directed the infamous Red Wedding episode in season 3 and will be back next year to helm the ninth and tenth episodes which are crucial to bridge the sixth season already in order. 

Meanwhile, notable names like Neil Marshall, who earned an Emmy nomination last week for his work in season 4 episode The Watchers on the Wall, is absent from the upcoming season. 

Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss also skip it. No official premiere date of the fifth season has been released by HBO yet, but the show is expected to be back on air sometime in April 2015.
08:46  US imposes tough sanctions on Russia:  
The US has slapped additional tough sanctions on Russia's financial services and energy sectors for the failure of Moscow to taken enough steps to address the volatile political situation in Ukraine. 

The Department of the Treasury imposed a broad-based package of sanctions yesterday on entities in the financial services, energy and arms or related materiel sectors of Russia as well as on those undermining Ukraine's sovereignty or misappropriating Ukrainian property. 

"Russia has continued to destabilise Ukraine and provide support for the separatists, despite its statements to the contrary," Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S Cohen said. 

"Because Russia has failed to meet the basic standards of international conduct, we are acting today to open Russia's financial services and energy sectors to sanctions and limit the access of two key Russian banks and two key energy firms to US sources of financing and to impose blocking sanctions against eight arms firms and a set of senior Russian officials," he said.
03:55  Australia should welcome immigrants: Murdoch:  Global press baron Rupert Murdoch has urged Australia to be open to immigrants and engage more deeply with Asia, as he celebrated 50 years of the national newspaper he founded, The Australian. 

Murdoch, some of whose British and American media outlets often take a hard line on migrants, said Australia, with its entrepreneurial spirit and egalitarian way of life, had a comparative advantage in a world where not all are free.
03:55  PM Modi leaves Brasilia for home :  Prime Minister Narendra Modi today left for home after a three day visit to Brazil for attending the BRICS summit in the coastal city of Fortaleza. 

Today in Brasilia, the BRICS leaders met with leaders of South America invited by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. He will have a brief technical halt in the Frankfurt before reaching Delhi late in the night. 
02:26  Briton sentenced 12.5 years in US for Taliban support:  A US judge sentenced a British computer engineer to 12.5 years in prison today for conspiring to provide and for providing equipment and personnel to the Taliban in Afghanistan. 

Babar Ahmad who has already spent a decade in custody after being arrested in 2004, was extradited to the United States in 2012 as part of a batch of Britons wanted on terror charges.
01:58  Swedish court upholds arrest warrant for Julian Assange:  A Swedish court has upheld an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Mr Assange has spent two years at Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault.

At a hearing in Stockholm District Court, prosecutors demanded that the warrant issued in late 2010 should be upheld.
01:34  UN peace envoy for Syria seeks way forward:  New UN peace envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura will meet members of the Security Council on Friday as he sets out to revive efforts to end the devastating war. 

Diplomatic sources said it will be a first opportunity to discuss the way forward with De Mistura, an Italian-Swedish diplomat with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.
01:07  Typhoon kills 20 in Philippines, spares Manila:  A typhoon blew out of the northern Philippines today after causing at least 20 deaths, knocking out power in entire provinces, damaging two parked jetliners and forcing nearly half a million people to flee from its lethal wind and rains, officials said. 

The eye of Typhoon Rammasun made a late shift away from Manila, but its peak winds of 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour and gusts up to 185 kph (115 mph) forced down trees and electric posts and ripped off roofs across the capital of 12 million people that largely shut down ahead of the deluge.
01:06  Snowden deserves protection from prosecution: UN rights chief:  Fugitive US intelligence agent Edward Snowden deserves shielding from prosecution for having thrown the spotlight on state snooping, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said today. "Those who disclose human rights violations should be protected. We need them," Pillay told reporters.
00:31  EU threatens tougher sanctions on Russia over Ukraine crisis:  The EU moved closer to tightening sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine today, though stopping short of the tough line called for by Washington. 

"Not much has happened since the visit of the Ukrainian president at the last summit in June", German Chancellor Angela Merkel said as she arrived for a new meeting of EU leaders to discuss Ukraine as well as fill top EU posts.
00:31  Texas woman sentenced to 18 years for threatening Obama:  A 35-year-old woman was today sentenced to 18 years in prison for sending poisonous ricin-laced letters to US President Barack Obama and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

Shannon Guess Richardson from Texas was sentenced on a charge of possessing and producing a biological toxin. She had pleaded guilty to the charge in December in a deal.
00:30  Israeli official calls for Gaza ground assault; 4 boys die in attack:  Irael's hard-line foreign minister on Wednesday pressed for expanding the nation's offensive in the Gaza Strip to include a ground operation in hopes of ending rocket fire from the coastal enclave into Israel.

Israeli officials also disclosed that they are acquiring three more Iron Dome missile defense batteries to bolster the ability to shoot down rockets fired from Gaza and other Palestinian strongholds.

As airstrikes and rocket exchanges raged for a ninth day between Israeli forces and Gaza militants, four Palestinian boys '" cousins ages 9 to 11'" were killed by a shell that landed on the beach where they were playing near Gaza City, a Gaza Health Ministry spokesman reported.
00:29  Top headlines in that last 24 hours:  Govt gets surprise support from Khurshid over Vaidik controversy
Lucknow village works overtime to welcome Clinton
Tatra case: Gen V K Singh informed Antony about bribe offer, says CBI
Militants gun down territorial army jawan in Kulgam
DON'T MISS: Mohawk-sporting Gandhi scion makes Parliament debut
Kalyan youth may be part of ISIS tech team
26/11 attacks: Judicial probe ordered against Mumbai top cop
Is SIMI's MP module behind Pune blast?
Taliban commander involved in Musharraf assassination bid arrested
Vaidik's meeting with Saeed is treason, says Sena chief Uddhav
PM Modi meets Vladimir Putin, calls Russia 'best friend' 

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