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LIVE! India cancels travel clearance to Iraq

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June 20, 2014

23:03  Russia re-deploying forces near Ukraine border: US Washington, Jun 20 (AFP) Russia has re-deployed "significant" military forces near its border with Ukraine and stockpiled additional tanks and artillery at a southwestern site, a US official said today. 

Washington had information that the equipment and forces were being prepared by Moscow "to provide active support for separatist fighters," a senior US administration official said.
23:02  US issues new sanctions against 7 Ukraine rebels:  The US has issued new sanctions against seven Ukraine separatists accused of stoking violence against their capital in Kiev. Today's action comes as US officials point to new evidence that Russia is amassing new weapons and munitions closer to its border with Ukraine.
22:21  Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko declares ceasefire:  Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has declared a week-long unilateral ceasefire in fighting with pro-Russian militants in the east of the country.

Heavy fighting had been continuing between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia rebels, with new reports of military hardware entering Ukraine.

The ceasefire had been expected ahead of the implementation of a peace plan.
21:37  Govt stops issuance of immigration clearance for Iraq:  The government on Friday announced that it has stopped granting immigration clearance for travel to Iraq for next one month as it grapples to secure release of 39 kidnapped Indians in the strife-torn Gulf nation. "The Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry has stopped granting immigration clearance for Iraq for one month from last night," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
21:00  Boys trapped in water, await rescue:  10 boys who had gone to bathe in the Tenughat dam in Jharkhand are trapped after the authorities released the water. Rescue operations are ongoing. The incident occurs after 24 students were washed away in the Beas river on June 8 after sudden release of water from the reservoir of the Larji hydro-power project near Thalot in Himachal Pradesh. 
20:37  Two top Taliban commanders killed in raid:  Two top Pakistani Taliban commanders were killed during a search operation by the paramilitary rangers in Pakistan. Abid Choto, a vice-emir of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan's Karachi wing, was killed during exchange of fire between the Rangers personnel and the militants in Manghopir area of Karachi. Another TTP commander was also killed during the operation and he was identified as Fakhruddin Mehsud. 
20:24  NCP denies they sought Chavan be replaced:  Making it clear that his party had not sought Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's removal from the post, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said that he was, however, not averse to the idea.  "NCP has not demanded (to Congress) that Chavan be replaced," Pawar
20:03  Campa Cola makes U-turn, says it may file fresh conveyance plea:  In a U-turn, the Campa Cola Housing Society here told the Bombay High court today that it was ready to file a fresh plea for deemed land conveyance before the deputy registrar of cooperative societies and to make Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai a party.

Some floors of the Society -- a complex of six buildings -- is facing demolition for illegal construction. The MCGM has challenged deemed conveyance of land title in its favour.

Earlier, the Society had taken a stand that MCGM had no say in respect of issuance of deemed conveyance. But counsel for the Society, Prasad Dhakephalkar, today sought time to seek instructions from his clients as to whether they are willing to file fresh application after making MCGM and Pure Drinks parties to the proceedings. The court granted time till June 24.
19:46  Opp parties slam rail fare hike, question timing of decision:  Opposition parties today criticised the government's decision to hike railway fares terming it as "criminal" to burden the people with such an increase and questioned as to why Parliament was not taken into confidence before taking the step.

They questioned the relevance of taking such a decision when the budget session has already been announced and also demanded an immediate roll-back.

"After coming into government, without taking Parliament into confidence and without brining out a white paper...if they felt that the financial health of the railways was not up to the mark or without waiting for the railway budget, they have gone ahead and increased rail tariffs by 14 per cent.

"What kind of a sensitivity is this that those who till yesterday were talking about 'aam aadmi' (common man) and how his concerns should be addressed, have now started doing the opposite by imposing as much burden as they can on the so called 'aam aadmi' who voted them to power," Congress leader Manish Tewari said.
19:37  Jaya demands roll back in rail fare hike:  Strongly opposing the hike in railway passenger fares and freight tariff, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to roll back the increase in the interests of the poor and the middle class people.

"I appeal to the prime minister to roll back the hike considering the welfare of the poor and the middle class people," she said in a statement here. The hike would severely affect the poor and the middle class and also lead to a steep increase in prices of essential commodities and vegetables, she said. At a time when inflation was still riding high, such a hike would only further increase it and severely affect the country's economy," she said.
18:50  What Jaya told PM today:  Jayalalithaa had today described the Home Ministry's proposal as "against the letter and spirit" of the Official Languages Act, 1963, and said the "highly sensitive issue" caused "disquiet" to the people of Tamil Nadu "who are very proud of and passionate about their linguistic heritage".

Social media by their very nature were not only accessible to all persons on the internet, but were meant to be a means of communication to persons living in all parts of India, including those in 'Region C', she said.
18:47  Hindi on social media only for Hindi-speaking states, govt clarifies:  In what should calm non-Hindi speaking states, the government has now clarified that the rule of using Hindi on social media is only for Hindi-speaking states. Hindi is not being imposed on non Hindi-speaking states, the govt added. 

Two home ministry circulars seeking to promote official language Hindi in the social media has raked up a controversy with DMK accusing the Centre of imposing the language on non- Hindi speaking sections.

While the government decision was attacked by DMK chief M Karunanidhi, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had said yesterday that he will promote use of Hindi in all official work and public life.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh had, however, sought to down play the controversy by saying the Centre will promote all languages of the country.
18:43  Opposition on rail fare hike :  "It is unprecedented,will be a disaster, Ye ache din hain to ane wale din bahut bure hone wale hain," Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) on rail fare hike

Mayank Gandhi (AAP)‏: Thought Modi honeymoon will go on for 2 years. Already people on streets disgusted with price rise, black money and Vadra.
18:38  "We demand as opposition,withdrawal of this burden on common people,this decision must be reversed," said Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken on the rail fare hike.
18:25  Uddhav wants to 'develop' 911 acres of port lands in Mumbai:  Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray today unveiled 'development agenda' for Mumbai ahead of the Assembly elections in Maharashtra, and said several projects could be implemented if the land in possession of the Mumbai Port Trust along the eastern shore of the city was utilised.

Thackeray said as much as 911 acres of land on the eastern waterfront, including that belonging to MPT, Union Defence Ministry and the salt pans, was lying unused, and had been encroached upon.

"If this land is handed over to the municipal corporation, several development projects related to housing, industries, tourism, etc, can be implemented," he said.

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (which is controlled by Shiv Sena and BJP) was capable of constructing a coastal road or a freeway on both shores -- along Marine Drive in the west and Wadala-Mankhurd in the east -- he said.
18:06  And this cartoon hits the nail on the head. 
17:49  When Modi as CM had slammed the PM for rail fare hike :  A quick rewind to 2012.
Narendra Modi who was then the chief minister of Gujarat had tweeted: @narendramodi  7 Mar 2012 Just before Rail Budget UPA has suddenly increased railway freight rates bypassing Parliament. Wrote to PM against this.

Modi has in a letter to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today expressed his strong indignation at the Centres sudden decision to hike the Railways freight fare by a whopping 20 per cent through backdoor, just a week before the Railway Budget, diminishing the supremacy of the Parliament

On his website, "Modi demanded the immediate withdrawal of the unnerving hike, as it would cause an unprecedented burden on the common man and indirectly on the nations economy." Read more

It's so much easier to be in the opposition, isn't it.
17:32  Achche din aa gaye: Passenger train fares hiked by 14 pc from today:  Meanwhile, passenger train fares have been increased by 14 per cent from today, while freight charges went up by 6.5 per cent.

The moves come ahead of the Rail Budget 2014 to be presented by Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda next month.

The earlier UPA government had left passenger fares unchanged in the interim railway budget in February ahead of the general elections, leaving the difficult job of managing the national transporter's weak finances to the next government.

Currently, railways is facing severe financial crunch with passenger subsidy touching Rs 26,000 crore.
17:27  Parents pray for daughters working as nurses in Iraq:   A couple whose three daughters are working as nurses in Iraq are in prayers here as anxiety over the fate of the Indians stranded in various cities of the trouble-torn country continues unabated. But to their relief, the three -- Dona, Sona and Veena --called their father C C Joseph and mother Selin this morning from the hospitals where they are working. While Dona works at a hospital in Al-Samawah, her twin sisters are with a hospital in Tikrit.
17:20  16 Indians have been evacuated from Iraq. :  "When lives of our nationals are involved, no option is off the table," says Akbaruddin to a question on whether flying out citizens was a possibility. He said the government has informed all its missions in the region to discuss the matter with their states. So far, 16 Indians have been evacuated from Iraq.
17:14  Land routes extremely dangerous: MEA :  Syed Akbaruddin says the land routes are extremely dangerous to use. The situation on the ground does not permit evacuation by the land route.
17:11  Govt in touch with all the nurses, all safe: MEA :  In Tikrit, where the 46 nurses from Kerala are stranded, this is what Akbaruddin said. "Electricity, food is available in the hospital. No gunfire has been reported from outside the hospital. The govt is in touch with all 46 nurses," he said.

The briefings will be held every day once a day. He said immigration clearance to Iraq has been stopped for a month.

Here's what else the MEA said at the media briefing:
-- The government is knocking on all doors -- front doors, back doors and trapdoors.
-- Eight Indians have been moved out of Baiji in Iraq. Eight more, who were working with the Indian company, Lanco, have been facilitated to return.
-- Govt will pay for the tickets of those needing assistance.
-- One Indian who has been abducted has escaped and is with the embassy in Baghdad.
17:04  LIVE! MEA: All abducted Indians in Iraq safe:  MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin's updates on the situation in Iraq. He says that the PM has chaired a high-level meeting with the home minister today over the issue. Indians who want to return, but do not have the money, will be funded, he says. Akbaruddin says that all the abducted Indians in Iraq safe. 
16:59  10 lakh Iraqis flee homes as ISIS continues armed siege:  More than a million Iraqis have been forced from their homes by conflict this year, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday -- a number only likely to rise as Islamist militants and Iraqi security forces battle for control. Read
16:58  Wrong propaganda going on, nobody forcing Hindi on anybody: Venkaiah:  Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said in Bangalore Hindi was not being forced on anyone and a "wrong propaganda" was on that it was being imposed.

"This is again a wrong propaganda going on; nobody is forcing Hindi on anybody...," Naidu, also the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, said.

"I'm for popularising more and more regional languages, giving them importance- that is the policy of this government. There is no question of forcing any language. Let there be no apprehensions in this regard," he added.
16:52  Railway fare hiked from today:  Just in: Railway passenger fare hiked by 14.2 per cent with effect from today. 
16:27  Hindi poet Kedarnath Singh gets Jnanpith Award:  The 49th Jnanpith Award for the year 2013 has been awarded to eminent Hindi poet Kedarnath Singh. Born in 1934, Singh is a noted Hindi poet with a modernist trend.
16:22  Health minister wants hike on taxes on cigarettes:  Heads up, smokers: Health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has asked the finance ministry to hike the taxes on cigarettes by Rs 3.50 per stick. 
16:17  LIVE! Won't use force today, video of obstruction will be sent to court: BMC:   The BMC is back at the Campa Cola compound in Mumbai, or rather outside the gates. This time, with a bigger team. Anand Waghralkar, BMC official at the Campa Cola Compound, in Worli, says they will not use force to enter the compound to begin evictions. The matter will go to the court. (Karvayi toh hogi, force ka istemaal aaj nahi hoga.)

The BMC has videographed their attempt to enter the society and will submit it as evidence of its failure to enforce the order by the Supreme Court to carry out the demolition of the 102 illegal flats.

Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan has said the government cannot interfere in the issue since the matter has already been decided by the Supreme Court. "We are simply following the order of the Supreme Court," said the CM.

Seventeen days after the Supreme Court rejected a petition by the residents against its earlier order asking them to vacate the flats, officials of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai reached the complex along with the police to cut power, water and piped gas supply to the illegal flats, at 10 am today.
16:00  Badaun: A double murder and an unclear night of 10 hours. Read
15:47  Effort to promote Hindi seeks to bind the nation together: BJP:  The BJP on Friday sought to defend the government's move to promote Hindi, saying it seeks to bind the nation together and should not be construed as an "insult' to English.

"Hindi is the national language and is the heart of the country. Priority to Hindi cannot be (construed as) an insult to English. The government's initiative for according priority to Hindi and regional languages is a welcome step,' BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

He said Hindi is a mixture of different regional languages like Tamil, Telugu, Malayali, Gujarati, Bengali, Assamese, Urdu and other regional languages.
15:42  There will be backlash in non-Hindi speaking states, especially Tamil Nadu, we advise Govt to act with caution, former finance minister P Chidambaram, warns the government. 
15:14  HRD minister Smriti Irani tweets this picture: "My first interview as HRD Minister to two bright girls from a school in Noida."

And it's in English, not Hindi...  
15:13  Cutting through legal clutter:  In his first meeting with all government secretaries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for the identification of 10 laws from each ministry that are burdensome and should be repealed. This clearly stemmed from a point that found repeated mention in the BJP's manifesto -- the need for periodic review and removal of outdated laws.  Read
15:02  A Syrian tragedy of many dimensions:  The stories of Syrian refugees in Lebanon form the narrative of the number of catastrophic ways in which the Syrian civil war is affecting its people. Read
15:01  The Crisis in Iraq and India:  A quick lesson in Iraq history from Mani Shankar Aiyar. Read
14:45  Guideline on Hindi 'injustice to other nat'l languages': CPI(M):  The CPI(M) today attacked the Narendra Modi government for its directive on the use of Hindi as the medium for government communication on social media while seeking modification of the same.

"Government should modify its policy and, along with Hindi, use other national languages as well as English for communication on social media," the party's Politburo said in a statement. 
14:39  Moments in Iraq reporters will never forget. Read
14:22  Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav on the 'Hindi for official language' mandate: We have always been in favor of both Hindi & Urdu languages.
14:20  Here's everything you need to know about "too extreme for Al Qaeda' I.S.I.S. Read
14:09  JD(U) MP's two jackfruits go missing, police form special team to nab thieves. Read
14:07  Omar explains what the word 'slam' means:   "Slam - Slang To criticize harshly; censure forcefully. To suggest that I've "slammed" imposition of Hindi is an exaggeration. I've opposed it & have explained my opposition particularly in the context of J&K where our official languages are English & Urdu."

That's J-K CM Omar Abdullah reacting to reports on the Hindi as official language mandate of the central government.

TN CM J Jayalalithaa has also written to the PM asking him to ensure English, not Hindi, is used on social media.

BSP chief Mayawati: encouraging use of Hindi language is good but our country has rich heritage of regional languages. That should be encouraged too.
13:52  Before Indians can be evacuated from Iraq, New Delhi needs to know who it's talking to. Read more
13:40  LIVE! PMO steps in: Minister deputed to study facts in Nihal Chand rape case:  The PMO intervenes in the Nihal Chand Meghwal rape case. The PMO has deputed a minister to study the facts in the case. A decision will be taken after the minister submits a report to the PMO. Earlier this morning, Nihal Chand had met home minister Rajnath Singh.
13:30  Senior TDP leader Dr Kodela Shiva Prasad Rao elected unopposed as 1st speaker of Andhra Pradesh Assembly post bifurcation.
13:29  Humshakals should be sued for cruelty to audiences:  Raja Sen reviews Humshakals...

"Two nights ago, I had a dream. I dreamt (I kid you not) that I watched and didn't actually loathe Sajid Khan's Humshakals, which led to me waking up disturbed and profoundly confused. Is it possible that the most puerile filmmaker (in an industry not known for very mature films) did something half-decent? Could it be...
No, it couldn't.
Humshakals, a film I watched the following night, turned out reassuringly enough to be the kind of thing we expect from Sajid Khan and yet even more harebrained."

Read the review on
13:24   UP CM presents budget for 2014-15:  Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today presented a budget of Rs 2,74,705 crore for FY 2014-15, with a deficit estimated at Rs 4,132 crore.
13:20  Amend Tweet-in-Hindi order, writes Tamil Nadu's Jayalalithaa to PM:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi's focus on pushing Hindi is meeting with strong resistance from the political leaders of Tamil Nadu. Today, Chief Minister J Jaylaalithaa has written to the PM, asking for the urgent amendment of  a recent instruction that asks union government officials to ensure their tweets and other social media posts are in Hindi. Read more
13:18  India is a country of different religions, languages etc, imposition of a language is not possible, says J-K CM Omar Abdullah.
13:16  The NYT on Mumbai's prolific architect Hafeez Contractor. Read
13:10  SP minister who had blamed western clothes for rape, now slams Nihal Chand:  SP spokesperson Naresh Agarwal: On one hand BJP protests against rape crimes in UP and on the other hand protects minister Nihal Chand who faces rape charges.

Agarwal had sparked controversy over the brutal Mumbai gang rape last year, when he said that women needed to pay attention to their clothes to avoid being raped.
13:07  LIVE! Rape-accused minister Nihal Chand meets Rajnath :   Another important meeting today: Home minister Rajnath Singh met rape-accused union minister Nihal Chand Meghwal today after his meeting with Omar Abdullah. The meeting lasted around 15 minutes. BJP's Rajasthan unit on Thursday said there was no question of his resignation as it was a conspiracy by Congress leaders.

On Tuesday, the woman allegedly raped by Nihal Chand asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remove him. Addressing a press conference along with her relatives at Rajasthan's Sriganganagar which falls in Meghwal's constituency, the rape survivor said, "We all know that Narendra Modi is a good person and highlights women rights. I don't think a person like Meghwal should be allowed to continue as a minister. I will try to meet the PM and request him first to remove Meghwal and also help me in get justice."

Pic: Nihal Chand Meghwal with Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje
12:45  The civic body still outside the gates of the Campa Cola premises in Worli. Police have detained protesting RPI workers.
12:43  J-K CM Omar Abdullah met home minister Rajnath Singh today.
12:14  Social activist Abha Singh says its is very wrong on the part of the residents to obstruct the civic body from carrying out the demolition. 
12:10  Campa Cola residents are hopeful that if CM Prithviraj Chavan is indeed shunted out, the new CM will pitch in to save the flats from being demolished.  
12:08  Rahul Narvekar, NCP spokesperson says it's unfortunate that the BMC is planning to carry out the demolition during the monsoon. 
12:06  Campa Cola demolition: havan, human chains try to stop inevitable:  Campa Cola demolition: Two JCB machines outside the Campa Cola gates. The residents have blocked both the gates in a direct violation of the SC directive to demolish the 102 illegal flats.
12:02  Meanwhile, in Delhi, J-K CM Omar Abdullah called on Home Minister Rajnath Singh in North Block. The meeting lasted for nearly 25 minutes.

.. and

Governor of Nagaland, Dr Ashwani Kumar calling on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

11:52  Will not interfere in Campa Cola issue: CM Chavan:  Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan last week said the state government will not intervene in the Campa Cola building issue as the Supreme Court has not given any relief to residents of the society against demolition of their illegal flats.

The Supreme Court rejected their plea seeking a stay on the demolition of their flats till the court decides on their curative petition, which is to come up for hearing next month. The curative petition, quoting information received through an Right to Information application, says the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and the state had decided to regularise the illegal construction in 1985.
11:49  LIVE! Mumbai: BMC arrives at Campa Cola gates, residents block entry :  Back in Mumbai, BMC officials reach the Campa Cola compound. The BMC is expected to begin cutting of water and electricity to the 102 illegal flats. Residents who have been holding a havan to protest the demolition has formed a human barricade at the two gates. 

The entire action will be videographed and that film will be used as evidence against the people who obstruct action. Any politician who contributes to the obstruction will be named in the contempt petition too.

A posse of policemen have been deployed at the Campa Cola compound to support the BMC officials.

Officials from Mahanagar Gas Ltd will also arrive shortly to disconnect the piped gas connection.
11:38  Tharoor: Rahul Gandhi is underestimated and misunderstood:  Rahul Gandhi has been underestimated and misunderstood. Time will prove that the nation will one day appreciate the alternative style of leadership he represents -- one that is inclusive, consultative, democratic and empowering rather than top-down one-man rule.

Shashi Tharoor, the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, in an interview to Read
11:32  Govt should have been more proactive: Cong on Iraq:  Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi slams the Modi govt: Whole world knew ISIS was heading into Iraq; Indian govt should have been more proactive.
11:24  ISIS Inc: Iraqi militants' 'annual report' of blood and violence:  Sunni rebels from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria -- who have stormed Iraq's big cities like Mosul and Tikrit, taken over its largest oil refinery and slowly marching on to Baghdad, leaving a trail of blood and death -- as a part of its image-building has done something only major corporations do at the end of the year: publishes annual reports, outlining its attacks, assassinations and terror acts. Read
11:21  Iraq crisis is early test for Modi govt:  A new government anywhere is called upon to face and pass all kinds of tests. But the challenge posed by the abduction of 40 Indians in Iraq has come rather unexpectedly for Narendra Modi's new government. How he deals with this first major foreign policy test could be crucial for the image of the new regime. Read
11:19  Delusions of grandeur:  Visiting India both as a celebrity and a state guest in the high noon of Empire, the British architect and designer of New Delhi, Sir Edwin Lutyens, made a curious observation that was only partially by way of a complaint. India, he wrote (and I am quoting from memory), tends to make the Englishman into a Tory, of a pre-modern kind. 
That's Swapan Dasgupta for the Telegraph. Read
11:13  Aam Aadmis Kejriwal and Vishwas spent Rs 1 cr in polls:  They had set out with a message that they are the aam aadmi (common man), but a look at their expense chart in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election points otherwise. Aam Aadmi Party leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Kumar Vishwas splurged more than Rs one crore between them during the polls. Read
11:05  Campa residents perform havan as a mark of protest:  Campa Cola residents are conducting a havan on the premises right now as a mark of protest. A team of 10-15 civic officials, along with some employees of Mahanagar Gas and BEST, will reach the Campa Cola compound at 11.30am to cut off the power, gas and water supplies to the illegal flats.
11:01  Delhi sweats it out on humid morning:   Delhiites today woke up to a warm morning with humidity in air touching 56 per cent as the city braced for another sultry day. The maximum temperature may cross the 41 degrees Celsius mark today, the weatherman has said.

The minimum temperature this morning was at 31 degrees, three notches above normal, and the MeT office predicted partly cloudy skies with the likelihood of thunderstorm in some areas in the course of the day.

No rainfall was recorded till 8.30 am.
10:58  LIVE! Mumbai: Campa Cola residents to form human barricade :  Campa Cola residents plan to form a human barricade at the entrance to prevent the police and civic officials from entering the compound, just as they did during the last confrontation in November 2013.

The BMC, however, does not wish to resort to force. It will film the proceedings and, should the residents use violence, it will return and present the footage to the Supreme Court.
10:56  BJP: Maha CM not doing anything to save Campa Cola residents:   BJP MP Kirit Somaiya on the Campa Cola demolitions set to begin at 11 am: It's sad that the Maharashtra govt changes rules to save builders but does nothing for the middle class. CM Prithviraj Chavan is not doing anything to save the residents.
10:23  Mumbai: Demolition of 102 Campa Cola flats to begin at 11am:  
The municipal corporation will at 11am at cut power, water and gas supply to residents of the 102 illegal flats of Mumbai's Campa Cola Society compound as the deadline for the residents to vacate their homes ended on Friday.

The residents are left with no choice but to vacate their homes on Friday as the demolition of the illegal flats will begin soon. Seven buildings of the Campa Cola Housing Society in Mumbai were constructed between 1981 and 1989.

The builders had permission for only six floors, but multiple floors were built without requisite permissions. In November 2013, when the demolition was about to begin, the Supreme Court had ordered a stay and given the residents time till May 2014.

The residents went to court again in May, but this time, the apex court dismissed their plea. The residents are not willing to leave the illegally built flats, which are to be demolished, even after the Supreme Court's refusal to give them relief.

An official of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) said that the eviction process will be carried out in three stages and may go on for a year. 

"We have to be very careful in carrying out the demolition work to make sure that the legal flats in the buildings are not harmed in any way," the officer added.

In the first stage of eviction, the MCGM will cut off supply of electricity, water and gas to the illegally built flats. Internal walls of the flats would be pulled down in the second stage, and finally the balconies would be taken down. 

"MCGM will be spending about Rs 2,20,00,000 on demolition, and the money will be recovered from the property tax of the legal residents of Campa Cola," the official added.
09:43  Sensex up 45 points in early trade:  
The benchmark BSE Sensex today rose over 45 points in early trade after two sessions of losses on emergence of buying by funds in oil and gas, consumer durables, realty and healthcare sector stocks amidst a firming Asian cues.

The 30-share barometer rose by 45.08 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 25,246.8 points. The index had lost 319.39 points in the previous two sessions. 

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty moved up by 4.15 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 7,544.85. 

Brokers said apart from fresh buying by funds in select stocks, a firming trend on the other Asian bourses following another record close on US market, helped trading sentiment to improve. 

In the Asian region, Japan's Nikkei was up by 0.32 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.14 per cent in early trade today. 

The US Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.09 per cent to close at new high in yesterday's trade.  
09:43  Rupee down 18 paise Vs dollar in early trade:  
The rupee today lost 18 paise to 60.26 against the dollar in early trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market due to increased demand for the US currency from importers. 

Forex dealers attributed the rupee's fall to increased dollar demand from importers amidst rising global crude prices but said that a higher opening in the domestic equity market and euro's strength against the US currency capped the fall to some extent. 

The rupee yesterday rose 31 paise, logging its best single-day gain in over a month, to end at 60.08 as the American currency weakened on US Fed keeping its policy of ultra-row interest rates intact. 

Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex rose by 45.08 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 25,246.88 in early trade today. 
09:09  Iraqi militants seize former chemical weapons factory:  
Sunni radicals in Iraq, who have overrun a swathe of territory north of Baghdad in a lightning offensive, have taken control of one of Saddam Hussein's former chemical weapons factories, a US official said Thursday. 

"We are aware the that the ISIL has occupied the Al Muthanna complex," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. 

But she said she didn't think the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants would be able to produce usable chemical weapons there, because any materials remaining are old and unwieldy. 

The complex, located just 45 miles (72 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, began producing mustard gas and other nerve agents, including Sarin, in the early 1980s soon after Hussein took power, according to a CIA factsheet. 

The program expanded to its height during the Iran-Iraq war later that decade, and produced 209 and 394 tons of Sarin in 1987 and 1988 respectively. 

But the CIA writes that the facility shut down after the first Gulf war, when UN resolutions "proscribed Iraq's ability to produce chemical weapons." 
08:43  Novelist Salman Rushdie wins PEN/Pinter prize:  
Indian-born British author Salman Rushdie is the winner of this year's PEN/Pinter Prize in recognition of his support for freedom of speech and generous help to other writers, the prize judges said on Friday.

The prize, awarded by the British branch of the worldwide writers' association, is named for the late playwright Harold Pinter, who was an ardent advocate of human rights and a fighter for social causes.

Rushdie, 67, is probably best known for his 1988 book The Satanic Verses which outraged the Islamic world and forced him to take special security precautions after death threats were made against him, including a fatwa issued by Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

He also won the prestigious Booker Prize for his second novel, 'Midnight's Children', and has been a prolific novelist, essayist and public speaker.

"This prize is English PEN's way of thanking Salman Rushdie not just for his books and his many years of speaking out for freedom of expression, but also for his countless private acts of kindness," novelist and journalist Maureen Freely, chair of judges, said in a statement.
08:36  Kodela Sivaprasada Rao set to be Andhra Pradesh assembly speaker:  
Senior Telugu Desam Party leader Kodela Sivaprasada Rao is all set to be formally announced as speaker of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Saturday. 

Rao was the only one who filed nomination papers for the post on Thursday. 

His election will be formally announced today.
The main opposition YSR Congress Party supported Kodela's nomination, paving the way for his unanimous election. 

Hailing from Guntur district in south coastal Andhra, the TDP leader was elected to the Assembly from Sattenpalli constituency. 

He had earlier represented Narsaraopet constituency in the same district five times.
04:19  Wikileaks founder 'fears for safety of family':  The founder of the Wikileaks website Julian Assange says he fears for the safety of his family.

Speaking at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, Assange said unspecified individuals had made threats against his children and his mother.

He complained that he has been unable to see them in four years.Mr Assange took refuge at the Ecuadorean embassy two years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden.
04:17  Iraqi leaders maneuver to replace prime minister:  Alarmed over the Sunni insurgent mayhem convulsing Iraq, the country's political leaders are actively jockeying to replace Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday.

The political leaders have been encouraged by what they see as newfound U.S. support for replacing al-Maliki with someone more acceptable to Iraq's Sunnis and Kurds, as well as to the Shiite majority, the officials said.
04:16  'Car bomb in Syria's Homs kills 6':  A car bomb in Homs in central Syria today killed six people in an Alawite-majority neighbourhood of the city, a monitoring group said as state media gave a lower toll. The attack is the second of its kind in a week, and comes just over a month after rebels lost their bastion in the heart of Homs city to regime control.
02:15  Militants release 48 hostages held in Tikrit: Iraq police:  Militants who have overrun a swathe of territory north of Baghdad in a lightning offensive released today 48 foreigners, including four Turks, held for several days, Iraqi police said. 

The construction workers, who were helping build a hospital in the now insurgent-held city of Tikrit, are from Turkey, Nepal, Bangladesh, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.
02:10  Facebook accepts blame for brief outage:  Facebook took the blame today for a brief outage that resulted in a flood of comments -- chiefly on rival social network Twitter. The problem began late yesterday when "we ran into an issue while updating the configuration of one of our software systems," a Facebook spokesman told AFP.
02:09  NATO reports new Russian troop build-up near Ukraine:  NATO today reported another build-up of Russian forces near Ukraine as its new president put in place key pieces of his pro-Western government and embraced an EU trade pact that has been bitterly fought by the Kremlin. 

Ukraine's parliament unanimously confirmed as foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin -- a charismatic 46-year-old ambassador to Germany who had spearheaded the EU negotiations and now represents Poroshenko at closed-door talks with Moscow.
00:58  US cancels military exercise in Uganda over homosexuality law:  The United States on Thursday canceled a regional military exercise in Uganda, imposed visa restrictions, diverted funds for a health institute to another country and cut funding for a Ugandan police program in response to a law that imposes harsh penalties for homosexuality.

Senior U.S. administration officials, speaking before the announcement by the White House, said the stepped up measures were carefully targeted at those responsible for abuses related to implementation of the anti-gay law and involved in corruption.
00:21  Boston bombings suspect wants trial moved to DC:  The prime suspect in the Boston Marathon attacks has asked a US court to move his trial to Washington DC claiming he will not be tried fairly in the northeastern city. 

The April 15, 2013 attacks, which killed three people and injured 264 others, were allegedly planned and carried out by ethnic Chechen brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tamerlan was shot dead by police on April 19, 2013, after killing an officer.
00:20  Canadian slips past security to board flight to Brazil:  An Air Canada flight to Brazil packed with World Cup fans was forced to turn back to Toronto today after authorities learned that a man had sneaked onboard. 

Air Canada 090 was already over the Caribbean and four hours into the flight when Transport Canada ordered its return to the Toronto International Airport, said officials and witnesses. It was met by police who surrounded the aircraft on the tarmac and escorted a suspect off the jetliner.
00:20  India in 'dereliction of duty' over rapes: UN watchdog:  Indian law enforcement and justice authorities have shirked their responsibility to fight sex attacks, a UN child rights watchdog said today, amid uproar over the horrific gang-rape and lynching of two girls. 

"There has been a dereliction of duty in relation to rape cases," said Benyam Mezmur, deputy chairman of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
00:19  Obama prepared to send military advisers to Iraq:  President Barack Obama said on Thursday he's prepared to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to "assess how we can best train, advise and support Iraqi security forces."

Obama added that "American forces will not be returning to combat" but will help Iraqis "take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region and American interests as well."

Read more
00:18  Top headlines in that last 24 hours:  Cong mulls major rejig; Shinde may replace Chavan as Maha CM
No question of Nihalchand's resignation: Rajasthan BJP
Centre to raise 2 police battalions for NE militants
HC relief for SRK on petition about sex determination
Location of 40 abducted Indians known, says Iraq
Assam opposes visa-free entry to Bangladesh nationals
After IB warning, govt to keep tab on Greenpeace foreign funds
Security for Wadias after threat calls following Preity feud
ISIS militia not human beings; they kill people for fun: Indian worker in Iraq
Modi sarkar, DMK in war of words over Hindi
Why many Indian nurses won't leave Iraq
'I just want my child to come home safe'

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