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June 25, 2014

23:32  8 Indian workers return from Najaf in Iraq:  
Eight Indian nationals hailing from Punjab who were working in Najaf town of Iraq today returned to Jalandhar.

The returnees, who were employed with a company in Najaf, said they had first reached Dubai from Iraq and from there had taken a flight to Ahmedabad. But, running short of money after landing in India, the group had to complete the rest of the
journey from Gujarat to Punjab by train. 

Three persons from Jalandhar district are part of the group which was welcomed, among others, by district and police officials as it arrived in Jalandhar. 

According to Kamaldeep, one of the members of the group, they had gone to Najaf some three months back to work for the
company in Najaf.

"The company had collected our passports when we joined work. When the fighting erupted, we asked for our passports to be returned to us so that we could leave Iraq," said Kamaldeep.

He claimed that to return their passports, the company had asked them to pay USD 400 each, which the workers had arranged with the help of their families back home in India. 
23:29  Strike sees Kerry taking the train to France:  
John Kerry has flown almost half a million miles around the world on his diplomatic travels, but today he found himself grounded by an air traffic controller strike and hoofing it to Paris by rail. 

The US secretary of state had been planning to leave Brussels late today on his US Air Force Boeing C-32AKA, a military variant of the 757, after attending a series of NATO meetings. 

But instead he and his entourage were heading to the main rail station to catch a train to Paris. 

"Due to a potential delay in flights departing Brussels as a result of an air traffic control strike, Secretary Kerry will take the train from Brussels to Paris this evening," his spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. 

The strike meant all of Kerry's entourage and a pool of travelling reporters - about 50 people in all to take a TGV out of Brussels for Paris where the top US diplomat has a series of meetings planned tomorrow. 

He ended a press conference at the NATO headquarters saying he "had to go" as Psaki added: "Sorry we have to catch a train."
23:20  Modi surpasses White House in Twitter follower base:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the fourth most "followed" world leader on Twitter, has overtaken the White House in terms of number of followers on the microblogging site, an annual global study of world leaders today revealed.

According to Twiplomacy, a study conducted by global public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller, US President is the most followed leader on Twitter followed by Pope Francis, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Modi and the White House.

"Since his election in late May 2014, India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become the fourth-most followed world leader on Twitter, with 4,981,777 followers. He surpassed the United States White House account (4,980,207) today and is using Twitter as a power tool to broadcast his messages," the updated study said.

Earlier in the day, the study had said: "He is expected to surpass the US White House account (4,973,061 followers), within the next days and is using Twitter as a power tool to broadcast his messages." 

But it later updated the study with including today's figures.
22:49  Blast rocks shopping centre in Nigeria capital:  
A loud explosion hit a crowded shopping centre today in Nigeria's capital Abuja, which has been repeatedly attacked by Boko Haram Islamists, the national rescue agency said. 

"We received the information at about 0830 IST about a blast" at the Emab Plaza, not far from the seat of government, said Manzo Ezekiel, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). 

"Rescue operation has already commenced," he told AFP. "You can see smoke billowing from the sky. It's a very crowded place. It's full of people on a working day." An employee of the nearby Newcastle Hotel in the Wuse II area of the city, who did not want to be named, said she clearly heard the explosion.

It was not clear what caused the blast but Boko Haram has attacked Nigeria's capital twice in the last 10 weeks. 

A car bombing killed 75 people at the Nyanya bus terminal on the outskirts of the city on April 14 while a copycat bombing at the same spot on May 1 left 19 people dead.
22:47  US names Hafeez Saeed's JuD as terror outfit:  
Tightening its noose around the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, the United States has added its affiliates, including the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, to its list of designated terror organisations and slapped sanctions against two Pakistan-based LeT leaders.

The State Department has amended Lashkars designations to add the aliases: Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Al-Anfal Trust, Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool and Tehrik-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awwal, an official statement said. 

Simultaneously, the Department of the Treasury targeted the financial and leadership networks of LeT by designating Nazir Ahmad Chaudhry (Ahmad) and  Muhammad Hussein Gill as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

Ahmad and Gill are being designated for acting for or on behalf of LeT, a terrorist organisation based in Pakistan. 

Treasury and the Department of State have designated 22 individuals and four entities associated with LeT.

"In targeting Lashkar-e-Tayiba leadership, today's action demonstrates our unrelenting commitment to combating terrorism by disrupting terrorist groups' financial activities," said the Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S Cohen.

"We will continue to target LeT's financial foundation to disrupt and impede its violent activities," he added. 
22:03  DU crisis continues, UGC issues fresh ultimatum:   With Delhi University still on a defiant path, the University Grants Commission tonight gave a fresh ultimatum to it to begin the admission process for the undergraduate classes dumping the controversial four-year course.

After long discussions between DU and UGC officials, the UGC issued the directive in the night in the wake of reservations among the colleges over implementing the three-year programme and starting the admission process. Notwithstanding the UGC claim that 57 of the 64 colleges have accepted its directive, confusion reigned supreme over the admissions because the colleges felt they need clear cut guidelines from a "competent authority".

In the midst of all these developments, a move was initiated by a group of academicians, said to be supporters of DU Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh, in a bid to break the deadlock. They have proposed a three-year honours programme in place of the four-year course.
21:19  Govt websites down on tech glitch; PIB says no hack attack:  Government websites across ministries, including the Prime Minister's Office, suffered outages this evening that were attributed to "malfunctioning" and not a cyber attack.

The PMO website, along with those of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and key ministries such as finance and defence, were not accessible for a few hours this evening.

While the Press Information Bureau's website remained down, the department said in a Twitter message: "Govt clarifies that there was no cyber attack or hacking of Govt websites. Due to malfunctioning of some equipment, some sites were down."

It said services would be restored soon, although no time line was given. Officials of the National Informatics Centre, which hosts the websites, said they were looking into the matter. The officials said the websites encountered some technical glitches because of which they became inaccessible.
20:31  Police need warrants to search cell phone data: US supreme court:  The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that police officers usually need a warrant before they can search an arrested suspect's cellphone.The court said on a 9-0 vote in an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts that the right of police to search an arrested suspect at the scene without a warrant does not extend in most circumstances to data held on a cellphone.

There are some emergency situations in which a warrantless search would be permitted, the court noted.

Read the full story here
20:21  Will not shift to new house if courts asks me to do so: Kejriwal:  Reiterating that he was unaware of the controversy over his new house, AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal today said that he will not shift to his new accommodation till the legal issues are resolved.

"Its a dispute between two brothers. I went to the landlord (Naren Jain) and rented out the house. The brothers will sort out the matter. If the court tells me not to stay in the house, I will look for another residence," Kejriwal told a press conference.

The AAP leader had zeroed in on the house at No.4B Flagstaff Road in North Delhi and was told that the property belonged to Naren Jain. However, Jain's brother, Virendra, has claimed that there is a dispute over the property between him and his siblings and the matter is in the court. He has pointed out that the house cannot be rented out without the court's orders.

Virendra also filed three applications before the Delhi high court today, one of which was to restrain the ex-CM of Delhi from moving into the house.
19:45  Maharashtra cabinet clears 5% Muslim, 16% Maratha quota:  Just in: According to reports, the Maharashtra cabinet has cleared 16% quota for Marathas, and 5% quota for Muslims.

More details are awaited.
19:38  Bus driver given death for mowing down 9 pleads 'unsound mind':  Santosh Mane, a former state transport bus driver, who has been awarded death penalty for mowing down nine persons in a fit of reckless driving on Pune roads in January 2012, today pleaded before the Bombay High Court that he was of "unsound mind" at the relevant time.

Mane's lawyer argued that he did not have the motive to commit such a heinous crime and that at the time of the incident he was of "unsound mind".

A bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode was hearing an appeal filed by Mane against his conviction by the Pune trial court. To a query by the bench whether the trial court had observed that he was of "unsound mind" at the time of the incident, the lawyer replied in the negative.
19:27  Modi will not be present at World Cup football final:   Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was invited by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to watch the World Cup football final next month, will not be attending the sporting event.

"I understand that there are no plans for the Prime Minister to be present at the football FIFA final," the Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs told reporters here today. Modi is expected to travel to Brazil for a summit of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa countries which will be held between July 15 and 17 in the city of Fortaleza.

The World Cup final will be held in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. Given the proximity of the two events, the BRICS leaders were invited by Brazil to the football final. Rousseff had last week invited Modi to watch the FIFA World Cup final.
19:08  CBI judge hearing Amit Shah's case, transferred:  The special CBI judge hearing the case of fake encounter cases of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati, was today transferred, following which the court adjourned the hearing on the Amit Shah's discharge plea.
19:07  LIVE! Nagaland governor Ashwini Kumar resigns:   Nagaland Governor Ashwini Kumar resigns. Home minister Rajnath Singh today said that the government cannot rule out the appointment of governors before the Parliament session begins on July 7.

The Modi government has so far refrained from sending a formal communication to Congress-appointed governors to submit their papers, relying instead on Union home secretary Anil Goswami to nudge the occupants of Raj Bhavans informally to step down on their own.
18:43  One of the best photo-shopped images on the Suarez bite 
18:42  Natural gas price to remain USD 4.2:  Govt orders status quo on natural gas prices for three months; current price of USD 4.2 to continue till Sept-end. Comprehensive discussion on the issue is required, says oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
18:35  Raghu Ram and his Dubai leadership session:  Indian security agencies are keen to know more about the leadership session delivered today afternoon in Dubai by one of the most sought-after leadership mentors in Asia: Raghu Raman, till recently CEO of Indias National Intelligence Grid or NatGrid, ex-soldier and UN peacekeeper.

The reason, you ask? Because Raghu Raman, as chief of NatGrid, is said to have ignored many of the established norms of diplomatic protocol and intelligence specifications -- by avoiding staff members of Indian embassies in foreign countries -- during his high-level meetings at the Pentagon and White House.
18:28  Cabinet defers decision on gas price hike by three months:  Just in: Cabinet defers decision on gas pricing by three months. The cabinet will hold discussions on the issue.  
18:26  With PMO at the wheel, no new cars for ministers:  Some of the new Union ministers are keen to buy a car but cannot, because of a diktat that all purchases above Rs 1 lakh need the PMO's approval.

Not only has Modi zipped the lips of his ministers, but he has also tied up the purse strings, it seems. The PMO terms this as an austerity measure.

In fact, after a secretary told a Union minister recently that the PMO's approval was necessary for a new car, the latter was compelled to withdraw his request.

Such is the "undeclared emergency-like situation' in the corridors of power, whispered one.
18:19  PM to meet President every second Thursday:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi quietly drove down to Rashtrapati Bhavan recently to discuss certain crucial issues with President Pranab Mukherjee, something which escaped the attention of our ubiquitous television news channels.

Incidentally, the prime minister has conveyed to the President that he has fixed Wednesdays for the Union Cabinet meeting, and sought his permission to fix alternate Thursdays for their meetings.
18:13  AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal writes to PM Narendra Modi, "If you take decision to increase prices of natural gas, it will lead to a disastrous price rise in the country."
18:12  Will Dr Singh join Modis delegation to US?:  Twelve members of Parliament are part of the Indian delegation to the UN General Assembly session to be held in the third week of September. 

The PMO has informally sounded out former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh to be a part of the delegation, for two reasons. One, that he could spend time with this daughter, who lives there, and two, to fill the Congress quota on the delegation.

The BJP will have seven MPs on the delegation while the AIADMK-TDP-Akali Dal and Trinamool Congress will form the rest, leaving one slot for the Congress.

Modi also wants to take along two senior journalists on the trip -- obviously one will be from Gujarat.
17:55  Rahul in Europe with Priyanka and kids:  Rahul Gandhi with his sister Priyanka Vadra and her children are now in Europe on vacation. While details of their schedules are known to South Block, the earlier dispensation was not keen on knowing the movements of the Nehru-Gandhi family. They are likely to be back very soon, according to the AICC spokesperson.
17:53  LIVE! MEA: Two nurses from Iraq conflict zones rescued:  MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin daily briefing on the situation in Iraq. He says there are other nurses in conflict zones apart from the 46 nurses in Tikrit. India has been able to rescue two other nurses from these conflict zones. As for the 46 nurses in Tikrit, Akbaruddin says there are no intrusions in the hospital and the nurses remain safe. "We remain in touch with them. We are exploring all options, every effort is being made," he says.

India has evacuated 17 more of its nationals from the conflict zone of Iraq with the help of local authorities taking the total number of those rescued so far to 34 and also advised its citizens to leave on voluntary basis by commercial means in view of the "fragile" security situation.

The External Affairs Ministry, which issued a fresh travel advisory on Tuesday asking Indians to remain indoors if they are in conflict-prone areas, said, "The safety of Indians in Iraq remains the matter of importance for the country."

The abducted Indians remain in captivity and are unharmed, he says and the government is in touch with various sources. 
17:33  Social media went berserk with jokes about Uruguay's Luis Suarez sinking his teeth into Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during the two teams' decisive World Cup group D game last night.

Here's a sample: Alexander Grayson ('@AColdVengeance) tweeted: I would just like to state that Luis Suarez is in no way affiliated to any Vampire network I am aware of...he's just a disgrace to football!

Sid ('@sidmallya) tweeted: England may have gotten out of their group had they had the same hunger as Suarez....

And a pic of the one we loved...

Read more
17:29  Condoms safe, fidelity safest: Health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan clarifies:  Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, who was quoted as saying in an interview that the stress on condom use in AIDS awareness campaigns sent a wrong message of promoting illegal sex, today said his comments had been distorted.

 "Condoms promise safe sex, but the safest sex is through faithfulness to one's partner. Prevention is always better than cure," he said in a long statement in his defence that raised more eyebrows.  Read
17:24  Wasn't just the Emergency, India became lord of cricket today:  And on this day, in 1983, India became Lord of cricket, smashing Windies' hegemony to win cricket WC. Read
17:22  FIVE infamous World Cup offences and their punishments!:  Uruguay striker Luis Suarez could be suspended from the World Cup for the second successive tournament after he appeared to bite Italy's Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during his team's 1-0 win on Tuesday.A furious Giorgio Chiellini said he had been bitten by Suarez during the South Americans' 1-0 Group D victory at the World Cup on Tuesday, and photographs showed what appeared to be bite marks on his shoulder.

On FIVE infamous World Cup offences and their punishments!  Take a look.
17:19  Astronomers discover coldest ever white dwarf - an ancient diamond the size of the Earth. Read
17:15  Qaeda merges with ISIL at Syria-Iraq border town: NGO:  Al-Qaeda's Syrian offshoot today made an oath of loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant at a key town on the Iraqi border, a monitor said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the merger is significant because it opens the way for ISIL to take control of both sides of the border at Albu Kamal in Syria and Al-Qaim in Iraq, where the jihadist group has led a major offensive this month.
16:52  Cow politics set to take centre stage in West Bengal:  The age-old tussle over cow slaughter in public -- although never a serious political issue in Bengal largely because of the three-decade-long Left rule and the TMC's dependence on minority votes -- is fast becoming a rallying point now. Read
16:50  A night to forget: Rajdhani passengers recount horror :  Recounting the fear and shock following the derailment of the Rajdhani Express, passengers of the New Delhi-Dibrugarh train on Wednesday said it was a "night to forget". Read
16:36  A TV Journalist's open letter to Indian news editors:  It could have been anybody, pushed to the edge by consistent, cruel mind games. It was just unfortunate that it happened in public and hardly anyone bothered. Or perhaps it was just a conspiracy. Whatever it was, self-righteous News Editors were not spotted screaming their lungs out about the injustice - now that one of their own had opened Pandora's box. Read
16:19  Indira Gandhi's "top secret" recommendation that the President declare emergency.
16:18  And while on the Emergency, here's what the secret government order calling for ads to Indian Express and other publications to be stopped, said. Read
16:16  Arun Jaitley on the 2 am knock at his door :  The Emergency has not received as much traction in the last 10 years as it has done today, for obvious reasons.

This is an excerpt from finance minister Arun Jaitley's blog.

"At about 2 am past midnight, I received a midnight knock at my residence. The police had come to arrest me. My father, a lawyer by profession got into an argument outside the gate of my house asking them at least to inform him as to the nature of offence I had committed. The police had simple instructions to arrest me - they did not know under which provision and for which offence. While this argument was on, I escaped from the backdoor and went to the friends house in the neighbourhood."

And here's the whole blog
16:10  What you need to know about Pakistan's North Waziristan operation. Read it here.
16:06  Eli Wallach, the 'Ugly' passes away:  Actor Eli Wallach, who played The Ugly in the 1966 classic Western film The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, passed away on June 24. He was 98. The Good was played by Clint Eastwood while Lee Van Cleef played The Bad. The film was directed by Sergio Leone.

Wallach is survived by his wife Anne Jackson and children. He was also famous for his role in John Sturges' 1960 film The Magnificent Seven, where he played the antagonist.

Wallach starred in more than 90 films including The Lineup, The Misfits, How To Steal A Million, The Godfather: Part III and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and more recently, The Holiday.
15:53  Sushma meets Mamata ahead of Bangladesh visit :  Just in: Ahead of her visit to Dhaka, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj speaks to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The visit,. from June 25-27, marks the first substantive engagement between the new NDA government in New Delhi and Dhaka.
15:50  Ratan Tata tweets vote of support for Modi govt :  Ratan Tata's vote of confidence for the Modi government. The chairman emeritus of Tata Sons tweets: "The nation voted 4 change. We need 2 stand together 2 support the new Govt's actions to re-build economic growth and prosperity in India."
15:49  LIVE! Lanka agrees to release 46 Indian fishermen:  The home ministry confirms that 46 Indian fishermen in custody in Sri Lanka were being released. "Modalities for their return being worked out," tweeted MHA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.

The fishermen  were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy this week for allegedly poaching into the country's waters and were sent to judicial custody. They were arrested by Sri Lankan on June 19 from two different locations in the country.
15:33  Excise duty cuts extended :  Excise duties were reduced in Feb this year in some sectors. Govt has decided to extend these cuts for the next six  months, finance minister Arun Jaitley. 
15:07  How and why are so many Indians trapped in Iraq:  It is estimated that, as of now, there are more than 10,000 Indian workers in strife-torn Iraq -- 40 workers from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have reportedly been abducted, 36 from Haryana have contacted the control room set up the Haryana government, 700 people from Telangana are believed to be stuck there and 46 nurses from Kerala and Tamil Nadu are also stranded but are safe.

Though serious efforts are underway to secure their safety and return, we need to deliberate over how and why so many Indian citizens are trapped in these places, dreaming of lucrative jobs.

15:05   BJP leader from Someshwar joins Cong ahead of bypoll :  Ahead of assembly bypoll to three seats in Uttarakhand slated for July 21, the BJP leader from Someshwar, Rekha Arya, switched over to the Congress.
14:55  Rs 5 lakh each for families of students who died in Beas river tragedy:  JUST IN: The family of each student who died in the Mandi tragedy will get Rs 5 lakh as compensation, says the high court. The criminal investigation into Mandi tragedy, which has been initiated by the police, will be monitored by the court. All Larji dam officials who were on duty and college officials who accompanied students made party to the case.

Bodies of three students of VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology, who were among the 25 victims washed away in the Beas river in Himachal Pradesh on June 8, were brought to the city on Monday. On Sunday rescue teams recovered these bodies which surfaced in Pandoh Dam, and the three were identified as Bairinene Ritwik, C H Parmeshwar and Muppidi Kiran Kumar.
14:45  'Iraq crisis won't affect oil supply to India':  To bring you back to the present: The Centre today said the situation in Iraq was a matter of concern and hoped that the turmoil in the Gulf country will not affect the oil supplies to India.

"The new issue of concern is Iraq. Our oil pipeline comes from Southern Iraq. So far the terrorist have not targeted this pipeline but the government is keeping a close watch on the issue," Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said.

"We are hopeful that the situation in Iraq improves and our oil supplies are not affected," Singh, who laid a wreath the War Memorial at Badamibagh Cantonment here, said.
14:28  LIVE! This day, 39 years ago, Indira Gandhi declared Emergency:  This is a historical image of the firebrand socialist George Fernandes in chains after his arrest in 1976, published in Time magazine. This photograph with raised, but bound hands, was splashed by the world print media, mainly Time and Newsweek, which stirred the international public opinion and the conscience of human right activists against the Emergency rule in India.

Fernandes was hailed as an anti-establishment hero during the Emergency, and it was this image that became symbolic of the political repression of the period. Fernandes was then just 47 years old.

For those of you who were not born then, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi imposed a state of Emergency on the country. Democracy was suspended for 19 long months and India was reduced to a tin-pot dictatorship.

Read distinguished journalist and the author of Indira Gandhi: A personal and political biography, Inder Malhotra's 2010 column for on those dark days.
14:18  Lest we forget: Remembering the Emergency:  Thirty-nine years ago, on June 25, 1975, then prime minister Indira Gandhi declared the 'Emergency' and in an instant changed a vibrant democracy into a dictatorship. Read more

Some of the tweets today:

MediaCrooks‏: Fakru Ahmed, then Prez, signed the Emergency declaration from his bath-tub... thats the kind of puppets we had ...

nikhil wagle:  ‏RSS opposed emergency, but some of their leaders apologized n came out of jail. So did few socialists. Read RSS chief's letters to Indira.

Sambit Patra: ‏This 39th Annvrsy of d Emergency should be a reminder of d extent to which Congress can go,to further it's own Cause!! #Don'tForgetEmergency

RVAIDYA ‏: initially Dr @swamy39 during Emergency was underground in Gujarat- with Modi-later JP advised him to go to USA&spread mssge globally. ‏: Emergency Anniversary] As the #Opposition, the BJP condemned the draconian IT Act. Will it please amend it now?

Narendra Modi PM: ‏On this day, in 1975, Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency. All those who believe in democracy can't & shouldn't forget.

nitin gokhale: ‏And 39 yrs ago, as a teenager, I remember being in Pune. Everyone speaking in hushed tones about some terrible (emergency) event. Now I know

Pic: Narendra Modi disguised as a sikh during the Emergency
14:05  "She' was angry, and at precisely midnight, she declared a state of Emergency. India would never be the same again. Read
14:01  Once upon an Emergency:  On the 39th anniversary today of the Emergency (1975-77) --  a most squalid chapter in independent India's history -- it is necessary to remind ourselves what a hammer blow it was. The poison it injected into Indian public life took long years to be pumped out of the body politic.

Read Inder Malhotra's column for the Indian Express.
13:54  Sharad Yadav (JDU) on price hikes: Yeh to abhi trailer hai, aane waale dino mein mehengai aur badhegi. This is just a trailer, prices will rise in days to come.
13:50  List of dead, injured in Rajdhani derailment:  List of dead, injured in the Rajdhani derailment today.
13:47  Govt mulling mass evacuations in Iraq:  Update on the situation in Iraq. The home ministry says it's mulling all options including mass evacuations in Iraq.  
13:43  Governors may be appointed before Parl session begins on July 7:  Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the brewing controversy over governors. Singh says the government cannot rule out the appointment of governors before the Parliament session begins on July 7.

The NDA govt has indicated it wants governors appointed by the UPA to step down.

Governors who have been facing the heat of the Modi government, are -- M K Narayanan (West Bengal), Kamla Beniwal (Gujarat), Margaret Alva (Rajasthan), HR Bhardwaj (Karnataka), K Shankarnarayan (Maharashtra), Sheila Dikshit (Kerala).

Uttar Pradesh governor BL Joshi and Chhattisgarh governor Shekhar Dutt have already resigned.
13:25  The BJP has cancelled its dinner for the council of ministers following the Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express mishap.
13:25  Shots fired at plane landing in Peshawar; 1 killed, 2 injured:  Meanwhile, a major catastrophe was narrowly averted when shots fired by unknown gunmen on a Pakistani passenger plane as it was landing at the airport here failed to cause damage to the aircraft but killed a woman passenger and injured two crew members.

The Boeing flight PK756, carrying 178 passengers from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia to Peshawar, was fired upon for two minutes before landing at the Bacha Khan International airport last night.

A woman passenger was killed and two flight stewards- Wajid and Ijaz- were injured.

A police official said the shots could have been fired from a nearby residential area which is close to the airport. Authorities were scouring the area to find the attacker.
12:57  Railways blames sabotage, Gowda says it's too early to decide:  While Gowda has refused to comment on whether it was sabotage that caused the derailment, railways says it suspected sabotage by Maoists. "Prima facie, it appears to be a case of sabotage. There was a blast on the track, which could have caused the derailment," Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said in Delhi.
12:56  Rail minister Sadananda Gowda is on his way from Patna to the accident site. 
12:55  In pictures: 12 coaches of Rajdhani Express derail in Chhapra.
12:54  LIVE! Rajdhani derailment: NOT possible to escort every train, says railways:  Madhuresh Kumar, General Manager, East Central Railway, has now said that it was not possible to "escort every train." A passenger train headed from New Delhi to Assam derailed early this morning in Bihar, killing four people. In another accident in the state, a freight train went off the tracks; there were no casualties in that accident.

Former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, had slammed the NDA government saying, "I know that a pilot engine is run 30 minutes ahead of Rajdhani Express trains. This is done to check whether the line is clear and tracks are safe. It seems this was not done in this case and the accident happened," he said.

"This is a clear cut case of negligence by railway officials. I want to know why the pilot engine was not run on the tracks before the Rajdhani Express was scheduled to cross the area," he added.
12:50  Black ribbobn day today: Women journalists protest harassment at workplace:  Women journalists in Mumbai have decided to wear a black ribbon today as a mark of protest over the harassment of women at the workplace. This comes in the wake of the attempted suicide of India TV anchor on Sunday by consuming poison at the channel's office in Sector 85.

The woman was immediately admitted in an ICU at Kailash Hospital and her condition is said to be stable.

Sources in the channel said the woman had posted a suicide note on a social networking website, in which she had named senior channel officials of betrayal and hatching a conspiracy against her.
12:28  Mukeshbacked SEZ owes govt agency Rs 237 cr: CAG:  CIDCO failed to recover damage dues, revenue share, development costs. Read
12:27  A banker, telecom executive, builder, all sign up to fight in Iraq:  A Shia organisation in Delhi claims to have registered more than 1 lakh youths to travel to Iraq to protect Shia shrines "by all means legal, just and moral'.

The volunteers -- including builders, businessmen, and executives with banks and telecom companies -- speak passionately about 'thousands' being killed in Iraq where a Sunni insurgency is raging, but appear mostly unclear about who is responsible for the "mass murders". Read
12:23  Rajdhani derailment: Helpline numbers:  Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailment helpline numbers:
Chapra -- 06152-43409
Muzaffarpur -- 0621 2213034
Delhi -- 011-23342954
12:13  Bihar CM rules out Maoist role in Rajdhani mishap:   Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi today ruled out the involvement of Maoists in the Rajdhani Express derailment in Chapra which left four persons dead and said the incident appears to be a result of "error" on the part of Railways.

"Prima facie it does not appear to be the handiwork of Maoists in the Rajdhani derailment at Chapra," he told reporters.

He ruled out "sabotage" by Maoists as the cause behind the derailment of New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express.

"No trace of blast on the track or any other evidence suggesting sabotage has been found so far," he said.

Manjhi said he spoke to Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda about the incident and also drew his attention towards announcement of ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the family of the dead whereas the standard practise is to pay Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia in such cases.
12:03  Remember the Indian Express during Emergency?:   While Al Jazeera's full page ad in NYT may be interestingly done, it's not unique. On 26th June 1975, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in India lasting almost 21 months.

During this period fundamental rights were suspended, and news and media were censored.

The Indian Express protested by leaving the editorial section blank.
12:02  Al Jazeera's ad in the New York Times :   Al Jazeera's full-page ad in The New York Times: "This is what happens when you silence journalists."

Three Al Jazeera journalists were jailed for seven years each by an Egyptian judge on Monday. Cairo defended the journalists' convictions - for aiding a "terrorist organisation" - and rejected the widespread condemnation as "interference in its internal affairs".

The three, who all denied the charge of working with the now banned Muslim Brotherhood, included Australian Peter Greste and Canadian-Egyptian national Mohamed Fahmy, Cairo bureau chief of Al Jazeera English.
11:39  Rajdhani derailment: PM in touch with railway minister :  PMO tweets: The PM is in touch with the Railway Minister, who updated the PM on the relief work at the accident site. The PM has condoled the loss of lives due to the accident of the Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express. He prays for the speedy recovery of the injured.
11:32  Rail minister Sadananda Gowda leaves for Patna with MoS railway and two rail board officials. 
11:24  In other news: Senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam asks Chief Justice of India to withdraw his candidature as the judge of the Supreme Court.
11:22  List of dead, injured in Rajdhani derailment:  This is the list of the dead and the injured in the Rajdhani derailment.

Three of the dead are still unidentified. Fourth is Bharti Bedi, 45 years, wife of Sanjiv Bedi, Firojpur/Punjab.

List of injured passengers:
1. Ranjit M-25
2. Ram Prasad     M-42
3. Badamu Devi     F-65
4. Saloni     F-09 Months
5. Ahmad Raja     M-28
6. Mishant     M-16
7. Ram Dayal Singh M-48
8. Manju Sindh     F-26
9. Jan Dil     M-29.

Ten people were injured in the incident. The name of the 10th person is not available as yet.
11:14  A goods train was derailed due to a blast. 18 wagons got derailed in the accident. The Maoists have given a bandh call to protest the "strong armed" tactics used by security forces against "innocent people" in the area on suspicion of being Maoists sympathisers. 
11:12  Fve coaches - B-1, B-2, B-3, B-4 and the pantry car - overturned in the derailment while seven other coaches - B-5 to B-10 and the power car - got derailed at the station, about 75 km from Patna, at Motihari. 
11:11  Rajdhani derailment: Relief ops over, injured moved to hospital:  Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who is the BJP MP from Chhapra, is at the site.

Rail minister Sadananda Gowda said there prima facie proof there is no proof that it was a Maoist attack. Relief ops which began immediately after the incident, which happened at around 2 am today, is over. The injured were moved to the Sadar hospital in Chhapra. The casualty figure stands at four, not five, with 10 injured.

Remember, apart from the Rajdhani derailment, there was another derailment 60 km away in Motihari. No casualty figures in that incident, so far.
11:04  'Why wasn't pilot engine run in front of Rajdhani?':  Lalu Prasad Yadav, a former railway minister in the UPA government said. "I know that a pilot engine is run 30 minutes ahead of Rajdhani Express trains. This is done to check whether the line is clear and tracks are safe. It seems this was not done in this case and the accident happened," he said.

"This is a clear cut case of negligence by railway officials. I want to know why the pilot engine was not run on the tracks before the Rajdhani Express was scheduled to cross the area," he added.

The incident happened at around 2.15 AM near Goldenganj in Saran district, around 100 km northwest from Patna.
10:58  Technical fault, says rail minister Gowda:  Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda said there was no confirmation about what caused the derailment. This is the first train accident since the NDA government came to power.

Gowda said the bandh call given by Maoists in the area could not be co-related to the derailment. A thorough investigation has been ordered into the incident, and for now, a 'technical fault' is believed to have caused the incident. 
10:53  Rajnath Singh to meet home ministry officials following the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailment to assess the details of the incident.
10:48  Home minister rules out sabotage in Rajdhani Express derailment :  Home minister Rajnath Singh rules out sabotage in the Rajdhani Express derailment. Five people died when the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed at Golden Ganj station near Chhapra on early Wednesday morning. Twelve coaches were derailed in the incident, a railway spokesperson said. 
10:16  Rajnath Singh to meet Home Ministry officials after train derailment:  Home Minister Rajnath Singh has called a meeting with senior officials from his department after the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed near Chhapra in Bihar. BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who was present at the derailment site, said that he had informed the PM and Singh about the incident. Rudy added that all the people had been evacuated from the site. 
09:26  This is gross negligence: Lalu on train derailment:  Former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav has slammed the government after the Delhi-Dibrugarh train derailed near Chhapra in Bihar. "This is gross negligence on part of the government. They are still busy in celebrating their win," he said, adding that if the Maoists had announced a blockade then why were no precautions taken. 
09:05  Preity names 14 witnesses in Wadia spat case:  Actress Preity Zinta in her statement to the police has named 14 witnesses in the case and has also identified three places where she was allegedly abused by her former boyfriend Ness Wadia. Preity has said that Ness's friends were also there when she was abused. The police said they will now record the statements of the people who Preity has mentioned. 
08:44  Authorities recover three bombs 25 km away from train site:  Investigating the train derailment at Chhapra, bomb squad authorities have recovered three timer bombs, 25 kilometre away from the accident site. Authorities said they are investigating the case from all angles and suspect it could be a sabotage by the Maoists. 
08:22  Stand-off ends as 57 Delhi colleges agree to switch:  Fifty-seven of the 64 Delhi colleges agreed to go back to the three-year undergraduate course, signalling the end of the confrontation between the University Grants Committee and Delhi University.
07:58  4 dead after Rajdhani Express derails in Bihar:  At least four people were killed and eight injured when the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed at Golden Ganj station near Chhapra in Bihar. Five out of 12 bogies of the train capsized while the remaining seven have derailed. Railway relief and rescue teams have reached the spot and the injured have been taken to the Sadar hospital in Chhapra. Railways Minister Sadananda Gowda has already ordered a probe in the incident and announced Rs 2 lakh as compensation for the families of the dead, Rs 1 lakh for the grievously injured and Rs 20,000 for people who suffered minor injuries.
00:12  Luis Suarez bites Italian defender:  

On the world's biggest stage with his team facing elimination, Uruguay's Luis Suarez bit an opponent at the World Cup. Suarez, who earned a 10-match ban in 2013 for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, bit Italy's Giorgio Chiellini late into Uruguay's final group game. Suarez also earned a seven-match ban in 2010 for biting a player in the Eredivisie.  


No card was shown to Suarez by the referee, and Chiellini was furious. He pulled down his jersey to show the marks on his shoulder.


Read more on USA Today

00:10  Twitter reacts to Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo's performances vs. Uruguay :  

Italy were dumped out of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on Tuesday in Natal, as Uruguay won 1-0 to see themselves through to the last 16 in place of the Azzurri.   


A late Diego Godin header was enough for La Celeste'"who had to win the game'"to make the knockout rounds after losing to Costa Rica and beating England. 


Mario Balotelli'"Italy's star striker who bagged the crucial goal in defeating England'"was not looking at his sharpest for the majority of the first half. He went down early on, apparently injured, although sportswriter Tariq Panja was less than convinced about the validity of the AC Milan man's complaints:


Read more on Bleacher Report

00:07  Putin drops Ukraine military option:  

Russian President Vladimir Putin took another step toward de-escalating the crisis in Ukraine, signaling he wants to avoid more Western sanctions. But more fighting Tuesday claimed the lives of 10 Ukrainian soldiers despite a cease-fire, highlighting the tenuous nature of progress on the ground.


Mr. Putin asked parliament to rescind his authorization to use military force in Ukraine, telling reporters later in Vienna that he did so because: "We want to create the conditions for this peace process."


The White House welcomed Mr. Putin's move but said it remained concerned about Russian troops and heavy weaponry it said were near the Ukraine-Russia border. Meanwhile, Ukraine's defense ministry said nine soldiers were killed when their helicopter was shot down near the militant stronghold of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine. One other soldier was killed and seven wounded in earlier clashes Tuesday, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said.


Read more on WSJ

00:05  Top headlines at this hour:  

UGC toughens stand in confrontation with DU

Molestation case: Mumbai police records Preity's statement

Local enmity threatening Kudankulam nuclear plant?

China releases videos showing evidence of terror attacks

Dhoni in trouble over 'Vishnu avatar'

Amid row over Delhi University's 4-year-course, vice chancellor quits

17 more Indians evacuated from Iraq

UK phone hacking: Brooks cleared of all charges; Coulson guilty

AgustaWestland may face probe in UK

Meet Lanka prez to sort fishermen issue: Swamy tells Jaya

DU 4 years programme rollback will boomerang on NDA: Congress

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