23:45 TRS writes to President over power 'loss':
TRS today complained to President Pranab Mukherjee about alleged loss caused to Telangana on the energy front in the division of Andhra Pradesh and about certain villages facing submergence due to a multi-purpose irrigation project being given to Seemandhra.
In a letter to the President, TRS President K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed concern over reduced share of power for Telangana from central generating stations and "taking away" the hydro-power station at Lower Sileru through a proposed Ordinance.
He was also concerned about seven mandals (blocks) being "excised" from Telangana due to the Polavaram multi-purpose irrigation project.
Separately, Rao urged Governor E S L Narasimhan to provide relief to the farmers in Telangana who suffered crop losses due to unseasonal rains.
22:47 Sheila Dikshit appointed Kerala governor:
Sheila Dikshit, a former three-term chief minister of Delhi, was today appointed the governor of Kerala within three months of her defeat in the recent assembly polls.
Highly placed sources said that the decision has been conveyed to 75-year-old Dikshit, who will succeed Nikhil Kumar, a former Delhi police commissioner.
22:45 Riots accused Jagdish Tytler wants to contest LS polls:
Former MP Jagdish Tytler, whose candidature was withdrawn by the Congress in the last Lok Sabha polls due to protests over his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, today filed his nomination for the Northeast Lok Sabha seat under Rahul Gandhi's pet primaries project.
The constituency, being represented by Jai Prakash Agarwal, today witnessed two other nominations -- that of Agarwal and Rajesh Lalotia, a former MLA from Patel Nagar.
"Party leaders Jagdish Tytler, Jai Prakash Agarwal and Rajesh Lolotia today filed their nominations for Northeast Lok Sabha seat under primaries project, an experiment by Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Candidates can withdraw their nominations till March 6. Subsequently, the voting will be held on March 11 for this seat," said a party representative.
22:41 Congress's first Lok Sabha list likely on Wednesday:
The Congress is likely to announce its first list for the Lok Sabha polls on Wednesday after discussing candidates for a number of seats in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
At a meeting of the Congress Election Committee, chaired by party president Sonia Gandhi today, the list of probable candidates for the three states were discussed.
Sources said nearly 30 per cent of these seats were discussed by the party's apex decision-making body.
22:39 Police opposes Teesta's bail in embezzlement case :
The Gujarat police opposed the anticipatory bail plea filed by social activist Teesta Setalwad, her husband Javed Anand and two others in the Gulbarg Society fund embezzlement case today.
In an affidavit filed before Sessions Court Judge H C Vora, the investigating officer of city crime branch ACP K N Patel stated that Teesta and others allegedly conspired to embezzle funds.
Opposing the bail plea, the investigating officer alleged that Teesta Setalwad is trying to influence witnesses in the case by making them send sworn affidavits to his office.
22:16 Telangana gets a happy birthday: June 2:
After decades of struggle, Telangana will finally become a reality on June 2.
The Union home ministry on Tuesday announced that June 2 will be the foundation day of the new state.
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. It has also received the requisite approval from President Pranab Mukherjee.
22:04 Former army official moves HC against 'Captain' Vijaykant:
The Madras high court today directed police to register a case against DMDK chief and Opposition Leader in the Tamil Nadu assembly Vijayakant, if a cognizable offence is made out on a complaint against him for using 'Captain' before his name.
K Thandabani, a former Indian Army official, had on February 14 lodged a police complaint against Vijayakant for prefixing the army rank 'Captain' in his name.
Since no action was taken by police on his complaint, he moved the high court to take action against the actor.
22:02 PM returns home after Myanmar visit :
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returned home today after concluding his two-day visit to Myanmar during which he attended the 3rd BIMSTEC Summit.
Dr Singh also held many bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit. He met Myanmar President U Thein Sein, Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Myanmar's pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.
Warning about the evolving threat of terrorism in the BIMSTEC region, Dr Singh, in his address to the summit, sought stronger cooperation from the seven-nation grouping to effectively counter it, asserting that their security is "indivisible".
22:01 BJP will abolish MOST taxes: Gadkari:
The BJP, if voted to power, will try to abolish most of the taxes currently in place to generate more revenue and reduce inflation, senior leader Nitin Gadkari said today.
"Out of the 34 taxes currently paid, we will try and abolish maximum number of them and put an end to the license raj. This is how we can increase the revenues between 25 percent and 30 per cent," the former BJP president said at an event.
This measure, he claimed, would also bring down the inflation rate while enhancing 100 per cent transparency.
21:01 BJP, SP have tacit understanding: Mayawati :
BSP chief Mayawati today accused the BJP and the SP of having a tacit understanding ahead of the Lok Sabha polls to polarise voters, saying Muslims have suffered due to communal violence both in Gujarat and in Uttar Pradesh.
She also attacked the Congress for "rampant corruption", spiraling prices and not doing enough for minorities, backward sections and the poor. But at the same time, she skirted an attack on Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
"In his rally in Allahabad on Sunday, Mulayam Singh Yadav accused Narendra Modi on the issue of post-Godhra riots. We also agree that the issue should be raised. But it is the same Allahabad where in SP's previous regime, communal flareup took place and girls were sexually assaulted. There was no justice for the victims. Yadav made no mention of it," she told a press conference.
20:59 After UP, Arvind Kejriwal to kick off tour in Modi's turf :
Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal will embark on his four-day tour of Gujarat in order to verify BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi "development" claims.
During his first visit to the state after forming a new party, Kejriwal would travel extensively in Gujarat for the first three days and on the fourth day address a public meeting in the city, AAP said.
"During his Uttar Pradesh tour, Kejriwal had announced that he will go to Gujarat to verify the development claims of the Narendra Modi government. As part of that tour, a four-day unplanned tour has been chalked out," said AAP's Gujarat convener Sukhdev Patel.
20:44 BJP seeks clarification on CBI-Naveen meet :
The BJP today demanded clarification from Odisha Chief Minister and CBI Director Ranjit Sinha on their meeting, saying, "People want to know what transpired between them as Naveen Patnaik and his ministers are in the orbit of suspicion in coal-gate, mining and chit fund scams".
"The meeting between the CBI director and the chief minister has sparked suspicion in the mind of people. Therefore, both should clarify as to what was discussed during their meeting," Odisha BJP Spokesman Suresh Pujari told reporters.
Stating that it was unusual for the head of the premier investigating agency meeting a chief minister, Pujari said that the meeting has raised eyebrows as the CBI was probing alleged irregularities in coal sector, in which Patnaik's role was under scanner.
20:43 India, Pakistan discuss trade across LoC:
India and Pakistan today held a meeting on cross-Line of Control trade and travel, during which ways and mechanisms for increasing people-to-people contact, increasing the trade volume and improving infrastructure at trading points were discussed.
The meeting took place against the backdrop of tension along the LoC after a driver from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir was arrested for allegedly smuggling brown sugar worth Rs 100 crore on January 17 at Salamabad in Uri in North Kashmir.
The Indian delegation was led by Joint Secretary in External Affairs Ministry R Tandon while the Pakistani side was represented by Director General (South Asia) Riffat Masood.
20:42 Sharif seeks continuation of peace talks with Taliban :
Notwithstanding a brazen terror attack, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today asked the government-appointed committee to continue the dialogue process with the Taliban to end the decade-long insurgency.
Sharif met with the state negotiators today at his residence and the committee submitted recommendations to him to resume the dialogue process.
Sharif directed the committee to continue consultations and it was decided that a meeting with the committee, nominated by the Taliban, will be held in the next few days, media reports said.
20:11 AAP's fund raising drive in Gujarat receives poor response:
If funds donated are any indicator of popularity, then the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) fund-raising drive before Lok Sabha elections has received a poor response in Gujarat.
Compared to funds collected from other states, the Gujarat unit of the AAP ranked eighth and when average donations are taken into account it stands 12th.
20:07 Pistorius trial witnesses cite argument, screams before gunshots:
Paralympian gold medalist Oscar Pistorius's murder trial ended its second day after one witness testified to hearing an argument before gunshots were fired while two others reported screams and cries for help.
Estelle van der Merwe, who lived in the same Silver Woods Country Estate as Pistorius, told the court that she heard what sounded like an argument in the home of a neighbour.
After the shooting, she said her husband went to the window and heard what he believed to be Pistorius crying. Charl Johnson said he and his wife Michelle Burger were awakened by a woman's screams and he ran to his balcony to listen.
20:04 'Our new report points to ongoing crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka's north':
We have today released a report that presents credible allegations pointing to the commission of crimes against humanity by Sri Lankan security forces during the five years since the civil war ended.
These crimes include rape, sexual violence, torture, murder, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, other inhumane acts, and land grabs against Tamil civilians in the Northern Province.
This report is the first to allege that the Government's subsequent actions after the war and through to the present day also point to the commission of such crimes. These findings underscore the urgent need to demand accountability now, for both post-war and wartime violations.
19:34 Sindhuratna fire could have started in sailors' deck: Navy:
The fire on board the submarine INS Sindhuratna could have started from the sailors' deck above the battery pit of the vessel, Navy said today.
"A preliminary assessment of damage sustained onboard was carried out by a specialist team of Western Naval Command. Based on preliminary inspection of third compartment (sailors' accommodation), the likely seat of fire has been indicated as the mess deck, which is located one deck above the battery bit," a Navy release said.
19:25 Rolls Royce deal: CBI asked to unearth money trail:
British major Rolls Royce allegedly paid around Rs 600 crore as commission to bag deals worth around Rs 10,000 crore with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the Defence Ministry has asked the CBI to unearth the money trail.
The commission was allegedly paid by the London-based company to its intermediaries for getting help in bagging defence deals, Defence Ministry officials said here today.
The CBI, which has been entrusted the case of alleged bribery, has been asked by the government to unearth the money trail involved.
19:22 Subrata Roy to sleep on the floor at Tihar, eat jail food:
Sahara chief Subrata Roy, who was sent in judicial custody for a week in Delhi by the Supreme Court today, will be kept in high-security Tihar prison where he will sleep on the floor and eat jail food like an ordinary prisoner.
Roy, who calls himself managing worker of Sahara India Pariwar, the largest private sector employer in the country, will be allowed to meet visitors only twice a week.
19:22 Modi's economic vision is political plagiarism: Sharma:
Hitting out at Narendra Modi, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma today said the economic vision of BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate is nothing but "political plagiarism".
Modi, he said, revealed nothing new in his economic vision for India and only rehashed the UPA government's achievements. "What is being claimed as a vision (by Modi) is political plagiarism," Sharma told reporters here.
18:53 The Lok Sabha poll dates will be announced at 10:30 am tomorrow.
18:20 Reeva Steenkamp's mom: It's important to forgive Oscar :
Just in: Reeva Steenkamp's mother on Oscar Pistorius: "It's important to forgive him... I don't want to live with bitterness in my life."South African athlete Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at their home in Pretoria on 14 February 2013 and is standing trial in the case.
18:14 BSP chief Mayawati addressing a presser says she totally refutes Narendra Modi's claims that the BSP government was corrupt.
18:13 The DMK will focus only on Tamil Nadu to get 150 MLAs in the 2014 assembly elections. The DMK is looking at getting a berth for TR Baalu or A Raja in Parliament and ensure MK Stalin is projected as Chief Minister.
17:58 The Lok Sabha election dates are likely to be announced tomorrow.
17:58 The link between elections and attacks on schools :
Here's the good news: Attacks on schools in India by Maoist insurgents have declined drastically in recent years, down from 71 in 2009 to three in 2012, a new report on violence against education says. Now for the bad news: In the run up to general elections such attacks have been known to increase. India goes to the polls by May. Read
17:52 As always when Sahara is in the picture, there was much drama in the Supreme Court today. Subrata Roy told the Supreme Court: Ours is a beautiful story. If you know it, you will love us.
To this, the Supreme Court to Roy: We are not impressed. We will love it, if you obey our orders and make payment.
17:48 Sahara to address a press conference at 6:30 pm today in Delhi.
17:39 The SC says the order (judicial custody) can be modified if Sahara comes up with an acceptable plan for repayment of the money.
17:37 Subrata Roy sent to Tihar jail till March 11:
And so it goes... Sahara chief Subrata Roy and two other directors have been sent to Tihar jail till March 11. Meanwhile, Roy's lawyers have to come up with an acceptable proposal to repay the Rs 20,000 crore to SEBI and the investors.
The unthinkable does happen.
17:22 SC to hear Sahara case on March 11 :
Update on the Subrata Roy story: The SC says that it wants a concrete proposal. "You can give it to us today or tomorrow," the SC says on the plea not to order custody of Roy. The SC clarifies that it is not an order on contempt. The SC says it will hear Roy on March 11.
17:11 Putin: Russia not yet sending troops into Ukraine:
Russian President Vladimir Putin says there is no need yet to send Russian troops into Ukraine, but he has not ruled out doing so.
Russia reserves the right to use "all means" to protect citizens in Ukraine, he told a news conference.
Russian and Ukrainian troops in Crimea are involved in a tense stand-off. Read
16:59 Why Stalin refuses to go to Delhi and meet Sonia:
Our sources tell us that Sonia Gandhi recently called MK Stalin, DMK chief Karunanidhi's son and asked him to come to Delhi to discuss the DMK and Congress alliance.
Stalin has politely refused to obey Sonia's orders since he believes that the DMK needs to face the 2016 Tamil Nadu assembly elections and going with the Congress would be counter-productive.
The DMK cannot ally with any other national party, including the BJP.
16:51 The air hostess was found dead on August 5, 2012 at her Ashok Vihar residence in north west Delhi. In her suicide note, she had said she was ending her life due to "harassment" by Kanda and Chadha.
16:48 Live! Geetika Sharma suicide case: Gopal Kanda gets bail :
Former Haryana minister Gopal Kanda gets bail on a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh and a surety of Rs 2 lakh. Kanda is an accused in the airhostess Geetika Sharma suicide case. The police, during the argument, opposed the bail plea of Kanda saying he may influence the witnesses and tamper with the evidence.
Kanda has been in jail for the last 18 months and the probe into the case has also been completed. Kanda had surrendered before the police on August 18, 2012 while Aruna Chadha, Kanda's employee and co-accused in the case, was arrested on August 8, 2012.
16:45 Former CECs appalled at delay in announcing poll dates :
Four former Chief Election Commissioners had a conference call this morning. The call was apparently about the delay in the announcement of the poll dates. It is was widely believed that the EC would announce the dates on March 2.
All the four former CECs were critical about CEC V S Sampath and his team and they have proposed to issue a public statement that the Election Commission should quickly wake up and announce the schedule.
They believe that even a day's delay is "undemocratic" as the Election
Commission should not be subservient to the UPA or to the PMO.
Former CEC TN Seshan during his tenure used to issue threats of cancelling the polling or the counting date, if there was a delay in announcing results. Such tantrums would keep politicians on tenterhooks.
At an all-party meet on February 4, the Election Commission was asked to complete the process of polls before the onset of the full summer. Parties want the polling to end before May 15, but the EC has ignored it, pushing it to early June.
The former CECs believe the present EC team is so weak that they have to wait for Rahul Gandhi's anti-corruption ordinances to be promulgated, Union Cabinet meetings to take decisions, and the Prime Minster to return from Myanmar.
16:35 Sahara's woman director spared from police custody:
The Supreme Court, while handing out the order, said, "We are not happy with the proposal of Sahara on refund of money. They have not come up with concrete proposal or a bank guarantee.
"You can't make payment in cash as it is contrary to law. You have to make payment through demand draft or cheque," SC tells Roy.
The SC said apart from Subrata Roy, two other male directors will also be taken into custody, but "not woman director Vandana Bhargava."
16:12 Live! Subrata Roy to remain in police custody, rules SC:
Subrata Roy will remain in police custody till he comes up with a proposal to pay investors. The police custody of two other directors are also being extended.
Roy had on Friday surrendered before the Lucknow Police and was arrested in connection with the contempt case arising out of two of his companies failing to refund a staggering Rs 20,000 crore to investors.
16:04 CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury's tweet on Kalyan Singh being made Vice President of BJP: "Kalyan Singh & Yedyurappa back in BJP -- deadly cocktail of corruption and communalism. BJP's blueprint for India's future."
15:56 Prez rule in AP a sad commentary on Cong functioning: Venkaiah:
The imposition of President's rule in Andhra Pradesh is a sad commentary on the functioning of Congress, senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu alleged here today.
"It is a sad commentary on the functioning of the Congress party. That's why I called it 'Tughlak (Mohammad Bin) rule'. They have majority in both states (Telangana and Seemandhra), but they could not form government here," Naidu told reporters in Hyderabad.
15:52 Why Delhi and CPM are silent on Ukraine:
When old friends are accused of doing what only old foes can do, comrades and countries are torn between Vladimir and volubility. The CPM has chosen silence over Russia's armed foray into Ukraine-held territory. So has New Delhi. Read
15:39 30,000-year-old giant virus 'comes back to life':
In other news: An ancient virus has come back to life after lying dormant for at least 30,000 years, scientists say. It was found frozen in a deep layer of the Siberian permafrost, but after it thawed it became infectious once again. The French scientists say the contagion poses no danger to humans or animals, but other viruses could be unleashed as the ground becomes exposed. Read
15:34 I have not even slept since winning Oscar: Lupita Nyong'o:
Actress Lupita Nyong'o says winning Oscar for her debut film was so overwhelming that she could not even sleep at the night.
The 31-year-old actress won the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in '12 Years a Slave', reported People magazine.
"It hasn't set in. I haven't even slept! It is overwhelming, but at the same time, this is the thing I dreamt for, it's the thing that I availed myself for. I'm just trying to allow myself to absorb it all," Lupita said.
The actress was possessive about the golden statuette. "The first half of the night I was being very, very selfish. I wouldn't let anyone even take a picture with it. No one was holding it. But then, it's really heavy," she said.
15:18 Subrata Roy to SC: With folded hands I beg you to consider 12 lakh Sahara employees:
Subrata Roy assures the Supreme Court that its order will followed and seeks more time for refunding money to investors. "I have faith in you. Punish me if I don't comply with your order," Roy tells the SC. "You push us to the corner. Had you been serious, this position would not have arrived," said the SC.
Sahara owes thousands of small investors in towns and villages Rs 20,000 crores in refunds.
15:10 Live! Subrata Roy to SC: With folded hands I beg you to consider 12 lakh Sahara employees:
Subrata Roy tells the Supreme Court that from tomorrow the sale of properties of the Sahara group can begin to make payments to SEBI, but the court turns down the proposal. He said so far the Sahara group has given SEBI over Rs 5000 crore but just Rs 1 crore has been disbursed.
Roy also said he was willing to give bank guarantees in three to four months.
He also told the court that the reason for not appearing in court was genuine and would like to be pardoned.
Getting emotional in court, Roy tells the judges, "With folded hands please consider the 12 lakh employees of the Sahara group."
15:02 Lupita, a Cinderella for everybody:
"No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid."
Dignified, inspiring words spoken by young woman who looked like a fairy princess on Hollywood's most spectacular night. Lupita Nyong'o won the Academy Award for best supporting actress -- and black, brown and "other" women and girls all around the world exhaled with relief and cheered with delight. Read
14:54 Meanwhile, Sahara chief Subrata Roy gets emotional inside the court. He says for the last 37 years he has never had a blot against him.
14:53 'Role of armed forces, three chiefs has been systematically eroded':
Admiral D K Joshi's resignation is certainly an example worthy of emulation by anybody who is in a leadership role. Unfortunately, over the last 30, 40 years, I can think of very few politicians or bureaucrats who could be termed real "Leaders". Read
the interview with Vice Admiral P J Jacob (retd), former Vice Chief of the Naval Staff.
14:49 AAP effect: MP CM to stage sit-in to take up farmers' cause:
AAP effect in Madhya Pradesh. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today said he and his Cabinet colleagues will stage a sit-in on March 6 during the bandh call given by the BJP to protest the Centre's apathy towards farmers affected by natural calamities.
"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had no time to meet me during my last visit to Delhi on the issue of farmers despite the fact that he was present in the national capital," Chouhan told reporters in the state Assembly's press room.
"If the Prime Minister has no time for a Chief Minister, then where will I raise my voice?" he asked.
"In view of the apathetic attitude of the Centre toward farmers, the entire Cabinet will stage a sit-in in the state capital from 10 am to 2 pm in protest on March 6 during the day-long bandh call given by the BJP," he said.
14:47 Subrata Roy apologises to Supreme Court for failing to respect summons:
Sahara chief Subrata Roy apologises in the Supreme Court. The Court tells Roy, "We respected you, you failed to respect us." To this, Roy apologised in court. Basically, there was no other option before Roy's lawyer after Roy failed to appear in court despite repeated summons.
Pic courtesy: Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times
14:26 The Art of Lord Snowdon:
With his marriage to Princess Margaret, Antony Armstrong-Jones vaulted to stratospheric renown as Britain's top portrait photographer. His extraordinary work behind the camera kept him there. Read
14:21 Royal elephants, bullocks and flying foxes at auction:
Paintings from what is considered to be one of the most significant collections of late Mughal art will go on auction in London next month in a sale of work that offers a glimpse into life in Delhi before the arrival of British rule. Read
14:18 First test drive of the resurrected Datsun:
Nissan Motor Co's long-dead Datsun brand is back on the roads this month with its first new car since the 1980s and The Wall Street Journal got one of the first test drives of the Go which was designed specifically for India and other emerging markets. Read
"The ink throwing at Sahara "Shri" cud also well b choreographed incident to help him avoid any further appearances," tweets Sucheta Dalal.
The rise of new rich and powerful in UP, Bihar. Read
14:03 'Chief Minister! Start working': Mulayam Singh pulls up son Akhilesh Yadav:
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has been embarrassed by his
own father, Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has publicly
admonished him and criticized his government for "sitting on files."
speaking at a government event, Mulayam Singh did not spare either
Akhilesh Yadav or Azam Khan, a powerful state minister who is said to be
close to the Samajwadi party chief.
"Aye Mukhyamantri sun lo!
(Hey, Chief Minister, listen). Officers are sitting on files. Chaploos
(stooges) are running the government. Stooges always cheat you, they are
never good for a chief minister's image," Mulayam Singh said,
addressing his son, who smiled gamely.
"Azam Khan, please start working," was his rebuke for the minister, who was seated next to Akhilesh Yadav.
Yadav added that once he had to step in to get a file cleared after it was delayed by over a month.
The Samajwadi party chief's outburst reflects his nervousness ahead of the national election, due by May.
Sources close to him say he is worried that the performance of his party's government will drag him down in the polls. -- NDTV
13:56 Virat Kohli shoots past Dhoni in Google search trends:
Virat Kohli has pipped MS Dhoni as in Google search trends. A last minute withdrawal by Dhoni and the stunning knock by Kohli in the debut match of the Asia Cup battle against Bangladesh may have been the cause.
A search trend analysis over the past 30 days now reveals how the online search on Kohli is on the rise leaving the popular Indian captain Dhoni now slipping to second spot. Kohli's alleged link-up with Anushka Sharma has helped as well.
For all that, Sachin Tendulkar still rules as the undisputed number # 1 cricketing icon as per search trends. Virendera Sehwag and Suresh Raina are seeing significant traction on Google search placing them at fourth and fifth place respectively.
13:45 Gadkari-Raj closeness could "affect" alliance, hints Sena:
Reacting to the meeting of former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari with MNS leader Raj Thackeray in Mumbai, Shiv Sena today said if a senior leader from BJP supports Raj or Sharad Pawar, it can affect the alliance.
"It can affect the 'Mahayuti' (grand alliance) if a senior leader from BJP meets Raj Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar," Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said.
The Sena leader also expressed confidence of his party firmly holding onto the Marathi electorate in Maharashtra. "Marathi votes will remain with Shiv Sena only. Nobody can dare take it away from us," he said.
"The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance will defeat Congress-NCP and would win as many as 40 seats out of the total 48 Lok Sabha in Maharashtra," Raut claimed.
Gadkari, who is said to enjoy a good rapport with Raj Thackeray, had yesterday met the latter at a suburban five-star hotel, triggering speculation that the saffron party is trying to win over the MNS chief into NDA for upcoming elections even as he said there is no reason for Shiv Sena to be annoyed by his meeting with Raj.
Gadkari had later told mediapersons that he "discussed with the MNS chief the ways to get rid of the Congress government."
13:39 'Most wanted' Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda joins AAP: Report :
In other news: 'Most wanted' Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, from eastern Odisha has joined AAP. According to a report, AAP has offered membership to Panda, a native of Mayurjhalia village in Nayagarh and a graduate in Mathematics.
The report further quotes sources as saying, "The AAP-Sabyasachi Panda political negotiation has been going on since January following the Maoist leader's attempt to manage political space in ruling Biju Janata Dal failed."
Earlier, the party's state unit chief Nishikanta Mohapatra also told reporters, "We are not opposed to anyone joining the party as long as someone willing to operate within our constitutional framework. Read more
13:33 Why does the Gwalior lawyer who threw ink at Subrata Roy have to take off his shirt in protest? The man, who says he is an advocate, threw the ink, which splashed Roy in the face. He calls Roy, 'Garibon ka chor'.
13:12 The other ink attack:
And remember this? A self-proclaimed BJP worker from Maharashtra was arrested after he threw ink at Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Manish Sisodia in November last year. The man, Nachiketa Walhekar, comes from Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. He shouted slogans praising Anna Hazare and decried the AAP.
12:58 Oscar Pistorius has arrived in court for the 2nd day of his murder trial.
12:50 Goa scribes withdraw agitation after Parrikar expresses regret:
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today expressed "regret" over his statements made in context of the media, following which state's apex journalist body, Goa Union of Journalists (GUJ), withdrew its agitation.
The journalists were wearing black badges and wrist bands to protest Parrikar's statement during the ongoing state Legislative Assembly session.
"I did not mean to demean anyone nor was it my intention to cast aspersions on any person leave alone media person. However, I express my regret if the incident has hurt anyone's feelings," the chief minister has said in his letter today to GUJ president Kishor Naik Gaonkar.
Addressing a function last month, he had reportedly commented: "What is a reporter's salary? How much does a news reader earn? Maybe Rs 25,000. They are mostly graduates. They are not great thinkers...intellectuals. They write news how they understand it."
12:40 The end had been coming for Smith:
A picture on Instagram, Irish citizenship, a young family and a long time at the helm. There was plenty pointing towards Graeme Smith preparing to call time on his career. It has been an immense one. Read
12:37 Mystery shrouds Subrata Roy's movement to Delhi:
The Lucknow police took Sahara India group chief Subrata Roy by road to Delhi on Monday afternoon from the government forest guest house at Kukrail, a picnic spot in Lucknow, where he was supposedly kept for two days after his arrest on Friday. Read
12:32 Live! Subrata Roy taken to Supreme Court :
Sahara Chief Subrata Roy has been taken to the Supreme Court. Roy was arrested on Friday after failing to appear at a Supreme Court hearing - which he says he missed to attend to his ailing mother - related to a Rs 24,000 crore Sahara investment scheme that was later ruled to be illegal.
Roy was taken to Delhi in a Mercedes accompanied by a posse of escort vehicles, yesterday.
12:27 Tarun Tejpal case: In-camera bail hearing begins in Bombay HC:
The Bombay High Court has begun the in-camera hearing on the bail petition of Tehelka Founder Editor Tarun Tejpal, accused of sexually assaulting a woman colleague in a lift of a star hotel in Panaji.
The single bench of justice U V Bakre here agreed for the in-camera hearing of the case after both prosecution and defence lawyers unanimously opined that a lot has been written about this case in the media already.
The court took up the case around 10.30 am and began the hearing in-camera.
The 50-year-old journalist has been behind bars for allegedly raping a junior woman colleague during Tehelka's Thinkfest in Goa in November last year.
He sought bail after Goa Crime branch filed a charge sheet against Tejpal for rape, outraging modesty and sexual harassment of the woman journalist.
12:24 US girl's Facebook post costs her dad USD 80,000:
A US girl's snarky Facebook post has cost her father USD 80,000 he had won in a legal settlement.
Patrick Snay, 69, a former headmaster of Gulliver Preparatory School in Florida was set to receive the amount after settling a 2011 age discrimination suit with the school he once headed.
However, his daughter, Dana ruined the USD 80,000 deal by blabbing about it on Facebook, the 'Miami Herald' reported. "Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT," she wrote.
The message circulated among the former Gulliver student's 1,200 Facebook friends and eventually made its way back to the school. The school claimed the post violated the settlement's confidentiality agreement.
A judge last week tossed out the settlement, ruling the ex-employee and his daughter breached the terms of a confidential agreement when she took to social media to brag about it, the report said.
12:19 Our sources tell us that CPM and CPI may break its alliance with ADMK today. Tamil Nadu CM, J Jayalalitha has indicated that only one Lok Sabha will be given to each. Jaya will contest all 40 Lok Sabha seats.
12:17 Fresh guidelines outlined on medical care to rape victims:
The Union Health Ministry, which has drawn new guidelines for treating rape victims, has asked all hospitals to set up a designated room for forensic and medical examination of victims besides outlawing the two-finger test performed on them, dubbing it as unscientific.
The Department of Health Research (DHR) along with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) with the help of experts formulated this set of national guidelines for dealing with criminal assault cases, which will hopefully put an end to the "horrendous' medical process, which the victims are subjected to after the sexual abuse.
The DHR has also drafted a new manual to address the psycho-social impact of sexual violence including counselling that the victims should receive to alleviate her woes.
These guidelines have been made available to health care providers who work with victims of sexual violence.
12:02 After 80 days in jail, will Tarun Tejpal get bail today?:
Former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal is at the Bombay High Court in Goa for his bail plea hearing in the sexual harassment case.
The Court had on February 18 postponed the hearing of Tejpal's bail plea, while seeking a copy of the chargesheet filed by the Crime Branch a day earlier.
After a fast-tracked investigation, the Goa Police Crime Branch charged Tejpal under sections 354, 354-A (sexual harassment), 341 and 342 (wrongful restrain), 376 (rape), 376(2)(f) and 376 (2)(k)(takes advantage of his official position and commits rape in his custody).
Tejpal has already spent 80 days in police and judicial custody since his arrest on November 30, after a nationwide police chase.
12:00 India's Muslims wary of Modi:
Salim Shah was cooking egg and chicken rolls on a dusty side street here when India's most controversial national politician flew to a nearby park in a red helicopter and addressed hundreds of thousands of screaming supporters.
Shah said he and his 12-year-old son, who sliced boiled eggs by Shah's side, were too busy to attend the rally. But when asked how he intended to vote in what many observers believe is the most consequential Indian election since 1977, Shah gave a brief shrug. Read
11:57 Mystery shrouds Subrata Roy's movement to Delhi:
Even as the Lucknow police claims to have taken Sahara India group chief Subrata Roy by road to Delhi on Monday afternoon at Kukrail picnic spot, where he was supposedly kept for two days after arrest.
The official announcement of his departure for Delhi came nearly two hours after he was quietly ushered out of the heavily guarded guest house, thereby arousing all kinds of suspicion. Read
11:53 When better sense prevailed:
In choosing not to adopt the ordinance route to bring in anti-corruption measures, the United Progressive Alliance has managed to avoid questions about propriety and legality. Read
What 16 years of development in India looks like from space. See
(Orissa looks largely unchanged, though)
11:44 Doctors vs Samajwadi Party's alleged 'goonda raj':
Thousands of doctors at hospitals across Uttar Pradesh are on strike to protest against what they describe as the "goonda raj" or lawlessness of the ruling Samajwadi Party. They allege that a mini-riot was caused on Friday night at a government hospital by a state legislator from the Samajwadi Party, headed by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Read
11:39 The colour of my skin:
"All my life I have been trained to avoid the sun like the plague. Though I was very sporty as a young girl, I was asked to play indoor sports like badminton, squash and table tennis that would prevent sun exposure."
Novelist Ira Trivedi on colour consciousness. Read
11:36 Same people end up winning the Oscars:
So many awards are handed out before the Oscars, with strong favourites emerging on the basis of those wins, that the Academy Awards ceremony has today become largely predictable.
The same people who garner those earlier awards inevitably end up winning Oscars. Thus, Matthew McConaughey won Best Actor for Dallas Buyers Club, despite rumours that long-denied Leonardo DiCaprio would pose a threat with his work on The Wolf of Wall Street. Read
11:25 The BJP's first and lasting mistake:
"In the most mealy-mouthed statement ever to emerge from the politics of hypocrisy, the BJP President, Rajnath Singh, has said his party is ready to apologize to our minorities for their "mistakes, if any".Read
the always-acerbic Mani Shankar Aiyar's column today.
11:23 Lessons from a lost war :
Twenty-five years ago, the last of the Soviet troops left Afghanistan. Now, as another superpower's soldiers prepare to return home from the war-torn country, there are important lessons for India to learn. Read
Praveen Swami's column for the Hindu today.
11:22 Rolls Royce freeze to bite air force:
India has put on hold contracts with UK engine-maker Rolls-Royce after the company was said to have admitted in a letter that it paid a commission to an Indian "intermediary', defence ministry sources said today.
The value of the contracts could total more than Rs 5,000 crore. Holding them up would have an impact on the operational readiness of the Indian Air Force. Read
11:06 Delhi's Nirbhaya helpline faces closure just one year on :
The '181' helpline, one of the major steps taken by the Delhi government to make the city safer for women in the aftermath of the Nirbhaya assault, is on the verge of closure. Contracts of employees who run the service have not been renewed since December and they have been working without pay for two months. Read more
11:02 India has more bomb blasts each year than Syria, Afghanistan:
You are more likely to die in a bomb blast in India than in Afghanistan. Strange as it may sound, government data show that India is among the most dangerous places in the world as far as bomb blasts per year are concerned - next only to Iraq and Pakistan, with even war-torn Afghanistan and Syria doing better. Read more
11:00 Air India sacks 10 flight attendants for reporting late:
In the first action of its kind, Air India sacked about 10 air hostesses last week for reporting late for work, delaying flights. AI decided to crack the whip after witnessing an unusual rise in instances of cabin crew sauntering in when they want, keeping passengers waiting for hours. More crew members could lose their jobs in the coming days, warned a senior official. Read
Hopefully more of this will follow so that our faith in the national carrier is reinstilled.
10:27 Ahead of PM's meet with Rajapaksa, 32 fishermen held in Lanka:
At least 32 Indian fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan navy for allegedly poaching in the country's waters off the coast of the Delft islet in Jaffna. Their eight trawlers were seized yesterday, a naval spokesman said.
The fishermen were being taken to the port of Kankesanturai to be handed over to the fisheries surveillance officials, the spokesman added.
The arrest comes ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's meeting with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the sidelines of a summit in Myanmar.
The two will meet as part of the BIMSTEC (Bay Bengal Initiative for
Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) summit, three months
after the PM skipped a visit to the island nation for a
Commonwealth meet, bowing to pressure from political parties in Tamil
10:23 Communication gap within the BJP: Uddhav:
Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, who is reportedly upset with the BJP after its senior leader Nitin Gadkari met MNS chief Raj Thackeray yesterday, said in a statement that there is a communication gap within the BJP. "The gap his created by those praising the Congress and the NCP."
The Shiv Sena also added that it was an internal matter of the BJP.
09:52 India more dangerous that Afghanistan, Syria:
A government data shows that India is among the most dangerous places in the world as far as bomb blasts per year are concerned -- next only to Iraq and Pakistan, with even war-torn Afghanistan and Syria doing better, reports The Times of India. Latest
data from National Bomb Data Centre shows that India suffered 212
bomb blasts in 2013 -- more than double of what Afghanistan (with 108
blasts) suffered. Facing internal strife, Bangladesh with 75 blasts and
Syria with 36 blasts have done better.
In fact, along with Pakistan and Iraq, India accounts for almost 75% of bomb blasts in the world.
Read the full report here
09:40 Michelle Obama plans maiden visit to China:
US First Lady Michelle Obama plans a week long maiden visit to China later this month along with her mother and two daughters, the White House has announced.
"The week long China trip beginning March 20, would take the First Lady to Beijing from March 20-23, Xi'an on March 24, and Chengdu from March 25-26," the White House said.
"During her trip, the First Lady will meet with Madame Peng, the spouse of China's President Xi Jinping," it said. She will also visit a university and a high school in Beijing, and a high school in Chengdu.
09:33 BJP tries to pacify 'upset' Uddhav after meet with cousin Raj: CNN-IBN
reports: The Bharatiya Janata Party got into a damage control mode
after its meeting with Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray.
Maharashtra BJP President Devendra Fadnavis held a meeting with Shiv
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray last night.
The Shiv Sena was reportedly unhappy about the meeting
between BJP leader Nitin Gadkari and Raj Thackeray.
Garkari met the MNS chief yesterday and appealed to him to abstain
from contesting the Lok Sabha elections to avoid splitting the
anti-Congress vote, reports CNN-IBN
08:39 RBI issues notes with ex-governor Subbarao's signature:
Reports our correspondent from New Delhi: In a major goof up, the Reserve Bank of India issued currency notes of Rs 1,000 denomination with the signature of former governor Duvvuri Subbarao
instead of the present governor Raghuram Rajan. The banks will exchange these notes though it is an illegal tender.
08:30 Russia stands firm despite rebukes, threats of sanctions:
Russia showed no signs of backing down even as world leaders threatened sanctions and sternly rebuked the country for sending troops into Ukraine, reports CNN
At an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss the unfolding
crisis, Ukraine's envoy asked for help, saying that Russia had used
planes, boats and helicopters to flood the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea
with 16,000 troops in the past week.
The United States has suspended upcoming bilateral trade and investment engagement with Russia, a trade official said.
03:57 Canada warns Russia, says G8 membership at risk:
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper has warned that Russia could be stripped of its membership in the Group of Eight industrialized nations if it doesn't reverse course in Ukraine.
The move is being considered by Canada and other G8 members as part of a basket of sanctions targeting Russia over its military intervention in the Crimea region of Ukraine.
On Sunday, the group withdrew from preparations for June's G8 summit in Sochi to protest against what they see as Russia's violation of Ukraine's sovereignty.
"(Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin's action has put his country on a course of diplomatic and economic isolation, and that could well see Russia exit the G8 entirely," Harper said.
Earlier, Harper spoke by telephone with his Ukrainian counterpart, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, pledging Canada's support and assistance "during this important period of transition, including related to the upcoming elections."
02:14 Lavrov slams threats of 'sanctions and boycotts' over Ukraine:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today harshly criticised threats of "sanctions and boycotts" over his country's role in the spiralling crisis in Ukraine, as Western powers ponder whether to kick Moscow out of the G8.
"Those who try to interpret the situation as a type of aggression and threaten sanctions and boycotts, are the same who consistently have encouraged (Ukrainians to) refuse dialogue and have ultimately polarised Ukrainian society," he told the opening of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"I call upon them to show responsibility and to set aside pure political calculations and put the interest of the Ukrainian people above all," he added.
Since Putin won the Russian parliament's blessing Saturday to use force in Ukraine, including in Crimea -- a strategic Black Sea peninsula with a majority ethnic Russian population -- outraged Western powers have threatened to expel Russia from the Group of Eight leading industrial countries it joined with great fanfare in 1997 as it returned to global respectability after years lost in post-Soviet chaos.
02:13 Ukraine crisis fuels debate on Moscow bid to expand Czech N-plant:
Russia's moves in Ukraine today sparked splits among Czech officials on Moscow's bid for a multi-billion-dollar contract to expand a Czech nuclear plant.
Speaking after Russian troops poured into Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in violation of international accords, the Czech ministers for defence and human rights said they were against the Russian bid.
But the Czech prime minister and national power giant CEZ insisted politics would play no role in the tender to build two new units at the southern Temelin nuclear plant, a contract worth an estimated 8 to 12 billion euros ($10 to $15 billion).
The MIR-1200 consortium, made up of Russia's Atomstroyexport and Gidropress and the Czech Skoda JS, is up against US industrial giant Westinghouse for the contract from CEZ.
"What (Russia) is doing is unacceptable," said Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky, adding that "Russia is no longer a democratic and predictable state."
02:12 Obama: Russia's actions in Ukraine put Putin on the 'wrong side of history':
US president Barack Obama has called Russias actions in Ukraine a violation of international law that place Russia on the wrong side of history as the State Department prepared to draw up sanctions against Moscow.
Obama said he expected to work with Congress on a package of economic assistance to Ukraine and warned Russia of worldwide isolation if it persisted with its aggression.
01:54 Obama: Russia's actions in Ukraine put Putin on the 'wrong side of history':
US president Barack Obama has called Russias actions in Ukraine a violation of international law that place Russia on the wrong side of history as the State Department prepared to draw up sanctions against Moscow.
Obama said he expected to work with Congress on a package of economic assistance to Ukraine and warned Russia of worldwide isolation if it persisted with its aggression.
00:44 Surrender or face assault, Russian navy warns Ukrainians in Crimea:
Russia's navy has reportedly ordered Ukrainian forces in Crimea to surrender amid a major escalating of the crisis gripping the region.
The ultimatum told Ukraines military to surrender by 4am CET (8:30 am) or face assault, according to the Interfax news agency.
The agency quoted a source at the Ukrainian Defence Ministry, who said the order was made by fleet commander Alexander Vitko.
The ministry did not immediately confirm the report and there was no immediate comment by the Black Sea Fleet, which has a base in Crimea, where Russian forces are in control.
If they do not surrender before 5am (local time) tomorrow, a real assault will be started against units and divisions of the armed forces across Crimea, the agency quoted the ministry source as saying.
00:43 Polio vaccine must for visitors from Pak, Nigeria: Govt:
In a move designed to prevent the entry of the polio virus into India, people travelling to and from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Syria, Kenya, Somalia and Nigeria will have to take the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV), the Health Ministry has said.
The said countries remain affected by polio, prompting the government to issue these directions weeks after India celebrated the eradication of polio from its soil.
People travelling to and from these countries will need to take OPV six weeks before departure from their country. The new polio vaccination regime came into effect on March 1, an official statement said.
"Years of effort and huge financial resources have been invested by India for stopping polio. We cannot risk importation of the poliovirus, which is getting bigger and bigger with recent outbreaks in the Middle East and earlier in the horn of Africa," it said.
The preventive step has been initiated as per the recommendations of the national and international expert bodies and guidelines of World Health Organisation, said Additional Secretary Anuradha Gupta.
India has not reported any polio cases in over three years. Along with the remaining countries of WHO's South East Asia region, it will soon be certified polio-free.
00:43 AIIMS doctors to observe 'black badge day' today:
Resident doctors of AIIMS will observe a 'black badge day' on Tuesday as a gesture to support the ongoing strike by the doctors in Kanpur and all other medical colleges in Uttar Pradesh against the alleged high-handedness of city police and administration.
Meanwhile, Indian Medical Association has described the incident as a "highly condemnable and shameful act".
Around 1,400 resident doctors of AIIMS would be wearing black badge on their dresses to express solidarity with the doctors in strike and also to oppose such kind of untoward incidents in future.
"There have been instances of doctors being man-handled by the kins of patients in the past which is wrong. We doctors give our best to treat a patient. We will be wearing black badges to oppose such kind of behaviour on the part of the patients' relative," said RDA general secretary, Dr Shashank Pooniya.
A clash had broken out on Friday night between supporters of SP MLA Irfan Solanki and junior doctors of the Kanpur college.
Following unruly scenes, the police later resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd. The incident left several people, including police personnel, journalists and many civilians injured, sources had said.