23:42 Russia reinforces military presence in Crimea:
Dozens of military trucks transporting heavily armed soldiers rumbled over Crimea's rutted roads today as Russia reinforced its armed presence on the disputed peninsula in the Black Sea.
Moscow's foreign minister ruled out any dialogue with Ukraine's new authorities, whom he dismissed as the puppets of extremists.
The Russians have denied their armed forces are active in Crimea, but an Associated Press reporter trailed one military convoy this afternoon from 40 kilometres west of Feodosia to a military airfield at Gvardeiskoe north of Simferopol, over which a Russian flag flew.
22:48 Libya threatens to bomb NKorean ship for 'illegal' oil:
Libya today threatened to bomb a North Korean-flagged tanker at an oil terminal in the restive east if it does not leave port, saying it was loading illegally.
Separatist militants blockading Al-Sidra facility in eastern Libya attempted to load crude aboard the ship the Morning Glory in the latest challenge to central government control.
22:48 'Iran weapons ship' arrives in Israel:
A ship allegedly carrying advanced rockets from Iran to Gaza that was intercepted by the Israeli navy was escorted into the Red Sea port of Eilat today.
Israeli naval commandos seized the vessel on Wednesday in the Red Sea between Eritrea and Sudan, with the military saying it was carrying an Iranian shipment of M-302 rockets destined for the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. The Panamanian-flagged Klos-C was escorted into Eilat port by two Israeli warships.
22:47 US extends condolences to family of those on Malaysian plane:
The US today extended its deepest condolences to the family members of 239 people on board a Malaysia Airlines flight, which disappeared on its way to Beijing.
"We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of those on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370," State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
22:13 Leader of Oppn in Odisha Bhupinder Singh quits, joins BJD:
Leader of the Opposition in Odisha Bhupinder Singh along with legislature party secretary Anup Sai resigned from the Congress today sending shockwaves in political circles in the state.
Shortly afterwards, AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said in Delhi that three time MLA Surendra Singh Bhoi has been made Leader of Congress Legislature Party in Odisha.
21:25 Lucknow-Dubai AI Express flight makes emergency landing:
A Dubai-bound Air India Express flight with 189 passengers onboard today made an emergency landing at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport after it was diverted here due to technical issue.
A spokesperson of the airline said all the passengers were safe and another aircraft was arranged to fly them to their destination.
21:12 Stolen Italian, Austrian passports on missing Malaysian airlines plane:
Foreign ministry officials in Rome and Vienna confirm that names of two nationals listed on the manifest of the missing Malaysian airlines flight match passports reported stolen in Thailand.
Italy's Foreign Ministry said Saturday that an Italian man whose name was listed as being aboard is traveling in Thailand and was not aboard the plane.
A foreign ministry functionary, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed Italian reports that Luigi Maraldi had reported his passport stolen last August.
21:00 Commander Wadhwa cremated with full military honours:
Commander Kuntal Wadhwa, the Indian Navy officer who died after inhaling carbon dioxide during tests onboard the under-construction warship INS Kolkata, was today cremated with full military honours.
Wadhwa (42) died before he could be taken to the hospital after inhaling carbon dioxide that had leaked from a malfunctioning unit on the Kolkata Class 'Yard-701' warship, at the Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) facility here.
20:40 Chennai woman on missing Malaysian Airline plane:
On Thursday evening, when Chandrika Sharma's colleagues said goodbye to her and wished her safe travel to Mongolia, little did they realise that luck would not keep her company.
Chandrika Sharma was on Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 from Malaysia to Beijing that reportedly crashed into the sea off the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc early Saturday. Nothing is as yet known about the fate of the 239 persons on board.
20:38 Lok Sabha polls: Congress releases its first list:
Lok Sabha polls: The Congress has released its first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls.
194 names including 28 women have been included in the list of candidates.
Prominent names include Meria Kumar, Deepender Singh Hooda and Naveen Jindal, Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kisan.
Unique Identification Authority of India Chairman Nandan Nilekani, to contest on Congress ticket from Bangalore South
20:32 Nilekani to join Congress tomorrow:
Infosys co-founder and Unique Identification Authority of India Chairman Nandan Nilekani, tipped to contest from Bangalore South on a Congress ticket, will be officially joining the ruling party tomorrow.
"I'm joining Congress tomorrow....If they give me Bangalore South, I will be happy to take it," he told reporters here today.
20:31 The perils of blatant secessionism:
Kashmiris should not give a chance to rogue elements in the Indian security agencies to justify false implication of scores of innocent Kashmiri youth in cases of terrorismIt has been a common sight in Kashmir Valley since the '90s: thousands of people accompanying the body of a terrorist killed in an encounter with security forces.
Women wail and beat their chests, men shout pro-freedom slogans. Candy and coins are thrown over the bier. Many such dead terrorists happen to be foreigners, especially Pakistani nationals.
In the last few years, though, the number of mourners has dwindled. Instead of thousands, the crowd now runs into hundreds.
20:18 Foreign military mission barred from Crimea:
Pro-Russian forces today refused to let a foreign military mission enter Crimea. After the officers had stopped, the armed men fired warning bursts of automatic weapons fire into the air to make other unidentified vehicles halt, said an Associated Press reporter. No injuries were reported.
The multinational group of military officers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe was attempting to enter the embattled peninsula from the north.
19:48 Gandhi Maidan serial blast accused arrested:
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) today arrested one accused of the serial blasts during Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's rally in Patna last October from a village in Arwal district of Bihar, police said.
The person arrested was identified as Aslam Pervez, son of Maqsood Alam and a resident of Aavgila village under the Rampur Choram Police Station of the Arwal district, Station House Officer (SHO) Rajiv Ranjan said.
19:24 Syria's Assad expresses support for Putin on Ukraine:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seconds Russia's position in the Ukraine crisis, reported Syria's state news agency SANA on Thursday.
In a message addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Assad expressed his solidarity, on behalf of the Syrian people, with Putin's efforts to "restore security and stability in the friendly country of Ukraine'.
Assad stressed that Putin's reaction to the crisis in Ukraine is legitimate and adheres to the UN's objectives that aim "to create a balanced and transparent world based on respecting the sovereignty of countries and the right of peoples to decide their destiny,' reported SANA.
18:29 30 new civil airports to get CISF security:
Close to 30 new civil airports will soon come under the security umbrella of Central Industrial Security Force which has embarked on a major project to integrate security systems and gadgets at 59 of these air facilities in the country.
The force, assigned to guard the country's domestic and international airports, is also looking for some state-of-the-art gadgets like alarm emitting CCTVs to ensure that not even a blink escapes from the eyes of its troopers.
18:28 Libya militants try to export oil as NKorea-flagged ship waits:
Militants blockading the eastern Libyan oil terminal of Al-Sidra tried today to export crude as a North Korean-flagged ship was anchored off the port, a lawmaker said.
A member of the energy committee in Libya's interim parliament, the General National Congress, said "the oil tanker, bearing the name Morning Glory, anchored today at 4:00 am (0200 GMT) at the port of Al-Sidra."
18:27 AAP supporters launch merchandise to popularise brand:
In order to popularise brand AAP and its leader Arvind Kejriwal, a private firm is planning to come up with AAP jhadu (broom) and mineral water, along with other merchandise.
Kraanti, a Gurgaon based firm set up AAP supporters, are selling T-shirts with party and its leader Arvind Kejriwal's name, along with other items such as coffee mugs, wristbands, badges and key chains.
18:26 Not merged with BJP, still committed to secularism: Paswan:
Seeking to allay the concerns of their core constituencies following the move to ally with BJP, Dalit leaders Ram Vilas Paswan and Ramdas Athavale today asserted that they have "not merged" with the saffron outfit but joined the NDA camp as per a Common Minimum Programme.
Admitting that people from the minority community do have reservations about Narendra Modi, LJP chief Paswan said that his party's commitment to secularism and socialism remains unchanged.
18:17 AJSU leader Tileshwar Sahu shot dead in Jharkhand:
Tileshwar Sahu, who had recently joined All Jharkhand Students' Union, was today shot dead at Barhi in the district, police said.
One of the alleged killers was arrested after the incident, Sub Divisional Police Officer Avinash Kumar told reporters here.
17:46 Malala campaigns for silent protest on April 17:
Pakistani teenage rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012, will go silent for 24 hours on April 17 to show solidarity with children whose voices are silenced.
"It's our turn to affect a positive change, to stand up for equality and to empower others to join us. On 17 April, I will go silent to stand in solidarity with my peers who remain voiceless," she told an audience of thousands of schoolchildren and teachers at the 'WE Day' youth empowerment event in London on Friday.
17:34 Russia warns US against 'hasty' steps in Ukraine:
US President Barack Obama spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday about the crisis in Ukraine.
The White House said in a statement the president agreed with European leaders on the need for Russia to pull back its forces, allow for the deployment of international observers and human rights monitors to Crimea, and support free and fair presidential elections in May.
17:13 Malaysian plane crash: MEA releases names of missing Indians:
Syed Akbaruddin from India's High Commission in Malaysia has tweeted the names on Indian passengers missing on board the crashed Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
Syed Akbaruddin @MEA India 18m #India's High Commission in #Malaysia confirms foll on #MH370:
Chetana Kolekar 55 (f)
Swanand Kolekar 23 (m)
Vinod Kolekar 59 (m)
Chandrika Sharma - 51 (f)
Kranti Shirsath - 44 (f)
17:11 Iran president criticises hard-liners over media:
Iran's moderate-leaning president has strongly criticised hard-line officials for ordering reformist newspapers shut down. Judicial authorities ordered two pro-reform newspapers Aseman and Bahar closed in recent months on allegations of questioning Islamic principles.
President Hassan Rouhani told reporters today that it was wrong to close down a newspaper on its first offence just because one writer was seen as inappropriate. His comments were broadcast live on state TV.
16:27 Don't back off after one interview: Omar to Rahul Gandhi:
Don't back off after one interview with one channel. This is the advice to Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
"All I would tell him (Rahul) not to sort of back off after one interview with one channel. My advice to him, and I have no hesitation in sharing this, is that he has done one with one channel and it will be helpful to go out and do a few more."
15:19 AAP has been targetted once again: Yodendra Yadav on ink attack:
Talking to the media, AAP leader Yogendra Yadav, said: I was talking to the media when someone came from the back and blackened my face. The person shouted 'Bharat Ma Ki Jai' and did this. I am not ashamed by what has happened. The person behind the incident should be ashamed."
"The AAP has been targetted once again," he said. When you challenge big forces you have to be prepared to pay a price."
14:22 Tushar Gandhi's shocking tweet on Women's Day:
Mahatma Gandhi's great grandson Tushar Gandhi tweeted
today: Since it's 'Happy Women's Day' men should be allowed to touch them to feel happiness.
After creating a flutter here's what he tweeted offering an explanation: When I tweeted about touching women to feel happiness, perverts assumed I wanted to 'touch' inappropriately.
13:50 BJP ignores Sushmas objections, recommends Sriramalu return:
The BJP's Karnataka unit has recommended the re-induction of B Sriramalu into party. He is likely to be fielded from Bellary.
Despite objections of senior leader Sushma Swaraj, keeping in mind his
political utility and that he does not face serious charges in court, the BJP wants him in the party fold.
13:34 Yeddyurappa likely to contest 2014 polls:
Bharatiya Janata Party may field former Karnataka CM B S Yeddyurappa in the Lok Sabha polls. He is likely to contest from Shimoga, reports Times Now
After differences with some leaders in the party, Yeddyurappa quit BJP
and floated Karnataka Janata Party in December 2012. He joined the BJP in January after an invitation from president Rajnath Singh.
12:40 Five Indians on ill-fated Malaysian airliner:
Reports have emerged that there are five Indian nationals on board the Malaysian Airlines flight that crashed into the sea. Of the 239 passengers most are Chinese nations.
Rescue operations are in full swing after the Vietnam Navy reported that the airliner crashed near the Tho Chu Island.
12:25 Muzaffarnagar riots: 10 Muslim leaders chargesheeted by SIT:
Bahujan Samaj Party Member of Parliament Kadir Rana, two party legislators and former Uttar Pradesh minister Saeed-uz-Zama of the Congress are among 10 persons chargesheeted by the Special Investigation Team probing the Muzaffarnagar riots for provoking communal tension with inflammatory speeches during a Muslim community panchayat.
The chargesheet was filed in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Narender Kumar by the SIT team in connection with the alleged hate speeches made in Khalapar locality of the city on August 30, 2013 by the accused in defiance of prohibitory orders clamped following tension in Kawal village in the district, sources said.
12:07 Kejriwal to hold rally in Modi's bastion today:
A day after Arvind Kejriwal was refused a meeting with Narendra Modi in Gandhinagar, he plans to take on the BJP's PM nominee on his home turf.
AAP will hold a rally in Ahmedabad and has also planned a roadshow to the rally venue, reports NDTV
In the morning, Kejriwal visited Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram.
11:46 Malayasian aircraft crashes :
A Malaysian Airlines plane carrying 239 passengers has crashed into the sea, the Vietnam media has reported. Chinese ships are conducting search operations.
11:19 Lalu's party hit with dissidence:
Rashtriya Janata Dal's general secretary Ram Kripal Yadav has quit from all party posts. The party did not give him a Lok Sabha ticket.
Ram Kripal had wanted to contest from Patliputra, but the ticket was given to RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav's daughter Misa instead.
She ad gone to meet Ram Kripal at his residence, but he refused to meet her today.
Talking to the media, Ram Kripal said, "I am quitting from all party posts, but I'm still a member of the RJD."
"The people wanted me to contest. Misa Bharti is like my daughter. The RJD is straying away from its values. This is emotional atyachar
11:04 The Navy has ordered an into the gas leak on
an under-construction ship at the Mazagaon dock in Mumbai yesterday that
killed one of its officers.
Commander Kuntal Wadhwa, 42, died after inhaling carbon dioxide that leaked from a malfunctioning
unit during machinery trials. The
yet-to-be-commissioned ship is one of three Kolkata class destroyers
being built under the navy's Project 15 A, reports NDTV.
"A Board of Inquiry
has been ordered by the Indian Navy to investigate the causes leading to
the accident," a statement from the Navy said.
10:01 BJP to release second list of LS candidates today :
The Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to finalise its second list of candidates for the Lok Sabha election beginning April 7 after a meeting in New Delhi today.
The candidate for the Varanasi seat is likely to be decided as there were
reports that the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi may
contest from senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi's constituency, CNN-IBN
09:32 Obama is the worst US president, says Bobby Jindal:
Preparing ground for his potential presidential run in 2016, Indian-American Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has slammed Barack Obama as the worst president in history and took a dig at his inability to stop Russia from invading Ukraine.
"To President Carter, I want to issue a sincere apology. It is no longer fair to say he was the worst president of this great country in my lifetime. President Obama has proven me wrong," 42-year-old Jindal told a conservative political action committee yesterday.
In his address, Jindal criticised Obama on his foreign policy front at a time when the Russia has taken military action in Ukraine."I spent a lot of 2012 going around the country saying that President Obama was the most liberal and most incompetent president in my lifetime, ever since Jimmy Carter," the Republican leader said.
09:19 No Indians on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight:
A Beijing-bound plane of Malaysia Airlines carrying 239 people including two infants lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control in Malaysia today, a statement said.
Operating on the B777-200 aircraft, the MH 370 departed Kuala Lumpur today at 12:41am (10:10 pm IST) and lost touch with the ATC around 2:40 am (12:10 am IST).
The flight having 239 people including 12 crew members onboard was expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 am. Malaysia Airlines said it is currently working with the authorities who have activated their search and rescue team to locate the aircraft.
There were on Indians on board, majority of them are Chinese nationals.
04:21 Obama sends beer to Canada PM after losing hockey bet:
The White House will deliver two cases of beer to the Canadian Embassy on Monday after US President Barack Obama lost an Olympic ice hockey bet to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Canada's men beat their fierce local rivals 1-0 in the semi-finals in Sochi, Russia last month while the women's team stormed back to see off the US 3-2 and snatch gold.
"Hey, @connect2canada! Look forward to delivering two freshly brewed cases of WH beer on Monday for @pmharper from POTUS," the White House National Security Council told the Canadian Embassy on Twitter.
"On behalf of POTUS, enjoy and congrats on the Canadian victory (this time around)! Look forward to a rematch."
The craft beer will be made with honey from the White House garden, with one case of Honey Porter and the other of Honey Blonde.
"I haven't received it yet, but in fairness to President Obama, he's lost bets to me before, and he's always paid up before," Harper told TSN 1050 Radio in Toronto. "I'm sure he will."
04:17 Pentagon: About 20,000 Russian troops in Ukraine:
The Pentagon estimates there are now about 20,000 Russian troops in Ukraine, as additional forces have gone into the country over the last week.
Rear Admiral John Kirby says Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with Ukraine Defence Minister Ihor Tenyuh yesterday. He says Tenyuh asked Hagel to consider having the US military provide Ukraine with technical advice, including on humanitarian and disaster relief operations. Hagel said he would consider the request.
US and Western leaders have condemned Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. The Obama administration is moving to impose sanctions on Russia.
Kirby says the US is more concerned about the Russian troops' activities than the numbers.
Crimea's new leader has said pro-Russian forces number more than 11,000 and control all access to the Black Sea peninsula.
01:21 Will this be the UK's new flag?:
Long after the Empire's collapse, the Union Jack remains an internationally recognized symbol of Britain. But all that could change soon.
Scotland, one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom (along with England, Northern Ireland, and Wales), will hold a referendum on independence this September.
If it succeeds, Britain's iconic flag may need a makeover.
The Flag Institute, the UK's national flag charity and the largest membership-based vexillological organization in the world, recently polled its members and found that nearly 65 percent of respondents felt the Union Jack should be changed if Scotland becomes independent.
And after the poll, the organization found itself flooded with suggested replacements for the flag.
"We are not advocating changing the flag. We are not advising changing the flag. We are not encouraging a change to the flag. We are not discouraging a change to the flag," Charles Ashburner, the Flag Institute's chief executive and trustee, told me. "We are simply simply here to facilitate and inform the debate if there is an appetite for such a thing."
01:16 Inside the Pentagons $59 bn 'Black Budget':
President Barack Obama proposed a $495.6 billion defense budget yesterday, almost half a billion dollars leaner than the previous years. But theres still one category where the Department of Defense is not scaling back: its secret projects.
According to the budget documents, the DoD plans to spend around $58.7 billion on classified programs (fondly known as its "black budget") in fiscal year 2015, a 1.5 percent increase from the previous year.
But what exactly is the "black budget?"
01:14 Modi's prayers from his diary compiled in book:
Sakshi Bhav, a compilation of the diary pages of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, was released in Ahmedabad on Friday by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar.
"People know me from the newspapers, now they will know my through myself (from the book)," Modi said during the event at the Gujarat University's Convention Centre here.
"I know it is difficult to approach me. This Sakshi-Bhav will take you to my door-step," Modi said. "If you feel that you have reached my door, then knock. You will get the entry."
The book is a compilation of the rhymeless prayers to Goddess Jagdamba composed by Modi in 1986 when he was a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak.
"Had this been released 30 years ago, it would have been looked at from a straight literary viewpoint," Modi said.
"Now, I do not know what will be derived from it. But I will be happy that many people will earn their bread and butter by this," he said, in an apparent jibe at media's obsession with him.
Modi said he used to burn the diary pages after a while but senior pracharak Narendra Panchasra asked him to preserve them.