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March 10, 2014

23:48  Modi wave may land BJP more than 300 seats on its own: Rajnath:  BJP president Rajnath Singh today claimed his party may win over 300 seats on its own in Lok Sabha elections in view of "surging" popularity of its PM nominee Narendra Modi.

"When I first asked BJP workers to work together to attain the magic figure of 272 seats, even the opinion polls said this target is difficult to achieve. However, seeing the energetic atmosphere in favour of Modi, I now feel that we may cross even 300 seats," Rajnath said while addressing party workers at parliamentary area meet on Dussehra ground in Indore.

Rajnath said Modi was perhaps the only leader in the history of independent India who has been continuously attacked by his opponents. "I feel the Almighty is testing Modi as he wants to get some big work done from him," the BJP president said.
23:19  Search of missing Malaysian plane expands :  With lead after lead failing to pan out, search and rescue officials said they will expand the search area for the Malaysia Airlines aircraft that vanished three days ago.

The newly expanded search area encompasses a larger portion of the Gulf of Thailand between Malaysia and Vietnam, said Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of the Malaysian civil aviation department, reports CNN.
23:16  Assembly polls in Arunachal with LS election on April 9 :   The assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh will be held along with Lok Sabha poll on April 9, the Election Commission said today. 
22:37  EC mulling increase in polling hours for general elections:  The Election Commission is mulling a proposal to increase the polling hours during the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in light of a jump in the cumulative number of voters in the country and the trend of bigger turnout at recent elections.

According to highly-placed sources, the EC is working on an increased polling time schedule and is likely to decide on the matter in a day or so. The full commission comprising Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath and Election Commissioners HS Brahma and Nasim Zaidi today discussed the issue with top poll officials and are learnt to have given the go-ahead to the proposal.

While the polling duration currently is of nine hours, EC is seeking an increase in the same by an hour. EC feels that since the elections will be held in summer, more electors will turn up to vote towards the evening when the weather cools.

That would likely lead to long queues at polling stations as voting draws to a close.
22:08  Shots fired in air during raid at Crimea naval base:  Unidentified armed men fired in the air as they moved into a Ukrainian naval post in Crimea on Monday in the latest confrontation since Russian military groups seized control of the Black Sea peninsula.

With diplomacy at a standstill, Russia said the United States had spurned an invitation to hold new talks on resolving the crisis, the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.
22:03  Ten countries scour sea for Malaysia Airlines plane:  The disappearance of a Malaysian jetliner is an "unprecedented mystery", the country's civil aviation chief said on Monday, as a massive air and sea search now in its third day failed to find any trace of the plane or 239 people on board. 

Dozens of ships and aircraft from 10 countries scoured the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam, and questions mounted over possible security lapses and whether a bomb or hijacking attempt could have brought down the Boeing 777-200ER airliner flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. 
21:42  Uddhav calls meeting of Sena leaders tomorrow over polls:  Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has called a meeting of his party office-bearers and Lok Sabha candidates here tomorrow, party sources said today. 

In the meeting, the Sena leader is expected to discuss the poll strategy with his party leaders following MNS president Raj Thackeray's decision to contest the polls.
21:12  Rebekah Brooks describes paying for news as 'normal' :  Former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper empire, Rebekah Brooks, today justified cash payments to sources of news stories as "part of the normal business". 

The former editor of the 'Sun' and erstwhile 'News of the World' tabloids is on trial over allegations of phone hacking as well as conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office by authorising payments to public officials including police officers.
21:12  Arab Israeli gets 25 years for Tel Aviv bus bomb:  A Tel Aviv court today handed an Arab Israeli a 25-year prison term over the 2012 bombing of a bus during a major Israeli campaign in Gaza. 

Mohammed Mafarja, 19, was sentenced three months after being convicted on charges of aiding the enemy during war, attempted murder, causing an explosion and wounding 24 people. 

A resident of Taibe in central Israel, Mafarja boarded the Tel Aviv bus on November 21, 2012, and placed a bomb inside before getting off, according to the District Court.
21:08  China acts tough, asks Malaysia to step up probe after jet vanishes:  China on Monday asked Malaysian authorities to step up search efforts and investigation into the missing Malaysia airlines flight, saying it had become a race against time.

But relatives of the 151 Chinese passengers onboard said they were frustrated with all sides of the rescue effort.In a telephone conversation with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Premier Li Keqiang urged Kuala Lumpur to step up investigations with all-out efforts and try their best to comfort the families of the passengers on board the flight.
20:33  Pakistan's Musharraf to skip court hearing over security issue:  Former Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharraf will not appear before a special court hearing the high treason trial against him tomorrow due to security concerns, his lawyers said today. 

The announcement came as a letter warning against possible attack on the 70-year-old former president was leaked to the media.
20:20  Judges are not 'caged parrots', says court:  
Judges are not "caged parrots" and courts do not work as the "post office" of prosecuting agency, a special court today observed while rejecting the allegation that ex-Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal had been spared "purposely" by CBI in the Rs 10 crore cash-for-post railway bribery case.

"While dealing with cases of corruption, it will be appropriate and wise to pass orders which send a strong message to the society that judges do not work as caged parrots and the judiciary in this country works freely without fear or pressure," Special CBI Judge Swarana Kanta Sharma said.

The court observed this while dismissing the plea of NGO, Delhi Pradesh Social Progress Society (DPSPS), holding that the petition was "devoid of merit" and that in the present case charges have already been framed against the accused persons.
20:15  SC won't hear Sahara case on Tuesday; Subrata to stay in jail:  
Sahara group chief Subrata Roy will have to remain in jail for some more time with the Supreme Court deferring hearing of the Rs 20,000 crore refund case that was slated for tomorrow.

On the last date of hearing on March 7, the apex court had asked the Sahara group to come out with "honourable proposal" for depositing Rs 20,000 crores of investors money and posted the hearing on March 11. 

The cause list put on the apex court website today, however, showed that the case, which was listed before a special bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar "stands deleted and the same is adjourned".

Reason for the adjournment has not been known and even the Sahara group's lawyer expressed surprise over it. The Sahara group may mention the issue tomorrow before an appropriate bench to get the matter listed at the earliest.

The special bench had on March four sent Roy and two Directors Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary to judicial custody till March 11 while expressing unhappiness over the proposal of his group on the refund of investors' money.
18:47  So, former Karnataka CM Kiran Kumar Reddy has officially named his party Jai Samikyandhra Party. We were the first to tell you ... five days ago! Read
18:34  SC asks Centre to take decision on Bhullar's mercy plea:   The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to take a decision on Khalistani terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar's fresh mercy plea by March 27 or else it would decide on the issue of commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment on the ground of his mental condition.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam adjourned the case for hearing after the Centre contended that the mercy plea is still under consideration.
18:17  PIL against AAP, Kejriwal for 'misuse' of national flag,emblem:   A PIL has been filed in the Bombay High Court against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), its leader Arvind Kejriwal and members Mayank Gandhi and Anjali Damania for allegedly misusing the national flag and emblem to gain political mileage.

The PIL filed by one Ram Samudre claims that the party was using the national flag and emblem on its websites during political rallies and trying to pass it off as its party symbol.

18:11  LIVE! Missing Malaysian plane: Fake passport holders DON'T look Asian:   Just in: Malaysian aviation officials say two passengers travelling with stolen passports on flight MH370 were "not Asian-looking men". It has been confirmed that a man falsely using an Italian passport and a man falsely using an Austrian passport purchased tickets at the same time, and were both booked on the same onward flight from Beijing to Europe on Saturday. It had been reported earlier that the men were 'Asian looking'.

Also read: Mystery over missing Malaysian plane deepens
17:56  LIVE! Pistorius vomits in court hearing Reeva's autopsy details:  The judge in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius on Monday banned live broadcasting and tweeting of the graphic testimony of the expert who conducted the autopsy on Reeva Steenkamp, who was fatally shot by her athlete boyfriend.

As the graphic evidence was read out in court, Pistorius appeared to vomit, the BBC and Sky News reported.

Pistorius, the first amputee to run in the Olympics, is charged with premeditated murder for Steenkamp's shooting death. The 27-year-old Pistorius says the killing was accidental because he thought his girlfriend was a dangerous intruder in a toilet cubicle in his home.
17:47  Cong: If there's a Modi wave, why BJP leaders looking for safe seat? :   Making a jibe over the reported row in BJP over a move to field Narendra Modi from Varanasi and Rajnath Singh from Lucknow, Congress today wondered as to why Opposition party leaders were looking for a safe seat if there was a Modi wave across the country.

The party also hit out at BJP over its overtures to Raj Thackeray in Maharashtra noting while Modi reaches out to Hindi-speaking people in Bihar, his party wooed MNS, which "humiliated" those from Hindi heartland in Maharashtra.
17:45  Publisher on Wendy Doniger's On Hinduism:  After publisher, Aleph, pulled out the American author Wendy Doniger's book, 'On Hinduism', last week, they have issued a statement today saying that the book is out of stock and will be reprinted only after a panel looked at the "objectionable matter" in the book. The statement says the author also concurs with the publishing house.

On March 4, bookshops across Bangalore received calls from representatives of Aleph Book Company, promoted by Rupa Publications, seeking return of all copies of the book.

Read their full statement today.
17:19  Rebel RJD MP Ramkripal Yadav joins BJP, will battle Lalu's daughter:  Former RJD leader Ramkripal Yadav who quit the party after Lalu Prasad fielded his daughter Misa Bharti from the Patliputra seat has now decided to join the BJP.

Yadav will also be contesting the Patliputra seat, who was a close confidant of Lalu and had resigned from all party posts on Saturday after denial of ticket from the seat.
17:02  Did you get a text message from AAP?:  The secret of how AAP gathered 14 million phone numbers for its database. Read 
16:57  LIVE! Dream of becoming PM does not let Nitish sleep: Modi:   Narendra Modi today sharpened his attack on Nitish Kumar, saying the JD(U) leader's "arrogance" and "ambition" to become Prime Minister drove him to split from BJP,and compared the socio-economic conditions of Muslims in Gujarat and Bihar to claim he practised "true" secularism.

The BJP leader chose the recent comments from Kumar that he had more experience than others to be the PM to attack him.

"What was the BJP-JD(U) alliance broken? Some said it was his (Kumar) habit to stab in the back.... We came to know of it four days back. The dream to become PM was not letting him sleep. His arrogance is higher than Mount Everest. He says nobody is as good a PM candidate as him," he told an election rally, his third in Bihar, at the Rangabhumi maidan in Purnea.

Modi quoted from Sachar Committee's report to highlight the better socio-economic conditions of Muslims in Gujarat than Bihar.
16:43  TMC milks Suchitra Sen for Bankura seat :  Two months after her death, Suchitra Sen is on poll graffiti in Bankura. In the constituency where the late actress's daughter is contesting as a Trinamul candidate, the wall writing describes Moon Moon Sen as the "worthy' daughter of the mahanayika. "Vote for mahanayika's worthy daughter Moon Moon Sen," the graffiti, seen in villages across 40km, read.

Read the full story here.
16:39  In India death by animals happen every hour:  India's animals are fighting back. Across the country, attacks by cobras, elephants, tigers and other wild beasts kill an average of more than one person every hour as India's billion-plus humans increasingly collide with nature. Read more
16:37  Aam Aadmi Party patents the muffler:  We thought they were just cold, but now the Aam Aadmi Party is claiming the muffler worn over the head and covering the ears, as its trademark.

In a list of do's and don'ts issued by the newbie political party to its novice members and campaigners, the party has authorized the wearing of "Aam Aadmi caps, batches, scarfs/mufflers."

16:34  'When punya meets paap':  The media honeymoon of the Aam Aadmi Party seems to be over. Even though media extensively reports the activities of the party it is now willing to put the party to a serious scrutiny as any other political party. 

The excessive media coverage to the party had made the AAP as the 'television opponent' of the BJP even when the 'field opponent' continued to be the Congress. A curious video has now been loaded on to the YouTube. The video shows that the President of the AAP is in close conversation with the anchor of a leading news channel subsequent to the recording of his interview.

Arun Jaitley's blog today: When punya meets paap.
15:59   Missing jet: Chinese media slams Malaysia for security lapses:  China's official media today slammed Malaysia for its "slow" response in locating a passenger jet that went missing with 239 people aboard, two-thirds of them Chinese.

In a hard hitting editorial, state-run Global Times blamed the Malaysian authorities for security lapses.

"The Malaysian side cannot shirk its responsibilities. Until yesterday, it could not even ensure accurate information about the passengers. The initial response from Malaysia was not swift enough."

"There are loopholes in the work of Malaysia Airlines and security authorities. If it is due to a deadly mechanical breakdown or pilot error, then Malaysia Airlines should take the blame," it said as tension mounted in China over the fate of passengers of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
15:50  LIVE! Mahatma's great grandson to Rahul: Don't milk Gandhi's death, we have moved on :   Mahatama Gandhi's great grandson Shrikrishna Kulkarni's open letter to Rahul Gandhi in response to the Congress VP saying the RSS had killed Gandhi...

Dear Rahul Gandhi,

Gandhiji was my great grandfather.

He was assassinated by Mr. Nathuram Godse. Many inquiry commissions have researched the case and none has implicated the RSS. My grandfather Ramdas Gandhi wrote to the then Home Minister, Sadar Patel to spare Mr. Godse the capital punishment -- our family had moved on even then...but...just for your information..when Ramdas Gandhi lay dying in Mumbai (1969), Mr. Gopal Godse, the younger brother of Mr. Nathuram Godse did pay him a visit. So as it stands, this issue is squarely in the past and my family has moved on.... humble suggestion -- you folks who own Congress (I) and your good self...should move on AND QUIT milking the name Gandhi and this issue for your selfish benefits. Have the magnanimity to accept the verdicts of the various commissions.

To keep harping that the RSS killed Gandhi is akin to saying the Sikhs killed your father...which would be such a petty falsehood isn't it? A couple of guys don't make for a community....

So please stop this charade, stop this opportunistic usage of the Gandhi name. You are not from the Gandhi family. You have fooled too many people for too long in India. Stop it now.

I am putting this in the public domain as someone from the Gandhi family has to call your bluff.

Yours sincerely,

Shrikrishna Kulkarni
15:47  Will go it alone in TN if there is no alliance: Chidambaram:   Facing the daunting task of going it alone in the Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu where 39 seats are up for grabs, Congress has put up a brave face with Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram saying they would field candidates in all 40 constituencies even if there is no alliance.

"Congress can face elections alone or with allies. Parties like Janata Party, United Janata Dal fell into oblivion, but Congress is not like that. Even if there is no alliance, we will field candidates in all constituencies and seek votes telling people about the party's achievements," he said.
15:44  "Dear Shrikrishna Kulkarni, Mahatama Gandhi wasn't your private property. Period," tweets Sanjivee.
15:43  Two LeT militants killed in encounter:   Two Lashker-e-Toiba militants were killed and an Army officer was injured in an encounter between the two sides in Handwara area of north Kashmir's Kupwara district today. Two militants, believed to be foreigners, were killed and an army officer identified as Major Sandeep Kotwal was injured in the gunbattle.
15:35  Missing Malaysian plane: One of two fake passport holders identified:  Just in: One of the stolen passport holders on board the missing Malaysian aircraft has been identified. 

Authorities on Sunday said intelligence agencies are probing how four persons with fake identities boarded the aircraft and counter-terrorism agencies of other countries have been alerted about it.

The red flags were raised on Saturday when it was found that four passengers with uspect identities were able to board the Boeing 777-200 Flight MH370 that went missing over the South China Sea en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

15:15  'Yellow object' NOT raft from missing Malaysian aircraft:  Update on the missing Malaysian plane.

A Vietnamese rescue helicopter has retrieved a floating yellow object from the sea and determined it was not a life raft from a missing Malaysian plane, as was earlier suspected, the country's civil aviation authority said on Monday.

"It has salvaged the object, at the notice and request by Malaysia's rescue centre, 130 km southwest of Tho Chu island. The object has been identified as a moss-covered cap of a cable reel," the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said on its website.

It did not specify whether or not the object was part of a plane but said photographs would be sent to its command centre.
15:09  Rebel Ramkripal says will contest from Patliputra seat:  Hardening his stance, rebel RJD leader Ramkripal Yadav today said he would contest the Patliputra Lok Sabha seat, from where party chief Lalu Prasad has fielded his daughter Misa Bharti.

"I will contest from Patliputra," Yadav, who was a close confidant of Prasad and had resigned from all party posts on Saturday after denial of ticket from the seat, told reporters on arrival to Patna.

The Rajya Sabha MP, however, did not elaborate whether he would enter the fray as a nominee of any political party or as an Independent. He said he would announce his decision in a day or two.
15:06  LIVE! Modi in Bihar: Third Front has over 3 dozen PM hopefuls:  Narendra Modi addressing a rally at Purnea in Bihar. Taking a dig at the Third Front, Modi says the Third Front has more than three dozen PM hopefuls. 

"Schools here hardly have computers, what is the Centre doing about it Shehzadeji? Bad governance is the reason for Bihar's doom," he said. "Many schools exist only on paper. There are computers in only 2% of schools," he says.  
14:57  Pope Francis: revitalising the Catholic church:  After years of crisis, the Catholic church may have found itself a new saviour. But can Pope Francis really make a difference?  Read
14:44  Malaysia sends ships to investigate possible life raft: official :  Vietnam has scrambled rescue helicopters to check a "yellow object" floating in its waters that rescue teams suspect could be a life raft from a Malaysian plane that went missing with 239 people aboard, a minister said on Monday.

New agency AFP reported that Malaysia is sending ships to investigate a possible life raft, according to an official.  
14:32  Will leave Lucknow for Modi,but no word from party yet: Tandon:  Amid reports of differences in the BJP over giving tickets to top leaders, sitting Lucknow MP Lalji Tandon today said he was ready to leave his seat for party's PM candidate Narendra Modi but appeared reluctant to extend the same favour to Rajnath Singh.

"Contesting elections is not the aim of my life. If Modi, whose name came to me from media, contests from here I will do whatever I can to ensure his victory as I did for former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee", Tandon said.

He, however, clarified that till now he had not got any proposal from the party on someone other's name.

Asked specifically about party president Rajnath Singh's name from Lucknow seat, Tandon said that he came to know about it from the media only.

"I have never tried (for ticket) from any other place. Everyone knows I have done a lot for the state. From a normal worker of Sangh (RSS), corporator, MLA, now I am representing Lok Sabha seat. I never said in the party that I want to contest from anywhere else", he said.
14:30  And Moon Moon Sen's unintentionally hilarious interview with ABP Ananda. Watch
14:21  TMC candidate from Bankura, Moon Moon Sen trills on how she plans to campaign and how it came about. Watch
14:13  Encounter on in Kupwara; 1 terrorist killed:  One terrorist has been killed and an army officer wounded in an ongoing fierce encounter in north Kashmir's Kupwara district, reports's  Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar.  

A senior police officer said troops of counter insurgency, Rashtriya Rifles and special operations group of the state police jointly surrounded Malikpora Vilgam village near Handwara in Kupwara district early Monday morning on specific information about presence of a group of Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists there.

"The holed up terrorists were challenged following which they opened fire at the security forces. So far one terrorist has been killed while an Army Major was injured,' the officer said.
14:06  Lion triplets meet dad for the first time; immediately annoy the hell out of him: See

(Though, we think, the dad is spectacularly testy.)
14:00  Chicago-bound Air India flight suffers snag, back to Delhi 6 hours after take-off:   A Chicago-bound Boeing 777 of Air India on Monday returned to Delhi six hours after taking off from IGI airport as the aircraft suffered a transponder failure just when it was about to cross Afghanistan. The flight, AI 127 with 313 passengers and 16 crew members, had flown for about three hours out of India when the transponder failed.
13:44  A tale illustrating how in Gujarat all parties will use and dump Muslims: Read
13:35  Colonel (Retd.) Devinder Sehrawat, an Army officer, a farmers' rights activist, a journalist and a politician, is another AAP candidate from South Delhi.
13:31  The third list includes 60 names, with satirist-turned politician Bhagwant Mann AAP's candidate from Sangrur in Punjab. 
13:25  LIVE! AAP announces 3rd list: Ex-Tehelka journo Ashish Khetan New Delhi candidate :  AAP announces its third list of candidates in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls. Ex-Tehelka journalist and founder Ashish Khetan will be contesting from New Delhi.
13:17  A Raja, jailed for telecom scam, on DMK's list of candidates:  A Raja, the former telecom minister who was jailed on corruption charges, will contest the national election, said his party chief M Karunanidhi today.

Also on the list of the DMK's candidates is Dayanidhi Maran, another former minister embroiled in a corruption case. Maran is being investigated by the CBI for allegedly misusing his office as Telecom Minister to pressure the sale of Aircel to a Malaysian firm whose owner allegedly rewarded him by making a large investment in Sun Networks, owned by Maran's brother.
13:15  CBI files first charge sheet in 2G scam :   The CBI has filed its first charge sheet in the coal blocks allocation case before a Delhi court. The CBI names Navabharat Power Pvt Ltd and its two directors, P Trivikrama Prasad and Y Harish Chandra Prasad, as accused in the charge sheet. The accused have been charge sheeted for the offence of cheating, criminal conspiracy under IPC.
12:52  Notwithstanding his suspension from the party, three DMK MPs met former Alagiri at his residence in Madurai in January.

Party MPs D Napoleon, K.P.Ramalingam and J K Ritheesh met Alagiri, elder son of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, and greeted him on the eve of his birthdayin January.

"Bitter incidents have happened when I was away in the United States. I will abide by the decision of Annan (Alagiri)," Napoleon said after greeting Alagiri. Ritheesh said Alagiri had played a key role in the development of the DMK party in south Tamil Nadu.
12:51  LIVE! Karuna's son Alagiri may form new party after polls :  Suspended DMK leader MK Alagiri is likely to launch his own party. Alagiri, who is the son of DMK chief M Karunanidhi says the decision will be made after the polls.

Alagiri had recently been given a veiled warning by his father after he opposed an alliance between DMK and the DMDK, a regional party headed by former actor Vijayakanth, who is also being wooed by the BJP.

The suspended leader had told a TV channel that he did not consider captain (as Vijayakanth is called by his partymen) a politician. Karunanidhi had termed Alagiri's remarks about the DMDK chief as regrettable and condemnable.
12:36  Forgotten at airport: Baby:   When Central Industrial Security Force constable Roshni Halkar was posted to the Indira Gandhi International Airport here on security duties, she didn't imagine she would one day have to babysit a lost infant.

But Halkar had to cuddle a two-month-old girl left behind at a cafeteria in the airport lounge by absent-minded parents who had stopped for coffee after flying in from Mumbai and walked away without their daughter.

The cafeteria's staff alerted the CISF when the unattended infant began wailing. But the couple realised the baby was missing only when they reached their home in Ghaziabad, two hours away.  Read more
12:29  A BJP-Muslim entente cordiale?:   In a TV interview last week, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley admitted that the BJP had a Muslim "problem.' "Yes, we have it,' he said, pointing out that there was a "problem both ways.' "Part of the problem is that they (Muslims) have to understand us and part of the problem is we have to accept it 'But I see a huge change in the situation.' Read
12:26   Supreme Court sets a deadline of one year for lower courts to complete trial in cases involving MPs and MLAs. 
12:17  Why Imran Khan and Kejriwal are similar and so disastrous:  So remarkable are the parallels that can be drawn between Arvind Kejriwal and Imran Khan, that it almost seems that they are clones of each other, says Sushant Sareen. Read
12:13  Once again, the fear of flying :  In Indian aviation, we never learn from past accidents; nor do our regulators or airlines show any interest in preventing a recurrence. Read
12:06  Missing Malaysian plane: Suspect passengers had 'Asian features':  Malaysia's interior minister said two passengers who used stolen passports to board a Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing with 239 people aboard had "Asian facial features", according to a report.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing vanished over waters somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam early on Saturday about an hour after taking off.

Fears of a terror attack have surfaced after it was revealed that at least two passengers boarded the plane with stolen passports -- one from Italy and one from Austria. The passport owners have been found to be safe.
12:00  The list of passengers on board the missing Malaysian plane included 154 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, 7 Indonesians, 6 Australians, 5 Indians, 4 Americans and 2 Canadians. Indians have been identified as Chetna Kolekar, 55, Swanand Kolekar, 23, Vinod Kolekar, 59, Chandrika Sharma, 51, and Kranti Shirsatha, 44.
11:54  Congress and AAP has a self-defeating relationship:  "After an electoral contest in Delhi in December, 2013 Assembly elections, the AAP and the Congress have a cozy relationship. The Congress Party announced an unconditional support to AAP.

Its state leaders were willing to issue statements against the AAP but unwilling to strike."

Read Arun Jaitley's blog

The AAP was willing to register an FIR against Sheila Dikshit and other Congress leaders. The police organisation where the FIR was registered was without jurisdiction.

The Congress conventionally had a support of anti-BJP section of the intelligentsia. This section now had pinned its hopes on AAP as a possible contender for challenging Narendra Modi.
11:45  LIVE! 6.9 quake hits northern California, no threat of tsunami:   Just in: A 6.9 magnitude earthquake shakes the coast of Northern California. US Geological Survey says the epicenter was 50 miles west of Eureka. There is not believed to be any threat of a tsunami, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

The quake struck late last night at 0518 GMT with an epicenter located 77 kilometers west-northwest of the town of Ferndale and at a depth of seven kilometers, said the USGS, which monitors earthquakes worldwide.
11:41  RJD rebel Ram Kripal to join BJP today:  BJP has reportedly succeeded in wooing Nawal Kishore Yadav to leave his claims over Pataliputra seat and offer it to Ramkripal. Read
11:35   There's a encounter on at Kupwara, J-K, between militants and security forces. A senior LeT commander is believed to be holed up in a building. Details awaited. 
11:15  Amar Singh, Jaya Prada likely to join Ajit Singh's RLD:  Actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada along with her political mentor and former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh may join Rashtriya Lok Dal, as per the reports.

Singh and Jaya were expelled from the SP for indulging in anti-party activities and denting its socialist image.

Later, Singh formed Lok Manch and contested for 360 Assembly seats in UP in 2012. However, he could not win the elections. Moreover, rumours were doing the rounds that he would join the Congress.  Read more
11:11  NaMo namah: The Modi temple in Bhagalpur :  As the clock approaches 11, priest Brijendra Narayan Mishra, who is seated cross-legged, positions himself next to a small Shivling in the temple's garba griha. Mishra starts chanting mantras, but not in praise of Lord Shiva.

His veneration is reserved for another 'deity -- a four-foot seated replica of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The idol is garlanded with fresh marigold and its forehead is adorned with a red tika. Mishra's Modi wears spectacles too. Read more
11:09  Aamir Khan approaches Mumbai police:  Bollywood actor Aamir Khan on Sunday approached the Mumbai police after an alleged hate campaign launched against him and his television show 'Satyamev Jayate' on social networking sites. Read more
11:07  Sensex breaches 22,000, Nifty holds 6,500 level:  After breaching 22,000 level for the first time, the benchmark BSE Sensex fell 47 points in early trade today on emergence of profit-booking by funds and retail investors tracking weak cues in other Asian markets.

The 30-share barometer hit psychological 22,000 mark for the first time and moved up for a brief period to touch a new record high of 22,005.54. The Sensex, however, slid afterwards to trade 47.30 points lower at 21,872.49 in early trade.
10:55  Varsity revokes suspension for Kashmiri students who cheered Pak cricket team :   A university in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, will revoke its suspension of 67 Kashmiri students for cheering for the Pakistani cricket team in a match against India.

The UP government has also assured Jammu and Kashmir that the boys, in their early 20s, who had returned home, will "not be hounded" once back at college. As a reciprocal gesture of goodwill, the vice chancellor of Meerut University has been invited to visit Jammu and Kashmir.
10:50  'Missing jet may have disintegrated in mid-air':  Search and rescue planes scoured waters off the southern tip of Vietnam on Monday, searching for any trace of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner 48 hours after it vanished from radar screens with 239 people on board.

On Sunday, a senior source said officials investigating the disappearance the plane suspect it may have disintegrated in mid-flight, asVietnam reported that a navy plane had spotted a rectangle object in the sea suspected to be one of the doors of the Boeing 777-200ER, but that it was too dark to be certain. -- Reuters
10:03  Debris found near Vietnam not from missing airliner: Malyasia:  
The debris spotted by a search-and-rescue plane near Vietnam's Tho Chu island do not belong to the missing airliner, Malaysian authorities have said.

They added that investigators are looking into the possibility that the missing flight could have been hijacked.

A Vietnamese plane has reported spotting parts of debris of an aircraft, suspected to be the Malaysian airliner that went missing on Saturday.

A search-and-rescue plane spotted fragments of the missing flight 50 miles south of Tho Chu island in the South China Sea, the Vietnam government said on Monday morning.

Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, had vanished on Saturday morning while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, triggering a multinational hunt for the plane and its passengers.
09:40  Is Vodafone leaking info on phone calls, asks govt:  The Union home ministry has raised concerns about telecom giant Vodafone sharing details of phone calls and emails with a British spy agency.

In a letter to the department of telecommunications, the finance ministry has urged it to look into the concerns raised by the home ministry about Vodafone sharing details of private communication with British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters.

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09:26  Tone down criticism of Obama: Robert Gates to Republicans:  Amid mounting Republican attack on Barack Obama over Ukraine, his former defence secretary Robert Gates today asked his party colleagues to "tone down "their criticism and try to be supportive of the President in handling the crisis.        

"In the middle of a major international crisis, some of the domestic criticism of the (US) President ought to be toned down while he is trying to handle this crisis," Gates, who served as the US defence secretary under both the Obama and the Bush administrations, said in an interview.        

"My own view is, after all, (the Russian President, Vladmir) Putin invaded Georgia when George Bush was president. Nobody ever accused George W   Bush of being weak or unwilling to use military force," Gates argued.
09:24  EC recommends action against AAP for protest outside BJP HQ:  The Delhi Chief Electoral Office has sent its report to the Election Commission of India recommending action over the alleged protest by the Aam Aadmi Party supporters outside the BJP headquarters in Delhi recently.

According to the sources, Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev has sent his report after receiving the District Election Officer's report, which said that it was not satisfied with the AAP's reply to the show cause notice issued to them and that the incident was a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.        

The AAP may get a censure from the Election Commission for the protest which turned violent outside the BJP headquarters on March 5.
09:23  BJP will win highest-ever number of seats: Advani :  Senior BJP leader L K Advani today claimed that his party would win the highest-ever number of seats in the Lok Sabha elections, pushing the Congress to its all-time low.        

"I have seen all elections since 1951-52. And based on the experience and the present political atmosphere, the BJP will get maximum seats this time," the former deputy prime minister said.

The BJP had got maximum 182 seats in 1998 and 1999, Advani said, adding that this time the party would get more than that.
09:06  Congress will get absolute majority: Jairam Ramesh:  Union Minister Jairam Ramesh today expressed confidence in the Congress securing an absolute majority in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.        

Addressing a public meeting in Karimnagar town in Andhra Pradesh, Ramesh said the credit for forming Telangana goes to the Congress party, though every political party has been claiming credit.        

Even after the passage of Telangana Bill in the Lok Sabha, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu criticised the bill for political gain, he claimed.
09:05  Unedited video of Kejriwal's interview goes viral:  A video showing AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal asking a TV news anchor to emphasise certain sections of his interview went viral on Youtube on Sunday night. 

The video, which is over a minute long, shows Kejriwal and the news anchor in a conversation after the interview. During the conversation, Kejriwal is seen asking the TV anchor to give emphasis on certain segments of the interview. 

"Please play it up more," Kejriwal said in the video. 

To this, the television anchor was seen saying: "Yes, we will play it up. The Bhagat Singh (comment) is good. We will get a lot of reaction to this." 

The interview was apparently given by Kejriwal after he resigned as Delhi chief minister.

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