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LIVE! EC directs covering pictures of leaves on small buses in TN

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March 13, 2014


23:33  ATS arrests Yasin Bhatkal in German Bakery blast case:   The special MCOCA court in Mumbai today allowed the state Anti Terrorism Squad to arrest Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal in Pune's German Bakery blast case.

"The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act court has allowed the ATS to take Bhatkal to Pune; he will be procedurally arrested there and will be produced in the court there tomorrow," said Vinod More, his lawyer.

Meanwhile, the ATS arrested Bhatkal's aide Asadullah Akhtar in connection with the 2012 Pune serial blasts. He was remanded in ATS custody until March 27.
23:28  EC directs covering pictures of leaves on small buses in TN:  The Election Commission has directed covering the pictures of leaves, which resembled the Two Leaves symbol of ruling AIADMK, on small buses plying in the city, but ruled that there was no need to interfere with the similar symbol at the entrance of the MGR Memorial.

This has been conveyed in a letter to the state Chief Electoral Officer and a copy which was submitted in the Madras High Court today during the hearing of a petition by the DMK before Justice T Raja.

In his petition, DMK Treasurer M K Stalin had sought a direction to the EC to cover Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's photograph and AIADMK's 'Two Leaves' symbol printed on government property, including small buses and water bottles sold in the name of 'Amma mineral water'.

On March 10, the counsel for EC had submitted that photographs of Jayalalithaa had been concealed on the water bottles and government properties and sought two days time to take a decision on the MGR memorial.
23:02  Princess Diana gave royal phone book to UK tabloid: ex-editor:   The former royal editor of Rupert Murdoch's now defunct tabloid 'News of the World' has told a UK court that Princess Diana had given him a book of royal contact details.

Clive Goodman said he received the book in 1992, telling the Old Bailey court in London that the late princess "wanted me to see this book". Goodman, who was jailed in 2007 for phone hacking, denies two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

He is accused of paying police for royal phone directories. Asked why the princess sent him the book, Goodman said, "She was in a very bitter situation with the Prince of Wales at the time. She felt she was being swamped by the people close to him and she was looking to...to take him on."

He said the book was sent to the newspaper and "worked its way into my pigeonhole". "She called me that afternoon and asked me if I had got it," Goodman told the court. The book was "one of a number that came to me over a number of years", he said.
23:00  Delhi EC to keep tab on political activities ahead of Holi:  Delhi Election Commission will keep a tab on activities by political parties ahead of the festive season, for any violations of the Model Code of Conduct.

"No political parties can use a festival or a religious occasion to further their political interest or as a means of campaign.

"In such occasion if a candidate puts a poster, photos, cut-outs, or holds a stage programme or gives speech, the entire expense will be added in his/her expenditure account," Chief Nodal Officer Ankur Garg, said.

If any political party distributes any thing to people for free, it is a violation of the model code of conduct.
21:17  Why Delhi court showed no mercy on Dec 16 gang rapists:  
There was no inconsistency in the three dying declarations of the December 16 gangrape victim, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said while sending four convicts in the case to the gallows.

The court said the convicts failed to bring anything on record to prove that the victim was tutored to inculpate them. 

"In the present case, we do not find any such inconsistency in the three dying declarations of the deceased as to render them unworthy of credence," a bench of justices Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani said.

"There is nothing forthcoming on record to suggest that the prosecutrix was tutored as is sought to be made out. It is even otherwise hard to believe that the near and dear ones of the prosecutrix and the police officials had tutored her so that the accused persons could be inculpated and the real culprits let loose," the court said.

It said that the law on multiple dying declarations has been elaborately dwelt upon by the Supreme Court in a large number of cases and it has been consistently held that it is not required for multiple dying declarations to be identical with each other to pass the test of admissibility.
20:42  Suicide bomber shot dead near Indian embassy in Kandahar:  
A suicide bomber was today gunned down close to the Indian Consulate complex in Afghanistan's Kandahar province before he could detonate explosives. 

Sources in Kabul said the bomber was shot dead by Afghan security forces around 1:30 PM after he managed to gain access to the street housing the Indian consulate.

They said authorities in Kandahar have informed the Indian officials about the attempt to attack the Indian consulate. All Indians are safe.

"Local police informed the mission that the militant was approaching the Indian consulate," a source said. 

In August last year, three bombers drove in a car towards the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad and detonated explosives, killing 12, including eight children, and injuring 24 others. The dead included the bombers.
20:40  Air India takes back 13 sacked cabin crew members:  
Air India has "unconditionally" taken back 13 of the 17 cabin crew members it had sacked recently for indiscipline and defying flight duty time limitation, allegedly following pressure from a section of the employee unions, AI sources said today. 

A decision to revoke their termination was taken after the Shiv Sena-backed breakaway faction of the All India Cabin Crew Association held a meeting with AI Chairman and Managing Director Rohit Nandan in New Delhi this afternoon, they said. 

"The management has taken back unconditionally all the 13 permanent in-flight staff, including a purser, whose services were terminated for gross indiscipline, due to pressure from the Shiv Sena-affiliated faction of the association," the sources told PTI here.

Air India officials were not available for comments.

Coming down heavily on its erring cabin crew, the loss -making national airline had sacked 16 air hostesses, four of them on contract, and a flight purser over a period of nine days in February-March for not following Flight Duty Time Limitation (FDTL) norms.
19:51  Geelani brought to Delhi for treatment:  
Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was today brought to the national capital from the Kashmir Valley after complaint of chest pain. 

Geelani, 84, arrived here this afternoon and was taken to Medanta hospital in Gurgaon, a part of national capital region, where he was attended by doctors from the pulmonary department.

After check up, doctors decided not to admit him. Geelani underwent various tests and x-ray after which he was discharged.

Founder of hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference, Geelani has multiple health ailments including a heart problem for which a pacemaker has been planted and a serious kidney problems.

When contacted his son-in-law Altaf said that Geelani had been discharged after some tests and the doctors prescribed some additional medicines. 

"He is better now," he said. 
19:10  Congress 2nd list with 71 names released:  
Congress names candidates for 71 seats in second list.

Rita Bahuguna to contest from Lucknow, Raj Babbar from Ghaziabad
19:00  Bayern Munich boss jailed:  A German court has sentenced the president of European football champions Bayern Munich to three years and six months in jail for tax evasion. Uli Hoeness admitted defrauding German tax authorities of millions of euros.

The former World Cup-winning German international footballer had kept the funds in a secret Swiss bank account. His lawyer had argued he should escape punishment because he gave himself up. But judges ruled his confession fell short of full disclosure. -- BBC
18:56  LIVE! Digvijaya could be Leader of Opposition in RS, poor Hindi may cost PC :  Our sources tell us that finance minister P Chidambaram, if elected to the Rajya Sabha, could be the Leader of the Opposition in the house. Right now,  BJP senior leader, Arun Jaitley holds the post. The other contender for the post is Digvijaya Singh.

But senior Congress leaders speculate that Chidambaram may not bag the post as his Hindi is poor, since it is essential that the LoP be fluent in the language. Which, of course, makes Digvijaya, the right choice. The Congress has not named its PM candidate, but names of LoP are being considered.

Of course, all this, if the 'wave' doesn't break.
18:42  Malaysia disputes report that missing plane flew on for hours:  In a press conference, Malaysia's defense minister and a Malaysia Airlines chief executive played down or dismissed a series of leads that had launched a frenzied speculation about the plane's fate.

In what officials here describe as an unprecedented aviation mystery, it remains unknown whether the plane is on land or in water, on the east of the country or west, or even somewhere far beyond. Read
18:37  It's a 'chacha' vs 'bhatiji' contest in Patliputra:  The prestigious Pataliputra Lok Sabha seat will witness a contest between BJP's Ram Kripal Yadav, the long-time confidante of Lalu Yadav who recently quit RJD and joined the saffron front, and Lalu's eldest daughter Misa Bharti. M I Khan reports from Patna.
18:33  'Rahasya' makers to screen film for Talwars' relative:  The makers of the yet-to-be released film 'Rahasya' today informed the Bombay High Court that a private screening of the film would be arranged for one relative of Noida's doctor-couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar convicted of murdering their daughter Aarushi in 2008.

The Talwars, serving life sentence awarded to them for murdering their teenage daughter at their Noida residence, had moved the High Court seeking a stay on the film's release on the ground that it is based on "distorted facts surrounding the gruesome death" of their daughter.

The couple had during the last hearing sought a private screening of the movie for one family member.
18:25  Congress leader Manish Tewari says he will contest from Ludhiana, but wanted to contest from Chandigarh.
18:23  Why Dalit radicals don't want Arundhati Roy to write about Ambedkar. Read
18:19  LIVE! Kejriwal's convoy hits biker in Nagpur, 2nd incident in a month:   And more trouble for Kejriwal. The AAP chief's convoy hit a two-wheeler in Nagpur. Kejriwal is in Nagpur today

Just last month, a 33-year-old biker was injured when a car from Kejriwal's convoy (he was still Delhi Chief Minister then) hit him.

Kejriwal, who is unwell, has cancelled all his planned rallies in Vidarbha today. As per reports, he will go ahead with the fund-raiser event at Nagpur this evening. Each person seeking to attend the dinner with Kejriwal at a luxury hotel in the city will have to shell out Rs 10,000.

The party believes 150-200 people could attend the fund-raising dinner.
18:05  Pistorius throws up again after graphic photograph of Reeva shown in court:  Oscar Pistorius threw up in court again after a picture of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp's blood-covered body was accidentally shown to the court at his murder trial in Pretoria. Read
17:58  Why the judge dismissed the case against Khobragade:  The case against Devyani Khobragade, the Indian diplomat indicted in the U.S. for alleged visa fraud, hung not on the merits of the case against her, but on what kind of immunity she held from prosecution and when she held it. Read
17:50   BJP to field Pramod Mahajan's daughter Poonam Mahajan against Congress' Priya Dutt from Mumbai North Central constituency.
17:48  On Twitter: Kejriwal : I waved at Modi ji but he didn't wave back. There is no Modi Wave.
17:42  Pilots of missing Malaysian plane under scrutiny:  The captain of a missing Malaysian jet is said to be an engineering buff who assembled his own flight simulator, while friends of the co-pilot are defending his reputation after one report portrayed him as a cockpit Casanova. Read
17:40  Malaysia plane: China debris images 'released by mistake':  Chinese satellite images that were said to show debris from a missing Malaysian airliner were released by mistake, Malaysia's transport minister says. Hishammuddin Hussein also denied a US report that the Boeing 777 might have flown for hours after contact with air traffic control was lost. Read
17:24  All the Prime Minister-in-Waiting's Men:  For the first time ever, the BJP's headquarters for a Lok Sabha election is outside New Delhi. Rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt's fascinating new column where she reveals the ground realities in the Battle for India. Read
16:58  LIVE! FIR against Kejriwal for causing chaos in Mumbai yesterday:  The Mumbai police has filed an FIR against Arvind Kejriwal and AAP workers under Section 188 of the IPC for "unlawful assembly" and "failing to obey public servants."

The FIR comes after chaos at Churchgate and Andheri stations when two metal detectors fell to the ground as the crowd surged blindly. At both Andheri and Churchgate stations, women commuters had a harrowing time because of the crowds, with many of them misplacing their bags, footwear, spectacles and watches.
Also read:  Out to woo aam aadmi in Mumbai, Kejriwal adds to his woes
16:43  And so it begins, a woman travelling in a local train in Mumbai has injured her eye when she was hit with a water balloon.  
16:39  Saif Ali Khan charged in 5-star hotel assault case:   Two years after actor Saif Ali Khan allegedly assaulted a South-Africa based businessman and his father-in-law at a Colaba hotel, a local court today framed charges against Saif and his two friends.

"The court today framed charges against Khan and his two friends - Shakeel Ladak and Bilal Amrohi - under section 325 (assault) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code," public prosecutor Wajeed Sheikh said.

However, the trio pleaded not guilty after the metropolitan court read out the charges to them. Saif and his friends had been arrested following a complaint filed by NRI businessman Iqbal Mir Sharma after the two allegedly got into a fight at the Wasabi restaurant in Taj Hotel on February 22, 2012. The trio was later released on bail.
16:34  Another time, another place: A Congress poster during the 1952 general elections.
16:33  LIVE! Kejriwal blames media for chaos at Churchgate station yesterday:  Arvind Kejriwal blames the media for the ills (at least some of the ills) that plague AAP. Speaking about the chaos at Churchgate station in Mumbai yesterday, Kejriwal said the media was responsible, and not AAP workers. He said a section of the media was asked to project Narendra Modi and run down AAP, and reporters were under pressure from the owner.

Ironically, AAP has fielded four journalists as its Lok Sabha candidates.  Former Tehelka journalist Ashish Khetan, former television journalist Ashutosh, Jarnail Singh, a former journalist who is known for raising the issue of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and throwing a shoe at Union Minister P Chidambaram and finally, senior journalist Anita Pratap, who will be contesting from Thiruvananthapuram.  
16:14  SC: No bail, Subrata Roy stays in jail till March 25 :   Just in: The Supreme Court has adjourned the hearing in the Subrata Roy case till March 25. Which means the Sahara chief stays in jail till at least March 25, which is when the next hearing will be.

The court has said Roy will have to stay in jail indefinitely till Sahara gives an acceptable proposal on how it will refund Rs 20,000 crore to investors. Refusing Roy interim bail, the SC says it will look into the plea only after a suitable repayment proposal is received. "The key is in your hand," the SC tells Roy.
16:05  Gul Panag formally announced as AAP candidate from Chandigarh:  Gul Panag has been formally announced as the AAP candidate from Chandigarh. Meanwhile, there's been a heated exchange between the media and AAP members at the presser in Chandigarh. The ticket was earlier given to Savita Bhatti, the late Jaspal Bhatti's wife.
15:58  Narendrum Modum supremus chefum ...  Superb and utterly mad piece on Nostradamus's 'new' prediction. Read
15:51   Gorkha Janamukti Morcha today decided to back senior BJP leader S S Ahluwalia for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal.
15:39  Former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who recently returned to the party fold after he had to quit the post in the wake of corruption charges, is likely to bag a ticket for his confidante G S Basavaraj from Tumkur seat. Basavaraj is the sitting MP from Tumkur.
15:38  If you're in London and think PG Wodehouse was the greatest writer of his time, check this out.
15:26  Use WhatsApp on Android? Your chats are not so secure:  In other news: If you use WhatsApp on an Android phone, you should be careful about what you talk about or share on the instant messaging app. Using a few scripts and a rogue app, anyone can peer into your chat logs and see what you talk about with your friends. Read
15:23  Read: What the juvenile convict in the Delhi gang rape.
15:20   Defence laywer AP Singh says they will appeal in the Supreme Court. The High Court did not show any leniency on the convicts and has upheld the order of the Saket fast-track court. 
15:12  LIVE! Delhi gang rape: HC confirms death penalty on all four convicts:   The Delhi High Court has upheld the death penalty handed out to the four men convicted in the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman that shocked the country in 2012.

A trial court in Delhi handed down the death penalty to the men in September. It found them guilty of gang-rape, murder, unnatural sexual offences, criminal conspiracy and other offences.

The trial court later sent the case to the High Court for confirmation of the death sentence. The accused also filed appeals. A death sentence can be challenged in the High Court and the Supreme Court, after which the defendant may file a mercy petition with the president.

The convicted men are Mukesh Singh, Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, and Pawan Gupta. The 2012 December Delhi gang-rape led to protests across the country and international outrage, prompting the Government to amend laws to apply stricter punishments for rape.

Also read: 'Those monsters ate her up alive, please hang them'
15:06  8 pronunciation errors that made the English language what it is today:  Think hyperbole rhymes with Super Bowl? Don't worry, it could be the start of something beautiful. Read
15:00  Council polls: Sena candidate withdraws from race:  Shiv Sena candidate Rahul Narvekar today withdrew from the biennial Legislative Council elections in Maharashtra, paving way for the rest of the candidates to be elected unopposed. Narvekar visited the election office at Vidhan Bhavan and gave the letter of withdrawal of his candidature.
14:59  Tripping on old mistakes:  The killing of 15 Central and State police officers in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday is just the latest in the string of hideous losses India's anti-Maoist counter-insurgency has suffered at regular intervals. Read
14:57  Chauvinism and patriotism not the same :  Sedition is an act against the security of the country. How does clapping for the Pakistani cricket team threaten security or even the interests of the Indian state? When did patriotism insist on uniforms or uniformity? Read
14:42  200 pastors in Kanchi to back Jaya :  In a shot in the arm for 31-year-old Maragatham Kumaravel, the AIADMK nominee for the Kancheepuram reserved Lok Sabha constituency, over 200 local pastors in the temple town on Wednesday extended their support to her candidature. Read
14:40   Nitin Gokhale tweets: Finally! Air Marshal AK Roy, C-in-C ANC is designated Overall Force Commander. He will coordinate the search for MH 370 with other countries. Search to begin in area east of Campbell Bay (about 160-170km) on the approach to Mallaca Straits. 2 ships launched. Dorniers being launched.
14:37  Sriramulu to get Bellary ticket, Sushma loses face :   BJP's central election committee, which is being held right now, has cleared the entry of B Sriramulu, former aide of Bellary's mining baron Janardhan Reddy, despite objections of senior leader Sushma Swaraj, keeping in mind his political utility and that he does not face serious charges in court. 

The meet will finalise Lok Sabha poll candidates for over 150 seats. What is been keenly watched is whether the party will take a final decision on the Uttar Pradesh constituency from where NDA's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will contest, but seats and candidates in Gujarat and UP are unlikely to be announced today.

Senior party leaders LK Advani, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Ananth Kumar, Murli Manohar Joshi and Narendra Modi are among those who will be at the meet. 
14:28  The war within:  There will be no respite from Maoist attacks such as the one in Chhattisgarh as the government has lost many opportunities to strike at the heart of the insurgency. Read
14:21  BJP front may affect fortunes of both DMK and AIADMK:  The tussle between the AIADMK and the DMK in a record 35 constituencies has made the current round of Lok Sabha polls a unique one.

But the possible emergence of a strong BJP-led third front and several other players going it alone may throw up a serious challenge to the State's two principal parties. Read
14:16  LIVE! Snubbed Alagiri meets PM, predicts doom for DMK :   Suspended DMK leader MK Alagiri met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today. While Alagiri termed the meet a courtesy call, sources tell us that they discussed political developments in Tamil Nadu.

The PM also enquired about M Karunanidhi's health.Alagiri mentioned the sudden breakaway of the DMK from the UPA to the PM. Remember, DMK is going into a general election for the first time without a national party in its alliance. Dr Singh recollected the nine years of DMK's support to the UPA.

But DMK insiders tell us they are wondering at the need for such a meeting. They believe it may be to frighten the DMK rank and file.
Alagiri is also confident that many of the political inputs about Tamil Nadu would be shared with Sonia Gandhi.

Karunanidhi's son arrived in Delhi last evening stayed at KV Ramalingam house and drove to 7 Racecourse Road to meet Dr Manmohan Singh. Karunanidhi remains a tall political figure and the Congress has held him in the highest esteem.

The party is hopeful that after the elections, the DMK will return to the UPA.Alagiri is also believed to have bumped into BJP president Rajnath Singh at the Delhi airport by accident and they exchanged pleasantries.

Snubbed by his party, the Madurai MP has indicated that he may float a party of his own after the general election. Alagiri has said the DMK will be relegated to the third position in all constituencies in Tamil Nadu. "DMK has lost a lot of its cadre-base. Money has played a big role in selection of candidates in the DMK," he said earlier.
14:08  After long years, DMK goes to polls without national party:  The DMK's alliance with national parties in the past helped in bringing many projects to Tamil Nadu. Read
13:34  Hindu organisation seeks ban on 'Total Siyapaa':  A Hindu right wing organisation has sought ban on Bollywood movie 'Total Siyapaa' for its "anti-national" content. Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) in their representation to the Central Board of Film Certification has demanded cancellation of the film's censor certificate, which hit theatres worldwide March 7.
13:27  The Danish foreign minister is an aam admi. See
13:21  Voters and social media users :   The guardian angel of the worlds largest democratic exercise, the Election Commission, has announced the schedule of the general elections. Along with a meteoric rise in the number of voters vis--vis 2009, there is a massive upsurge in the number of prospective voters who live their lives on the social media. Here's a look at the numbers in simple, lucid graphics. Read
13:08  BJP downplays Sena attack, calls it 'friendly advice':  Putting up a brave face after a hard-hitting attack by its ally Shiv Sena, BJP today downplayed it as "friendly advice" and talked of "long- standing committment" between the two parties as Sena slammed it for creating a "trust deficit" by hobnobbing with Raj Thackeray.

"I read the article (in Saamana). It gives anecdotes from history. It essentially speaks about the friendship of Shiv Sena, a long-standing committment of Shiv Sena with BJP and NDA. And, therefore, it is in the nature of a friendly advice and not anything against BJP," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

"As far as the matter of BJP and Shiv Sena was concerned, that was already sorted out and now there are no issues. We are a permanent ally and will fight for victory in Maharashtra and will win more than 35 seats," he said.

His remarks came even as Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, in a hard-hitting editorial in mouthpiece 'Saamana', slammed BJP over its overtures to Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Read what the Saamna said today.
12:53  LIVE! NDA announces TN list, BJP to contest PC's seat:   The NDA has listed its seat share in Tamil Nadu with the following alliance partners.

The Vijaykanth-led DMDK which announced its alliance with the BJP this week will contest seats in:

Thiruvallur
North Chennai
Vellore
Aarani
Kallakurichi
Viluppuram
Salem
Tiruppur
Karur
Tiruchi
Thanjavur
Chidambaram
Madurai
Nellai

The BJP will contest from:

South Chennai
Sriperumbudur
Nilgiri
Coimbatore
Mayiladuthurai
Sivagangai
Ramanathapuram
Tenkasi
Kanyakumari

The PMK seems to have agreed on numbers by accepting the offer of eight seats, but there has been unwillingness to compromise on certain constituencies which overlapped with those of the DMDK. For now, the PMK will contesting seats in:

Arakkonam
Dharmapuri
Krishnagiri
Thiruvannamalai
Namakkal
Cuddalore
Nagapattinam
Dindugal

The MDMK leadership had given a wish list of 12 seats to the BJP, but it has been pared down to:

Central Chennai
Kanchipuram
Erode
Theni
Virudhunagar
Thoothukudi

The IJK will be contesting from Perambalur, while the KMDK will battle
Pollachi.
12:38  LIVE! Kejriwal: I NEVER said I would choose Modi at gunpoint :   Arvind Kejriwal tweets: TV channels pe chal raha hai - "kejriwal ne kaha ki modi aur mayawati ke beech main modi ko prefer karunga". I never ever said that... why r some tv channels soooo desperate for a pro-modi. Complete fiction being planted in favor of modi. Aise to Modi ko vote nahi milne wale."
12:31  China 'will not give up' on missing Malaysian plane:  China's Premier Li Keqiang has pledged to continue search efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight "as long as there is a glimmer of hope".
12:27  Malaysia Airlines retires 'MH370' flight code as a mark of respect:  Malaysia Airlines said today it would no longer use the flight codes MH370 and MH371 "as a mark of respect" to the 239 people on board its missing Beijing-bound passenger jet.

The Kuala Lumpur-Beijing service -- formerly MH370 -- will now take on the code MH318, while the return route will switch from MH371 to MH319.

"As a mark of respect to the passengers and crew of MH370 on 8 March 2014, the MH370 and MH371 flight codes will be retired," the national carrier said in a statement. The airline said the changes would take effect from tomorrow.

"There are no changes to the frequency of our services, and we will continue to operate double daily services to Beijing," the airline added.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of our colleagues and passengers of MH370."

The search for the Boeing 777 entered its sixth day today with Chinese satellite images showing possible debris in the South China Sea -- but Vietnamese planes found no trace of the objects, an official said.

The search for the missing airliner now encompasses an area of more than 90,000 square kilometres -- roughly the size of Portugal.
12:23  Why wealthy Indian maharajas don't make it to billionaires' list. Read
12:21  Delhi HC verdict on gang rape today :  The Delhi High Court will on Thursday pronounce its verdict on confirming the death sentence and appeals of four convicted in December 16 gang-rape case. A division bench of Justice Reva Khetrapal and Justice Pratibha Rani will pronounce the verdict in the afternoon.
12:11  Phew! Good timing by Sehwag & IPL:   The Congress may not be confident of forming the next government but could have owned its own IPL team had the plan to rope in several cricketers for election fructified. Ironically, it was the real IPL that nipped the purported plan in the bud '" and perhaps helped the players steer clear of a tricky pitch. Read
12:09  What guarantee of no trouble in future? Fuming Sena questions BJP:  The BJP today faced another scathing attack from its oldest partner, the Shiv Sena, which has come out with an editorial tearing into its handling of alliances.

"The BJP appears to be doing deals with new parties while keeping existing allies in the dark," said Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray in his party mouthpiece Saamna.

Uddhav Thackeray has been bristling at the BJP's overtures towards his estranged cousin Raj Thackeray, who leads the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena or MNS.  Read
12:01  Shiv Sena hits out at BJP, asks it to follow "alliance dharma':  Uddhav said that the BJP is "tying up with one regional party and carrying out backdoor deals with another". Read
11:57  The scale of the search for Flight MH370. A fantastic graphic on the Washington Post. See
11:47  Bleeding profusely CRPF commando played dead and lived:  Bleeding profusely from bullet wounds as his colleagues lay dead or badly injured, Manilal Thakur did what he thought was best.

"I stayed calm and pretended to be dead,' Thakur, one of the two survivors of the Maoist ambush in the Jeeram valley area of Sukma district in the Bastar region, told The Telegraph today.

"I survived.' It was not short of a miracle that this district police constable and another CRPF commando, Manoj Tomar, survived the ambush that killed 15 security personnel and a civilian in the same area that a Congress convoy was wiped out last year.  Read more
11:43  CRPF, State police ignored pinpoint warning on ambush:  The Central Reserve Police Force and the Chhattisgarh Police ignored their own intelligence services' pinpoint warnings that Maoist insurgents were preparing an ambush along the road where 15 police personnel were killed on Tuesday, highly placed government sources told The Hindu. Read Praveen Swami's report today.
11:36  TN Cong MP joins BJP:   C Narasimhan, a former Tamil Maanila Congress MP, joined the BJP in Chennai today. He has sought a Lok Sabha seat from the BJP in the Dharmapuri Parliamentary Constituency.
11:33  Unwell Kejriwal cancels Vidarbha road show, Nagpur dinner still on :  Incidentally, Kejriwal has cancelled his road show in Vidarabha today, saying he is unwell.

As per reports, he will go ahead with the fund-raiser event at Nagpur this evening.

Each person seeking to attend the dinner with Kejriwal at a luxury hotel in the city will have to shell out Rs 10,000. The party believes 150-200 people could attend the fund-raising dinner. Party sources said the AAP chief could hold his rally scheduled in Nagpur tomorrow.
11:25  LIVE! If you hold a gun to my head, I will choose Narendra Modi, says Kejriwal :  If given the choice between Narendra Modi and Mayawati for Prime Minister, whom would Arvind Kejriwal favour?

"If you hold a gun to my head, I will choose Modi," the Aam Aadmi Party chief was quoted as saying soon after meeting a group of fund managers and stock brokers in Mumbai on Wednesday.

The man who asked the question to the former Delhi chief minister was Anil Singhvi, investment banker and former managing director of Ambuja Cements. Read more
11:21  Malaysia failing credibility test as flight confusion deepens:   One of the world's most perplexing aviation mysteries is casting a harsh spotlight on Malaysia's government, as a leadership unused to heavy scrutiny comes under intense international criticism for a litany of confusing messages and a perceived lack of transparency.

Five days after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from civilian radar screens, a huge international search operation has failed to turn up a trace of the Boeing jetliner that was carrying 239 passengers and crew.

Frustration over the fruitless search has increasingly been directed at Malaysian officials after a series of fumbling news conferences, incorrect details given by the national airline, and a long delay in divulging details of the military's tracking of what could have been the plane hundreds of miles off course. -- Reuters
11:17  Cops destroy Maoist camp in Sambalpur:  Sambalpur police today destroyed a Maoist camp following an encounter with the rebels in the Sukhakani-Barhahad forest of the district.

Besides, the security forces intensified combing on the Malkangiri-Chhattisgarh border to thwart infiltration attempts by the rebels from the neighbouring state, where 16 persons, including 11 CRPF jawans, were killed in an ambush in Jeeram Ghati yesterday.

The incident, the second of its kind in Chhatisgarh in the past one year, took place barely 40km from Malkangiri.
11:10  Didi becomes collateral damage crushed between Anna-Arvind clash:   Anna Hazare lost the battle against Arvind Kejriwal today but Mamata Banerjee was left standing alone on the burning deck in Delhi. Anna cited a last-minute "chest congestion' to avoid the ignominy of facing a thin crowd on the Ramlila Maidan, the very same theatre he had lorded over in 2012 when Kejriwal was just a disciple. Read
11:08  US Attorney Preet Bharara's office had argued that Khobragade, 39, was not immune from her December 12 arrest on charges of visa fraud and making false statements about the visa application of her domestic help Sangeeta Richard. Khobragade's arrest on visa fraud charges had triggered a row between the two countries with India retaliating by downgrading privileges of certain category of US diplomats among other steps
11:01  India welcomes dismissal of visa fraud charges agst Devyani:  India today termed as "good as far as it goes" the dismissal of visa fraud charges by a US court against senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade, whose arrest and strip-search had triggered a diplomatic row between the two countries.

"We have seen the judgement related to the indictment of January 9. It is good as far as it goes," spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said.

He said the lawyers will meet to "examine it carefully before we are able to respond substantially and in more detail". Khobragade, who was India's deputy consul-general in New York, was arrested on December 12 outside her children's school.

She has won dismissal of the indictment against her for visa fraud, with a US judge ruling she had full diplomatic immunity. However, prosecutors are not barred from bringing new charges in future.
10:55  LIVE! Missing Malaysia Airlines plane flew on many hours after radar disappearance:  US investigators suspect that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 stayed in the air for about four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, according to two people familiar with the details, raising the possibility that the plane could have flown on for hundreds of additional miles under conditions that remain murky. Read
09:25  Israel calls for reoccupation of Gaza after rocket salvos:  Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called for reoccupation of the Gaza Strip, following a heavy Palestinian rocket fire into the Jewish state.        

He said Israel would have no choice but to reoccupy Gaza, from which it withdrew all troops and settlers in 2005, after the militant strikes -- the biggest wave of attacks in 16 months.        

"I do not think we can ignore such an attack, a salvo of 50 rockets. My views are known and clear. After Operations Cast Lead and Pillar of Defence, there is now no other choice but complete occupation of the Gaza Strip, and cleaning house there," Lieberman told Channel 2.
09:24  Australia: Indian man admits assaulting women on trains:  A 41-year-old Indian man in Australia today pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting women on trains after offering to read their palms.        

Ajay Chopra pleaded guilty to assaulting three women and attempting to assault two others on V/Line trains as they travelled between Bendigo and Melbourne.        

Chopra, now prohibited from boarding trains between the two stations, had approached five women in the age group of 20 to 30 years between February and October 2011.
09:12  'Crash site' of missing MA Flight 370 found?:  A Chinese satellite has reportedly located the 'crash site' of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing shortly after taking off from Beijing on Saturday morning.

The satellite, which was looking for remnants of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, found "three suspected floating objects", CNN reported on Thursday.

The 'crash site' has been found at a spot where the South China Sea meets the Gulf of Thailand, reported CNN.
09:04  Khurshid has NO respect for Supreme Court, Election Commission:  External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has some serious issues with the Election Commission.

The senior Congress leader, while speaking in an event in London, tore into the EC, saying the diktats issued by it ensured that a political party would lose, not win, the elections.

"You should do and say nothing that wins you an election. You should try your best to lose an election," said Khurshid.

He also slammed the Supreme Court for meddling in the affairs of the Parliament, saying, "Judges can decide anything".

Khurshid rued the fact that SC judges made crucial decisions like which political leader was eligible to be a member of Parliament and which affidavits they needed to file.
08:57  Six arrested for molestation of teenage girl on Mumbai road:   Police today arrested three more persons accused of molesting and almost stripping an18-year-old girl on a street in suburban Kandivali (West) inbroad daylight, taking the total number of arrested so far to six.

The three accused nabbed today were Habib,19, and twominors, the police said.

The police had yesterday arrested Fayyaz Ahmed Khan, SarojKhan and Naushad Khan, all in their twenties, and booked themunder section 354 (molestation) of the Indian Penal Code.

On Monday, the girl was allegedly groped and almost stripped by a group of a dozen young men near Hindustan Naka in Kandivali in broad daylight.        Shockingly, when the girl, trying to escape the molesters, entered a restaurant, the people there drove her out before she was finally rescued by a police constable on patrolling duty and some passersby.
07:01  Indictment against Devyani dismissed:  

Three months after she was arrested and charged with visa fraud before being freed on a bail bond, Indian diplomat Dr Devyani Khobragade's motion to dismiss the United States government's indictment on the ground of her diplomatic immunity was granted on Wednesday, March 12, by a federal judge in Manhattan.

According to court documents, Dr Khobragade's conditions of bail are terminated, and her bond is exonerated. 'It is ordered that any open arrest warrants based on this indictment must be vacated,' US District Judge Shira A Scheindlin said in the ruling.

Read more

00:02  China to Malaysia: Tell the truth about missing plane:   Annoyed over conflicting reports about the missing plane, China tonight asked Malaysia to verify rumours and share all information about the flight MH370 after official admission that it may have turned back and disappeared over the Straits of Malacca.

"We have send requests to the Malaysian side through diplomatic channels, asking them to check up on rumours right away and inform China of all information available," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement.

Qin's remark came after a Malaysian military official said the missing flight may have changed route and turned back from its scheduled course before disappearing last Saturday.

Anxieties mounted in China as 154 of the 227 passengers are Chinese and their relatives are annoyed over the confusion and lack of progress even five days after the incident.

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