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LIVE! Pro-Russian forces break into Ukrainian naval base in Crimea

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March 19, 2014


22:29  Damascus, Moscow criticise US over Syria embassy closure:  Syria denounced as illegal today Washington's decision to close its embassy, while Russia said the move meant the United States had renounced its role as a peace sponsor. 

Their remarks came as Damascus said Israeli air raids on Syrian territory earlier today had killed a soldier and wounded seven others, warning that they endangered regional security.
22:28  Progress made in 'substantive' Iran nuclear talks:  Iran and world powers completed today what both sides called a "substantive" round of nuclear talks, with Iran's foreign minister saying he saw "signs" a comprehensive deal will be reached. 

"We had substantive and useful discussions covering a set of issues including (uranium) enrichment, the Arak reactor, civil nuclear cooperation and sanctions," EU foreign policy chief and the powers' lead negotiator Catherine Ashton said in Vienna.
21:25  Pro-Russian forces break into Ukrainian naval base in Crimea:  Crimea '" Russian-backed forces began what appeared to be a steady occupation of Ukrainian military facilities in the breakaway Crimean peninsula on Wednesday, taking over the country's naval headquarters and two other facilities and positioning outside a fourth, according to defense ministry and other reports.

Read more
21:24  BJP denies division in party:  BJP says there is no division in the party after veteran leader L K Advani was asked to contest from Gandhinagar. Advani wanted to contest the election from Bhopal.

The BJP says that since Advani is a senior party leader it is natural for demands to come from many places. They say the party will fight the LS election with Advani's blessing and Modi leading. 
20:45  Mamata warns she will not allow Darjeeling to go Andhra way:  Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today warned that Darjeeling cannot be allowed to go the Andhra Pradesh way, asserting till she was alive she would not give an inch of land away. 

Attacking the BJP and the Congress for the "game" they played on the Andhra Pradesh bifurcation issue, Banerjee said this time they would not succeed.
20:41  The BJP has released 15 names from Uttar Pradesh and 21 from Gujarat.

Jagdambika Pal to contest from Domariaganj

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore to contest from Jaipur rural

Hema Malini to contest from Mathura

Jaswant Singh to contest from Dahod
20:36  BJP fields L K Advani from Gandhinagar:  The Bharatiya janata Party has decided to field its veteran leader L K Advani from Gandhinagar in Gujarat. 

Narendra Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, has been assigned the constituency of Vadodara in Gujarat. 

Modi will now contest the national election from here as well as from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, which was allotted to him over the weekend.
20:11  Shameful that M'nagar riots accused given LS tickets: Sachar:  Former Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar today termed as "shameful" the act of political parties giving Lok Sabha tickets to Muzaffarnagar riots accused.

"This is shameful and unfortunate. People who have been prosecuted have been put up to fight Lok Sabha elections. This shows the psychology (of the parties)," Sachar said. Two of the accused -- Hukum Singh and Kadir Rana -- will be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

While Singh, MLA from Kairana, will be contesting from the same constituency on BJP ticket, Rana, who is sitting BSP MP from Muzaffarnagar, has been renominated by his party.

Singh and Rana were among the 16 politicians and community leaders who were accused of inciting violence through inflammatory speeches in Muzaffarnagar.
20:07  US rejects dropping nomination of Murthy as surgeon general:  The US today rejected reports that it is abandoning the nomination of Indian-American Vivek Murthy as surgeon general, saying his name was approved with bipartisan support.

"No", White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said when asked if the Obama Administration has abandoned its nominee for surgeon general for the United States.

Murthy has been facing problems in the US Senate for his confirmation for his strong views against the gun culture. "Murthy is a dynamic, entrepreneurial practitioner who had dedicated a lot of time, energy and passion to health and wellness," Carney said.

"As surgeon general, he will be a powerful messenger on these issues in each of the tenets of health:  nutrition, activity and resilience. Murthy, as you know, was approved out of committee with bipartisan support," he said.

Carney did acknowledge that the White House is recalibrating the strategy around Murthy's floor vote.
19:40  Naveen Patnaik, Dilip Ray file nominations for Odisha assembly:  Odisha Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik, BJD MP Sidhanta Mohapatra and BJP leader and former union minister Dilip Ray were among over 12 candidates who filed nomination for the ensuing assembly and lok sabha polls in Odisha today.

Patnaik filed four sets of nomination papers from Hinjili assembly constituency in Ganjam district at the sub-collector's office at the district headquarter town of Chhatrapur as ruling BJD candidate, official sources said.

After winning the assembly election from Hinjili constituency in 2000, the BJD supremo tasted victory from the same segment in his home district in successive assembly polls held in 2004 and 2009.

Dilip Ray, who had been minister at the centre and also in the state, filed his nomination for the prestigious Rourkela assembly seat as a BJP nominee, sources said.
19:11  BJP will announce its Lok Sabha candidates at 8 pm. 
19:08  AAP's Varanasi rally has been postponed by two days to March 25. 
18:42   If you love him, flaunt him, thinks Divya Bandodkar who trills on Twitter: 'Namo tattoo on my hand.' 
18:17  LIVE! Digvijaya wants to battle 'biggest liar' Modi in Varanasi:  Just in: Digvijaya Singh tells the Congress party that he is ready to take on Narendra Modi in Varanasi. Singh on Friday asked the party's youth brigade to launch a strong, fearless and "tit-for-tat" campaign against Modi on social media. "I have not seen a person who is more of a coward and a bigger liar than Modi. If you fear countering this liar, you should go and sit at home. If anybody from the BJP opposes us, he should be replied to in the same language that they use against us. Be fearless and write whatever you want against Modi. He who fears does not live. They have a paid team of professionals and we are volunteers. Counter their propaganda everywhere you can," Singh had said while addressing a national convention of the National Student's Union of India.
18:09  INTERACTIVE MAP: The real rape capital of India:  So, how safe is your city? Is Delhi really India's rape capital?
Find out the number of rapes (registered case) across India on this interactive map on Rediff.com. Take a look.
17:56  Rahul in Kolkata on March 25?:  Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is likely to visit West Bengal on March 25 for the Lok Sabha poll campaign.
17:53  LIVE! Will rebel TMC MP Kabir Suman contest on Cong ticket? :  Rebel Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman recently told the media that he might contest elections as an Independent candidate. Suman was denied a ticket for the Lok Sabha polls after he fell out with the TMC leadership on many issues.

A former journalist-turned musician and writer, Suman said, "I am not a politician by profession. I spend time with my guitar and my music. They (TMC leadership) should have kept that in mind before giving me the ticket last time.  

"If I fight, I will do that from Jadavpur since I live there," Suman told local media.

According to insiders, Congress leaders, including Somen Mitra, have been keeping in touch with Suman and sources reveal that the chances of contesting the elections from Jadavpur on a Congress ticket cannot be ruled out.

TMC has nominated Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's kin Sugata Basu for Jadavpur whereas the Communist Party of  India-Marxist has chosen Sujan Chakraborty.

Jadavpur constituency is in the southern outskirts of the metropolis which Suman won on a TMC ticket defeating sitting CPI-M MP Chakraborty by over 56,000 votes in the 2009 general elections.
17:41  Modi's chai pe charcha for farmers tomorrow:  Dabhadi village in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra has been chosen by the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for his third edition of Chai Pe Charcha tomorrow.

Modi will be interacting with farmers across 1500 locations in India,  for an hour from 5 pm onwards. This edition will also be beamed live at 15 international locations, BJP sources said.
17:26  Make a date with Jeffrey Archer tomorrow :  Jeffrey Archer. The man who sold over 270 million books. And he's not done yet.

Tomorrow, on Rediff.com, you can be an unabashed fan girl/fan boy and tell him how much you loved Kane and Abel or the Prodigal Daughter.

Tomorrow, on Rediff.com, Mr Archer will take questions from you about his latest bestseller, Be Careful What You Wish For -- the fourth in the five-part Clifton Chronicles series.

Join us at 4.30 pm IST. 
17:01  LIVE! MH370: Families of missing passengers dragged away from press conference:  Chaos broke out at the media centre in Kuala Lumpur for the missing flight MH370 after distraught Chinese family members of those on board the plane arrived to protest to Malaysian authorities.

It came just before Malaysian authorities held a press conference where they revealed files were recently deleted from the flight simulator of the pilot aboard the missing plane.

Frustration boiled over for the anguished families who have travelled from Beijing in a bid to get more information.

The relatives came to the media centre at the Sama Sama hotel at Kuala Lumpur airport carrying protest banners, but were dragged away by Malaysian security staff to a room in the hotel. The relatives accused the Malaysian government of hiding the truth, wasting time and failing to find the missing jetliner. Read more
16:55  Kasparov: Putin and the lessons of 1938:  Garry Kasparov gets straight to the point: The West is too hooked on Russian cash to do the right thing with Putin. The former World Chess Champion says, "Vladimir Putin is not Hitler. But we've got to stop him all the same."
Read
16:48  If you haven't seen this... Shashi Tharoor's pictorial ode to his late wife Sunanda Pushkar on his website. See
16:47  A wary Bangladeshis visit to a familiarly foreign land yields pleasant surprises.  Read
16:43  Congress takes a new step to move beyond Kalmadi era in Pune:  The Congress move to nominate Vishwajeet Kadam, who heads the party's state youth wing, as its Lok Sabha candidate from Pune is being seen as a desperate attempt to bury a tainted past, represented by suspended sitting MP Suresh Kalmadi, an accused in the CWG scam.

Kadam's candidature, announced last night, ended the suspense surrounding the much-talked about possibility of renomination of Kalmadi or fielding his confidant in view of the two-decade long clout he wielded on city politics.

Reacting to his nomination, Kadam, son of Maharashtra minister Patangrao Kadam - who has been for long aspiring for the post of Chief Minister - sounded confident about winning.
16:32  Battles with dimples in Chandigarh:  Chandigarh's sitting MP Pawan Kumar Bansal faces two dimpled beauties. Which one will the city choose?  Read
16:24  Rahul would like to settle in Arunachal Pradesh 'after retirement':   Enchanted by the natural beauty of Arunachal Pradesh, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he would like to settle there after "retirement".

Addressing a rally in Hapoli in Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal, Gandhi said he would love to settle at Hapoli, popularly known as the Apatani plateau "after my retirement"

"I have never seen such a beautiful place anywhere in the country and am also willing to spend a few days here to enjoy the natural beauty," he said.
16:17  Dalit Camera's open letter to Arundhati Roy clarifying its position on the rumors spreading in New Delhi about the cancellation of the launch of the book, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's Annihilation of Caste, introduced by Roy. Read

This is Roy's response to the column. Read 
16:14  The full text of Shashi Tharoor's complaint to the Election Commission that CPI MLA VS Sunilkumar had accused him of murdering his wife. Read
16:12  From a correspondent in Delhi: Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is all set to contest from Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir.
16:02  Alagiri goes soft after DMK's warning:  Suspended DMK leader M K Alagiri today said he had never worked against the party at any point of time and wondered why the high command had suspended him, hours after it warned its cadres against having any truck with him. "I was only trying to set right the 'disorder' and 'confusion' prevailing in the party," said Alagiri, who seemed to have mellowed down after the party cracked the whip.

The party issued the warning in the wake of outbursts by him against the party fielding 'tainted' leaders and his consultations with his supporters on Monday in Madurai.
15:59  Mind it! DMK warns partymen against having links with Alagiri:  The DMK today warned partymen of disciplinary action against those who continue to maintain links with its suspended leader, M K Alagiri.

The stern warning came two days after party supremo M Karunanidhi's elder son Alagiri held meetings with supporters in Madurai to chalk out his future political course.

Party General Secretary K Anbazhagan charged Alagiri of attempts to create confusion among the party's rank and file in the run-up to the April 24 Lok Sabha polls.
15:57  LIVE! MH370: Somebody deleted files from flight simulator, says Malaysia :   Malaysia's defense minister says files were recently deleted from the home flight simulator belonging to the pilot aboard the missing Malaysian jetliner.

Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference Wednesday that investigators are trying to retrieve the files.

He also said that the pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, is innocent until proven guilty of any wrongdoing.

Hishammuddin said background checks have been received from overseas agencies for all foreign passengers on the plane except for those from Ukraine and Russia - which accounted for three passengers. He says none of the checks has turned up anything suspicious.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with 239 people aboard went missing March 8 on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
15:18  Shazia takes a swipe at VK Singh :   AAP leader Shazia Ilmi takes a swipe at VK Singh, BJP's candidate from Ghaziabad: "Very curious about what date of birth Gen VK Singh will provide in his affidavit to EC.."

Read: Gen VK Singh loses battle for age, tries to save some honour
15:02  Will Advani contest from Bhopal or Gandhinagar?:  The BJP Central Committee is currently holding a meeting where it will decide LK Advani's constituency for the upcoming elections. Advani has skipped the meeting. It is believed that he could contest from Bhopal in Shivraj Singh Chouhan's Madhya Pradesh rather than from Gandhinagar in Narendra Modi's Gujarat.
14:50  Tharoors assets grow by Rs 2.5 crore in last 5 years:  Congress candidate and Union Minister Shashi Tharoor has assets worth Rs 23.95 crore. This was revealed in the affidavit submitted by Tharoor along with his nomination, reports the Indian Express.

Going by the previous affidavit filed in 2009, when he had the maiden electoral battle, Tharoor's assets have grown by Rs 2.5 crore in the last five years.

In 2009, Tharoor had declared assets worth Rs 21.45 crore. Then, he was the richest candidate contesting the Lok Sabha elections in Kerala.

His assets include bank deposits, shares, debentures, mutual fund, ornaments and agricultural land. He has neither dependents nor liabilities, as per the affidavit.
14:48  Wanted Maoist Sabyasachi Panda's wife joins Ama Odisha Party:  Subhashree Panda, wife of wanted Maoist Sabyasachi Panda, today joined Ama Odisha Party along with over 100 of her women supporters. Subhashree, who was set free from jail in 2012, said she would like to contest the ensuing assembly elections from Ranpur segment in Nayagarh district.

She was arrested and jailed for two years for her alleged links with the out-lawed CPI-Maoist party but was subsequently acquitted of the charges in 2012. Sabyasachi's father and Subhshree's father-in-law Ramesh Panda had represented the Ranpur assembly constituency thrice on the CPM ticket.
14:21  Former Congress leader Jagdambika Pal, comedian Raju Srivastava join BJP
14:17  Before elections, Mumbai's vada pav turns into a political hot potato. Read
14:09  In Varanasi, a lifetime spent in a world of death:   In India's oldest city, the only female gatekeeper of heaven sits in her homespun sari and tends to an open oven in a 14th-century building near the sacred Ganges River. Read
14:03  Pro-Russians enter Crimea naval base:  Pro-Russian activists enter the Ukrainian naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea - and Russian flags are seen flying from buildings there, reports the BBC.
14:01  Mingle with Alagiri at your own risk, DMK warns workers:  MK Alagiri has been declared a no-go zone by his party, the DMK, which is headed by his father, M Karunanidhi. The DMK today formally warned its workers of punitive action if they are discovered in contact with the 63-year-old leader. Read
13:51  Remember this? Mystery around Sunanda death not laid to rest yet. Read more
13:48  LIVE! Tharoor files defamation suit for 'doctorate in violence against women' remark:   UDF candidate from Thiruvananthapuram parliamentary constituency Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday filed a complaint with Chief Electoral Officer against CPM leader M Vijayakumar for making an alleged defamatory statement against him.

In a petition to the CEO, Tharoor alleged that all Malayalam channels on Tuesday were airing a statement by Vijayakumar to the effect that "Shashi Tharoor has a doctorate in violence against women.'  This was not only outrageous falsehood but also defamatory and a violation of model code of conduct, he said.

A CPI MLA on a live show had also accused Tharoor of murdering his wife, Sunanda Pushkar.
13:16  Over 6,000 RPF personnel, 1,000 coaches ready for LS election:  Gearing up for Lok Sabha polls, the Railways has kept 75 companies of RPF ready for deployment in various parts of the country during the election time.

One RPF company consists of about 90 personnel. Railway has also provided about 1,000 coaches for the movement of polling staff and security personnel to poll-bound areas.

There are total 6,750 RPF personnel and about 50 trains having 1,000 coaches being made available for the polling exercise, a senior Railway Ministry official said.

The deployment of RPF personnel is more this time as compared to the last Lok Sabha elections in 2009.
13:14  Madhu Kishwar tweets: Kirron Kher is a heavy weight in every sense in comparison to feather light Gul Panag!
12:52  Scientist debunks 'missing plane' satellite image:  And just when you thought there was finally some concrete news on the missing Malaysian plane...

The company providing satellite images for the public to help search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight says a purported sighting of the plane is based on old data.

An Indian IT analyst posted a picture to CNN's iReport website on Friday, saying it showed what he thought was MH370 flying over the Andaman Islands.

Anoop Madhav Yeggina had decided to study images of the Indian-owned islands more closely after reports several days ago that radar data indicated the plane may have flown in that direction. Read more

And this is what the satellite image looked like. See
12:44  'There needs to be a way where India-Pak can feel comfortable about being two separate nation states':  Lunch read: An interview with novelist Kamila Shamsie, who says she would hesitate before saying she was from Pakistan if she was in India.  Her latest book A God in Every Stone is an epic page-turner set in India's colonial past. Read
12:36  Should LK Advani leave Gandhinagar for Bhopal? BJP deliberates:  LK Advani is not attending a meeting of the BJP's election committee this morning, in an indication that a decision is expected soon on where he will contest the general elections from this year.

There is a strong buzz that he could contest from Bhopal in Shivraj Singh Chouhan's Madhya Pradesh rather than from Gandhinagar in Narendra Modi's Gujarat. Read
12:30  Why Putin Did It:  The Russian president's speech about annexing Crimea is really about winning back the pride lost when the Berlin Wall fell. Read the full story here.
12:04  5 theories about what happened to missing Malaysia flight:  Each day that passes without a clear idea of what happened to missing Malaysia Flight 370 new theories and possibilities are proposed about the possible fate of the jet.

Among the most recent theories proffered are a fire that disabled the plane, that it hid by flying in the "shadow" of another plane, or that everyone on board was overcome when the plane's cabin became depressurized.

Here are five of the most repeated theories of what happened to flight MH370. Read
12:00  Rhetoric, not foreign policy:  Even if it may not lead to any radical shift in India's foreign policy, Narendra Modi's rhetoric can't be ignored. His commentary on India's foreign policy may be indicative of the domestic priorities of a future BJP government, and how that may relate to the rest of the world. Read
11:58  Bonhomie at Wagah as India's BSF and Pakistan Rangers celebrate Holi.   
11:56  Mamata: My nephew has been involved in politics for long:   Mamata Banerjee today sought to draw a distinction between those "born with a golden spoon' and others who just happen to have relatives in politics, addressing an issue used by critics to needle her over her nephew's career. Read
11:48  India reluctant to take up responsibilities in creating new global order:  After a period of silence over official assessment of the events in Ukraine, India finally expressed its tepid support for Russia, with its National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon stating that India believes Russia has "legitimate interests" in Ukraine.

But the Indian Ministry of External Affairs papered over Menon's comment, calling for "a legitimate democratic process to find full expression through free and fair elections that provide for an inclusive society." Read
11:41  Khurshid on Modi: Nursery kid with good marks can't be doctor:   Salman Khurshid has targeted Narendra Modi once again on the 2002 riots in his Gujarat, questioning a court's clean chit to him. 

"I don't know who has given Modi a clean chit. A magistrate's court not summoning him is a big accomplishment for him. It is like a nursery child who gets good marks and thinks he has become a doctor" Khurshid said, asserting that the case was far from over. Last month, he had been admonished by his party vice president Rahul Gandhi for describing the Gujarat chief Minister as "impotent" for not stopping the riots in his state.
Read
11:32   US wants world community to condemn Russian action in Ukraine:  Meanwhile, the world looks on as Russia annexes Crimea. The Obama administration has intensified its global effort to garner support for Ukraine. The White House said it is looking at the international community, including India, to condemn Russia's action.

Over the past few weeks, the top American leadership, including President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, has been reaching out to its friends, allies and key global players against the Russian action in the Crimean region of Ukraine.

Even as Russian President Vladimir Putin called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to explain his position on Ukraine, US officials would not tell the level of its outreach with India; with whom the Obama Administration is building strategic partnership.
11:30  Three foreigners molested on Holi in Delhi :  Three foreign nationals from Germany, Columbia and South Africa. All eight accused have been arrested on molestation charges. The men allegedly forcefully put colour on the women and then molested them.
11:20  Meanwhile, Peepli Live's 'Natha' Omkar Das has joined AAP.  
11:14  LIVE! Cong's Manish Tewari to contest from Ludhiana :   Congress leader Manish Tewari is willing to contest elections from Ludhiana. Earlier reports had suggested that the Union Minister, who had been hospitalised due to a heart ailment, was unlikely to contest the Lok Sabha polls.

The Information and Broadcasting Minister represents Ludhiana constituency in the Lok Sabha.

Congress sources now say Tewari had never refused to contest the elections.
10:55  Rahul gives Mizoram a miss:   Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has cancelled his proposed visit to Aizawl today in view of the ongoing Assembly session, party sources said. The Congress leader was scheduled to address an election rally at Mualpui locality in Aizawl today and also meet journalists at Lengpui airport near Aizawl
10:53  Afghanistan: as China forges new alliances, a new Great Game has begun:  A common interest in central Asia over Uighur and Taliban militancy is bringing together Beijing and the United States, writes William Dalrymple. Read
10:48  Cancer kills poacher Sansar Chand who wiped out Sariska tigers:  Poacher Sansar Chand, who was blamed for wiping out Sariska's tiger population in 2005, died of prostate cancer in a Jaipur hospital on Tuesday morning. Sansar, who was in his late 50s, died hours before he was to appear in court in a poaching case. Read
10:46  India's next PM is...:  Over 5 lakh votes were cast in the Rediff Pulse of the Nation survey. And the choice for India's next leader is... Find out
10:32  Rahul Gandhi cancels Mizoram visit :  Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi has cancelled his proposed visit to Aizawl today in view of the ongoing assembly session, party sources said.

Thanglawra Ngurte, member of the state PCC Media Cell, said his visit was cancelled in view of the assembly session which began on Tuesday.
10:31  Advani to contest from Bhopal:   A correspondent reports: Party patriarch L K Advani has refused to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls from Gandhinagar, defying the express wishes of the party high command in general, and BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi in particular.

Advani is likely to contest from Bhopal.

Meanwhile, Modi, who will contest from the holy town of Varanasi, is also likely to contest from another seat in Gujarat at the behest of millions of supporters from his state.

The Gujarat strongman is likely to contest from Baroda.
10:31  Inside scoop: BJP to field Paresh Rawal from Ahmedabad:   A correspondent reports: The Central Election Committee of the Bharatiya Janata Party will meet at 11.30 am today to finalise the candidates for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls for the remaining seats in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

According to sources, the saffron party will field actor Paresh Rawal from Ahmedabad East. 
09:13  Russia's credibility affected by its actions in Ukraine: US:  Russia's move to annex the Ukrainian province of Crimea has badly affected the credibility and the international stature of Moscow, the White House has said.        

"In general, Russia's credibility and stature internationally is affected by these actions ...," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.        

"What we have seen of late by the actions taken by the Russians in Crimea is an undermining of and a violation of those principles that undergird that structure that supports all of these international institutions. So it certainly affects their standing within the world community," he said.
09:12  Malaysian plane didn't land on Indian Ocean base: US:  The United States has ruled out the possibility of the missing Malaysian plane landing at its Indian Ocean base in Diego Garcia.        

"I'll rule that one out," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters when asked about such news reports appearing mainly in the Chinese press.        

Carney said the Malaysian government has the lead in this investigation and the US officials are in Kuala Lumpur working closely with the Malaysian government on the investigation.
03:14  Ukraine cries 'robbery' as Russia annexes Crimea:  

Never mind what the West thinks -- the Kremlin says Ukraine's Crimea region is now part of Russia. A signing ceremony Tuesday between Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister of Crimea and the mayor of the city of Sevastopol made it official, the Kremlin said in a statement.

 

The territory, ceded to Ukraine in the Soviet era, is now part of the Russian Federation, it said. The annexation -- which had not been expected to occur until Russian lawmakers met later this week -- was met with a howl of protest in Kiev, where Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called it "a robbery on an international scale."

 

Meanwhile, after masked gunmen killed a member of Ukraine's military, wounded another and placed the rest of the staff of a base in Crimea under arrest, the Defense Ministry authorized its forces in Crimea to use weapons "to protect and preserve the life of Ukrainian soldiers," according to a statement posted on its website.

 

Read more on CNN

03:11  2 dead in helicopter crash near Seattle's Space Needle:  

It was the sound of the engine that alerted some people who were in Seattle's Fisher Plaza Tuesday morning that something was amiss. At about 7:40 a.m., Bo Bain was a few feet from the famed Space Needle that towers over the northern end of the city when he heard sounds he has grown accustomed to hearing during his work in the tourist district on a construction project.

 

"We were working here on the corner and the helicopter came in and landed, as he usually does several times a day," Bain told CNN affiliate KOMO. The pilot put the news helicopter down on a landing pad outside KOMO's offices "for a minute or two," and then tried to rise again into the air, Bain said. That's when the routine engine noises changed abruptly, and Bain knew something was up.

 

Read more on CNN

01:00  Sunny Leone, the marketing guru:  

Sunny Leone, to her throng of fans, conjures up images that are mostly too vicarious to describe in these pages of resonant family reading. But once you hear her out, you would wonder whether it's a former porn star '" adult entertainer if you will '" or a marketing guru doing the talking.

 

"I think I offer a unique brand of worldwide traffic and fans that is different from what is offered by other celebrities in India," says the Indo-Canadian actress who was born Karenjit Kaur Vohra to Sikh parents in Ontario, Canada.

 

There's more: she also lets on that she's "specialized in social media marketing" and companies that tie up with the Sunny Leone brand "see the potential and value" in it.

 

Meet Sunny Leone, porn star turned digital entrepreneur cum brand endorser. And if you aren't still convinced here's some more: "This year we launched our own Sunny Leone app and platform that integrates all social networks with our own marketing team [her business interests are run under her banner company Leone LLC]. We now reach the end consumer in a way that companies hope to in an everchanging world market," she told ET Magazine in an email interview.

 

Perhaps it's time to take the Bollywood actor who was most searched online in 2013, the Penthouse Pet of the year a decade before that, and one of Maxim's 12 top porn stars of 2010 a bit more seriously, and with more respect.

 

A clutch of marketers is doing exactly that by signing her up to endorse their brands. Those labels of course are not of soaps, detergents or toothpaste but tend to be on the edgier side '" think energy drinks, liquor, and inevitably condoms and adult entertainment websites."Products such as energy drinks, alcohol and '" more obviously '" adult entertainment websites have sexual attraction built in either as subtext or as an overt promise. In that context, Sunny Leone becomes the perfect choice as brand ambassador. She's a porn actress who has now become a Bollywood star '" hence known and fantasized about by millions. Who better to be the face of an A-rated brand," explains Sumanto Chattopadhyay, executive creative director, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, Mumbai.

 

Read more on The Economic Times

00:50  This is the most plausible theory for the missing MH370:  

Maybe the plane was "cyber-hijacked." The pilots' houses have been searched. Terrorist connections have been probed. Passenger backgrounds and possible motives have been scrutinized. And still, 10 days after the plane disappeared, we know nothing.

 

Perhaps that's because we're overthinking it.

 

A few days ago, a former pilot named Chris Goodfellow articulated an entirely different theory on Google+.

 

Read more on the Business Insider

00:15  Tharoor files nomination in Thiruvananthapuram:  Union minister Shashi Tharoor today filed his nomination as a Congress candidate from the Lok Sabha seat here. 

Tharoor filed his papers before District Collector Biju Prabhakar. The seat is likely to witness a three-cornered fight among sitting MP Tharoor, CPI's Bennet Abraham and O Rajagopal of BJP.
00:14  Ukrainian base in Crimea attacked, serviceman killed:   A Ukrainian serviceman was killed on Tuesday at a Ukrainian base that came under attack in Crimea's main town Simferopol, the first death on the peninsula from a military clash since the region came under Russian control three weeks ago.

As news spread of the death of the serviceman, in an assault on the base by unknown attackers, Ukraine's pro-Western prime minister denounced it as a "war crime" and called for international talks to prevent an escalation of the conflict.
00:13  Narendra Modi's rally at Dumka cancelled:  BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's scheduled public rally at Dumka on March 24 has been cancelled, the party's Jharkhand unit general secretary Balmukund Sahay said. 

Stating that a new date would be announced later, Sahay said the cancellation was necessitated following the announcement of general election schedules.
00:12  Judge blocks 9/11 plotter from testifying at NY trial:  A US judge blocked America's most high-profile terror detainee today from testifying in a New York courtroom to defend Osama bin Laden's son-in-law. 

"I have considered this very carefully. It's much ado about nothing. It's not admissible," Judge Lewis Kaplan told the southern district court in Manhattan. Suleiman Abu Ghaith, who married bin Laden's daughter Fatima, is on trial for conspiracy to kill Americans, conspiracy to support and supporting terrorists.
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