21:45 Sushma on Jaswant episode: Personally, I am pained:
Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj today said she was "pained" at the partys decision to deny a Lok Sabha ticket for party veteran Jaswant Singh.
The BJP denied ticket to Jaswant from Barmer in Rajasthan yesterday which led to speculation that he might contest as an Independent.
"As far as the issue of Jaswant Singhji is concerned, it was a decision of the party. It was not a normal decision.
"Such type of decisions (Asaadharan nirnay) are not taken without any reason," Sushma told reporters here when asked about the Jaswant issue.
The Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha said there must have been some reason behind the decision.
"There must be some reason because this as that ticket was not decided by the (BJP) Central Election Committee.
"It was decided later. There must be some reason, but personally I am pained with this," she said.Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
21:37 AAP fields Phiroze Palkhivala against Priya Dutt in Mumbai:
Aam Aadmi Party today released its 10th list of candidates for 22 Lok Sabha seats across six states.
The party named eight candidates for Bihar, seven for Rajasthan, two each in Maharashtra, Kerala and Gujarat and one in Jharkhand.
In Mumbai, the party has fielded Phiroze Palkhivala, son of eminent jurist, the late Nani Palkhivala, from the Mumbai North-Central seat to take on two-time Congress MP Priya Dutt.
Sundar Balakrishnan is the AAP candidate for the Mumbai South-Central seat, which is represented by two-time Congress MP Eknath Gaikwad.
With this list, the total number of candidates declared by AAP so far is 339. Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
21:28 Pak govt, Taliban agree on venue for peace talks:
The Pakistan government negotiators today agreed on an undisclosed location to hold direct peace talks with the Taliban soon to find a way to end the decade-long insurgency.
"The process of talking directly to the Taliban will start in two to three days, both sides have agreed on the venue", Samiul Haq, a negotiator for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, told reporters.
"Both sides are showing flexibility and a willingness for success of the talks," he said.
His remarks came following a two hour-long meeting between the Taliban team and the government's new negotiators. The meeting at the Punjab House here was chaired by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
Haq said the discussions were held in a cordial atmosphere. He said the location would be declared a "peace zone" but did not reveal what would be the exact venue of the shura or council meeting.
20:24 Modi heads to Vaishnodevi on March 26:
BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will pay obeisance at cave shrine of Vaishnodevi and address a public rally at Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir on March 26, a party official said.
"Modi will address a public rally at Hiranagar in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir at 9 am on Wednesday," State BJP General Secretary Bali Bhagat told reporters.
Bhagat said that Modi will start his "272 plus mission" from the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi.
19:45 Sri Lanka army admits torture of women recruits:
Sri Lanka's military admitted today soldiers had abused and tortured female recruits, a rare admission of guilt after years of allegations over its personnel's treatment of Tamil rebels during an uprising.
A military spokesman said it accepted the authenticity of a video leaked on a dissident website that appeared to show soldiers torturing women soldiers, adding instructors had overstepped their authority for an undisclosed act of violating "military discipline".
"The investigation which is being carried out by the Sri Lanka Army Corps of Military Police has so far revealed that the video in question is an authentic one," military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said in a statement.
"According to a preliminary report, the instructors (the troops) have punished the recruits for an act in violation of military discipline," Wanigasooriya added.
"However, the method adopted is not in accordance with standard procedures," he said.
19:44 Turkey defends Twitter ban:
Turkey's government today defended its internationally condemned ban on Twitter as a "preventive measure" after the social networking site was awash with recordings highlighting alleged public corruption.
"Twitter has been used as a means to carry out systematic character assassinations by circulating illegally acquired recordings, fake and fabricated records of wiretapping," the prime minister's office of public diplomacy said in a statement sent to AFP in English.
It added that the government was not against the Internet but what it said was "the free circulation of the illegally acquired recordings over Twitter and other social networking sites which aim at hampering national security and the reputation of the citizens."
Turkey took the radical step of blocking access to Twitter on Thursday after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government is engulfed in a vast corruption scandal, defiantly vowed to "wipe out" the messaging service.
19:28 Reliance business jet grounded for violation of safety rules:
Coming down heavily on aviation safety violations, DGCA today grounded a business jet owned by Reliance Industries for carrying expired safety equipment on board and suspended its pilot for flying without a licence.
The aviation regulator, which carried out surprise inspection at Delhi's IGI Airport this afternoon, also searched Jindal Steel and Power Limited's Global Express BD 700 aircraft and found several major lapses, official sources said.
While action against Jindal's company would be decided on Monday, the Reliance aircraft was grounded immediately, just before it was slated to take off from here, they said.
The action comes at a time when private planes and helicopters are being heavily used as charters to fly political leaders across the country on poll campaign.
The sources said that a 14-seater Falcon 900EX, with call-sign VT-ISH and registered in the name of Reliance Commercial Dealers Limited, was grounded after it was found that most safety equipment on board, including a fire extinguisher and personal breathing equipment, were beyond expiry dates.
The cabin compartment containing escape rope was found to be jammed, they said.
18:46 Protesters storm Ukraine military base in west Crimea:
About 200 pro-Russian protesters today stormed a Ukrainian air force base in western Crimea.
The unarmed crowd yelling "Russia! Russia!" broke through to the base in the town of Novofedorivka and started smashing windows as Ukrainian servicemen barricaded themselves inside buildings and threw smoke bombs at the intruders from the roof, AFP correspondents saw.
Some of the people threw the smoke bombs back at the soldiers.
Russian officers stood outside watching as the protesters took down the Ukrainian flag and put up the white and blue flag of the Russian navy.
"Why don't you say anything?" a Ukrainian soldier yelled to the Russian officers from the roof. "It is my unit and I have to protect it!"
18:37 Thane: 7 burnt alive as tanker overturns, explodes:
At least seven people were burnt alive when a tanker filled with highly inflammable material caught fire after overturning near Thane on Saturday.
The mishap took place near Chaori check post on the Mumbai-Ahmedbad Highway at around 3 pm, officials in the district disaster control room said.
The tanker, said to be carrying petrol, went up in flames after overturning and exploding. Three persons travelling in the vehicle and four others walking on the road were burnt alive, control room chief Jaideep Visave said.
A few others were injured, he said, adding the tanker was on its way to Mumbai from Ahmedabad.
Fire fighters and ambulances from nearby towns were rushed to the spot.
The deceased have not been identified yet.
18:35 Stealing money enough to show wife was cruel to husband: HC:
The habit of stealing money from house and getting arrested in a debit card fraud case are sufficient to show that wife had inflicted mental cruelty upon husband in a divorce case, the Bombay High Court has ruled.
"Looking at the social status of the parties and the strata of society to which they belong, the enormity and magnitude of this act is such that it clearly constitutes cruelty," observed Justices V L Achilya and Vijaya Tahilramani while upholding a family court order granting divorce to a man.
The court also dismissed the appeal filed by wife against the family court judgement of 2008, stating that her conduct clearly established cruelty meted out to the spouse.
The man had alleged that his wife was in the habit of lying to him and stealing money from house and bank by forging cheques. He further alleged that she had also been arrested in a criminal case for encashing Rs 37,000 by misusing the debit card of her colleague.
17:13 Union minster Siva Rao likely to quit Congress, join BJP:
Just in: Union Textiles Minister Kavuru Samba Siva Rao is set to join the BJP next week. He has held two rounds of talks with BJP leaders, sources tell rediff.com's Delhi correspondent.
Rao, who is a four-time MP, has been upset with Congress's decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh. Even during the Parliament debate on Telangana, he met Advani in order to put pressure on the Congress.
He has sought a BJP ticket for his kin in Andhra Pradesh. He claims to have resigned from Council of Ministers and says he is waiting for the PMO to accept his resignation.
16:53 15 Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Road, which as the Congress 'war room' has now turned into a 'secret safe house'. Digvijaya Singh often visits this bungalow to plan Sonia Gandhi and Rahul's poll rallies and to plan the distribution of tickets, reports our Delhi correspondent.
16:49 Cong leaders upset with Chidambaram's decision to not contest polls: Reports
our correspondent from New Delhi: Three Union ministers have written to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi that P Chidamabram should not be give a Rajya Sabha nomination for the next three years.
No Congress leader on 24 Akbar Road is speaking well of Chidambaram, who has opted out of the Lok Sabha polls. His son, Karti P Chidambaram has been named as the Congress candidate from his Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu.
15:50 MH370 search: New debris found?: CNN
reports: China has satellite images of a large floating object in southern search area for missing flight, says Malaysian minister.
14:43 Chiranjeevi disapproves brother's meeting with Modi:
Union Minister and Congressleader K Chiranjeevi today disapproved of his actor-brother Pawan Kalyan, who has launched a new political party, meeting BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
He also admitted that the Congress was not in a good shape inSeemandhra after bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. "It was wrong on the part of Pawan Kalyan to meet Modi who has not apologised for the post-Godhra incidents," he said at a 'meet-the-press' programme organised by Visakhapatnam Journalists Forum.
Kalyan, a popular Telugu actor, who floated Jana Sena Party last week, met Modi in Ahmedabad yesterday and declared his support to his candidature for the prime minister's post. The BJP and Jana Sena have also given indications about forming a poll alliance in Andhra Pradesh.
13:54 Kejriwal kicks off Haryana road show; targets Cong, BJP:
Kicking off his two-day Haryana roads how in Faribadad, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal today slammed the Congress and BJP, saying gas prices will "increase manifold"if the two parties come to power.
The AAP leader, who was shown black flags by some local residents as he launched his tour this morning, said, "Centre should not be allowed to increase gas price from April 1.There are some media reports that the EC has taken cognizance of my complaints for which I am very thankful. I hope the EC would not allow the Centre to increase gas price".
The AAP leader had termed the Centre's decision to increase the price of natural gas from April 1 as a clear violation of the model code of conduct and had written to the Chief Election Commissioner V Sampath about it.
"The people of this country should decide themselves as to whom they would vote for in Lok Sabha elections. If the UPA or the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi comes to power, the gas price would increase manifold. And, this is only doing to benefit Mukesh Ambani," he alleged. Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
13:43 Rajat Gupat should pay $13.9 mn penalty, be banned for life: US regulator:
United States regulator Securities and Exchange Commission has asked an appeals court to affirm a district court's decision that India-born former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta pay a $13.9 million penalty and be banned for life from serving as director of a public corporation.
The federal regulator has filed a brief in the US court of appeals for the second circuit, saying the district court acted well within its discretion by permanently barring Gupta from associating with brokers, dealers, and investment advisors, permanently enjoining him from future violations of the securities laws and permanently barring him from serving as an officer or director of a public company.
Sixty-five-year-old Gupta has been granted time till April 7 to file his reply to the SEC brief.
13:20 Denied ticket, Jaswant Singh says BJP is divided:
In Jodhpur, BJP's Jaswant Singh says that he will decide my next course of action on Monday after meeting supporters. The veteran leader is likely to quit the party after he was denied a ticket from Barmer.
Questioning the party, Singh today said the BJP is now divided. "Outsiders have encroached upon the party."Follow latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
12:16 After BJP snub, Jaswant Singh to quit party:
reports: Veteran BJP leader Jaswant Singh is likely to quit the party after he was denied a ticket from Barmer yesterday. He may step down tomorrow and contest as an Independent.Follow latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
11:47 Coal-gate: CBI questions key PM aide TKA Nair:
The CBI has questioned T K A Nair, advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in connection with alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks which included granting of a block to Hindalco at Talabira despite it being rejected by a screening committee of the coal ministry.
As the agency prepares its submission before the Supreme Court later next week, CBI sources said that a detailed questionnaire had been sent to Nair which was replied by him.
The questions included those on coal policy and allocation of coal blocks when the PM was in charge of the coal ministry between 2006 and 2009.
The replies of Nair were sought on delay in auctioning of coal blocks, missing coal files and events leading to the Talabira coal block being given to Hindalco in which the CBI has registered a case against then coal secretary P C Parakh.
11:34 Kejriwal shown black flags during Faridabad road show:
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal was shown black flags by some local residents in Faridabad, as he kicked off his two-day Haryana road show from the city today.
Kejriwal along with AAP candidate Purushotam Dagar of Faridabad Lok Sabha seat began his road show from Sector 37 market.
When Kejriwal along with his supporters reached Faridabad, some residents, who claimed that they did not support any political party, showed black flags to him and raised slogans against the Aam Aadmi Party.
"Showing black flag to Kejriwal is nothing new in this country. Black flags are always shown by the opposition parties. Kejriwal is the only leader who can govern this country very well," said a AAP supporter.
Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
10:46 Journalist M J Akbar, ex-revenue secy N K Singh to join BJP :
The Bharatiya Janata Party is expected to induct two noted personalities.
Renowned journalist M J Akbar is likely to be appointed as the spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Former revenue secretary and MP NK Singh, who quit Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United, is also likely to be inducted in the party, say BJP insiders.
Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
09:56 Advani era is not over yet: Shiv Sena:
The Shiv Sena has come out in support of Bharatiya Janata Party veteran L K Advani. Hitting out a the party, in an editorial in Saamna
, the Sena said, "Advani is old but not out of the game. Advani era is not over yet. Keeping him on hold over the Gandhinagar seat is an insult to him. If (Narendra) Modi, Ranjnath (Singh) and (Arun) Jaitley can choose constituencies, why can't Advani."
The party's seniormost leader was miffed over the decision to field him from Gandhinagar against his wish of Bhopal. But he finally gave in and agreed to contest from Gandhinagar.
He has been representing the Gujarat constituency since 1991.
09:41 Why is Rohtak candidate driving around in Kejriwal's car?:
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal has given his blue WagonR
car to Rohtak candidate Navin Jaihind for campaigning since he does not
have a vehicle.
Jaihind, who is contesting from Rohtak, a seat
represented by two-time MP Deepender Singh Hooda, son of Haryana Chief
Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, also drove to file his nomination papers
in Kejriwal's "lucky" blue WagonR car.
"I dont own any car and
Arvind (Kejriwal) happened to ask me as to how was I campaigning for
election since I do not have a car. When he came to know my plight, he
offered me his car.
02:44 Sri Lanka 'complicit' in torture of Tamils: report:
The "highest levels" of Sri Lanka's government were complicit in raping, torturing and abducting ethnic Tamils following the nation's ethnic civil war, a report by rights groups warned today.
Authorities carried out horrific sexual abuse on Tamils, including forced oral sex and anal rape as well as water torture, the report by the UK Bar Human Rights Committee and International Truth & Justice Project found.
It comes ahead of next week's UN Human Rights Council debate on a US-led resolution calling for an international probe into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. Yasmin Sooka, a top South African human rights lawyer and UN adviser, compiled the report from interviews with 40 Tamils who said they were held in custody by Sri Lankan authorities.
"Sri Lanka's military is still waging a campaign of persecution using abduction, arbitrary detention, torture, rape and sexual violence" after the crushing of separatist Tamil rebels in 2009, Sooka said.
Read more on Business Standard
01:56 Fears over statins may cost lives, professor warns:
Doctors worrying about the safety of cholesterol-reducing statins are creating a misleading level of uncertainty that could lead to the loss of lives, according to one of the UK's leading medical academics.
Professor Sir Rory Collins, from Oxford University, said he believes GPs and the public are being made unjustifiably suspicious of the drug, creating a situation that has echoes of the MMR vaccine controversy.
The academic, one of the country's leading experts on the drug, is particularly unhappy with the British Medical Journal (BMJ), which has run well-publicised articles by two critics of statins that he argues are flawed and misleading.
Read more on The Guardian
01:07 Ukraine: Putin signs Crimea annexation:
President Vladimir Putin has signed a law formalising Russia's takeover of Crimea from Ukraine, despite fresh sanctions from the EU and the US. The European Union's latest measures target 12 people involved in Russia's annexation of the peninsula.
Earlier, Ukraine and the EU signed an accord forging closer political ties. Separately, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe has agreed to send monitors to Ukraine, after Russia dropped objections.
The six-month mission will initially consist of 100 international civilian monitors, who will be employed in nine regions of Ukraine - including the south-eastern areas rocked by violence between pro-Ukraine and pro-Russian activists. However, the observers will not go to Crimea.
Read more on BBC