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LIVE! Bin Laden's son-in-law found guilty on terror charges

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March 26, 2014


23:03  Bin Laden's son-in-law found guilty on terror charges:  Osama bin Laden's son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who was an al Qaeda spokesman following the 9/11 attack, was convicted today on charges of conspiring to kill Americans and providing material support to terrorists.

Abu Ghaith, 48, was found guilty by a federal jury here after a three week trial during which the Kuwaiti-born cleric had recounted meeting the slain Al Qaeda leader in a cave in the mountains of Afghanistan hours after the 9/11 terror attack.

The jury which gave a unanimous verdict on the second day of deliberations in the trial in United States District Court in Manhattan.
22:44  German Bakery blast convict to contest election?:  Himayat Baig, convicted in Pune's German Bakery blast case, is going to contest from Aurangabad Loksabha constituency, a local political outfit said here. Advocate Rahul Makre of the Bahujan Mukti Party made the announcement here today.

Makre alleged that Baig had been given a clean chit by the NIA but Maharashtra ATS falsely implicated him.

Thousands of Muslim youths were rotting in jails on false terror charges, advocate Makre claimed. Baig had asked for Court's permission to file his nomination, he added.
22:06  Uma Bharti may be pitted by BJP against Sonia in Rae Bareli:  

In a bid to put up a strong fight in Rae Bareli, BJP is considering pitting its firebrand Hindutva leader Uma Bharti against Sonia Gandhi.     Top party sources confirmed that the party is "seriously considering" a proposal to shift Uma Bharti from Jhansi to Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh.    BJP has already announced Bharti's candidature from Jhansi, even though the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister was keen to contest from Bhopal after BJP veteran L K Advani decided to contest from Gandhinagar.     Sources said this will help put up a strong fight to the Congress president in Rae Bareli.  

 

The change of thought has also come about after Congress is considering putting up a tough fight in Varanasi against BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi by fielding a celebrity or a strong local leader against him.    

 

Yogaguru Ramdev has also supported Bharti's case for Rae Bareli and made a request to the BJP top leadership in this regard.

20:36  Kamal Nath owns assets worth over Rs 187 cr:  

Union Minister Kamal Nath owns assets worth over Rs 187 crore and has declared four social media accounts in his affidavit filed before the Returning Officer in Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh.        

 

Nath, who has been a Member of Parliament since 1980, also holds movable assets worth over Rs 7.09 crore while his immovable assets total beyond Rs 181 crore which include properties held through family-controlled companies and trusts.        

 

The Union Urban Development minister has shared four of his social media accounts which include his website-- www.knath.in and e-addresses on Facebbok, Youtube, Pinterest and Google+. He also recorded his personal email id in his affidavit.        

 

The minister owns two motor vehicles, a Delhi registered Ambassador Classic car and a Safari Storm SUV which sports a Madhya Pradesh number plate.        

 

He said he owns 300 grams of gold jewellery worth slightly over Rs 8 lakh. His wife Alka possesses 575 grams gold jewellery and 53.5 carats diamond worth over Rs 39 lakh.        

 

Nath also said he has shown a total income of Rs 17,46,090 in his annual I-T retruns filed for the financial year 2012-13 while his wife's income returns for the same period was Rs 22,93,500.  


The 67-year-old Congress leader detailed a number of bank accounts where he holds varying amounts of deposits while he has shown his spouse to be holding a number of shares of different companies.        

 

The minister has recorded that he owns a total of 63.04 acres of land in Chhindwara district. The minister said his highest educational qualification is a BCom degree from the Calcutta University in 1968.

19:31  LIVE! Ready to forgive Cong for a secular govt: Karunanidhi:  

DMK supremo and former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi has said that his party is ready to forgive the Congress and enter into a post-poll alliance with the latter in case they approach them, for the sake of a secular government at the Centre.

 

The DMK was an active part of both UPA I and II governments, until differences cropped over the 2G scam when its senior leaders -- A Raja and Kanimozhi -- were jailed in the case.

19:10  BJP reaches out to Jaswant: Will accommodate him when we come to power:   Finally, the BJP is reaching out to patriarch Jaswant Singh. Party president Rajnath Singh says Jaswant is a senior leader and those who did not get a ticket can be accommodated when the party comes to power. "I hope Jaswant withdraws his candidature," he says.

@MumbaiElections
19:09  Varanasi don Mukhtar Ansari to battle Modi :  Don turned politician Mukhtar Ansari announces that he will battle Narendra Modi in Varanasi. Ansari is presently in jail. He will contest on a Kaumi Ekta Dal ticket. 
19:00  Mumbai masala: KRK vs Kamat, Farhan Azmi vs Priya Dutt :   Maharashtra unit Samajwadi Party president Abu Asim Azmi's son Farhan will take on Congress MP Priya Dutt from Mumbai North Central seat while Bollywood actor Kamal Khan will lock horns with Congress veteran Gurudas Kamat in Mumbai North West in upcoming polls.

The SP today announced a list of 22 candidates from Maharashtra, which sends 48 MPs to Lok Sabha.

The party will contest four out of six Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai. Contrary to reports that he would enter the fray from Mumbai South constituency against Congress' sitting MP Milind Deora, Farhan will take on Priya Dutt from Mumbai North Central.
18:50  Mirchi lagi? :  Whether you like Rakhi Sawant (we'll skip the intro) or otherwise, this picture at a press meet to announce her candidature from Mumbai (North West) scores high on the cute stakes for us.

The Mumbai North West seat is already witnessing a high-profile contest with Congress veteran Gurudas Kamat pitted against Gajanan Kirtikar of Shiv Sena, Aam Aadmi Partys Mayank Gandhi and Maharashtra Navnirman Senas filmmaker-turned-politician Mahesh Manjrekar.

Her symbol? Why, the chilly, of course.

Read the full report on Rediff.com shortly.
18:44  Cong leaders collar media for info on opposition :  Where the Congress did score on, at an otherwise lackluster presser was the lunch -- a huge variety and very tasty -- our sources tell us. Sonia and Rahul left barely 10 minutes after the meet, but other senior leaders collared the press for feedback on BJP prospects and the number of seats they could get in the Lok Sabha.
18:23  @sgurumurthy  How is Mallya free subrata is in jail? Becos Mallya did not write to Abdul Kalam not to allow Sonia to be PM, Subrata did in 2004.
18:21  Antony, Rahul bungle their way through manifesto presser :  As for defence minister AK Antony and Rahul Gandhi, they did not have to work hard to disappoint. Antony did not have the Hindi version of the Congress Election Manifesto, which was obvious for all to see when the other leaders -- Sonia, Rahul, the PM, posed for a group photograph holding both the English and the Hindi copies of the manifesto. The press conference was held at 24 Akbar Road, the AICC headquarters.

Rahul Gandhi, not surprisingly, came out looking very poor when he attempted to answer tough questions from the media. He went off-track on the issue of corruption and senior leaders said they were disappointed in him.

@RediffElections
18:04  Only six questions at Cong's manifesto meet :  You may know that the Congress party released its 2014 poll manifesto today, what you don't know is the gossip. 

Ajay Maken, chairman of the AICC media bungled his way through the press conference and did not give an opportunity to Hindi TV channels to quiz the Congress leaders. Only six journalists were allowed to ask questions.

The 285  journalists present at the press conference wanted to grill Sonia Gandhi when she supported Ashok Chavan's candidature saying he had not been barred from contesting, but Ajay Maken abruptly ended the meet. 
17:29  Amul's tribute to the courage of the two women gang-raped at Shakti Mills, Mumbai 
17:28  Makes me wonder what else NaMo lies about: Omar :  Omar Abdullah '@abdullah_omar  The ease with which NaMo lied today about me flying over his rally in Jammu makes me wonder what else the man lies about in his speeches.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today hit-out at Narendra Modi, saying the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate "plays fast and loose with the truth" and his rally in the state is being "blissfully ignored" by him.

"NaMo certainly plays fast & loose with the truth. He quotes me & can't even get that right. Modi Sb please quote me but do it right :-)," Omar tweeted.

Modi, in a rally in Jammu today, quoted Omar as having said that Jammu and Kashmir had never witnessed a rally as huge as Modi's on December 1 last year.

"When I came here for a rally last time, state Chief Minister (Omar) used a helicopter to see how huge the rally was. And he (Omar) was honest to say on Twitter that Jammu and Kashmir had never witnessed such a rally," Modi said in his speech at Hira Nagar today.

However, Omar denied the same. Omar had uploaded a photograph, taken from an aircraft, of Modi's December 1 rally last year at Jammu, to highlight the attendance of the people.

"Taken at 1:50 today while the state chopper was flying to Srinagar. Anyone want to estimate crowd size?" Omar had said in the December 1 tweet. "I put the photograph because it's a small stadium with lots of open space visible. Estimates range from 25,000 to 45,000. You decide #Jammu," he wrote in another tweet.

@RediffElections

17:24  'People of Baramati are fed up with the Pawar family's supremacy':  'People respect Sharad Pawar and his contribution, but now it is Ajit Pawar who is associated with Baramati. And he has done nothing for it,' retired IPS officer and AAP candidate Suresh Khopade tells Rediff.com's Jyoti Punwani. Read

#KejriwalinVaranasi
@ArvindKejriwal
@RediffElections
17:22  Digvijaya condemns ink attack on 'nautankiwala' Kejriwal:  Congress leader Digvijaya Singh today condemned the "ink attack" on AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal in Varanasi and said it could be the handiwork of "fascist" BJP.

At the same time, he hit out at Kejriwal, calling him a "nautankiwala who can only speak nonsense without backing it with any evidence."

"I condemn this ink attack on Kejriwal. This is the way fascists act, BJP is a fascist party, they do such things! Disgraceful," Digvijay said in a tweet today.

Ink was thrown at Kejriwal by unknown persons while he was undertaking a roadshow in Varanasi yesterday following his visit to the Kal Bhairav and Kashi Vishwanath temples.

In another tweet, Digvijay said, "I am not a fan of Kejriwal who is a nautankiwala who can only speak nonsense without backing it with any evidence".
17:15  'IPL 2014 should be suspended, Srinivasan should step down':   Former BCCI president Shashank Manohar calls for IPL 2014 to be suspended till it is cleaned up. Lashing out at his successor N Srinivasan, Manohar said he must step down to ensure a free and fair probe in the spot-fixing allegations. He said all IPL games must be investigated since the public at large has lost faith in the games. The decision to hold the IPL in the Middle East should be revoked since it will further tarnish the game, said Manohar.
16:59  Vote for the chilly if want Rakhi Sawant as your leader :   Item girl Rakhi Sawant has said she will either get a BJP ticket or contest independently in the Lok Sabha election. She may also launch a party with a green chilly as its symbol.

Down boys!
16:54  General Elections 2014: Key States to Watch:   In April and May, nearly 814 million voters will make their way to polling booths across the country to cast their votes in the largest democratic elections in the world.These are the key states to watch. Read
16:31  Election Commission to decide on issue of new bank licences on Monday: Election Commissioner H S Brahma.
16:27  Will he, won't he: Two dares for Modi :   Place your bets, people, will Modi take up the challenge? 

Arvind Kejriwal '@ArvindKejriwal: Modi ji muddon ki baat kyon nahi karte? Muddon ki rajniti kyon nahi karte? Why does he consistently avoid all invites for open debates?


Omar Abdullah @abdullah_omar:  I dare NaMo to make exactly the same speech against dynastic politics in Punjab or in Maharashtra. Come on, money where your mouth is.

#KejriwalinVaranasi
@ArvindKejriwal
@RediffElections
16:23  LIVE! Pawar to EC: Regret erase ink, vote twice remark:  NCP chief Sharad Pawar has apologised to the Election Commission for his ink remark. He said he deeply regretted the confusion and misunderstanding caused by the ink remark and requests the issue to be treated as closed.

The EC had said that Pawar had "prima facie" violated the Model Code of Conduct by his 'ink' remark and asked him to explain his stand by Thursday evening failing which a decision would be taken without asking him further.

Pawar's comments urging supporters to "vote twice" for his NCP, caught the EC's attention. Maharashtra election officers have asked for a tape of Pawar's speech at a rally in Navi Mumbai on Sunday, in which he reportedly asked workers to vote first at their hometowns, wash off the ink that would be daubed on their fingers, and then vote again at their places of work.
16:17  Alright, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, who married in 2003, issue an announcement that they would be parting ways, following months of rumours about their marriage. Read
16:05  How Salman Khurshid is beating the election heat. Read
15:40  Flight MH 370: 122 new floating objects sighted :  Update on the missing MH370 plane.

Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency has received new satellite images from France that were taken on March 23. The images showed 122 potential objects in one area of the ocean.

Some of the objects were as much as 23 meters in length. Some appeared bright, possibly indicating solid material. They were located about 2,500 kilometers from Perth.

"This is another new lead that will help direct the search operation," said Acting Minister of Transportation Hishammuddin Bin Hussein on Wednesday. -- CNN
15:35  Meanwhile, AAP tweets on a Nobel Prize nominee who is the party's candidate from Jhanjharpur, Bihar. Read

#KejriwalinVaranasi
@ArvindKejriwal
@RediffElections

15:32  Exclusive! How IM terrorist Tehsin Akthar was arrested:  It might have taken several years, but the intelligence and security agencies in several states recently tracked down and arrested dreaded terrorists involved in creating havoc in the country.

It began with the arrest of Zabbiuddin Ansari, an accused in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, then came the arrest of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal followed by Lashkar-e-Tayiba bomb maker Abdul Karim Tunda, Zaveri Bazaar bomber Waqas Ahmed and now IM chief Tehsin Akthar.

In a five-part series, Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa describes how each of these terrorists were painstakingly tracked by the Intelligence Bureau and arrested by the security agencies.  Read the first part here.
15:23  Lalu, Rabri lashes out at 'dushman' Sadhu Yadav:   RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav and wife reacted bitterly to Anirudh Prasad alias Sadhu Yadav's announcement to challenge Rabri Devi as an Independent in Saran even as the BJP today rubbished propping him up for political gains.

"We do not bother who is fighting from where," Lalu told reporters when asked about Sadhu Yadav's candidature.

"There will be no trace of such elements in poll at Saran. Nobody will ask about them," he said.

Rabri Devi also expressed anger against her brother Sadhu Yadav saying there could be no compromise with "dushman" (enemy). "Dushman ko nahi manayege (we will not appease enemy)...people of Saran will teach him a lesson," she said.

Tej Pratap pooh poohed the challenge posed to his mother from his maternal uncle. "He is doing this for cheap publicity...he will come last in the election at Saran," he said.

The announcement of Sadhu Yadav to enter into the fray from the Saran seat as an Independent came as a surprise. He was considered a power centre when Rabri Devi was chief minister of Bihar when Lalu Prasad was in jail in 1997 in a fodder scam case.


And while on Mr Sadhu Yadav, read this: The Memory of Rape

Latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
15:19  UPA rule: The poor never had it so good:   By all accounts, India's poor mostly in rural areas, can look back to a 10-year period when their lot clearly improved, says Subir Roy on Rediff.com. Read
15:08  @AamAadmiParty Narendra Modi fields Yedyurappa. Rahul Gandhi fields Ashok Chavan. The similarities are endless.
14:55  Danish zoo that put down Marius the giraffe kills four lions:  Away from the all-consuming polls, this is what happened at a Danish zoo.

The zoo that put down a healthy giraffe before skinning it in public has now killed two lions and their two cubs.

Copenhagen zoo sparked international outrage last month when it shot 18-month-old Marius and fed him to lions in front of members of the public.

Bosses at the popular tourist attraction told AFP it took the decision to kill the lion family to 'make room for a new male'.

Because of the pride of lions natural structure and behaviour, the zoo has had to euthanise the two old lions and two young lions who were not old enough to fend for themselves, Copenhagen zoo said in a statement.

The two 10-month-old lions would have been killed by the new male lion as soon as he got the chance, it added.
14:52  Modi plays fast and loose with truth: Omar:   Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today hit-out at Narendra Modi, saying the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate "plays fast and loose with the truth" and his rally in the state is being "blissfully ignored" by him.

"NaMo certainly plays fast & loose with the truth. He quotes me & can't even get that right. Modi Sb please quote me but do it right :-)," Omar tweeted.

Modi, in a rally in Jammu today, quoted Omar as having said that Jammu and Kashmir had never witnessed a rally as huge as Modi's on December 1 last year.

"When I came here for a rally last time, state Chief Minister (Omar) used a helicopter to see how huge the rally was. And he (Omar) was honest to say on Twitter that Jammu and Kashmir had never witnessed such a rally," Modi said in his speech at Hira Nagar today.

However, Omar denied the same. Omar had uploaded a photograph, taken from an aircraft, of Modi's December 1 rally last year at Jammu, to highlight the attendance of the people.

"Taken at 1:50 today while the state chopper was flying to Srinagar. Anyone want to estimate crowd size?" Omar had said in the December 1 tweet. "I put the photograph because it's a small stadium with lots of open space visible. Estimates range from 25,000 to 45,000. You decide #Jammu," he wrote in another tweet.

The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister also said he was "blissfully ignoring" Modi's today's rally in the state.

"@ManikGup92 sorry to disappoint you but I'm not. I'm actually blissfully ignoring it while sitting in Srinagar. Ignoring all but the lies :)," Omar wrote in a reply to a Twitter user when asked if he was watching the rally on television.
14:45  90 per cent poll respondents want Srinivasan to quit:  An overwhelming number of people who have responded to an online poll in a popular cricket website want embattled BCCI president N Srinivasan to resign from his post after the Supreme Court asked him to quit yesterday. According to the online response in 'Cricinfo' to a question whether Srinivasan should quit, close to 90 per cent of people (14524 persons) had replied in the affirmative by noon today.
14:35  Who said what on the Cong's 2014 manifesto:  Kiran Mazumdar Shaw '@kiranshaw Unconvincing Congress manifesto- UPA2 had every opportunity to do all it has expounded in manifesto but failed -questionable credibility!

Siddharth '@svaradarajan Congress pledge to have envoy on black money is silly. Most black money is recycled into property and is not parked abroad.

Rezaul Hasan Laskar '@Rezhasan My 2 bits: Rahul Gandhi won't be remembered as one of India's greatest orators.
14:30  SC to Roy: Interim bail for Rs 10,000 crore :   Yesterday, the Sahara Group, submitted a fresh proposal in the Supreme Court to repay its bond investors, while pleading for the release of Subrata Roy, the group chief who has been held in Delhi's Tihar jail since March 4. Sahara has promised to pay Rs 20,000 crore in tranches by March 31, 2015 to market regulator Sebi, which can use the money to repay the group's bond holders.

The SC asks Subrata Roy to pay Rs 5,000 crore as cash and Rs 5,000 crore as bank guarantee in favour of SEBI. The SC agrees to defreeze bank accounts of Sahara companies to raise the Rs 10,000 crore and adjourns the case for tomorrow asking the group to give details of the bank account numbers which are to be defreezed.
14:19  LIVE! SC grants Sahara chief Subrata Roy bail for Rs 10,000 crore :  The Supreme Court grants Sahara chief Subrata Roy bail for Rs 10,000 crore. 
14:18  ashish khetan '@AshishKhetanAAP: Today at 2 pm, Ashish Khetan will expose Congress-Builder nexus -- Is there a connection between Ajay Maken and Raheja Developers Pvt. Ltd??

Khetan, filed his nomination as an AAP candidate last week, from the New Delhi constituency.
14:15  The full text of the Congress party's 2014 poll manifesto. Read
14:14  Ashok Chavan has not been barred from contesting polls and the decision was taken by a poll panel, Sonia says in support of the Adarsh scam-tainted former Maharashtra CM's candidature.
14:05  Rahul's chorus: 'India Shining' was a brilliant campaign but the BJP did not win. Just like the balloon of India Shining, this BJP campaign will also burst. We will repeat the 2009 performance."

#MyCongressManifesto
Latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
14:01  @AamAadmiParty: Jab bhi election kareeb aate hein congress ko 'garib' yaad aate hein aur BJP ko 'kashmir'
13:58  LIVE! Sonia: Don't trust opinion polls, we will do well and win :  Takeaway quotes:

Sonia Gandhi: I don't trust opinion polls and I'm sure that the party will do well and win. We will definitely put up a strong candidate in Varanasi against Modi.

PM: In a developing economy graft cannot be wished away

Rahul: Modi's ideology is to make people fight amongst themselves. 
13:45  Sonia, Rahul, the PM and co release rise in unison and open the manifesto. Except the PM, everyone, including Ajay Maken, Janardan Dwivedi and AK Antony have broad smiles on their faces. The Congress slogan is called Your Voice, Our pledge.
13:41  Sonia: Cong runs AAM admi government :  Sonia says the Congress runs an AAM admi government. The UPA has ensured development for the poor and the backward classes. The 2014 elections are about good policies and governance.


13:39  Sonia: Rahul took everyone's opinion on 2014 manifesto:  The PM says the discussion about who is good at guaranteeing development. "Development has many models, one is the Gujarat model. But the Congress model recognises there is a need for expanding economy to provide lasting solution to poverty. That growth by itself is not sufficient for inclusive growth, It has to be backed by education, health needs of women, SC/ST and other citizens .People ask what is the record of the Cong party, Congress record is visible to everyone who cares to look at it.
We were able to lift 14 crore people above poverty line. We provided an agenda for growth," he says.

Sonia Gandhi speaking now, says, Dr Manmohan Singh has transformed our economy. Rahul took everyone's opinion on the poll manifesto.
13:26  PM Manmohan Singh speaking now as the party releases its poll manifesto. 
13:25  LIVE! Cong releases 2014 'people's' manifesto :  Janardhan Dwivedi and Ajay Maken are also at the press meet. Rahul Gandhi speaking now. He says the manifesto has been a result of five months of preparations. "We decided to go to the people for the first time, says Rahul.

Read: Rahul Gandhi's 'fishy' business in Mumbai

Latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
13:18  The Congress is expected to fall back upon left-of-centre politics focusing on welfare measures after pursuing a policy of economic liberalisation under Manmohan Singh for 10 years.

Widening the ambit of rights-based legislations to include healthcare and employment will be the crux of Congress manifesto. A firm resolve to tackle corruption, uplift 70 crore people falling between middle class and below poverty line, a promise to empower women and increase their representation in politics and strong affirmative action in the private sector could be the other highlights.
13:15  Cong set to release 2014 poll manifesto :  The Congress set to release its poll manifesto. PM Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, AK Antony at the meet. 

Latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections @Arvind
12:54  Modi targets 'AK 49' in Kashmir :   Poll updates: Narendra Modi targets Arvind Kejriwal for the first time in a rally. Calling him AK 49 (Arvind Kejriwal, 49 for the number of days as Delhi CM),  Modi says, "In Pakistan there are three AKs who are admired... AK 47, AK Antony & AK49... AK 49 has launched a poll campaign. On his website, part of Kashmir is in Pakistan," thunders Modi. 

Latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections @Arvind
12:39  Cong preaches 'Mar Jawan Mar Kisan' :  Back in Hiranagar, in J-K, Modi says, "I was in Vidharba (Maharashtra) a few days ago and every single village is hit by cases of farmer suicides. Lal Bahadur Shastri had said 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan' but the Congress preaches 'Mar Jawan Mar Kisan' these days.

Latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
12:32  BCCI says Srinivasan WON'T step down as president:   The Supreme Court has strongly suggested that N Srinivasan should step down as BCCI president to ensure a fair investigation of the IPL betting and fixing scam, but the man simply refuses to step down. Read
12:28  LIVE! Modi in J-K: Omar should look at crowd to realise which way wind blows:  Narendra Modi addresses a rally in Hiranagar, Jammu. He says the party will bring development to the state. "There is only one party left for the people of this country who want to see development, is the BJP. I want India to triumph over poor governance. Change is in the air in J&K. If Omar looks at the crowd today he will realise which way the wind is blowing," he says.  
12:24  LIVE! Decoding market exuberance:  Even as the Indian stock markets have been setting new records, the conviction among investors, analysts and the people at large that the rally is driven almost entirely by political factors is growing by the day. Pre-election rallies have not been uncommon in India. Before every previous national election, the markets were buoyant. However, in a majority of the cases the optimism did not last even for a short period after the elections. Read
11:59  The SC expresses displeasure over real estate baron Sushil Ansal, convicted in Uphaar fire case, leaving the country without its permission. More on that in a bit. 
11:56  Kolkata fifth most dangerous city in the world for tsunamis, hurricanes :   One city in India figures in a list of 10 of the world's riskiest cities when it comes to natural disasters. For the insurance industry it seems an ever-more urgent question, so last year one reinsurance company set out to assess 616 cities around the world for their risk of earthquake, hurricanes and cyclones, storm surge, river flooding and tsunami. Read

Also read on rediff.com: Mumbai, Kolkata MOST prone to floods
11:49  A peek into the life Atal Bihari Vajpayee now leads:   Less than a five-minute drive from the Ashoka Road headquarters of BJP, where the old guard is losing ground to the new, Atal Bihari Vajpayee sits quietly in a wheelchair in his SPG-guarded Krishna Menon Marg bungalow watching snatches of television and reading newspaper headlines. Read
11:45  In 2014, Hindutva vs Caste :  The question in this general election is whether Hindutva will triumph over caste. There are at least three factors clearly nudging politics towards Hindu consolidation. Read the opinion piece on the Hindu.

That's the cartoon on the Hindu today...
11:36  SC: All accused in Muzaffarnagar riots must be arrested:   The Supreme Court has turned down the plea for an CBI or SIT investigation into the Muzaffarnagar communal violence. "We prima facie hold the state government responsible for negligence in preventing communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas," the court said. The SC directed the UP government to give police protection to victim families till completion of trial and has said that all accused persons named in the cases must be arrested irrespective of their political affiliation.
11:29  Why Kejriwal can dent Modi's campaign:  'AAP's real value must be measured not by the number of Lok Sabha seats it wins in the election -- which may not exceed 10 or 15 -- and not even by the number of votes it takes from the BJP, but by its ability to deflate Modi's superhuman '56-inch chest' image and the charisma so assiduously manufactured around him by the corporate-controlled media,' says Praful Bidwai. Read more

Latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
11:17  Alagiri repents: Won't fight polls, doesn't matter if Stalin is DMK prez:   DMK chief M Karunanidhi's son, M K Alagiri is now humming a very different tune. Alagiri, who was expelled from the DMK yesterday for indiscipline, says he won't contest the polls. He also said he does not care whether brother Stalin becomes DMK president and added that he did not invite MDMK chief Vaiko.  

Alagiri was expelled by the DMK as he was critical of the party despite his suspension.

This comes after leaders from across the party lines, including those from Congress, BJP and MDMK sought Alagiri's support. MDMK Vaiko had also met Alagiri over the upcoming Lok Sabha elections owing to his influence in south Tamil Nadu.

Latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
11:15  Lata Mangeshkar tweets on 'death' rumours :  Meanwhile, Lata Mangeshkar, who we presume needs no introduction, tweeted yesterday to quell rumours that she had suffered a heart attack.

"Namaskar. Meri tabiyat ke baare mein afwaayein phail rahi hai. Par aap sab ka pyar aur duaaien hain ke meri tabiyat bilkul thik hai (There are rumours regarding my health. But thanks to your wishes, I am fine," she tweeted.

Rumours that she had passed away had spread on social media for hours in the evening, forcing the singer to put out the clarification. 
10:58  Kejriwal to tour Varanasi villages to woo rural voters:  After deciding to take on Narendra Modi in Varanasi, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal will today go on a road show in the constituency especially villages to woo rural voters.

Varanasi has five constituencies of which three - Varanasi North, South and Cantonment Assembly segments are largely urban and semi-urban in nature.

The road show will focus on Rohania and Sevapuri Assembly constituencies.

Kejriwal had yesterday accepted the challenge to contest against Modi from this temple city.

Ending weeks of suspense on whether he will directly take on Modi, Kejriwal had made the announcement at a rally here, asserting he wanted to "defeat corrupt people". "I am ready to face this challenge, but I will need your support. I don't have money to contest election. And like Madan Mohan Malviya, who built the Benaras Hindu University, seeking alms from people, even I shall have to do the same way," he had said.
10:47  Modi defends Gujarat's land acquisition policy:  Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has defended his state government's land acquisition policy after it came under sharp attack from Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal.

Kejriwal had alleged that the Gujarat government forcibly took land from farmers without awarding them adequate compensation.

Modi strongly refuted the allegation and claimed that not a single piece of land had been forcibly acquired by his government.

Even the Supreme Court had hailed the Gujarat government's land acquisition policy, claimed Modi.
10:38  Tehseen Akhtar remanded to police custody:  Top Indian Mujahideen operative Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu has been remanded in police custody till April 2 by a Delhi court.

Read more about his arrest here
10:09  Cong manifesto may promise SC/ST quota in private sector:   The Congress is expected to fall back on left-of-centre policies focusing on welfare measures and widening the ambit of rights-based legislations to include healthcare and employment in the party's manifesto, which will be released today.

The crux of the document, to be released by party President Sonia Gandhi in the presence of a galaxy of leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi, will also express a firm resolve to tackle corruption, an issue that has haunted UPA-II in the form of scams like 2G, coal and CWG.        

Uplift of 70 crore people falling between middle class and below poverty line, a promise to empower women and increase their representation in politics and strong affirmative action in the private sector could be the other highlights.

The Scheduled Castes Cell of the AICC, headed by Rahul's close aide K Raju, is learnt to have made a strong pitch for a legislation to have a mandatory quota for the SCs/STs in the private sector.
10:08  Virbhadra Singh being questioned by the CBI?:  Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is reportedly being questioned by the CBI over corruption charges. 

Singh and his family members have been plagued with several corruption allegations. 

BJP leader Arun Jaitley had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urging him to take action against the Himachal CM.
10:03  Rupee up 24 paise against dollar in early trade:  The rupee strengthened by 24 paise to touch a seven-month high of 60.24 against the US dollar in early trade today on continued selling of the American currency by exporters amid sustained foreign capital inflows. 

Early gains in domestic equity markets, which climbed to a new record high also helped the rupee post gains but dollar's strength against other currencies overseas on data showing US consumer confidence reaching a six-year high, capped the gains, they added.
09:49  Sensex, Nifty hit all-time high:  Sensex hit a lifetime high on Wednesday morning, reaching 22.162.52 in opening trade.

Nifty, meanwhile, breached the 6,600 mark.


09:18  Salman to go on trial again for hit-and-run case:  The fresh trial in the 2002 hit-and-run case involving actor Salman Khan will begin today.

Although the prosecution has given a list of 64 witnesses, it would not examine all of them, said Public Prosecutor Jagannath Kenjalkar.

Salman has been accused of running over his Toyota Land Cruiser on a group of persons sleeping on a footpath outside a bakery in suburban Bandra in September 2002, killing one and injuring four others.

On December 5 last year, the court had ordered a fresh trial on the ground that the witnesses had not been examined in the context of the aggravated charge of culpable homicide, which was invoked against the actor midway through the proceedings.
09:12  North Korea defies Obama, test-fires ballistic missiles:  Openly defying all warnings by the West, North Korea has test-fired two ballistic missiles today, after launching a host of short-range missiles and rockets in the last few days.

The missile tests coincide with a summit being hosted by US President Barack Obama, between Japan and South Korea, to tackle the serious nuclear threat posed by North Korea.

The two ballistic missiles were fired into the Sea of Japan, 650 km off coast, said South Korea.
09:08  US House bill cuts Pakistan aid by $10 mn to help Ukraine :  A key Congressional committee passed a legislation of new financial assistance to Ukraine, by reducing a small portion of US aid given to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill.        

The $10 million taken from the annual $1.5 billion to Pakistan would be used to carry out programming  in the Ukrainian, Balkan, Russian, and Tatar language services of radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty and Voice of America,the House Bill said.        

The legislation -- HR 4278, the Ukraine Support Act -- was passed on Tuesday by an overwhelming bipartisan support by the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee.
09:07  US will start accepting H-1B petitions from April 1 :  Aspirants for the much coveted H-1B visa could start submitting their applications from April 1, a federal US agency has announced.        

As in the previous years, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services can issue a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas, which is most popular among IT professionals and companies in IT services.        

With the American economy recovering and much emphasis on information technology sector both by the Obama administration and the private sector, the demand for H-1B visas is expected to be met in the first few days of April 1, experts note.
09:06  Australia resumes search for crashed Malaysian jet :  Australian authorities today resumed the search operation for the wreckage of the crashed Malaysian jetliner from the West Australian coast.        

The search led by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority was suspended on Tuesday due to heavy rain, rough seas and gale-force winds.        

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the search for the lost Malaysian jet isn't open-ended but Australia won't lightly abandon efforts to locate the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.       

"Australia is throwing everything it could at the search, which has resumed after a 24-hour delay due to bad weather," he said.
01:50  P A Sangma an agent of BJP: Mukul:  Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma today accused NPP candidate and former chief minister P A Sangma of being "an agent of BJP" and contesting Lok Sabha elections to "propagate the message of RSS".

Launching a frontal attack against the National People's Party chief during his three district chopper-hopping tour, the chief minister said: "He (P A Sangma) is contesting the elections on an NPP ticket to propagate the message of RSS. Perhaps, a wolf in sheep's clothing."

"He is attempting to fool the people of Garo Hills," Mukul said while campaigning for Congress candidate, Daryl Momin, a 32-year-old political greenhorn, while touring across West, South and East Garo Hills district.
00:28  Marathi film critic, journalist Sanjay Kulkarni no more:  Noted Marathi film critic, writer and journalist Sanjay Kulkarni passed away in Pune today following a brief illness.

He was 64 and is survived by a son. Known for his lucid style, Kulkarni endeared himself to the readers with his analytical articles on Marathi and Hindi films and artistes.

He had a three-decade long stint as a journalist with daily 'Kesari', where he worked in various capacities. Kulkarni also wrote several novels and short stories.
00:23  Change of Vadodara nominee: BJP accuses Cong of 'dishonouring' Dalits:  Soon after Congress replaced its candidate from the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat Narendra Rawat with party's general secretary Madhusudan Mistry against Narendra Modi, BJP today accused the ruling party of "dishonouring" Dalits and "killing" intra-party democracy.

BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said, "It is a dishonour to the Dalit community to replace Rawat (a Dalit) from Vadodara, from where BJP's prime ministerial candidate Modi is contesting."

Rawat, who was elected in the party primaries to contest from Vadodara, expressed his inability to face the fight against Modi whose candidature was announced later.

Lekhi said that by replacing Rawat the Congress has "killed" the party's internal democracy, an issue promoted by party vice president Rahul Gandhi.
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