21:46 President confers National Awards on best of Indian cinema:
The ceremony for the 61st National Awards was held today in the capital on Saturday.
President Pranab Mukherjee honoured the cinematic talent across India, among who veteran lyricist Gulzar received the Dada Saheb Phalke Award for his immense contribution to cinema.
Over 40 awards were given away in the non-feature film category; 40 awards in feature film category; and three awards for best writing on cinema. The ceremony was hosted by actress-singer Raajeshwari Sachdev and news anchor Rini Simon Khanna.
Gulzar, who has contributed to Indian cinema through his writing, lyrics, direction and poetry was accompanied by his daughter Meghna Gulzar, who is also a director in the Indian film industry.
The event was held Saturday at the capital`s Vigyan Bhawan in the presence of Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari and other officials and dignitaries, as well as cinema talent from Bollywood, the southern and Marathi, Bengali and Assamese cinema.
20:26 IPL cricket betting syndicate busted:
An alleged IPL cricket betting syndicate was busted in Outer Delhi's Rohini area with the arrest of four men including the kingpin of the gang who is a mechanical engineer, police said today.
The accused, identified as Rakesh Sethi (45), Bantu Nagpal (33), Sanjay Hasija (32) and Vishu Sethi (22) were arrested from a house by the Crime Branch during its crackdown against betting syndicates operating during the ongoing IPL season.
"We have recovered 40 mobile phones, one TV set, a mobile signal booster, one laptop, printer, voice recorder along with notebooks for entering the bets from the accused," said Joint commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav.
An information was received by police that there will be betting on IPL cricket league match to be played between Sunrises Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians on Wednesday. It was also learnt that the racketeers also provides betting lines to other bookies.
"On a tip off that a betting racket is being run from H.No. 86, Green Hill Apartment, Pocket-1, Sec-23 in Rohini an immediate raid was conducted after fulfilling necessary legal formalities and the four persons were nabbed," said Yadav.
It was learnt that accused Rakesh Sethi is a Mechanical Engineer. The accused persons were accepting bets in person as well as through mobile phones. They were also providing lines to several other bookies. Three mobiles phones were being used as 'Dabba' to broadcast rates to the bookies, police said.
20:19 Congress won't support Third Front: Rahul Gandhi:
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday ruled out the possibility of his party supporting the Third Front to form the government.
"We will not support any front," Gandhi, who was campaigning in his constituency, told media persons.
He was asked whether Congress could support a Third Front government.
"We will get the required number (of seats)," he said, while replying to queries on whether his party will explore post-election tie-ups to form the government.
Rahul's remarks are significant as they came a day after CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat said a repeat of the 1996-like situation is possible and the Congress may be forced to support a government of secular parties at the Centre to keep the BJP out of power
20:07 15 killed in fire at cracker factory in Ujjain:
Fifteen persons, including three children were killed in a major fire at a cracker factory in Badnagar town in Madhya Pradeshs Ujjain district on Saturday, police said.
The cracker factory, located near Khob Darwaza area in the city caught fire around 4.45 PM, in which eight women, four men and three children were killed, Additional
Superintendent of Police (ASP) Pankaj Shrivastava told PTI.
According to police, the factory belonged to one Yusuf Hussain, who was immediately detained.
The cause of the fire was yet to be known.
Fire-tenders were rushed to the site, which managed to control the blaze after over an hour.
Around four persons also suffered serious burn injuries and were rushed to a hospital, police added.
20:01 Assam violence: Probe handed over to NIA, 22 arrested:
Probe into the killing of 27 civilians in the Assam's Bodo-majority districts was handed over to the National Investigation Agency on Saturday as 22 people were arrested in connection with the violence.
Announcing that the state government had decided to hand over the case to the NIA, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said, "We have decided to hand over the probe to the NIA. Some people are demanding a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe over the violence. But CBI has some limitations."
"Since there is involvement of the NDFB (National Democratic Front of Bodoland) anti-talk faction militants, we have decided to hand over the probe to the NIA," he told media persons.
Violence erupted in the Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts on Thursday night when armed NDFB cadres opened indiscriminate fire in two villages, killing five people.
The second attack took place in Kokrajhar district Friday that left eight people, including children, dead.
19:15 FIR against Beni for making 'objectionable' remarks on Modi:
An FIR was today registered against Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma for violating Model Code of Conduct by making "objectionable" remarks on Narendra Modi.
"The FIR was registered against Verma at Chhapia police station this morning for violating Model Code of Conduct by making objectionable remarks against Modi," District Magistrate Vikas Gothalwal said.
"A person, who discriminates between Hindu and Muslim in this country and create hatred between them, is not a human being, but a monster," the Congress leader had said addressing an election rally in Maskanwa town last night.
"Modi must tell whether he is a human being or not. On the massacre of the people in Gujarat you (Modi) say that it's a reaction. You tease Muslims by stating that even if a puppy comes under you vehicle you feel sad," he said.
The EC had two days back censured Beni for "insulting" remarks against Modi and warned that further violation could result in banning his campaign activity.
Beni said a person like Modi is an "enemy" of the country and democracy.
19:09 BSF DG reviews security situation along IB, LoC in Jammu:
Director General of Border Security Force Devender Kumar Pathak today reviewed the security situation along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu region including the anti-infiltration measures put in place on the ground.
"DG BSF visited forward areas along International Border and Line of Control in Jammu region and reviewed the security situation as well as anti-infiltration measures put in place on the ground," a senior BSF officer said here.
Pathak, who took over as the DG BSF on April 8, has been on a three-day familiarisation trip to Jammu frontier since Thursday. He visited Paharpur and Bobiya in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district and Pansar in Samba district on Friday and LoC areas in Rajouri district today.
The DG also visited Tarnah Nallah belt in Samba sector and was showcased BSF's anti-infiltration measure -- Integrated Surveillance and Communication System -- to plug the gaps along unfenced nullahs in view to check movement of the militants, BSF officials said.
18:47 Landslides leave hundreds of vehicles stranded on Doda highway:
Doda and Kishtwar districts today remained cut off from other parts of Jammu and Kashmir due to landslides that left over 1000 vehicles stranded at various places.
Official said that the landslides were linked to the rains in April which had caused soil erosion and weakened the Batote-Doda-Kishtwar highway at several place.
There was a massive landslide in Assar-Baggar belt of Doda district and a large portion of road was buried yesterday. Repair work was on but the task was difficult as fresh landslides occurred today, they said.
As result of the landslides, over 1000 vehicles are stranded at various places, they said.
18:45 Just In: Fire at a cracker factory in Ujjain, 8 feared dead
17:22 Omar blames Modi for 'inciting violence' in Assam:
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today blamed Narendra Modi for inciting violence in Assam that left 32 Muslims dead.
"In Assam, 30 Muslims were murdered. Why? Because BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi made a speech there and tried to incite people against Muslims. This is a fact. This truth cannot be denied," Omar told an election rally at Tangmarg in Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency.
Omar said that Modi, in his election rally in Assam three days earlier, had branded all Muslims living in that state as "Bangladeshis", which resulted in the attacks on them.
"Three days earlier, he (Modi) went there and branded all Muslims as Bangladeshis and today 30 Muslims have been put to sleep in the grave," he added.
Referring to Modi's statement holding National Conference leaders responsible for exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, Omar said the BJP leader had set out to insult all Kashmiris in the country.
15:52 Snoopgate: Shah slams Congress' 'dirty tricks dept':
Slamming UPA government's move on snoopgate probe, Narendra Modi's close aide Amit Shah today said it had no "moral or constitutional authority" to take decision on it at the fag-end of its tenure.
He blamed Congress' "dirty tricks department" for the government's move to appoint a judge to probe allegation of snooping of a young woman in Gujarat before the Lok Sabha poll process comes to an end on May 16.
The illegal surveillance was allegedly done at the behest of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Shah was the Home Minister of the state during that period. There have been allegations that Shah himself was in regular touch with the officials involved in the alleged snooping.
"It is the Congress dirty tricks department which is behind the move to appoint the judge at the fag-end of the government's tenure," he said at a press conference in Varanasi. Shah alleged that the Manmohan Singh dispensation has "lost constitutional and moral authority" to appoint a judge to conduct the probe "as the government is going".
"The moral authority of the UPA government has ended. It has no constitutional authority either. Still, if they are doing this, they do not know why their government is going."
14:17 Giriraj's anticipatory bail rejected by Deogarh court:
The anticipatory bail application of Bihar BJP leader Giriraj Singh, who is facing charges for his alleged hate speeches, was rejected today by a court imn Deogarh.
Deogarh District & Sessions Court (first) Judge, Pankaj Srivastav rejected the petition a week after he issued arrest warrants against Singh.
Earlier, a Bokaro court had also rejected Singh's anticipatory bail on similar charges but Jharkhand High Court quashed it on Friday.
The warrants were issued after an FIR was filed against the BJP leader for his alleged inflammatory speech on April 18 saying those who opposed BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi would have to find a place in Pakistan.
13:18 'Modi says empower women, I say respect women':
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi while addressing supporters at his home constituency of Amethi said on Saturday that Narendra Modi says women must be empowered, I say women must be respected, and they'll take care of the rest.
The Nehru Gandhi scion also said that Sonia Gandhi (Congress president and Rae Bareli MP) had asked Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav to provide electricity in Amethi and Rae Bareli, but opposition parties went to court to stall the initiative. "They (opposition parties) do not care about your interests..They won't be seen even for a day if they manage to win in Amethi,' Rahul said, adding, "you will always find me amidst you, to fight your problems'.
12:45 Obama calls for death penalty review:
US President Barack Obama plans to ask Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate problems surrounding the application of the death penalty. The US leader's announcement comes just days after a botched execution in Oklahoma drew widespread attention.
Mr Obama called inmate Clayton Lockett's prolonged death earlier this week from an improperly delivered lethal injection "deeply troubling". The president said he has conflicting feelings regarding the death penalty. "This situation in Oklahoma I think just highlights some of the significant problems," Mr Obama told reporters.
Americans should "ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions around these issues", he added. Mr Obama, trained as a lawyer, said the death penalty is warranted in some cases - including child and mass murder - but its application in the US is problematic.
Read more on BBC
11:18 Doordarshan sruggling to maintain freedom, tweets Modi:
The BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has taken a swipe at the government over the issue of his edited interview that was telecast on national broadcaster Doordarshan.
"I feel very sad to see our National TV channel struggling to maintain its professional freedom," Mr Modi tweeted on Saturday, using the occasion of Word Press Freedom Day to make his point.
He also posted, "We have witnessed the horrors of Emergency when freedom of press & freedom of expression were suppressed. It is a blot on our democracy".
Read more on NDTV
10:24 Afghanistan landslide 'kills at least 350':
At least 350 people have been killed and many more are missing, the UN says, after a landslide hit the north-east Afghan province of Badakhshan.
Hundreds of homes were buried under mud and rocks when a section of a mountain collapsed following torrential rain. Rescuers have reached the area and are searching for survivors.
Much of north and east Afghanistan has been hit by heavy rain in recent days, and some 150 people have died in flooding. "The number of deceased has increased to 350 and significant displacement is expected," the UN mission in Afghanistan said in a statement.
Read more on BBC
10:13 Samsung ordered to pay Apple $119.6m:
Samsung has been ordered to pay $119.6m (71m) to Apple by a US court for infringing two of its patents. A jury in California delivered its verdict in a federal court in San Jose on Friday in the latest lawsuit involving the two tech giants.
During the month-long trial, Apple accused Samsung of violating patents on smartphone features. The court also ruled that Apple infringed Samsung's patents and awarded $158,000 in damages.
Read more on BBC
09:43 Parties shut out Scheduled Caste candidates from general seats:
When the Constitution was being framed, an advisory committee determined that members of communities for whom there would be reserved constituencies would not be debarred from contesting "unreserved' constituencies.
Yet today, political parties are not following the spirit of the Constitution, The Hindu's analysis of data shows. In both 2004 and 2009, the country's two biggest political parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, gave tickets to only three Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates between them to contest from 'general' seats, The Hindu found.
This means that the two parties gave less than 1% of their tickets in 'general' seats to SC candidates. Information on the castes of all candidates is available from the Election Commission of India for 2009 and 2004 only.
While only SCs can contest the 84 seats reserved for them and Scheduled Tribes (STs) the 47 seats reserved for them as of 2009, there is no bar on who can contest the 412 'general' seats in the country. "The original intent was absolutely not to ghettoise SCs into reserved constituencies only, as most political parties have done,' Badri Narayan, professor at the G B Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad, and a social scientist and expert on Dalit issues, said.
Read more on Hindu
09:41 CBI clueless: Italian judge ratifies plea-bargaining for Agustawestland middleman:
In a major development in the Agustawestland investigations in Italy, it has now been confirmed that an Italian judge has approved plea-bargaining between middleman Guido Ralph Haschke and Italian prosecutors.
This makes Haschke an approver in the case, who will be co-operating with investigations. It is the first sentence handed down in the AgustaWestland scandal that has rocked the Indian government, imprisoned Italian businessmen and raised questions in the United Kingdom about how and who negotiated and concluded the deal.
India's Central Board of Investigation (CBI) said it was not aware of this development in Italy on April 14th, 2014. "I have not heard from official channels '" and in any case it has nothing to do with us,' Ranjit Sinha, Director CBI told The News Minute (TNM) over the telephone on Friday.
"It is a matter between the government of Italy and one of their citizens '" if necessary we will implead ourselves in the case,' India's top sleuth added. Ranjit Sinha said India was investigating other aspects if the helicopter deal, but did not elaborate. When pressed for an answer, as bribes were paid to Indian officials, Sinha said he will be speaking to the concerned persons when necessary.
Read more on News Minute
09:39 Smriti prays, Modi on road less travelled:
Narendra Modi is scheduled to address a rally on Rahul Gandhi's turf of Amethi on Monday, departing from the tradition of topmost leaders of rival parties not campaigning in each other's constituencies.
Other than posing the riddle of whether Rahul and his sister Priyanka will return the compliment in Varanasi, Modi's presence in Amethi is expected to help BJP candidate and actress Smriti Irani face queries why senior party leaders were staying away from her campaign.
After naming Kalyan Singh and Nitin Gadkari as two notables who had campaigned for her, Smriti, considered close to Modi, had smiled and replied to such a question on Friday: "The campaigning is not over yet.' Sources close to Smriti had told The Telegraph yesterday that "Tulsi' (the name of Smriti's character in a Hindi TV serial that made her a household name) had been praying for Modi's presence in Amethi.
Read more on Telegraph
03:59 US unveils USD 1.2 mn to help Ukrainian journalists:
The United States has announced a USD 1.2 million aid package to help support Ukrainian news outlets ahead of presidential elections later this month.
"Members of the media in Ukraine have faced serious challenges and dangers over the past several months," State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said yesterday. She charged that more than 500 journalists have been harassed, beaten or abducted since November, and one reportedly has been killed.
03:59 No one seems to know how many Nigerian girls are actually missing:
The number of girls and young women who are reported missing after being taken from a school in northeastern Nigeria continues to climb.Police said that the number of girls missing is up to 276 and that more than 300 were abducted April 14, the Associated Press reports. Fifty-three have escaped, they said.
03:57 Ukraine army launches assault on rebel stronghold:
Ukraine suffered its bloodiest day in three months on Friday, with at least nine people killed when the army launched its first major assault on a rebel stronghold in the east of the country and 34 killed in clashes between pro-Ukranian and pro-Russian mobs in the Black Sea port city of Odessa.
The Ukrainian army attacked the rebel stronghold of Slovyansk at dawn, provoking the heaviest military fighting since a pro-Russian uprising began a month ago. The military took control of the major checkpoints outside the city but was unable to force its way into the center, and two of its helicopters were shot down.
02:39 US warns of possible hotel attack in Lagos:
US diplomats in Nigeria today claimed that "groups associated with terrorism" could be planning to attack a hotel in the financial capital, Lagos, in a travel note to citizens warning of security risks.
"As of late April, groups associated with terrorism allegedly planned to mount an unspecified attack against the Sheraton Hotel in Nigeria, near the city of Lagos," the US Consulate General in Lagos said in an emailed advisory.
"There was no further information regarding which of the two Sheraton Hotels in Lagos was the possible target, or if both of the Sheraton Hotels are possible targets.
01:17 Pope backs his new Vatican economy czar:
Pope Francis today publicly backed his new economy czar, who is overhauling the Vatican's administration amid grumblings from some Holy See bureaucrats about a perceived abrasive and secretive style.
Francis acknowledged Cardinal George Pell's "tenacity" in calling the imposing Australian the Vatican's resident "rugby player." Francis echoed Pell's call for a new way of doing business at the Vatican in urging Holy See employees to embrace a "new mentality of evangelical service."
01:17 Woman gives birth aboard plane on Spanish island:
Aviation officials say a woman has given birth prematurely aboard a passenger plane after it was diverted to a Spanish resort island.
The 30-year-old woman, who was in the 26th week of pregnancy, went into labor during the British Airways flight from Abuja, Nigeria, to London, Spanish airport authority AENA and the airline said today.
01:16 Hagel: NATO to rethink relations with Russia:
Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday that NATO should reconsider its relationship with Russia in light of its incursion into Ukraine, which should bury the idea that the end of the Cold War brought permanent peace to Europe.
"Russia's actions in Ukraine shatter that myth and usher in bracing new realities," Hagel said in a speech that captured the Obama administration's deepening concern that decades of effort to draw Russia closer to the West may be failing.
00:27 Obama, Merkel threaten Russia of fresh sanctions:
The US and Germany today warned Russia of fresh "severe" sanctions if its leadership continues to destabilise Ukraine and disrupt this month's presidential election.
Barack Obama and visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a joint declaration after holding talks at the White House during which the US President said America US and Germany want to see a diplomatic resolution to the situation in Ukraine.
00:26 Obama: US, Germany 'not perfectly aligned' on NSA:
President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel say their countries are still working on an agreement on privacy and US spying.
That's due to revelations from former NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Snowden's documents showed the NSA targeted Merkel's own cellphone and caused an uproar in Germany.
00:25 350 dead, thousands missing in Afghan landslides:
Landslides buried a village in northern Afghanistan today, killing at least 350 people and leaving thousands of others feared dead, as rescuers searched desperately for survivors trapped under the mud.
Villagers at the disaster site in Badakhshan province used shovels to dig through rocks and dirt, with local authorities, the United Nations and the NATO military force all racing to assess the damage and provide help.
00:23 'Entire version of Modi interview should have been telecast':
The Doordarshan journalist who conducted Narendra Modi interview, which has become a subject of controversy, has tweeted that the entire version of the interview should have been telecast.
He, however, added that he is not the final authority. In a post on twitter on April 30, Ashok Shrivastav said, "the original interview was 56 minutes but I got half an hour chunk. (so) We telecast 34 minutes."