23:30 Jignesh Shah in same lock-up where Kasab, Jundal stayed:
Financial Technologies and Multi-Commodities Exchange (MCX) promoter Jignesh Shah, arrested on Wednesday in the Rs 5,600 crore NSEL scam case, has been lodged in the same lock-up that once housed 26/11 Mumbai attacks terrorists Ajmal Kasab and Abu Jundal.
The ground-plus-three-storey building within the premises of the police commissionerate houses Shah's interrogation room-cum-bedroom. It is the same lock-up on the first floor where 26/11 gunman Ajmal Kasab and his associate Abu Jundal had been lodged during investigations at separate times.
There is no fan or pillows inside the lock-up, a police officer said.
Shah was served food in the afternoon and night, besides tea in the morning and last evening, the officer said, adding that, "He was given rice, roti, dal and vegetable curry."
23:27 US man charged for illegally shipping thermal camera to Pak:
A US national has been arrested and charged with attempting to illegally ship a commercially restricted thermal-imaging camera to Pakistan.
If found guilty, Bilal Ahmed, 33, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
He was released on a $100,000 secure bond.
According to the Justice Department, the case involves a FLIR HRC-U thermal-imaging camera, which was on the Commerce Department's list of controlled export goods for reasons of national security and regional stability.
As a controlled material, a license was required from the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security to export the camera to certain countries, including Pakistan.
Ahmed was charged with one count of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and one count of attempted smuggling of goods in violation of US export regulations in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury yesterday.
22:50 Squall, light showers bring down temperature:
High velocity winds with a speed of 100 kmph accompanied by light showers changed weather for the better as mercury took a plunge of 14.5 degree Celsius in the national capital.
4.8 mm rain was recorded between 5:30 to 8:30 PM along with thunderstorms, according to the meteorological department. Wind gauge measured wind speeds up to 100 km/hour.
The maximum temperature during the day was registered at 39.5 deg C. However, after the showers, mercury settled at 25 deg C at 8:30 PM.
Weatherman termed the rainfall as a normal phenomenon for this part of the year.
"This is normal rain. In May, we get to see such thunder showers, which is normal phenomenon. Before the pre-monsoon season, which takes place after May, such rain happens.
"We can call it as a local development in weather as for the last few days, mercury has been rising following which we have to witness rain today," said a senior MeT official.
Earlier, mercury almost touched 40 degree Celsius during the day.
22:09 PM's farewell address to the nation on May 17:
Before demitting office, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to make a farewell address on May 17 to the nation during which he would speak about the last 10 years of his rule.
Dr Singh is likely to talk about the achievements of his government during the address, sources said.
The Lok Sabha elections will end on May 12 and the counting of vote will take place on May 16.
The PM is also expected to give a farewell dinner to his colleagues in the council of ministers.
21:52 China's Li promises help to Nigeria to crackdown on militants:
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang today pledged assistance to Nigeria to fight Islamic militant group Boko Haram, which recently kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls, as part of a rare joint anti-terror operation in which the US and European powers are also expected to take part.
21:13 No sign of Russian troop pullback from Ukraine border: NATO:
NATO today said it had yet to see "any indications" that Russia has withdrawn its troops from the Ukraine border, a day after President Vladimir Putin claimed to have done so.
"Let me assure you that if we get visible evidence that they are actually pulling back their troops, I will be the very first to welcome it," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Warsaw.
21:11 New firm to handle visa services at Indian missions in US:
The Indian Embassy in the US has awarded a new contract to a company for its passport and visa related services in all its diplomatic missions in America following complaints against the current service provider.
Cox & King Global Services Ltd will replace the existing BLS International Limited and would offer its services from May 21 at all Indian diplomatic posts in the US, according to a statement by the Indian Embassy here.
21:11 Pak lawyers go on strike to protest killing of senior counsel:
Lawyers in Pakistan's Multan district today observed a strike to protest the killing of a senior colleague who was shot dead for defending a blasphemy accused.
Senior lawyer Rashid Rehman, a member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, was yesterday attacked along with two persons at the HRCP office here, 350 kilometres from Lahore, last night.
20:30 EU envoy defends Alphonso ban, dubs it as more political issue:
The European Union today defended the ban it has imposed on Alphonso mangoes but said it was open to reviewing the decision if all issues related to quality control are addressed even as it dubbed the controversy over its move "a fallout of electoral politics".
"The situation is very simple. A bunch of files regarding problems relating to quality control of the fruit were found during the inspection by a team that had come in 2010 to check the export process. So warnings were issued.
19:56 EC yet to decide on repoll in West Bengal:
The Election Commission is yet to decide on repoll in any of the booths in West Bengal which went to the polls on April 30 in the third phase or on May 7 in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections.
Even as the EC earlier rejected the opposition's demand for repolling in some booths in the state which went to polling on April 30 in the third phase of elections, it agreed to scrutinise reports from different booths under pressure from the opposition political parties.
19:29 Russia test-fires 'several' ballistic missiles:
Russia today test-launched several ballistic missiles during planned exercises overseen by President Vladimir Putin, media reports said, as a crisis raged in neighbouring Ukraine.
The Russian military fired a Topol intercontinental ballistic missile from its northern test site in Plesetsk, as well as "several" shorter-range missiles from its submarines in the Northern and Pacific Fleets, news agencies cited defence officials as saying.
19:12 Pro-Russians to hold referendum in east Ukraine:
The pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine decided today to go ahead with Sunday's referendum on autonomy despite a call from Russian President Vladimir Putin to delay it.
While Putin's call yesterday to postpone the vote was seen as part of an effort to step back from confrontation and negotiate a deal with the West, he fueled tensions again today by overseeing military exercises that Russian news agencies said simulated a massive retaliatory nuclear strike in response to an enemy attack.
18:30 Update on the Goa explosion. Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa reports: Initial reports suggests that it was a cylinder blast. However the police are checking are investigating the case.
17:29 The Election Commissioner rules out immediate transfer of the returning officer in Varanasi. The EC will be fair not only to the Returning Officer but also to the complainant. EC is not contesting but conducting the elections, says CEC Sampath.
"We have asked for factual report, when its received further action will be taken," Sampath on Rahul Gandhi visiting EVM enclosure in Amethi.
17:21 LIVE! CEC: Not scared of any party, do not question our integrity, impartiality:
Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath holding a press conference. He is expected to respond to charges made by the BJP that the EC has been unfair in stopping two rallies to be held by Narendra Modi in Varanasi today.
Sampath says that the EC is disappointed at the BJP's response. "We have discharged our duty with impartiality and neutrality," he says. "Many parties have questioned the integrity of the EC and its neutrality. We appeal to parties and senior leaders to show maturity when referring to the EC. We are not scared of any party or entity. We are disappointed that a national party should embark on such a protest," says Sampath.
17:10 EC: Credibility of Indian elections matter of admiration :
VS Sampath, CEC, adds, "Over 3000 public meetings have been conducted successfully all over the country. Political parties must understand that issues relating to permission for campaign purposes should be asked for with due notice. EC would also like to point that we have delivered free and fair elections in 63 years. Credibility and neutrality of Indian elections is now a national heritage and a matter of admiration for the whole world."
16:37 Development is more than growth:
No better time to read this: Gujarat's "development" -- the centrepiece of the campaign by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi -- hardly stands on firm ground.
This is particularly evident when analysing other States with comparable growth rates. In this special essay, Martha C. Nussbaum points out that the Modi-model of growth and governance has led to Gujarat lagging behind other Indian States on critical indicators, and this may prove inadequate for India's future as well. Read
16:31 LIVE! Modi pays respects to Azad Hind Fauj veteran at rally near Varanasi:
At his rally in Rohaniya on the outskirts of Varanasi, Narendra Modi touches feet of Col Nizamuddin, a veteran of the Azad Hind Fauj. "He says he has only one agenda and that is development," says Modi. The EC has banned Modi from addressing a rally in Varanasi city citing security concerns.
16:24 Delhi Police files chargesheet against Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal in 2010 Jama Masjid blast case.
16:20 BJP, AAP activists clash in Varanasi:
A clash broke out between BJP and AAP supporters at Lanka Chowk outside Banaras Hindu University where the saffron party staged a protest over the refusal of permission for Narendra Modi's rally here.
The scuffle took place when some AAP supporters holding brooms came to the protest site raising slogans in favour of Arvind Kejriwal.
Immediately, several BJP supporters tried to block their way by pushing them. Police and paramilitary forces soon swung into action and pacified both the groups and prevented the situation from escalating. After some time, AAP supporters also left the place.
15:54 Rahul in WB: BJP attacks women in Bangalore :
Rahul Gandhi addressing a rally in Ghatal in West Bengal. "BJP waale Maharashtra mein UP ke logon ko ladate hain, Bangalore mein mahilao ko maartey hain," he says.
15:41 Sonia: What can one say about an aspirant who insulted martyrdom of Rajiv:
Sonia Gandhi addresses a rally in Kushinagar, UP. She says that the BJP is threatening to stop pro-poor schemes if they come to power. "Rajiv-ji ki shahadat ke 23 saal baad jis tarah Narendra Modi ne unki ninda ki ussey ochha nahi kahengey toh aur kya kahengey? (There have been several PMs, but what can one say about aspirant Narendra Modi who insulted the martyrdom of Rajiv Gandhi).
"Vikaas ki jhoothi tasveer dikha kar siyasat nahi ho sakti. unkii neech rajnitik soch aur batein unko aur desh ko shobha nahi detii (on Narendra Modi's speech). They are alleging we are weak in fighting terrorism, when the NDA govt was in power, thousands were killed in terrorist attacks."
15:33 All three election commissioners meeting in Delhi, I am sure they will take cognizance of e-mailed complaints by Dr KumarVishwas and order mass repoll in Amethi, tweets AAP's Pankaj Shukla.
15:15 AAP's Ashutosh: Jaitley sitting in OB van to avoid heat in Varanasi:
AAP's North West Delhi candidate Ashutosh tweets: "Local intelligence has just told me Jaitley is sitting in TV Today OB van to avoid heat. Mr. Jaitley has realised not easy to be anarchist. Kashi has just seen a nautanki, a farce by Arun Jaitley and Amit Shah. They could not bear heat of Varanasi."
Retweeted by AAP: And the "Biggest Bhagoda" award to Arun Jaitley! Ran away from the dharna in less than 3 hours!
14:55 Rahul: 22,000 terrorism deaths in NDA rule vs 800 in UPA rule, who's lying?:
Seeking to debunk Narendra Modi's 'lofty' assertions about fighting terrorism, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today alleged that the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate was triggering anger by "telling lies".
"Official figures show that 22,000 people died due to terrorism during the five year rule of NDA which was 800 during the five year period of Congress-led UPA," Gandhi told an election rally in Gopalganj in Bihar.
Accusing Modi and BJP of 'triggering anger' by telling "lies", Gandhi said "They criticize us for failing to fight terrorism and protect the honor of soldiers and say they will show how to fight against terrorism."
The Congress vice president claimed that ever since he 'exposed the myth' of the Gujarat model of development, Modi had stopped talking about it.
While the Congress, he said, thought about all classes of people, for the BJP "the nation belongs to one religion, caste or two-three businessmen." Gandhi said that Modi's 'tall promises' of empowering women and laying the blueprint for economic development of the country was no better than the NDA government's 'Indian Shining' slogan.
14:32 Deciding the Delhi Assembly question, justly:
The Supreme Court should uphold the Presidential proclamation as it satisfies judicial standards established by previous constitution benches and avoid confusing political with legal accountability. Read
14:23 Tavleen Singh tweets: How amusing that Kejriwal, master of dharna politics,should object to the BJP doing its own dharna politics in Benares.
14:14 BJP, SP enacting drama in Varanasi for poll gains: Mayawati:
Terming Narendra Modi's rally being denied in the temple town and the ensuing protests from the saffron party leaders in Varanasi as a "new drama", BSP supremo Mayawati has alleged that BJP in connivance with SP were "doing" this to influence the elections on the remaining seats in the state.
"The elections in 18 seats are left in which BJP and SP stalwarts Narendra Modi and Mulayam Singh are contesting from Varanasi and Azamgarh seats.
"Despite playing caste and communal cards, the position of these parties were getting worse, and so they have started enacting a new drama and conspiracy in Varanasi from yesterday," Mayawati said.
14:11 'Reporters Sans Frontier' honours Tongam Rina:
Itanagar-based journalist Tongam Rina has been honoured by the 'Reporters Without Borders' (Reporters Sans Frontier-RSF), the international organisation that works for freedom of the press and information.
Rina, the associate editor of The Arunachal Times, is the only Indian journalist to find place in the list of '100 information heroes' released by the Paris-based body on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the newspaper said today.
13:41 Kerala mulls setting up Arabic varsity:
The Kerala State Higher Education Council has proposed the idea of setting up an Arabic university considering the state's historic, cultural and academic ambience for such a centre of learning.
A detailed project report drawn up by KSHEC on the project was submitted to the state government yesterday.
13:40 Prohibitory orders imposed around EC ahead of BJP protest:
The Delhi Police today imposed prohibitory orders around the Election Commission complex as BJP workers sought to hold a protest against the denial of permission for Narendra Modi to hold rally at a venue of his choice in Varanasi.
Section 144 of the CrPC restricting gathering of people was imposed as BJP activists were stopped around the nearby All India Radio building and prevented from going towards the Commission.
Meanwhile, a delegation of party leaders led by M Venkaiah Naidu and Ravi Shankar Prasad met officials of the Election Commission over the refusal of permission by the Returning Officer of Varanasi constituency of which Modi is a candidate. Naidu said that EC had called party leaders for a meeting over the refusal of Modi's rally.
13:28 Amit Shah, who is in Varanasi, says that he will be sitting on dharna at the BHU gates till 2 pm. Modi is expected to arrive at the helipad at BHU at 4.30 pm.
13:25 Kasab whom I taught is alive: Pak school teacher:
In other news: A teacher, who allegedly taught the 2008 Mumbai attack convict Ajmal Kasab, on Thursday told a Pakistani court that the Ajmal he knew is alive and was not the one hanged in India.
"I taught Ajmal but he was not the one hanged in India in connection with the Mumbai attacks,' said the teacher of a primary school Faridkot, Deplapur, Okara district of Punjab province, some 120 kilometres from Lahore.
"Ajmal Kasab whom I taught is alive and one hanged in India was not enrolled in this school,' the teacher said and submitted the school record of the student.
13:23 Atishi Marlena, a AAP worker tweets: BJP workers attack Aam Aadmi Party auto, slap driver, manhandle volunteers. Is this how BJP protests?
12:47 LIVE! Kejriwal: My wife and I will perform Ganga aarti today, you don't need EC permission:
Arvind Kejriwal tweets that he and his wife will perform Ganga aarti today in Kashi. Hitting out at what he believes is the BJP'S desperate efforts at politicizing an event, Kejriwal says the EC has given Narendra Modi permission to perform a Ganga aarti, but Modi is simply drawing political mileage by refusing to do it.
Here's what Kejriwal tweets: BJP top brass landed in Kashi. Shows their nervousness. Will they be able to save Modi ji from defeat? Modi ji given permission of Ganga arti. Yet rather than performing arti, he is trying to draw political mileage. Sad. I went alone one day and performed arti. No one stopped me. I will again go with my wife today and do arti. Neeyat saaf honi chahiye. Agar apko kewal arti aur pujan karna ho to EC ki permission nahi chahiye hoti. U need EC permission for political activities... Here is EC's Permission to Modi ji for Ganga Arti. Then why doesn't he just go and perform arti? Why politicise it?"
File pic of Arvind Kejriwal taking a dip in the Ganga in March.
12:30 LIVE! BJP workers protest at EC office in Delhi over Ganga aarti refusal:
BJP workers in saffron caps are out on the streets at the Banaras Hindu University. Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley are in the city. The workers are heading to the Election Commission office in Varanasi, which is expected to be a massive road show in protest over the EC's refusal to allow Narendra Modi to hold a large rally in the city. Modi, Cong's Ajay Rai and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal face each other in the polls. Modi has called off the Ganga Aarti in Varanasi this morning.
12:16 "Rahul Gandhi gets permission but Modiji doesn't, shows Returning Officer's partial behaviour under Govt's pressure," Ravi Shankar Prasad on the EC's refusal to allow a Modi rally in Varanasi.
12:13 BJP hits out at 'timid' EC:
Hitting out at the Election Commission, BJP today said "timid men can dwarf high offices" as the party protested against the refusal of permission for Narendra Modi's rally in Varanasi.
"I cannot conceal my disappointment with the Election Commission. Men in constitutional offices need to be bolder. Timid men can dwarf high offices," BJP leader Arun Jaitley wrote on his blog.
He also accused the EC of being "out of depth" in preventing instances of booth capturing during the latest round of polling.
"The Election Commission scrutinises us all the time. They are extremely vigilant in tackling the side shows in the elections. They are concerned with what adjectives are used by whom. But when it comes to preventing booth capturing which has reappeared after a decade in elections 2014 they are out of their depth," he said.
Jaitley alleged that by condoning the Returning Officer's stand on 'No-Modi rally' in Varanasi city the Commission has used the security card to prevent the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate's right to campaign in his constituency.
11:56 Who eats what on the campaign trail?:
What do candidates carry in their dabbas when hit the road? Nandan Nilekani carries buttermilk, Kamal Nath swigs on diet Coke, while Nitish Kumar chews on sprouts. Read
11:46 Not an endorsement of nature:
Political manifestoes that list 'economy and ecology' in the same breath give an indication of how little the 'environment,' that umbrella term for everything good-and-green, means to our parties. Read
11:44 Modi got most prime-time coverage: study:
Prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party got more than a third of all prime-time television coverage during this Lok Sabha election, significantly higher than any other politician and party. Read
11:34 UN officials demand release of abducted Nigerian schoolgirls:
Top United Nations officials have expressed deep concern about the fate of the 230 girls violently abducted from their school by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria and deplored claims made by the group that it plans to sell them in the market and marry them off.
The UN human rights office lashed out at the militant group for referring to the girls as "slaves" and warned the perpetrators that there is an absolute prohibition against slavery and sexual slavery in international law.
11:31 The BJPs contribution to the reshaping of Hinduism :
Right now, as the Indian elections progress towards their finale, there's a mood of celebration among the supporters of the BJP, though results are still some way from being declared. The market decided some time ago that India will have a BJP government in a month's time, and has, since then, stabilized, and is on an upswing. Read
11:25 The Delhi HC has agreed to hear a plea against the grant of a flying licence to AirAsia India by the DGCA.
11:24 Modi apologises to 'Ganga Maa', says EC not concerned about neutrality:
Narendra Modi has set the tone for another day of confrontation in Varanasi with early morning tweets that questioned the "neutrality" of the Election Commission and offered "profound apologies to Ganga Maa for not being able to perform Aarti today."
"It is unfortunate that EC is not concerned about the institution's neutrality & that is why our Karyakartas have to embark on a Satyagraha," the BJP's prime ministerial candidate tweeted.
At 11 am, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley will lead a party protest at the gates of the Banares Hindu University or BHU in Varanasi, from where Modi is contesting his first parliamentary election.
The party is protesting against Modi being denied permission yesterday for prayers at the river Ganga and two other events, including a rally, in the city. -- NDTV
11:08 LIVE! Kejriwal challenges Modi to a debate: Time, place his choice :
Arvind Kejriwal has challenged Narendra Modi to an open debate. "I invite Mr Modi for an open discussion on a public platform. Let Kashi people ask straight questions from both of us. Time place his choice," Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal also took a dig at Modi for not performing aarti, saying, 'neeyat saaf honi chahiye. I went alone one day and performed arti. No one stopped me. I will again go with my wife today and do arti. Neeyat saaf honi chahiye," says Arvind Kejriwal.
11:01 Modi will sever J&K:
A Narendra Modi-led government could "end up severing Jammu and Kashmir from the rest of the country," Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah warned in an exclusive interview with The Hindu. Read
10:58 PMs daughter wanted him to quit after Rahul outburst: Baru:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's daughter wanted her father to quit after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi at a press conference in Delhi tore up the Cabinet decision allowing convicted persons to contest elections and described it as nonsense. Read
10:56 Is Narendra Modi a donkey? Asks Mamata Banerjee:
In the last lap of the general elections, Mamata Banerjee's charges against Narendra Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, are getting more graphic. She has now compared him to Hanuman with his tail on fire. Read
10:37 Mullaperiyar row: Hartal hits normal life in Idukki:
The dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the Mullaperiyar Protection Council in the wake of the Supreme Court order in the Mullaperiyar Dam case hit normal life in Idukki district but evoked little response in other districts across Kerala.
The hartal was called to express apprehensions of the people over the apex court order yesterday which rejected most of the contentions of Kerala including the demand for construction of a new dam in the long-drawn dispute with Tamil Nadu.
Local agitators group had for long been demanding construction of a new dam in place of the 119-year-old structure, holding that it posed a grave threat to life and property of people in Idukki, where the dam is located, and four other districts in the Central Travancore region.
Shops remained closed in towns like Kumali and Chappath close to the dam area where the protesters had gathered in large numbers since yesterday. Police said security had been stepped in border towns, especially at the road entry points through which inter-state buses and trucks pass through. While major political parties refrained from backing the hartal, the ruling UDF had extended limited support to it within the Idukki district.
09:43 Modi finds it difficult to follow laws of land: Congress:
The Congress has now hit back at Narendra Modi's decision to call off the Ganga aarti and questioning Election Commission's neutrality. The Congress has said, "It's a shame that Narendra Modi finds it so difficult to follow the laws of the land. The BJP has time and again showed that it has scant respect for constitutional authorities.'
The EC had denied permission to Modi to hold a rally at Varanasi's Beniya Bagh locality citing security reasons. However, the EC had allowed him to conduct a Ganga aarti.
Meanwhile, the BJP workers are planning to organise protests in Varanasi and New Delhi against EC's denial of permission. Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley has remarked that "EC uses the security card only selectively'.
08:49 Modi cancels Ganga aarti; questions EC's neutrality:
BJP's prime ministerial candidate and Varanasi contestant Narendra Modi has called off his ganga aarti. Modi tweeted that he regrets that the Election Commission isn't concerned about the institution's neutrality, while appealing to BJP workers to main calm.
In the wake of massive uproar from the BJP leaders against the denial of permission to Narendra Modi to hold a rally in Varanasi's Beniya Bagh, the Election Commission had allowed him to conduct a Ganga aarti in the holy city.
He was also allowed to hold a conference in his hotel room but no permission was granted to Modi to hold a rally in Beniya Bagh due to security reasons.
08:42 Intensive campaign leaves Kejriwal ill:
Savera R Someshwar reports from Varanasi: The intensive campaign in Varanasi has taken a toll on AAP contestant Arvind Kejriwal's health. Dr Abhishek Chandra, Kejriwal's family doctor, has been called in from Kaushambi to check on his health.
"He is suffering from a respiratory tract infection, sore throat and infection since 2-3 days. But he is better now,' said the doctor who had dropped in for an early morning visit at the Durgakund apartment where Kejriwal is staying.
Kejriwal's scheduled programme for the morning has been cancelled, and according to an AAP volunteer who is staying with him, the former Delhi chief minister will not be stepping out for the next few hours. He will be resting between a few meetings that will include close associate Manish Sisodia.
02:48 South Africans queue up to vote in post-Nelson Mandela polls:
Millions of South Africans today turned in extremely high numbers braving the threats of disruption and sporadic violence to exercise their franchise in an election widely expected to return the ruling ANC to power, 20 years after anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela first took power in 1994.
About 25 million registered voters - roughly half the population - trickled into some 22,263 polling centres across the country from before dawn to exercise their right to vote in the fifth all-race elections.
Under the proportional representation system, South Africans voted for parties, not candidates, in two simultaneous ballots for national and provincial governments.
Independent Electoral Commission chair Pansy Tlakula said the sheer number of voters who had turned out in South Africa's cities was causing some logistical problems.
"The most pressing challenge we are facing at the moment is the extremely high turnout at voting stations, especially those in urban and metro areas where long queues continue to be experienced," she said.
02:47 Ex-BBC man Hall got teens drunk and raped them?:
British former broadcaster Stuart Hall repeatedly plied two young teenage girls with drink and raped them in his BBC dressing room, a court heard today.
Hall made them his personal playthings, "wholly submissive to his sexual demands", state prosecutors claimed as they opened their case against the 84-year-old broadcasting veteran.
He poured champagne on the naked body of one alleged victim and took a cutting of her pubic hair as a trophy, Preston Crown Court in northwest England heard.
Hall is charged with 15 rapes and five indecent assaults against two complainants known only as Girl A and Girl B, who were under the age of consent (16) when the alleged abuse began in the late 1970s.
The presenter's lawyer said given their ages, the jury had to consider whether, legally, what happened was unlawful sex "somewhere between rape and consent" and whether a complaint from could still be brought after a more than a year.
Hall presented the hit BBC television show "It's a Knockout" in the 1970s and 1980s, fronted the BBC regional news in northwest England and was a football commentator. He is serving a 30-month prison sentence after admitting indecently assaulting 13 young girls or women.
00:55 Senior rights advocate gunned down in Pakistan:
A senior Pakistani human rights lawyer, who had recently received threats for representing a blasphemy accused, was gunned down tonight by unidentified attackers in the country's Punjab province.
Initial reports suggest that Rashid Rehman Khan's car was targeted by the gunmen near Kachehri Chowk in Multan.
Khan was a coordinator for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
The senior lawyer was representing a blasphemy accused and had complained that he had been receiving threats on his life.
The HRCP had voiced serious concern over the threats extended to Khan.
Lawyers defending blasphemy accused are often seen at the receiving end of extremists and fundamentalists.
Almost in all cases the defence and witnesses are put under pressure to withdraw.
In some cases, even judges are scared to hear the matter due to threats from fundamentalists and extremist
00:46 EC reschedules repoll in 2 Tamil Nadu polling stations to May 10:
Election Commission tonight said the repoll in one polling station each in Salem and Namakkal constituencies, a move flayed by ruling AIADMK, will be held on May 10 and not on May 8 as originally announced following candidates' demand for 48 hours notice before polling.
"The Election Commission has stated that representations from candidates have been received seeking at least 48 hours notice before re-poll is held. The Commission has accepted the request and has decided to defer the re-poll and it will now be held on 10th May," Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar said in a release.
The repoll, announced yesterday, had been ordered in Salem (north) and Tiruchengode booths following technical error in EVMs with EC announcing that new machines will be used for re-polling.
AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had slammed the EC decision, terming it as "against the canons of propriety of the election process" as no protest or complaint was registered by any political party or anyone else in respect of both these polling stations.
"When this is so, the belated and inexplicable move of the EC to order a repoll abruptly with less than 48 hours notice does not appear warranted," she said in a letter to Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath earlier in the day.
00:44 Power cuts should be 'only' 6-7 hours daily: Pak PM:
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered to bring down the load-shedding level to 6 hours in urban and 7 hours in rural areas in next few days, terming existing level of load-shedding as unacceptable.
His comments came at a time when load shedding has increased to over 12-15 hours in rural and 7-12 hours in urban areas of the energy-starved nation.
Sharif chaired a high-level meeting to review electricity generation in the country today at PM House here.
The meeting was attended by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Minister for Information Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbassi, Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafiq, Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal Khan, Special Assistant to PM Dr Musadiq Malik and senior officers.
Prime Minister clearly directed to bring down the load shedding level to 6 hours in urban and 7 hours in rural areas in next few days.
Prime Minister declared existing level of load-shedding as unacceptable.
00:43 US: 'No evidence' of Russia pulling troops back:
The White House says there is "no evidence" that Russia has withdrawn troops from its border with Ukraine.
The comments from White House spokesman Josh Earnest came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country had pulled troops back from the border. Earnest says the White House would welcome a "meaningful and transparent" withdrawal if it were to take place.
Putin also urged insurgents in southeastern Ukraine to postpone their planned referendum Sunday on autonomy. Earnest said the US believes the referendum should be cancelled, not postponed.
Russia has had about 40,000 troops positioned on Ukraine's border for several weeks. The US says those forces are there to stir up instability in Ukraine, not for regular training exercises.