23:29 China rejects ASEAN bid to intervene in South China Sea row:
China today rejected attempts by ASEAN nations to intervene in its current tensions with the Philippines and Vietnam over the South China Sea territorial dispute saying it is an issue between the countries concerned and not that of the 10-member regional bloc.
"The South China Sea issue is not a problem between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said here in response to a statement by ASEAN foreign ministers issued today in Myanmar.
The foreign ministers expressed "serious concerns" over the ongoing developments in the South China Sea and called for a peaceful resolution. India too expressed its serious concern over the growing tensions and called for peaceful resolution through peaceful means in accordance with the established principles of international law.
21:56 Sonia to host farewell dinner for Manmohan on May 14:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is being given a farewell dinner by Congress President Sonia Gandhi on May 14. A memento is expected to be presented to Singh signed by all CWC Members and Union Ministers, sources said.
The dinner by Gandhi, who is also UPA chairperson, comes two days before the announcement of results of Lok Sabha elections. The prime minister would be demitting office on May 17, a day after the Lok Sabha elections results are announced.
He had earlier this year announced his retirement, after a decade at the helm of two successive United Progressive Alliance governments. On the eve of his demitting office , the prime minister is to "address the people" in a farewell speech
21:55 Hindu woman absolute owner of property under Act: HC:
The Madras high court has made it clear that the moment property is given in favour of a Hindu woman, she becomes the absolute owner despite the restrictions and limitations contained in the settlement deed.
Justice S Vimala delivered the judgment while dismissing an appeal filed by Jayalakshmi Ammal, second wife of one Dharmarajapillai, against the order of Cuddalore District Court in favour of the sale of property by first wife Swarnathammal to Kaliaperumal.
Jayalakshmi Ammal contended that the power conferred under the settlement was only a limited one and not absolute. Rejecting the contention,the judge said the express language used in the settlement deed interpreted in the light of Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act, would lead to the conclusion that what was conferred was only an absolute one and not a limited estate.
"Therefore the first wife has got every right to dispose the property and the sale is valid. Therefore purchaser of the property is succeeded and the appeal is dismissed."
21:54 Only NDA can bring about change in India: Modi in his blog:
Winding up his eight-month-long campaign, Narendra Modi today said NDA is the only alliance that can bring about change in India where people are "tired" of false promises, corruption and political dynasty.
Writing in his blog, Modi invoked history and said there is something special in India's soil that makes it a world leader (Jagad guru
) and called upon the people to help create a strong, developed and inclusive India that will once again show the way to the world.
The BJP's prime ministerial candidate also thanked the people of the country for extending their support to him and assured them he will repay them with affection and "unprecedented development" to lay the foundation of a strong India
Read the full post here
20:45 Modi hits out at 'SABKA' for 'Modi-roko' campaign:
BJP's Narendra Modi today lashed out at Samajwadi Party, BSP and Congress saying that all the three parties were focusing only on stopping him from becoming the prime minister.
Terming them 'SABKA
' (for Samajwadi Party, BSP and Congress) in short, Modi, addressing a poll meeting in a agriculture field near Pindara village on Kasya road here, said they were "involved in only one task Modi roko
, Modi roko
Attacking Congress president Sonia Gandhi's 'neech rajniti
' barbs, the BJP prime ministerial candidate said SP, BSP and Congress "all three have meals from the same plate in Delhi and madam Sonia serves them food".
19:49 Lawyer of Pakistani doctor who helped track down Laden quits:
A Pakistani lawyer representing jailed doctor Shakil Afridi, who helped track down then al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, today quit citing security threats to his life and indirect interference by the US for his release.
During the hearing, Samiullah Afridi said they were fighting the case in the court of law but undue pressure from the US is an indirect interference in the court proceedings and that is the main reason he decided to quit.
"The pressure tactics by the US on Pakistani government for extra judicial release of Dr Shakil Afridi was impacting the Pakistani courts, though I do not consider the Frontier Crimes Regulation laws humane and we are fighting for amendments, but still the case has to be left to the courts for decision," he was quoted as saying by Dawn News
19:21 1 dead, 50 injured in communal riot in Merrut:
Amid the ongoing campaigning, riots broke out in Merrut on Saturday. According to media reports, one person has died, while 50 others have been injured.
According to reports, an argument regarding a water tank broke out between two groups at the Gudri bazaar area, and subsequently a scuffle broke out. Some vehicles and kiosks were set on fire, and there were reports of firing and stone pelting.
More details are awaited.
Image for representation only.
17:53 PM sends farewell letters to various world leaders:
As he prepares to demit office, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has written farewell letters to leaders of various countries, including US President Barack Obama, former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Singh, who also wrote to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has generally conveyed his thanks to them while recalling how they had worked together all these years, sources said.
Wen has sent his response to Singh. In his hand-written letter, the former Chinese Premier has expressed his admiration for Singh's leadership and helping in fostering better relations between the two countries, the sources said. Singh and Wen met over a dozen times as they enjoyed good rapport.
17:01 No personal fight between Modi and Rahul: BJP:
BJP today made light of Rahul Gandhi's roadshow here saying there is no "personal fight" between him and Narendra Modi and both had the right to campaign for their candidates.
"I don't think Rahul Gandhi has come here personally to defeat Modi and it is his right to campaign for Congress candidate and Modi had also gone to Amethi for campaigning for BJP candidate there," senior party leader Amit Shah said.
Modi had campaigned for BJP candidate Smriti Irani ahead of polls in Amethi, from where Rahul Gandhi is in fray '" thus breaking an informal code of top BJP leaders staying away from the Gandhi bastion.
Therefore, Rahul's massive roadshow today in Varanasi is being seen as a retaliation measure on the part of the Congress.
However, the BJP's general secretary reiterated party's demand for removal of returning officer of Varanasi for denying permission to a Modi rally two days ago.
14:58 No poll code violation by Rahul: CEC:
Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath has told CNN IBN
in an exclusive interview that there was no poll code violation by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi as the leader was inside the polling booth in Amethi because the electronic voting machine wasn't working.
14:30 It's pack up time for UPA II:
Our correspondent in New Delhi reports: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh portraits are being removed from many of the ministers' chambers in New Delhi. Interestingly the photo of President Pranab Mukherjee alone is seen in these premises.
And that's not all -- the official cars, personal assistants of many ministers are also being surrendered. It's an almost pack-up time for the UPA II government and is evident in the corridors of Bhavans and Blocks of the Union government in New Delhi.
14:04 CEC Sampath meets President to unburden his pain:
Our correspondent reports from New Delhi: Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath met President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday and shared his concern with Rashtrapathi Bhawan about the state of affairs in the Election Commission.
Anxiety is all about the out of turn talks by H S Brahma, the number two in the Election Commission. Should Election Commission apologise on the deletion of three lakh voters in Maharashtra? Should Brahma go public on this? Does it not reflect bad image of the full bench of Election Commission? These are certain pains of Sampath.
In the midst of poll campaign Sampath done the best by driving to Raisina Hills to unburden his agonies.
13:23 'Lanka to implement UN resolution demands except Intl probe':
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said Sri Lanka is in the process of implementing all demands made by the sponsors of the UNHRC resolution against it except for allowing an international probe into alleged human rights violations during the last phase of the war with the LTTE.
The assertion was made by the Sri Lankan President during a meeting yesterday with Seiji Kihara, Japan's Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs. Rajapaka told the Japanese Minister, "Please tell this truth to rest of the world. Except for an international inquiry we are in the process of implementing all other demands made by sponsors of the resolution."
The President's office quoted Kihara as saying that the UNHRC resolution was unhelpful to Sri Lanka. "We considered whether the Resolution on Sri Lanka moved in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva would help Sri Lanka. We decided it will not. That is why we abstained when the vote was taken," Kihara was quoted as saying.
13:20 Heart of Varanasi taken over by SP for Akhilesh roadshow:
The heart of Varanasi has now been taken over by hundreds of workers of the ruling Samajwadi Party, as UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is set to arrive for a roadshow any time now.
Rahul Gandhi's roadshow passed through the same areas earlier in the day.
12:15 Repolling underway in Nagaland:
Repolling in two polling stations and polling in one booth was being held today in Longleng and Zunheboto districts of Nagaland today. Polling was being conducted at Ladaigarh Polling Station No 1(one) in Longleng district as people could not cast their votes due to "forcible occupation" of the polling station at Ladaigarh Government LP School allegedly by Assam police on April 9. Polling was arranged at Piching Nullah area in the village for the day, Returning Officer Temjen Toy said.
Senior civil and police officials are camping in the area to oversee the conduct of the poll. Adequate security has also been arranged in case of any eventuality, election office sources said.
So it was noticeable this week, on the day voters went to the polls in Amethi, that Mr. Pandey's face set into a cold mask when he was asked whether he would be voting for Rahul Gandhi, who is running for the third time in this constituency. Mr. Pandey pointed at the pools of stagnant, trash-clogged water that stand on the city's main street, and the men gathered around him chimed in with their own complaints until it was difficult to hear anyone at all.
"Amethi '" what it was 30 years back, it is stuck in a time warp, and remains the same,' Mr. Pandey said. Asked about the political magic associated with the Nehru-Gandhi family, he grimaced. "We are just flowing along with the feeling that two of them have given their lives to the country, so we will give our votes back to them,' he said. "We want a change.'
Read Ellen Barry's piece on The New York Times
10:59 Jaitley attacks EC: 'Why no security curbs for Rahul?':
The BJP today slammed the Election Commission for allowing Rahul Gandhi's roadshow at an area in Varanasi where its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, had been refused permission for a rally.
As the Congress vice president's motorcade negotiated the narrow roads of Varanasi in a revenge roadshow in the city from where Mr Modi is contesting his first parliamentary election, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley renewed his attack on the Election Commission.
"The Election Commission should take note of this reality. Rahul's roadshow is going through Beniabagh, where Mr Modi was not allowed to hold a rally. Security restrictions exist only for the BJP, not for the others? This proves we were not allowed to hold a rally only for political reasons," Mr Jaitley said, adding, "This will be a major blot on elections in India. The Prime Ministerial candidate was not allowed to campaign in his own constituency."
Read more on NDTV
09:10 Rahul Gandhi begins his Varanasi roadshow:
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's road show in Varanasi has just begun. Hundreds of supporters, accompanied by senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, have come together at Gol Gadda area from where the leader began his 11 km-long journey.
Rahul Gandhi is campaigning for Congress candidate Ajai Rai. His rally is also seen as a message to BJP's PM nominee Narendra Modi as rthe latter is contesting from Varanasi.
A few days back, Modi campaigned in Rahul Gandhi's constituency Amethi where he attracted a good crowd. Today is the last day of campaigning in Varanasi which will go for polls on May 12.
00:39 Putin takes victory lap to annexed Crimea:
President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap today in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left more than 20 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote.
The visit drew a sharp rebuke from authorities in Kiev, who accused the Russian strongman of stoking tensions with his visit to Sevastopol, home to Russia's Black Sea fleet.
"This provocation once again confirms that Russia deliberately seeks further escalation of tensions," the foreign ministry said, calling the visit a "flagrant violation of Ukraine's sovereignty".
The White House also condemned the trip, with National Security Council spokesman Laura Magnuson saying it "will only serve to fuel tensions".
With unease high ahead of an independence vote planned for Sunday in parts of eastern Ukraine, fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Moscow militants erupted in the southeastern port city of Mariupol.
00:38 Iraq forces launch assault near Fallujah, 11 killed:
Iraqi forces launched an operation today to retake areas near the militant-held city of Fallujah in preparation for an eventual assault, a senior officer said, as violence killed 11 people.
Anti-government fighters have held Fallujah, just a short drive from Baghdad, and shifting parts of Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, farther west, since early January.
"A military operation was launched... to eliminate the ISIL organisation and liberate Fallujah," a senior army officer said, referring to powerful jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
"The operation will continue until an assault on Fallujah," the officer said.
But such an assault is unlikely to occur soon, as security forces have struggled all year to retake territory in Anbar from militants.
And they would face major challenges in actually assaulting Fallujah, an operation that would likely cause massive damage to the city and carry significant risks of civilian casualties.
Shelling and clashes began in and around Fallujah about 3:00 am (0000 GMT) today and continued for hours, a tribal leader said.
00:38 Why just Ganga, even Sabarmati's polluted Modi ji: AAP:
Countering Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's claim about the clean-up of Sabarmati river here, Aam Aadmi Party today released a report which says that its water is highly polluted.
Modi had said earlier that he would take action to clean up the Ganga at Varanasi and make its water pure, as his government had done in Sabarmati's case.
"The water samples taken (by AAP's volunteers) from three different places suggest the voluminous presence of hazardous chemicals in the Sabarmati river," AAP's state convener Sukhdev Patel said.
Water was tested in private laboratories and the results showed that Sabarmati was the fourth most polluted river in the country, he said.
"The report found that the volume of COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) and BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) is much higher than the specified limit," Patel said.
According to AAP, COD was 826 and 1950 respectively for two samples against the permissible limit of 30 while BOD was 325 against the permissible limit of 250. Total Dissolved Solid level was 13,500 against the permissible 2,000.
00:28 Syria army takes control of Homs as rebels leave:
Bulldozers cleared rubble today from the streets of battle-scarred districts in the central Syrian city of Homs after government troops entered the last rebel-held 1neighbourhoods as part of an agreement that also granted opposition fighters safe exit from the city.
The government quickly forged ahead even as another aspect of the negotiated deal hung in the balance.
The departure of a last batch of some 300 fighters waiting to leave for rebel-held areas north of Homs had been delayed after opposition fighters in northern Syrian prevented aid from reaching besieged pro-government villages.
The aid delivery to the communities of Nubul and Zahra in Aleppo province was part of the agreement allowing rebels to leave Homs.
Some 1,700 rebels have left Homs since Wednesday under the deal struck by the government and opposition. The withdrawal, which brought an end to a fierce, two-year battle for the heart of Syria's third-largest city, marked a major victory for President Bashar Assad in the civil war.