rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 

LIVE! Kathleen Stephens to be the new US ambassador to India

Write a comment

May 22, 2014


21:39  Kathleen Stephens to be the new US ambassador to India:  According to several media reports, Kathleen Stephens, who previously was the United States ambassador to South Korea, has been named the successor of Nancy Powell. she is also a domain expert on South Korea, Japan and East Asia.

More details are awaited


20:45  Congress Parliamentary Party to elect new chairperson on May 24:  IBNlive reports: After facing debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress Parliamentary Party will elect its new chairperson on May 24. Congress President Sonia Gandhi is the current chairperson.

Read the full story here
19:18  EC may frame charges against Ashok Chavan in paid news case:  The Election Commission is likely to frame charges against former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan tomorrow in connection with the alleged' paid news' and furnishing of "incorrect" election accounts case against him.

Chavan, who recently won the Lok Sabha polls on a Congress ticket from Nanded, will be represented by a team of lawyersafter he informed the EC that his "authorised" counsel willappear before the poll body in response to its summons issuedto him last week.

"Chavan has asked for framing of charges in this case bythe EC against him. The Commission will conduct a hearing inthis regard tomorrow in the presence of the former CM's lawyers," sources privy to the development said.

A similar case of furnishing allegedly false election accounts by former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda has been postponed till May 26, the sources said.

 The EC, on the directions of the Supreme Court, had issueda notice to Chavan last week to appear before it in connection with the case of alleged expenses made by him during the 2009 polls which were categorised as "paid news".
18:24  LIVE! Jaya: Inviting Lanka prez is rubbing wounds into injured Tamil psyche:  J Jayalalithaa who will not be attending Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony on Monday says the invite to Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was tantamount to rubbing salt into the wounds of a deeply injured Tamil psyche.

BJP's ally MDMK has opposed the participation of Rajapaksa in the May 26 swearing-in ceremony of Modi, saying his presence would hurt the feelings of the Tamil people. The DMK headed by Karunanidhi, said Modi could have "avoided" inviting the Sri Lankan President and also that the Prime Minister should "understand the feelings" of the people of Tamil Nadu.
18:20  Lalu Prasad Yadav met Sonia Gandhi this afternoon, in what he said was a courtesy visit, where they spoke of the elections.
17:56  Just in: Thailand's new military junta announces it has suspended the country's constitution.
17:53  LIVE! Every woman in Gujarat feels like she is a CM: Anandiben Patel:   Anandiben Patel, who was today sworn in as the first female Chief Minister of Gujarat, said every woman in the state was feeling empowered and "like CM" after her appointment to the top post.

"Very few parties choose women as leaders. BJP has given a woman Chief Minister to Gujarat. So not only I, but each and every woman in Gujarat is feeling like Chief Minister," Patel told the media after her swearing-in ceremony at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.

The 73-year-old close aide of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi, who was Revenue Minister in his cabinet, said BJP provided her opportunity to work for the people and vowed to fulfil all responsibilities that came with the job.

"This is a big responsibility for me and I will work towards fulfilling this responsibility."

Patel's daughter Anar, who attended the ceremony, said, "This is a proud moment for our family. She (Patel) had done good work in the portfolios given to her in the past."

Patel's husband Mafatlal said, "This is a matter of pride for me and my family. We are very happy. She will take forward the work of Narendra Modi."
17:21  Narendra Modi met his mother Hiraben in Gandhinagar, before he left for Delhi. On May 17, after the decisive victory, Modi met his mother and took her blessings. 
17:13  Yogendra Yadav tweets: Quite a galaxy of lawyers came to defend me. Kamini Jaisawal. Prashant Bhushan. Rahul Mehra. Somnath Bharatiya. P S Sharda. Thanks to all.
16:51  LIVE! Assam CM Tarun Gogoi meets Sonia to submit resignation :  Assam CM Tarun Gogoi meets Congress president Sonia Gandhi to submit his resignation. Gogoi met Rahul Gandhi earlier in the day. Buzz is that Sonia may not accept her resignation.

Gogoi, earlier, had attributed a bit of "arrogance and complacency" within himself and the Congress for the party's poor show in the the Lok Sabha elections in Assam. Gogoi arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday to offer his resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and seek her directives on his future role.
16:41  I want to thank the judiciary and all the lawyers who stood by us: Yogendra Yadav
16:39  Narendra Modi tweets: On my way to the airport. Leaving for Delhi.
16:32  Kanchan Gupta tweets: Yogi Yadav signs bond, gets bail. Seems he does not agree with Arvind Kejriwal's 'principle' of no bond, no bail.
16:30  Narendra Modi leaves home ground Gujarat for Delhi. He is expected to reach Delhi at 5:30 pm.  
16:13   Helping hand for former arch foe and former Gujarat CM, Keshubhai Patel, at the swearing-in ceremony of Anandiben Patel. Patel is now Gujarat's new CM and the first woman in the state to the hold that post.
16:12  Thai army chief announces military coup on TV:  Thailand's army chief announced in a televised address to the nation on Thursday that the armed forces were seizing power after months of deadly political turmoil.

"In order for the country to return to normal quickly, the National Peace Keeping Committee comprised of the army, the Thai armed forces, the Royal Air Force and the police need to seize power as of May 22 at 4.30 pm," army chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha said.

The commander-in-chief, who invoked martial law on Tuesday, said the coup was needed to prevent the conflict escalating."

All Thais must remain calm and government officials must work as normal," he added.
16:07  Just in: AAP leader Yogendra Yadav has been granted bail. He was detained last evening for protesting outside Tihar Jail over Arvind Kejriwal's arrest. Yadav has been asked to pay a bail bond of Rs 5000. 
16:05  So, how much do our MPs get paid? Here's a break-up. Read
15:30  Meet the Chinese hackers accused of cyber-espionage:   Listening to rock music, playing Angry Birds and obsessed with coding: a portrait of the five alleged Chinese army hackers wanted by the FBI. Read
15:10  SP dissolves UP unit, Akhilesh to remain party prez:  Samajwadi Party dissolves its Uttar Pradesh unit, Akhilesh Yadav to remain party's state President.

Yesterday, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav gave marching orders to the 36 leaders who are holding various official positions in Minister of State(MoS) rank as part of political appointments.

Yadav, however, ruled out his resignation. SP sources said six leaders from the minority community were among those who got the axe. As the political fallout of the resounding BJP win in UP spread, the sources said some cabinet and state ministers may be also sacked.

Amid demands for his resignation, Akhilesh, however, indicated that he was in no mood to quit and said reasons behind SP's poor show were being reviewed. He was speaking after presiding over the first state Cabinet meeting in the aftermath of the poll results.
15:07  VVIP chopper deal: CBI can't probe Bengal and Goa Governors, both have Constitutional immunity, Solicitor General tells Centre.
15:06  Gold prices tumble by Rs 800 to Rs 28,550 per ten gram after the RBI eases import curb.
15:04  Vivek Oberoi: So incredibly touched by the humility of @narendramodi ,he received me & thanked me personally today in Gandhinagar! True Greatness! #NaMo
15:02  Syed Akbaruddin: India receives confirmation of participation from Sri Lanka @PresRajapaksa to attend @narendramodi swearing-in ceremony on 26 May.
14:48  Modi to get lessons in Andhra bifurcation on Monday:  ESL Narasimhan, the governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi on May 26. Modi will be sworn in by President Pranab Mukherjee as India's 15th prime minister at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Narasimhan will use this occasion to brief the new government, especially Modi and the new home minister, on the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Seemandhra and Telangana.

On Thursday, Narasimhan directed the Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh to brief details on the bifurcation to the new Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu and Telangana's first CM, K Chandrasekhar Rao.
14:37  Sphinx without a secret :  As the United Progressive Alliance regime breathed its last, postmortems began on its economic policies and performance. It was cogently argued that its performance on almost all economic parameters was excellent, certainly better than the National Democratic Alliances as well as that of Narendra Modis Gujarat. Read
14:31  Nitish to become Lalu's neighbour:   Bitter rivals in Bihar politics Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad will be neighbours now after the JD(U) top leader abdicated power as Chief Minister in the face of severe drubbing in the recent Lok Sabha election.

Kumar has been allotted the bungalow on 7 Circular Road, while Lalu lives in the one at 10 Circular Road allotted to his wife former chief minister Rabri Devi.

Kumar will soon leave the CM's residence on One Anne Marg, which had been his abode for nine years. The 7 Circular Road bungalow is at present in the name of Chief Secretary Ashok Kumar Sinha. But as Sinha is retiring in June end, he will move to another building to make way for Kumar, sources in the BCD said today.

But, with some construction work required in 7 Circular Road bungalow keeping in view the security aspect of the former CM, the BCD department has made available 2 Strand Road bungalow to Kumar for the time being, the sources said.

Known in political circles as 'bade bhai and chhote bhai' (elder and younger brothers), Prasad and Kumar turned hostile after Kumar left him to form Samata Party and later JD(U).
14:31  Syed Akbaruddin @MEAIndia India receives confirmation of participation from Maldives - Prez Abdulla Yameen to attend @narendramodi swearing-in ceremony on 26 May.
14:21  Security plate full for Modi:  A minefield of security issues awaits the Narendra Modi government, set to be sworn in at an inflexion point in South Asia after a victory in which the constituency of former soldiers has supported him strongly. Read
14:18  AAP on why it called Nitin Gadkari corrupt. Read
14:15  Mafatbhai, Anandiben Patel's husband, had budgeted only Rs 100 for their wedding as a protest against the Patel tradition of lavish spending, tweets Abhijit Majumder. 
14:13  RSS cadre return to camps after poll battle:  The RSS has resumed its training camps after a long break when it diverted its cadre towards the goal of accomplishing regime change at the Centre. Read more
13:56  I wont comment on a statement I haven't heard myself: Shriprakash Jaiswal on Milind Deora's comment.  Deora said today that Rahul Gandhi's advisers did not have their "ears to the ground" and those with "no electoral experience" were "calling the shots", but added that "the people who take the advice also have to bear responsibility'.
13:30  Bangladesh speaker to attend Modi swearing-in:  Bangladesh confirms that Parliament speaker Shirin Sharmin to attend Modi's swearing in ceremony on Monday.

Tasnim Aslam, Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson says it's a normal practice that if he/she has a preoccupation, he can nominate somebody. Its not a violation of protocol.

Tunku Varadarajan ‏tweets: If Nawaz Sharif fails to attend Modi's swearing-in ceremony, he will squander an incredible opportunity to generate cross-border goodwill.
13:19  Flipkart acquires Myntra:  Meanwhile, homegrown e-retailer Flipkart has acquired a majority stake in online fashion retailer Myntra in what could be the biggest consolidation in India's e-commerce sector. According to sources, the deal could be worth about Rs 2,000 crore. The figure could not be independently verified.
13:18  LIVE! Pak: Decision this evening on whether Nawaz Sharif will attend Modi oath :   Pakistan foreign office holds press conference. Pakistan likely to announce a representative. Still no decision on whether Pak PM Nawaz Sharif will attend Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony on Monday. 

The Pak foreign office says that it is a normal practice for the head of government to nominate someone if he or she cannot attend. "We have expectations from the Indian government. Expectations of peace so that we can focus on development. We also expect betterment of the south Asia region. We expect that when the new government takes over there will be a meaningful dialogue that will resolve the outstanding disputes within the two countries."
13:05  Meet Gujarat's new CM :   Anandiben Patel, who succeeds Narendra Modi as the new Gujarat chief minister, is seen as a disciplinarian and hard taskmaster who puts a premium on probity, qualities often associated with her predecessor.

The 73-year-old Modi loyalist, the first woman chief minister of Gujarat, was seen as a natural heir to the prime minister-designate as she headed the group of ministers tasked with the responsibility to run the state's day-to-day affairs during his hectic Lok Sabha campaign.

In Gujarat, Patel and Amit Shah are often described as Modi's "left and right arms".  Read more
12:58  LIVE! Lalu's RJD extends unconditional support to JD-U ahead of trust vote:   Ahead of the trust vote in the Bihar assembly scheduled for tomorrow, the RJD extended unconditional support to JD-U. Efforts by the Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav to forge an anti-Modi alliance with secular minded parties like the Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar did not take off yesterday, with Lalu Prasad's rejection to such a formation.

However, people close to Sharad Yadav say he has not given up despite the setback and will continue to pursue it.
12:54  Several killed in multiple blasts in China's Xinjiang:  Meanwhile, Several people were killed and injured today in over a dozen explosions in an open-air market in Urumqi, capital of China's restive Xinjiang province which is home to mostly Muslim Uighurs.

Witnesses said two cross-country vehicles driving from north to south ploughed into people in the market at 7:50 a.m and explosives were thrown out of the cars, one of which exploded.

It said an unknown number of people were killed and injured. Injured were rushed to different hospitals, police said.

A businessman in the market said he heard a dozen of big bangs. The open air morning market is located near the Renmin Park in downtown Urumqi.
12:52  Gujarat ministers take oath:  Ramanlal Ishwarlal Vora takes oath. He was next to Anandiben in seniority in the Narendra Modi ministry. He is positioned as cabinet's SC face.

Nitinkumar Ratilal Patel takes oath. He was senior to Anandiben Patel in the Modi ministry as Finance Minister.

Bhupendrasinh Chudasama takes oath. He is one of the few from Gujarat, who is a member of the BJP's national executive.
12:44  Gujarat's new cabinet being sworn in:  Anandiben Patel takes oath, greets the governor and goes back to her seat. Now, ministers will be sworn in to the new cabinet. Yesterday, Modi said he would keep a close watch on Gujarat and hoped that the development model would continue in the state. 
12:41  Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj also at the ceremony. Anandiben Patel takes oath as Gujarat's first woman CM. She was the de-facto chief in Gujarat when Modi was campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls and was the state revenue minister.
12:39  Narendra Modi gets Keshubhai Patel on stage during the oath taking ceremony of Anandiben Patel in Gandhinagar.
12:38  LIVE! Anandiben Patel set to be sworn in as Gujarat's first woman CM:  So, Anandiben Patel is set to take oath as Gujarat's new chief minister. She was unanimously elected by Gujarat MLAs yesterday. Narendra Modi, Gopinath Munde, Venkaiah Naidu and Vivek Oberoi at the ceremony. Anandiben Patel is Gujarat's first woman CM.  

Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal arrives at the ceremony which is being held at Gandhinagar.
12:33  Nawaz Sharif: Damned if he comes, damned if he doesn't :  Sources within Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said that Prime Minister wanted to normalise ties with India to promote commercial and business activities.

"He is keen to improve ties which is also the official policy of the party but he needs to take various aspects of the relations into consideration," a top PMLN leader said.

He said the invitation has come at a short notice and the premier needs time to accept it.

He also said that any decision about going to India will be made by the evening after consultations with the civil and military leaders. Diplomatic sources said that unexpected move by India's Prime Minister-designate has left Sharif with difficult choices.

"If he skipped the invitation it will send a very negative message to India and the world but the acceptance may bring backlash from the hardliners and hawks who consider Modi as anti-Pakistani," said a diplomat.
12:21  Milind Deora: Comments are out of deep loyalty to party :  Milind Deora tweets: "My comments are out of emotions of deep loyalty to the party, pain of our performance & a sincere desire to see us bounce back. Nothing more"

In the first open criticism from within the Congress after the party's crushing electoral defeat, former union minister Milind Deora said on Wednesday that Rahul Gandhi's advisers did not have their "ears to the ground' and those with "no electoral experience' were "calling the shots', but added that "the people who take the advice also have to bear responsibility'.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Deora, who lost from Mumbai South, said while "many factors' led to the party's defeat and Rahul's leadership alone could not be blamed, "it was not about one person's image but the people surrounding that person also'.
12:18  Anandiben Patel's daughter: She knows how to solve problems:  Gujarat's next CM, Anandiben Patel's daughter, Anar Patel, says she is extremely happy that mother will be now be CM and says of her mother: "She knows exactly what problems people face and how to solve them."
12:12  And Monika More learns to write again:  In the days after the accident, Monika would be very quiet and keep to herself. Every time a relative met her, she would break down. But now, she has started talking a lot more. She even laughs. Monika More, who lost her arms in a tragic train accident, starts rebuilding her life. Read
12:06  LIVE! Pak foreign office meet at 12:30 pm, Nawaz Sharif may attend Modi oath:  The Pakistan foreign office will hold a press briefing at around 12:30 pm. That's when we will know if Nawaz Sharif will be attending Modi's swearing-in ceremony on Monday.

Indications coming from Islamabad suggest that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will in fact be attending the event on May 26, although an official confirmation in this regard is yet to be made.

Speaking to a TV news channel, PML-N spokesperson Siddiqul Farooq said, "The Pakistan Prime Minister will in all probability attend the event and reciprocate to the goodwill gesture extended by the new government of India."  Afghanistan and Sri Lanka have already confirmed their attendance.
12:00  How Modi defeated liberals:  What secularism did was it enforced oppositions in a way that the middle class felt apologetic and unconfident about its beliefs, its perspectives. Secularism was portrayed as an upwardly mobile, drawing room discourse they were inept at, says Shiv Visvanathan. Read
11:59  Climber missing at Kanchenjunga summit:  Everester Chanda Gayen scaled Kanchenjungha on Sunday but is missing after being caught in an avalanche at an altitude of over 8,000 metres while trying to ascend an adjacent peak on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old was close to the summit of the 8,505m Kanchenjunga West when the avalanche came thundering down around 3pm, said Mingma Sherpa, the managing director of Seven Summit Treks, which organised the expedition.
11:54  Yogendra Yadav to be taken to Tees Hazari court at 12:40 pm:  AAP senior leader Yogendra Yadav tweets that he will be taken to magistrate Dharmendra Rana's court No 294 at Tees Hazari complex. He will reach there around 12:40 pm.

Several AAP supporters held protests outside Tihar jail yesterday when Arvind Kejriwal was sent to jail for refusing to furnish the Rs 10,000 bail bond in the Nitin Gadkari defamation case.

Section 144 on unlawful assembly, which prohibits the gathering of five or more persons, has been imposed in the area.

Yogendra Yadav, Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh were detained. No case has been registered against them by the police.
11:49  Jayalalithaa unlikely to attend Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony. 
11:45  Mumbai restaurant uses drone to deliver pizza:  Mumbai, notorious for its traffic snarls, has achieved a first in the country after a city-based pizza outlet used an unmanned drone to execute a delivery by taking the aerial route recently."

All of us had read about (global e-commerce giant) Amazon's plans of using drones. We successfully carried out a test-delivery by sending a pizza to a customer located 1.5 km away from our outlet on May 11," Francesco's Pizzeria chief executive Mikhel Rajani said.

He stressed that this was only a test-flight but its results confirm that it can be used routinely in a few years.

A four-rotor drone took off with the order from its outlet in central Mumbai's Lower Parel area and delivered it to a high-rise building in adjacent Worli area, Rajani said, claiming that it is for the first time that the ubiquitous drone has been used for such a purpose in the country.
11:38  Modi government may take up bills UPA failed to pass:   The incoming Narendra Modi government may well corner credit for key anti-corruption and pro-governance bills that UPA-II failed to pass despite a last minute bid to push the legislations through Parliament.

The Modi government will take a call on UPA-II' s unfinished agenda with cabinet secretary Ajit Seth asking ministries to compile a list of ordinances, pending and lapsed bills that would put up before the new regime. Read
11:35  Can Modi heal India?:  "India has won! Achche din aaney waley hain." With that tweet -- "India has won! Good times are coming" -- posted just after noon last Friday, the Indian politician Narendra Modi broadcast the dramatic news that left millions, not least his own supporters, reeling and instantly established the result of the largest election in history, one that marks a break with previous paradigms of Indian politics. Read
11:29  Twitter friendship blossoms between Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe:  Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe follows only three people on Twitter: his outspoken wife, a scandal-tainted politician and India's prime minister-in-waiting Narendra Modi.

Modi and Abe are two leaders who came to power on platforms pledging economic revival. They share a keen interest in neighbour China's growing regional ambitions. Read
11:25  Parents give a horror ride to 11-month-old baby girl in Kerala:   A risky parasailing stunt "performed' by an 11-month-old child on the Muzhappilangad beach in Kannur, Kerala, on Wednesday received more flak than praise and landed the baby girl's parents in legal trouble.

The baby from Kozhikode was made to set sail alone clinging on to an open parachute by her parents at an adventure sports event organised by an aerosports society, leaving the onlookers in a scary situation.

The aerosports society claimed that the baby girl achieved a rare feat by sailing alone up in the sky.

But the authorities and the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights are not at all impressed by the stunt. The open parachute soared up around 600 feet as the child tried to cry louder in mortal fear, according to eyewitnesses.

Kannur district police chief P N Unniraja also drew flak for flagging off the dangerous stunt.

Commission Nazeer Chaliyam told Express that the incident was a clear violation of the International Child Rights Convention and the parents were punishable under Section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Read more
11:14  LIVE! Kejriwal's wife: Why should Arvind apply for bail? He is not a criminal:  AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal's wife, Sunita, speaking to media, asks, "Why should Arvind apply for bail? He is not a criminal or accused. Why is the media saying this is drama?"
11:03  Who's in, who's out at Modi's swearing-in ceremony?:   So, who's in, who's out at Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony?
Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai has confirmed he will attend.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will also be here.
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen most likely to attend.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is traveling to Japan but is likely to send the country's Speaker instead.
Pakistan
has welcomed Modi's gesture, calling it a bold move, but no confirmation from Nawaz Sharif on whether he will be attending or sending a representative. Remember after his own election last year, Sharif's administration had invited Dr Manmohan Singh to attend, but he had declined.
10:58  JUST IN: SC turns down N Srinivasan's plea to reinstate him as BCCI chief.
10:50  LIVE! Milind Deora: Rahul's advisers were wrong, so were people they advised:   In the first open criticism from within the Congress after the party's crushing electoral defeat, former union minister Milind Deora said on Wednesday that Rahul Gandhi's advisers did not have their "ears to the ground' and those with "no electoral experience' were "calling the shots', but added that "the people who take the advice also have to bear responsibility'.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Deora, who lost from Mumbai South, said while "many factors' led to the party's defeat and Rahul's leadership alone could not be blamed, "it was not about one person's image but the people surrounding that person also'.
10:15  Why Modi's taking 10 days to take PM's oath:  
Why is Narendra Modi taking 10 days to become prime minister? 

A media report suggests that according to Bharatiya Panchang (calendar), May 26 happens to be day of Som Pradosh

It is a day to pray for Lord Shiva at pradosh (dusk). It is not known if Modi will fast on Monday or not, but most devotees of Shiva do. 
10:05  Kejriwal's arrest: AAP challenges order, activists continue protest:  
The Aam Aadmi Party will challenge the Patiala House Court order on its convenor Arvind Kejriwal's arrest after refusing to pay the bail bond in the Nitin Gadkari defamation case. The case is set to come up for hearing in the Patiala House Court on Friday.

Meanwhile, Manish Sisodia, who was among the AAP protesters taken into custody last night, was reportedly freed this morning as he had to attend his father's funeral. 

Prohibitory orders continue to be in place outside Tihar jail. AAP activists have planned more protests today. 

Kejriwal, 45, was first sent to a lock-up in the court complex before being taken in a police van to the Tihar Central Jail, where a large number of Aam Aadmi Party workers promptly staged a noisy protest.
09:27  Rupee up 13 paise against dollar in early trade:  
The rupee today recovered by 13 paise to 58.64 against the dollar in early trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market on fresh selling of dollars by exporters and banks. 

A higher opening in the domestic equity market also supported the rupee but dollar's gain against other currencies overseas limited the rise of domestic unit, forex dealers said. 

The rupee had lost 14 paise to end at 58.77 against the dollar yesterday on sustained demand for the US currency from importers amidst negative local equities. 

Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex rebounded by 125.37 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 24,323.39 in early trade today. 
09:09  Anandiben Patel to take oath as Gujarat CM today:  
Narendra Modi confidante Anandiben Patel will on Thursday take oath as Gujarat chief minister, a day after she was unanimously elected leader of the BJP Legislature Party. 

Patel will be the first woman chief minister of Gujarat. 

According to reports, Modi and BJP stalwart LK Advani will be present at the ceremony. 

Modi quit as CM yesterday after leading the BJP to a stunning victory in the General Election. He is to be sworn in as India's next prime minister on Monday. 
09:04  Assam CM Tarun Gogoi to resign today:  
Tarun Gogoi will on Thursday tender his resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi as Assam Chief Minister, taking "full responsibility" for the party's electoral defeat in the state. 

On the day counting was being done in the parliamentary elections, Gogoi told a private TV channel in Guwahati: "I take full responsibility. We are going to accept the people's mandate with all humility. I am going to tender my resignation to the Congress president." 

Gogoi, however, said the Congress would retain power in Assam in the 2016 assembly election.

The BJP swept the Lok Sabha polls in Assam by securing seven of the total 14 seats in the state. 

The ruling Congress could bag only three seats, and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) also managed to secure three seats
09:03  Blast hits capital of China's western Xinjiang region:  
A explosion hit a park in the regional capital of China's western region of Xinjiang on Thursday morning, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

It was not clear yet whether there were casualties in the blast, which took place in a park in Urumqi at around 8am local time (0000 GMT), Xinhua said.

China has blamed a series of knife and bomb attacks in recent months on separatist militants from Xinjiang, which is the traditional home of the ethnic Uighur people. 

Xinjiang has been plagued by violence for years, but rights activists and exile groups say the government's own heavy handed policies in the region have sowed the seeds of unrest. 
02:54  Two states in a nation:  

As I was leaving Pakistan, my thoughts were on the warmth I had received, the many friendly people I had met but equally so on the intimidation I had faced from some quarters, writes Meena Menon, The Hindu's Islamabad Correspondent who was expelled by Pakistan.

 

Little Amjad stands outside the Bari Imam shrine in Islamabad, thrusting plastic bags for sale through the barbed wire fence. Like the other boys with him, he doesn't go to school.

 

He makes Rs.100 a day selling the thin and brightly coloured bags for Rs.2 a piece '" no fuss over micron thickness here. As he looks at me with hope, my camera gives me away. He thinks I am a tourist, which means dollars. He grins in disappointment when I tell him I am Indian but he's excited to have met one.

 

Even the female security guard asks me a lot of questions about India. In the women's section in the shrine, many of them tell me it is an honour to have met someone from their favourite nation.

 

Coming right after I was told to leave Pakistan in a week's time, it couldn't have felt better. This was how it was when I left for Pakistan in August 2013. After landing in Islamabad around midnight, we went to buy a can of drinking water from a chemist, where we experienced our first taste of welcome.

 

From then on there was practically no one who didn't exude charm or warmth; the sinister exceptions came much later. With a visa that was restricted only to Islamabad, and which had to be renewed every three months, the paperwork was enormous; the many trips to the External Publicity (EP) Wing, our contact point, were meant to tire us out. Even there they were nice, always ready to offer a cup of tea and words of solace that the visa would be renewed.

 

Read more on Hindu

02:37  French trains 'too wide' to fit in some stations:  

CNN: The next train arriving at platform three will be... completely stuck. That was nearly the scenario in France where, it's been revealed, the country's main train company ordered a fleet of new trains that were too big to fit in hundreds of stations. SNCF, whose swift and efficient services are normally a point of pride for the French, spent 15 billion euros ($20.5 billion) on the trains, only to belatedly realize they weren't quite slim enough.

 

The revelation that the new TER trains were too "paunchy" for the regional stations they will be serving was made by investigative newspaper Le Canard Enchaine, and widely reported in the French media. The mixup is reported to have occurred when RFF, which operates France's rail network, gave station dimensions to SNCF in advance of the train order.

02:36  80 US troops in Chad will aid search for abducted Nigerian girls:  

The United States deployed 80 members of its armed forces to Chad to help in the search for the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, the White House said Wednesday "These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area," it said in a letter.

 

"The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required." President Barack Obama informed the House speaker and the president of the Senate of the move.

 

The forces will be involved in maintaining aircraft and analyzing data, but because they are armed, the President is required by law to inform the speaker of the House, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said. "These are not combat infantry troops that we put into Chad," Kirby told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" Wednesday. "These are folks that are there to support the reconnaissance mission."

Read more on CNN

00:35  eBay makes users change their passwords after hack:  

Online marketplace eBay is forcing users to change their passwords after a cyber-attack compromised its systems. The US firm said a database had been hacked between late February and early March, and had contained encrypted passwords and other non-financial data.

 

The company added that it had no evidence of there being unauthorised activity on its members' accounts. However, it said that changing the passwords was "best practice and will help enhance security for eBay users".

 

The California-based company has 128 million active users and accounted for $212bn (126bn) worth of commerce on its various marketplaces and other services in 2013.

00:33  Top headlines at this hour:  

Moderate quake jolts Delhi NCR, Chennai, eastern India

AAP workers clash with cops outside Tihar jail

President rejects mercy plea of Yakub Memon

PMO twitter account to be handed over to new dispensation: PMO

Gujarat will march ahead after me, says an emotional Modi

Cong, BJP slam Kejriwal's action; AAP calls it principled stand

Writer Ananthamurthy given security cover after threats from NaMo brigade

Congress downplays row over PMO twitter

Kejriwal refuses to seek bail, sent to Tihar jail till May 23

Go, build the Ram Temple: Congress's Vaghela dares Modi

Pak jets kill 60 militants in North Waziristan

How Modi should ensure India sees 'acche din'

Kashmir leaders hail Modi for inviting Pak PM to swearing in

Indian-American author pleads guilty in Senate campaign scheme

Meet the new no-nonsense woman chief minister of Gujarat

Modi resigns, Anandiben Patel to be new CM of Gujarat

Patnaik: From political novice to four-time chief minister

Will Kiran Bedi be Delhi's next CM?

Click here for yesterdsay's LIVE NEWS UPDATES!

Stars spotted!  What's this?

Spotted: Siddharth Malhotra, Aditi Rao Hydari in New York
Reader Adhiraj Badyal sends us a photograph.

More stars spotted

Met a celebrity?
Email us photos & videos