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September 05, 2014


23:17  Sania-Soares win US Open mixed doubles title:  India's Sania Mirza and her Brazilian partner Bruno Soares won the US Open mixed doubles title after a hard-fought victory over Abigail Spears of US and Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico in the final, in New York, on Friday.

Sania and Soares registered a thrilling 6-1, 2-6, 11-9 victory in the title clash.
23:11  Centre may order CBI inquiry into rhino poaching:  Centre today said it may consider CBI inquiry into poaching of world-famous one-horned rhinos and other animals in Kaziranga National Park. 

"CBI will be the right agency to find out who is involved in killing of rhinos and other animals in Kaziranga. Once I return to New Delhi, I will see what can be done in this regard," Union Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters.
23:10  UN races to shelter refugees in Iraq before winter:  Hundreds of thousands of people who have fled to northern Iraq to escape jihadist fighters are in desperate need of housing, the United Nations refugee agency said today. 

"Time is of the essence," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters in Geneva, stressing there was an "acute" need for accommodation.  

"Winter is approaching fast, with snow, rain and muddy conditions. In less than three months from now, daily temperatures will average less than 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit)."
22:07  AAP to meet President to oppose move to invite BJP to form govt:   A delegation of Aam Aadmi Party will call on President Pranab Mukherjee tomorrow to request him not to allow Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to invite the BJP to form government in the national capital.

Sources in the AAP said the President's secretariat has given appointment to the party for a meeting tomorrow evening. The BJP is likely to be invited to form a government in Delhi with Jung sending a report to the President seeking permission to call the single largest party to take a shot at power though it is well short of majority in the assembly.
21:58  After G20 Summit PM to visit Australia :  Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said he will visit Australia after the G20 Summit there in November as there has been no prime ministerial visit from India since 1986.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is on a state visit to India, invited Modi to visit Australia. "I have accepted Prime Minister Abbott's invitation to pay a bilateral visit to Australia after the G20 Summit," he said adding that both will try and meet each other at every available opportunity.

The G20 summit is scheduled to be held in November.
21:33  A student reviews PM's Teachers' Day speech:  Akshita Upadhyay was among the 700 students at a Delhi auditorium where the PM gave his Teacher's Day address. 

Read what she thought of Modi's speech here
21:24  Justice Dattu to take charge as CJI on Sept 28:  Justice Handyala Lakshminarayanaswamy Dattu was today appointed as the next Chief Justice of India and will have a tenure of 14 months.   

The President is pleased to appoint Justice Dattu as the CJI with effect from September 28, 2014, the law ministry announced in New Delhi.   

The present incumbent, Justice R M Lodha retires on September 27. The seniormost judge of the Supreme Court after the CJI, Justice Dattu, 63, has been heading the bench monitoring investigations into the 2G spectrum scam.  

Justice Dattu, who will take charge as the 42nd CJI, retires on December 2, 2015.
21:17  PM sends 80 lakh SMSes to teachers, students on Teachers' Day:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi today sent SMSes to 80 lakh teachers and students wishing them on Teacher's Day. In his message, Modi praised the tireless efforts of teachers in spreading knowledge for generations.

Meanwhile, the PMO has received about 11 lakh email addresses from the HRD ministry for the PM to send out messages to teachers and students.
20:54  Nearly 90 killed in torrential rains in Pak, army called in:  Nearly 90 people have been killed in torrential monsoon rains that wreaked havoc across Pakistan as flash floods swept through villages, prompting authorities to call in army troops for flood relief duties.

The downpour, being termed as one of the heaviest, started on Wednesday and is still continuing in parts of Punjab and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The authorities have issued an alert and army troops have been called in for flood relief duties and to evacuate people trapped in areas inundated after two-days of heavy downpour mostly in Rawalpindi, Sialkot and Gujranwala districts of Punjab province.

"At least 50 people including women and children died and 178 injured during the last 48 hours in different parts of Punjab province in rain-related incidents," Punjab Emergency Service spokesman Jam Sajjad said. A Pakistan army soldier also drowned in Sialkot during a rescue operation.
20:51  Australian PM signs nuclear deal with India :  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian counterpart Tony Abbott today  signed an agreement with India to sell uranium for non-weapon use.

The efforts to sign civil nuclear deal have been underway since 2012 after Labour party in Australia reversed its decision to ban the sale of uranium to India because of New Delhi not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"I am hoping to sign a nuclear co-operation agreement that will enable uranium sales by Australia to India," Abbott had told his Parliament on the eve of his visit to India.
20:41  PM's interaction a session of motivation: Varanasi students:  Students of schools in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency termed his interaction with schoolchildren on the occasion of Teachers' Day as "a session of motivation".

They said they were inspired by Modi's life experiences that he shared with them today.

All government, government-aided and private schools in Varanasi made arrangements for the students to hear Modi's interaction with a gathering of children, which was telecast live across the country.

A student of Government Queens Inter College at Lahurabir, one of the oldest schools in Varanasi, said "this was for the first time in their school that they were able to watch the Prime Minister's address live".
20:21  'Modi has quite a cheer squad in Australia':  Australian premier Tony Abbott today said Narendra Modi as Gujarat chief minister should not be blamed for the 2002 riots in the state as he was just a "presiding officer" who has been cleared in "endless inquiries".   

"My understanding is that there has been endless inquiries into this and Modi has always been cleared. That certainly is good enough for me," Abbott said in an interview to Karan Thapar on Headlines Today.   

Elaborating his thoughts on the issue, the Australian Prime Minister said he accepts that sometimes "we" (leaders) are presiding when terrible things happen.   

"I don't believe the presiding officer should be blamed just because something terrible happens in the country over which he is presiding," he said.   

Abbott, who is on a visit to the country to deepen bilateral ties, recalled Modi's visit to Australia twice as the chief minister of Gujarat.

"He struck out some good friendships in Australia and he has quite a cheer squad in Australia. There was tremendous enthusiasm for him and for the change of government among the half a million strong Indian community," he said adding that even Australian politicians were "convinced" that he was going to bring about a "real fresh breath of air" to the government and the economy of India.

Image: PM Narendra Modi with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott 
20:04  Australian PM returns 11th century stolen idols to Modi:  Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott today handed over to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi two antique statues of Hindu deities which were allegedly stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu before being bought by art galleries in Australia.

During his meeting with Modi, Abbott returned the idols, one of which is a Nataraja -- the dancing Shiva -- which belonged to the Chola dynasty of 11th-12th century.

The other sculpture is of Ardhanariswara, which represents Shiva in half-female form, and dates back to 10th century. Both the statues were allegedly stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu and their return was sought by India in March. Returning the sculptures is a testimony to Australia's good citizenship on such matters and the importance with which Australia views its relationship with India, Abbott's office said.

The Nataraja statue, cast in bronze, was purchased by the National Gallery of Australia in February 2008 at a price of $5.1 million from art and antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor who was then based in New York. The Ardhanariswara statue was purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2004 for approximately 300,000 Australian dollar..
19:57  After talks, truce signed between Ukraine, pro-Russia separatists :  CNN reports: Ukraine's government and rebel leaders signed a ceasefire deal today after talks in Belarus, raising hopes of an end to the nearly five-month conflict.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in a statement that he had ordered his top general to ceasefire from 6 pm local time.

The decision was made "on the basis of the call by the Russian President Vladimir Putin to the leaders of the unlawful armed groups in Donbas to cease fire" and the signature of the truce protocol in Belarus, he said. Donbas is a term used to refer to the eastern Ukraine region.
19:08   Slow governance responsible for decline in growth: Rajan:   Attributing decline in economic growth to "slow governance" and faulty allocation of natural resources, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has said GDP will improve to 7 per cent in next three years on back of political stability.

"The sharp slowdown in GDP from 8-9 per cent growth to 4-5 per cent in the last two years was caused by issues such as environment and land acquisition problems, delays in withdrawal of fiscal and monetary stimulus, irregularities around allocation of natural resources and slow governance," a report quoted Rajan as saying.
19:06  HC admits PIL seeking bravery awards for officers during 26/11:  The Bombay High Court today admitted a PIL demanding Ashok Chakra as well as other gallantry awards for the officers, belonging to various agencies, who had fought terrorists during the 26/11 terror attacks in the city.
18:35  Why Sathasivam's appointment as Kerala governor sets a bad precedent:  Kerala governor Sathasivam and the Graham Staines case. Read
18:11  Assam schoolgirls found hanging from tree :   Two schoolgirls have reportedly been found hanging from two ends of the same rope on a tree in Assam's Karimganj district.

The girls had been missing since Wednesday evening, the police said.

A relative of one of them discovered the bodies on Thursday morning, barely two kilometres from the border with Bangladesh.

Locals suspect that the girls were first raped and then killed. The police said a post-mortem will determine if that is correct.

"We have recovered the bodies and sent those for postmortem and forensic test," said Nabin Singh, a senior officer handling the case.

In May, two teen girls who were cousins were found hanging from a mango tree in Uttar Pradesh's Badaun district. Although their families alleged the girls had been gang-raped and then hanged alive, the CBI, which is investigating the case, says evidence recovered does not prove sexual assault.
17:46  A 1954 picture of the then Vice President and later President, Dr S Radhakrishnan awarding certificates to Post Graduate Students. The picture is most likely taken at the former Viceregal Lodge in Shimla. 
17:14  'Initiate disciplinary action against CBI director':  AAP's Prashant Bhushan writes to the PM requesting the removal of CBI Director Ranjit Sinha. Bhushan requests the PM for appropriate disciplinary and criminal action against Ranjit Sinha for abusing his official position. 

Bhushan, who is a senior Supreme Court lawyer, has pointed out that Sinha indulged in gross improprieties and compromised his position as CBI director by meeting the main accused of the 2G telecom spectrum and the coal blocks allocation scams.

Bhushan requested the Prime Minister to immediately remove Sinha as CBI director and initiate appropriate disciplinary and criminal action against him for having abused his official position to protect the  accused involved in high profile corruption cases.

Read Sinha's interview here.
17:01  CBI director suspects batchmates?:   Ranjit Sinha believes that his batchmates in different organisations like the Intelligence Bureau and the DoPT have access to the details of his visitors' book.

Sinha has been mired in raging controversy after an NGO produced in Supreme Court copies of the alleged entry register at his residence which showed he was meeting people who were facing CBI probe.

Sinha has refuted all charges, terming them as "deliberate character assassination", and said that he has not favoured anyone. Courts are, he said, there to scrutinise every paper and every aspect of investigations being carried out by the agency.
16:57  CBI director Ranjit Sinha is most likely to be asked to go on leave even as he is due for retirement soon. While the department of Personnel and Training has not confirmed this, insiders speculate that Sinha's days are numbered.

If the flurry of activities in North Block is to be believed, papers are being carried back forth between Joint Secretaries and the Secretary DoPT.

Anil Kumar Sinha, special director of CBI, is likely to be asked to officiate in the CBI director's absence. AK Sinha is believed to be from the 1979 Bihar cadre of the IPS.

Interestingly, the CBI director's family is very much entrenched in the services. His wife's sister is married to an additional director of the Intelligence Bureau and if rumours are to be believed, all is not well between the two. 
16:25  Politics should not be seen as a profession: Modi:  More Modi gyan:

Student: How can we contribute to the development of the nation?
PM: You should all become good students, that would be the best contribution. Politics should not be seen as a profession, it should be seen as a service. Serving the nation does not only mean joining Army or politics. Doing small things is a big service to the nation too. 
16:12  Girls drop out of school due to lack of separate toilets:  Addressing the need for education of the girl child, Modi says, "Education of women is very important. If a girl is educated, she educates two families. We need to ensure girls don't drop out. The lack of a separate toilet for girls means students drop out after Std III.


16:02  Which one would you choose? Intelligent or average student?:  A question from Kerala: Who would you concentrate on, an intelligent student who is lazy but average student who is hardworking?

PM: A teacher should not discriminate. All children belong to the teacher. And every child has some talents.
16:00  Student: How can I become the PM of a nation?

PM Modi: Prepare for 2024 elections. In a democracy anyone who wins the confidence of the public can become a PM. My wishes are with you.
15:55  Q&A: What will you gain by talking to us? :  Student: What will you gain by talking to us?
PM: If I came here for gain, I would not have come here. Not everything is done for gain, my gain is there will be faces of students on TV all day.
15:51  Never even thought of becoming class monitor: Modi:   A student from a school in RK Puram, Delhi, asks: Did you ever think as a child that you will be PM of India and known all over the world.

Modi: No, I never thought about it. In school I did not even fight elections to be a monitor. One should dream about doing something, not becoming someone.
15:46  A student asks, experience or teachers, what shaped you?
Modi: My teachers, education and values have played as important a part in my life as my experiences.
15:41  Modi takes questions from students :   Question to PM from Akshay (Class XI): How did you feel about moving to Delhi from Gandhinagar?Modi: I have not got time to see Delhi. It is only home to office and office to home. But it's really not that different. I do not think there is much change. Yes, I have to work as hard, perhaps rise earlier. Also have to be more conscious with the words I use.
15:37  Google guru gives information not insight: Modi:  Modi says Google guru gives information not insight. Modi asks students to be at ease and ask whatever they wish to. "Relax and enjoy yourself," he says. Modi now takes questions from the students.


Pic: Children in a school at Muzaffarnagar listen to the PM's address. 
15:34  Go out and play: Modi to students:  Modi asks students to get out and play. He says there is a world beyond TV and computers. "Go out and play. Sweat it out. That's what children should do," he says.

"Read," he says. "Read autobiographies and biographies. There's a lot to learn," he says.

Every questions is answered by Google Guru, he says, as students titter. 
15:31  Eminent people should teach in schools once a week: Modi:  Modi: Masterji used to be the village ideal. We need to highlight the importance of teachers.

Addressing the lack of toilets in schools, Modi says some schools have no toilets at all, while others have only toilets for boys.

In Japan, he says, he was told how teachers and students clean toilets in schools. "If that was to happen in India, it would cause a sensation. Why can't it be done?" he asks.

He asked that eminent people should co-opt with schools and teach once a week.
15:24  The best don't want to become teachers: Modi:  PM Modi: Teachers' Day is a great tradition. I feel privileged to address future generations and this is a good opportunity to address students.

But why is it that the best don't want to be teachers?

Every person always remembers two contributions to their lives -- that of their mother and of their teacher.

In the old days, the teacher was the most respected person in the village. But that has changed.

 
15:19  PM Narendra Modi begins his speech. 
15:11  HRD minister, students address the crowd :   Smriti Irani, HRD minister, addressing the PM as Narendrabhai Modi, begins the interactive session. Addressing 1,000 students at the Maneckshaw Auditorium in New Delhi, Modi will begin his address after presentations by students. 18 lakh students are expected to tune in.  
14:56  The man who turned the economic tide :  As he completes his first year as Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan can afford to look back with a sense of satisfaction at a job well done. Read
14:52  PM to address school students across India soon :   PM Narendra Modi to address students on the occasion of Teachers' Day shortly. In the first mass contact programme of its kind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact live with millions of young students and teachers across the nation today on the occasion of Teachers' Day.

Modi will address about 1,000 students at the Manekshaw Auditorium in New Delhi.

It will be broadcast live by all Doordarshan channels and All India Radio. The prime minister would also take questions from some students spread across the country through a video-conference facility.
14:48  Cong takes dig at LG's plan to call BJP to form govt in Delhi:  Congress today said that the moves aimed at allowing BJP to take a shot at power in Delhi showed that the ruling party has lost confidence of going in for fresh polls because of the "inept performance" of the Central government.

"The BJP was the single largest party when the result was declared. What has changed since then and now is that they have lost the confidence of going to the people because of the inept performance of the central government," party leader Manish Tewari said.

His remarks came after Lt Governor Najeeb Jung sent a report to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking permission to call the single largest party to take a shot at power in Delhi, though it is well short of majority in the Assembly.
14:33  India's fake love jihad:  With Narendra Modi ensconced in the prime minister's office, India's newly empowered Hindu nationalist BJP party faces the formidable task of reaching out to the country's 177 million Muslims. In Uttar Pradesh -- the site of deadly religious riots last September -- they're off to an inauspicious start, reviving a widely denounced source of right-wing Hindu nationalist paranoia: "love jihad." Read
14:14  First look at Rajdeep's book:  Rajdeep Sardesai tweets: First look at my book, my fourth child!! Hope you like it!
14:10  Markandey Katju: My greetings to all teachers on #TeachersDay ! I was myself a teacher in a village school near Allahabad from 1968 to 1970.
14:09  'No everlasting peace in J&K without Kashmiri Pandits':  Journalist Rahul Pandita, a Kashmiri Pandit and author of Our Moon Has Blood Clots, in an interview to Rediff.com in May, says, "No matter how many homes I own in Delhi, or any part of the world, as far as I am concerned, there is only one home and that is what was left in Kashmir in the 1990s.

The moment you talk about Kashmiri Pandits -- after all, we were a religious minority in Kashmir -- and how they being in a minority were targeted it doesn't go down well and no one speaks about it. That is the saddest and most ironical aspect of this whole tragedy.

Read
14:03  Rajnath writes to Omar to identify land for rehab of Kashmiri pandits:  JUST IN: Home Minister Rajnath Singh writes to J-K Omar Abdullah and  asks him to identify land for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits. Singh says that the government is committed to facilitate the return of Kashmiri pandits to the Valley and ensure their rehabilitation. 
13:53  How real is al-Qaeda threat to India:  The expert opinion in India, here, and abroad, here, is inclined towards viewing the al-Qaeda announcement of the launch of an Indian branch of its global terrorism operation as the manifestation of its eagerness to seize back the initiative from the Islamic State as the flagship of militant Islam

Read
13:51  BJP likely to form govt in Delhi: AAP accuses Delhi LG of promoting horse trading :  With the LG planning to call the single largest party to form the government in Delhi, the AAP today launched a scathing attack on Najeeb Jung accusing him of promoting 'horse-trading'.

"Media reports clearly signal that Lt Governor of Delhi is promoting horse trading. President should not allow him and BJP to play with democracy. It will be a rape of Constitution if a party which has refused to form government once, is invited to form the Govt," senior AAP leader and party's Delhi convenor Ashutosh tweeted.

I hope Lt Governor remembers that letter of refusal written by (then BJP Chief Ministerial candidate) Harsh Vardhan. If he does not have, then AAP can pass it to him. How can Lt Governor invite a party to form the govt which has in writing refused to from govt. BJP did this in December, he said.

Ashutosh said former President K R Narayanan had set a precedent that the party which had proof of majority will only be invited to from the government.

AAP will request President Pranab Mukherjee to not let Delhi Assembly be made a floor for horse trading. President K R Narayanan has set the precedent long back. As per him, party which claims majority should have proof of majority support.

Constitutionally minority government cant be formed. No party can be allowed to form government without submitting proof of majority support in Assembly, he tweeted.

BJP is likely to be invited to form a government in Delhi with Jung sending a report to the President seeking permission to call the single largest party to take a shot at power though it is well short of majority in the Assembly.
12:42  Free undertrials who have completed half of maximum sentence: SC:  Coming to the rescue of undertrials languishing in jails, the Supreme Court on Friday directed judicial officers to release all such prisoners who have spent half of the maximum sentence for the offences they are charged with.

The apex court said all lower judicial officers should visit jails within their jurisdiction once in a week for two months to find out the condition of undertrials.

According to the court, judicial officers must start visiting jails from October 1 and file a report after two months on prisoners released by them.

The SC further directed the Centre to place before it a road map for fast tracking the criminal justice delivery system.

While expressing concern over lack of budgetary support to the judiciary, the court asked the Centre to grant more funds to create infrastructure.

12:24  Will take stock of who viewed PMs Teachers Day address: HRD to states :   It has emerged that the Union HRD Ministry has indeed issued a written directive to states asking all schools to make arrangements for viewing the telecast, and stating that it would take stock of the number of schools and children who viewed the interaction.

"All the schools may make arrangements to assemble the students from 2:30 pm to 4:45 pm on that day in order that the children may view the Prime Minister's address on TV,' says a circular sent by the ministry to the Education Secretaries of all states on August 27.

Read more
12:12  The Hindu's take on Teacher's Day
11:53  Dear Pradhan Mantriji...:  AAP's Yogendra Yadav writes to PM Modi:

"I have had occasions to disagree with your politics and policies. But I write this letter not as a member of an opposition party but as an ex-teacher, a parent and a citizen.I come from a teachers' family.

My great grandfather was a schoolteacher, and so was my grandfather. My father retired as a college teacher and my mother as a schoolteacher.

I had little choice, especially since I was born on Teachers' Day. So, I taught at a university and married someone who is a university teacher. I am no longer a teacher by profession, but remain one at heart.

Read more
11:49  Politics without the minorities:  The penchant and proclivity for making India Hindu is not a new phenomenon in Indian political life; but until the 2014 election, it did not have the power or the heft to pose a serious challenge to the idea of India. Read
11:45  Modi to interact live with students across India on Teachers' Day:   In the first mass contact programme of its kind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact live with millions of young students and teachers across the nation on Friday on the occasion of Teachers' Day.

Modi will address the students from 3 pm to 4.45 pm through satellite link and live telecast on Doordarshan and the human resource development ministry website. He will address about 1,000 students from various Delhi schools at the Manekshaw Auditorium in the capital, which will be broadcast live by all Doordarshan channels to over 18 lakh government and private schools in the country, as well on radio. Live streaming on the web would also be available.
11:38  Should you watch Mary Kom?:  Here's what the Rediff.com review says: Mary Kom is a victory for its protagonist Priyanka Chopra, scriptwriter Saiwyn Quadras, and director Omung Kumar, says Laxmi Negi, a former boxer. Read
11:31  There is threat from such agencies, but nation is prepared: Air chief :  Air Chief Arup Raha on Al Zawahiri's new video: There is a threat from such agencies, but the nation is prepared. 

Al-Qaeda, which has announced the creation of a separate wing for India, wants to portray Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an enemy of Islam and as such India should take its threat "very seriously", a well-known American counter-terror expert said today even as the US tried to downplay the terrorist outfit's capabilities.
11:19  India, Pak agree on civilian shield:   The Indian and Pakistani armies are said to have reached an understanding at a flag meeting on the Line of Control that they will not shoot at civilians even if they cannot stop all ceasefire violations immediately.

Brigadier Sanjay Thakran of India and Brigadier Atif Dar of Pakistan met at the Chakan da Bagh crossing on the LoC yesterday.

In talks that went on for three hours, each side showed maps to the other alleging sector-by-sector violations.
Read more.
11:15  Subrata Roy wants conference hall stay extended by 10 more days:   Sahara chief Subrata Roy wants the concession given to him to be extended by 10 days.

In August, the Supreme Court allowed him and two other directors of the firm to shift from the barracks of Tihar jail to a conference hall in the prison's vicinity. The court gave 10 working days from August 5 to Sahara to negotiate the sale of off-shore properties from the conference room in Tihar Jail. The move came after the Sahara chief, who has been in jail for the last five months, was allowed to hold negotiation with potential buyers of his luxury hotels in New York and London to raise Rs 10,000 crore.
10:52  US doesn't see Al Qaeda's new India branch as a threat:  However, the United States has also said that the announcement by Al Qaeda that it has formed a branch for operating in India is not an indication of the terrorist outfit gaining new capabilities.

"We do not regard the announcement as an indication of new capabilities by Al Qaeda, which has long been active throughout the region," Caitlin Hayden, spokesperson of the National Security Council at the White House, said.

"We have seen the reports of Al Qaeda's new branch on the Indian subcontinent. The US remains committed to dismantling al-Qaeda and ensuring that it never again poses a threat to the American people," she said in response to a question.  
10:50  US analyst says Qaeda wants to portray Modi as enemy of Islam:  Al-Qaeda, which has announced the creation of a separate wing for India, wants to portray Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an enemy of Islam and as such India should take its threat "very seriously", a well-known American counter-terror expert said today even as the US tried to downplay the terrorist outfit's capabilities.

"This video, the first from (al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-) Zawahiri this year, should be taken very seriously. Al-Qaeda wants to portray Prime Minister Modi as an enemy of Islam," ex-CIA analyst Bruce Riedel, who is considered to be one of the US' top experts on counter-terrorism, said.

"From its base in Pakistan and with its close links to Lashkar-e-Taiba, al-Qaeda is a dangerous menace to India," Riedel said when asked about the latest video of Zawahiri announcing al-Qaeda's creation of a new branch for the Indian subcontinent to wage jihad in India, including in Kashmir, Gujarat and Assam with the goal of establishing a caliphate and impose sharia ranging from Afghanistan to Myanmar.
10:29  Comic legend Joan Rivers dies at 81:  
Comedienne and TV host Joan Rivers, best known for her lacerating wit, has died, her daughter said.

Rivers, 81, had been on life support in Mount Sinai Hospital since having a cardiac arrest in New York last week. 

In a statement, her daughter Melissa said she died surrounded by family and friends, and she thanked hospital staff for their "amazing care", reported CBS News. 

Rivers stopped breathing during a procedure on her vocal cords at an outpatient clinic last Thursday. 

"My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh," said Melissa Rivers. 

"Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."

The actress and stand-up comedian is well known for her legendary put-downs and has more recently turned her razor-sharp tongue on the red carpet's worst dressed celebrities, hosting the E! network's 'Fashion Police'.

Both Rivers and Melissa, her only child, have appeared together in reality TV show 'Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?' She didn't just fire her barbs at others, however. She was always prepared to joke about herself, and in particular her plastic surgery. 

Shortly after her death was announced, tributes poured in from the world of entertainment.
10:23  Sensex recovers over 92 points in early trade:  
The BSE benchmark Sensex recovered by over 92 points to 27,178.80 in early trade today on the back of gains in IT, teck, metal and banking sector stocks, tracking firming Asian cues.

The 30-share barometer, which had lost 54.01 points in previous session, recovered by 92.87 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 27,178.80 in early trade. 

Similarly, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty traded above 8,100-mark by gaining 21.10 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 8,117.05. 

Brokers said fresh buying by foreign funds and retail investors on the back of mild recovery in sectors such as IT, teck, metal and banking, coupled with positive Asian trend, mainly influenced the trading sentiment.

Major gainers among the 30 Sensex stocks were Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Larsen and Toubro and SBI, helping the key indices to trade in positive zone.
09:50  Mallika Sherawat booked for insulting national flag:  
Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat has been booked for allegedly disrespecting the national flag. 

"It is a court-referred matter. Following the court directive, a case under Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 has been registered by Falaknuma Police against Mallika Sherawat," said Assistant Commissioner of Police Mohammed Abdul Bari.

Qadir and Samiuddin, two city residents, had a approached a local magistrate's court seeking registration of a case against Sherawat over a poster of her upcoming film "Dirty Politics" that shows her draped in the tricolour. 
09:27  Former CJI Sathasivam sworn in as Kerala governor:  
Former chief justice P Sathasivam on Friday took oath as the new governor of Kerala at the Raj Bhavan.

He succeeds former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who had resigned last week and who flew out of the state yesterday.

Sathasivam, who arrived in the state on Thursday evening, was received by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and other senior officials at the airport. He was also given a guard of honour.

Earlier, Dikshit was given a farewell by Chandy and his cabinet colleagues.

Sathasivam is the first former Supreme Court chief justice to become the governor of a state. 
09:21  Modi to meet Australian PM today; nuclear fuel deal likely to be inked:  
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who began his India visit from Mumbai where he arrived early Thursday with a 30-strong business delegation, will on Friday meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

Abbott is expected to ink much-awaited deal allowing nuclear fuel exports to energy-hungry India as he meets PM Modi.

In the capital, he is also due to attend a ceremonial reception this morning before meeting President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari.

The world's third biggest uranium producer, Australia had previously ruled out such exports to nuclear-armed India because it has not signed the global non-proliferation treaty.

But Abbott said on Thursday that he was assured of India`s commitment to peaceful power generation.

"India has an absolutely impeccable non-proliferation record and India has been a model international citizen," he had told reporters in Mumbai.

"India threatens no one, India is the friend to many, India is the world's emerging democratic superpower. This is an important sign of the mutual trust that exists between Australia and India."
08:49  BJP likely to be asked to form government in Delhi:  
NDTV reports: The ruling BJP is likely to be asked to form government in Delhi, which has been under President's rule since February. 

Lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung has sought President Pranab Mukherjee's permission to invite the single largest party.

The BJP, with 29 legislators, is the single largest party after the Delhi assembly polls in December threw up a fractured verdict with no party crossing the finishing line. Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, which placed second, took power with help from the Congress, which was reduced to just eight seats after 15 years in power.

But Kejriwal resigned on February 14 after 49 days in power, after failing to push his pet anti-corruption Jan Lokpal Bill.

The President is believed to have forwarded the Lieutenant Governor's recommendation to the Union Home Ministry. The report said BJP should be allowed to prove its majority on the floor of the assembly.

Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyaya told NDTV cautiously, "We have to analyse if we are in a position to form government."
04:05  Obama and Cameron call on NATO to confront ISIS:  President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain have called on NATO to reject "isolationist' impulses and confront the rising terrorist threat posed by Sunni militants in the Middle East, saying the United States and Britain "will not be cowed by barbaric killers."

"We will not waver in our determination to confront' the militant group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, the two leaders wrote in a joint opinion piece published in Thursday's editions of The Times of London. "If terrorists think we will weaken in the face of their threats they could not be more wrong.'
04:03  US plans major border security program in Nigeria:  The United States is preparing to launch a "major" border security program to help Nigeria and its neighbours combat the increasing number and scope of attacks by Islamic extremists, a senior US official for Africa has said. 

Nigerian insurgents have begun attacking villages in neighbouring Cameroon and have been seizing land in northeast Nigeria where they proclaimed an Islamic caliphate.
04:03  US plans major border security program in Nigeria:  The United States is preparing to launch a "major" border security program to help Nigeria and its neighbours combat the increasing number and scope of attacks by Islamic extremists, a senior US official for Africa has said. 

Nigerian insurgents have begun attacking villages in neighbouring Cameroon and have been seizing land in northeast Nigeria where they proclaimed an Islamic caliphate.
02:17  American among 18 jihadists killed in Syria raid: NGO:  The death toll from a Syrian government raid on an Islamic State stronghold in eastern Syria has risen to 18, including an American fighter with the jihadist group, a monitor said today. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday's strike destroyed a building being used as a headquarters and a prison by IS militants in Deir Ezzor province.
02:16  Baghdad car bombs kills at least 17:  Two car bombs exploded in Shiite-majority areas of the Iraqi capital today, killing at least 17 people, security and medical officials said. The first blast struck an area of shops, restaurants and cafes in the Kadhimiyah area of northern Baghdad, killing at least 11 people and wounding 32.
02:16  US comic Joan Rivers dies:  Joan Rivers, the acerbic US stand-up comic and television presenter, died today, a week after being rushed to a New York hospital, her family announced. She was 81. 

"It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. She passed peacefully at 1:17 pm surrounded by family and close friends," daughter Melissa Rivers said in a statement.
01:37  Uncertainty of Afghan election clouds NATO summit:  This week's NATO summit was long planned as a celebration to mark the end of combat in Afghanistan and the coalition forces' shift to a largely advisory role. But the still-unsettled Afghan election has complicated the event, casting doubt on the transition and leaving the door open for all allied troops to be forced out at year's end.

As international leaders gather here, including President Barack Obama, there is a nagging uncertainty about whether the Afghans will be able to put a new president in place and soon sign the security agreement that the U.S. and allies need to keep troops in the country into next year.
01:12  German Foreign Minister to arrive in India next week:  German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will arrive here next week to hold bilateral talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during which key issues would be discussed, especially cooperation in technology, trade and defence. Steinmeier will be arriving on Monday on a two-day visit.
00:25  Google to pay USD 19 million for child app purchases:  Google has agreed to issue at least USD 19 million in refunds to consumers whose children made app purchases from its Google Play store without parental consent, officials said today. 

The Federal Trade Commission announced that Google agreed to the settlement to resolve a probe into unfair practises by billing consumers for charges by children made within kids' apps since 2011.
00:24  Russian forces near Ukraine more lethal than ever: US:  Russian forces deployed near Ukraine's eastern border are more lethal than before and heavily armed with artillery and air defense weaponry, the Pentagon said today. 

"The force that we see arrayed on the border is exceptionally capable, probably more capable, more lethal than anything that we've seen up until now," spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told reporters.
00:23  Sunni militants kidnap dozens of men in Iraq:  Militants affiliated with the extremist Islamic State group abducted dozens of men from a Sunni village north of Baghdad today, residents said, as a suicide bomb attack on a police checkpoint killed 14 people in the capital. 

The militants took some 50 men from Tal Ali village, around 240 kilometers (170 miles) north of Baghdad, according to residents. The men were loaded onto trucks and driven away, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution.
00:21  Top headlines in that last 24 hours:  Will recuse myself from coal scam probe if SC orders so: CBI chief
Over 50 missing as bus washed away in flash floods in J&K
India's SHAME: 92 women raped every day
CPM leader's son faces probe for FB post on RSS worker's murder
Centre sounds alert after Al Qaeda announces new Indian wing
Actress goes from national award winner to prostitution
BJP-Sena alliance will remove corrupt govt in Maharashtra: Amit Shah
PM's Teacher's Day message: Teaching not a profession, a way of life
Rediff said it first: Andhra's new capital to be Vijaywada
Death warrant issued against 'serial killer' Surinder Koli in Nithari case

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