Alright then,time to say goodbye and goodnight. But before we do, here's a recap of the big news stories today.
-- Cabinet reshuffle sees new entrants, promotions, reductions in portfolios.
-- BJP on tricolour: We don't need NOC from Omar
-- Mobile number portability begins tomorrow
-- Swiss banker who turned to WikiLeaks goes on trial. (The verdict is expected in February)
-- SP leader booked for sedition for Kashmir comments
-- Mumbai's homeless census begins in Feb
-- Eat and run crimes on the rise in UK
--K'taka governor asked to reject CM prosecution
-- Ambulance suicide bomber kills 12 in Iraq
-- SC: Swiss a/c blackmoney mindboggling crime
-- IndiGo flights to Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai in Aug
-- We know motive behind Anni Dewani murder: Cops
--WB HC: No CBI probe in Lalgarh massacre
Final take on the reshuffle:
Claims of 'happiness' fromevery ministerhanded a new portfolio or shorn off an old one.
Unanimous disappointment from every thinking citizen of this country at what is seen as the PM's 'new wine in old bottle'strategy.
Government sources say the PMis the personhanding outthe new portfolios, which are an attempt at sending out a message against 'crony capitalism'.
Here's what the new ministers in the reshuffled cabinet said.
Murli Deora who has been moved to Corporate Affairs from Petroleum and Natural Gas said he was happy with the change and that there can be no monopoly in oil.
Jaipal Reddy who is now the petroleum minister movedfrom urban development pointedly said that a change in portfolio does not and should not raise expectations (reducing petroleum prices) beyond a point. He said he was happy with the change, but did not know why he was given the portfolio.
Praful Patel who gets a promotion from MoS Independent charge (Civil Aviation) toa cabinet portfolio as the heavy industries and public enterprises minister,said he was extremely happy, both politically andpersonally,to get a move up as a cabinet minister.
He said the civil aviation portfolio was a tough, complex responsibility, butit was now important to diversify.
Playing down the move from the all-important aviation to his present portfolio, Patel said there was less work to do when he was handling the aviation portfolio as fundamental changes had already been made and therefore his job entailed only policy changes.
Meet K C Venugopal, MoS, Power ministry.
A first-time Lok Sabha MP from Kerala, Venugopal is the only brand new minister to join the Manmohan ministry and another young face in the Union government. Making a ministerial debut at the Centre, the 47-year-old MP from Alapuzha has got "power" quickly getting the Minister of State slot in the Power ministry.
Venugopal comes in following the exit of Shashi Tharoor from the ministry following the IPL controversy.
Meanwhile, some more tweets on the reshuffle.
Mahesh Bhupathi tweets: Good bye Dr. Gill, Welcome Mr. Makan! Hope you can make a difference!
Prem Panicker:Bierce: Cabinet, n. The principal persons charged with the mismanagement of a government , the charge being commonly well founded."
also from Prem...
Dec 2008: "India's govt reassured the nation the economy was in safe hands after a cabinet reshuffle" - u know how well that turned out.
Also read: What Dr Singh's Cabinet looks like now
The Banda rape case: Chairman of the National Commission for Schedule Castes P L Punia, today said the Uttar Pradesh government should take action against the policemen who "implicated" the Banda rape victim in a false case.
"When the government has admitted that the girl was raped and later implicated in a false case then an FIR should be lodged against Superintendent of Police and his subordinates and they should be jailed," Punia said.
BJP was on a roll today. After slamming the PM for a reshuffle that showed no courage,the party has now bared its fangs at J-K CM Omar Abdullah.
Asserting that it does not require a no objection certificate from the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar, the BJP today said it would be better if Omar Abdullah welcomes the Ekta Yatra when it reaches the state.
"It is his responsibility (to welcome). He is an elected representative," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
Instead of making statements on BJP youth wing's plans to hoist the tri-colour in the Valley, Abdullah should focus on ensuring that Pakistani flags are not unfurled in the state, he said.
A peek at the mechanics behind the reshuffle.
Sujata Anandan tweets:
PM, Sonia've bn v clever: got rid of prful from civil aviation and given him ornamental heavy industries with cabinet rank... Halved Sharad Pawar, compensated by elevating Praful to cabinet. NCP mostly rural party. Vilasrao's rural dev 2 keep Pawar in check.
Next up is Ashwani Kumar,Planning and Parliamentary Affairs and Science and Technology and Earth Sciences (gains from Prithviraj Chavan and Kapil Sibal)
A ministerial berth for Rajya Sabha member Ashwani Kumar is seen as an effort to give more representation to Punjab, which goes to polls next year. 58-year-old Kumar, who joins a growing list of lawyer-turned ministers in the UPA-II Cabinet, returns to the Union government after a gap having had a stint in the Congress-led alliance's first term.
Meet the men who were sworn in today.
Beni Prasad Verma, Minister of State with Independent charge of Steel Ministry.
Verma has thrived on anti-Congress activism for a greater part of his political career, returns to the Union Council of Ministers after a gap of over a decade. Verma (70), a prominent Kurmileader from Uttar Pradesh, was Union minister for Communications between 1996 and 1998, during the United Front regime.
An FIR was today registered against SP leader Mohammad Azam Khan on the charge of sedition for his controversial comments on Kashmir following a court order. At a public meeting on December 21, Khan had said Ghulam Nabi Azad is the lone Muslim cabinet minister in the UPA government but he is a "Kashmiri".
"Only one Muslim minister (Azad) is there in the (Union) Cabinet and that too not of India, but from Kashmir. That Kashmir, which is still controversial and we don't know whether that is part of India or not...," Khan had said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is slated to flag off the nationwide roll-out of mobile number portability tomorrow, a move that will allow users to switch operators without losing their phone numbers and will force telecom providers to improve the quality of their services.
"I think its a great step forward for the consumer, as it enhances choice and brings in more competition, because the more efficient you are as a service provider, the more likely that consumers will choose you," Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal today said. Sibal lost the Earth Sciences portfolio, but retained telecom, HRD, communications.
Have to share this tweet with you on the cabinet reshuffle.
Prem Panickertweets: Given Kerala's chronic power cuts, it makes sense to make KC Venugopal the Power Minister. MMS does have a sense of humor.
What I like about our ministers is how vast and varied their knowledge is. Food processing one day, tourism the next. Rural Dev one day
While India ponders over the cabinet reshuffle, for the rest of the world, life goes on.
A Swiss banker who claims to have handed WikiLeaks, details of rich tax evaders went on trial today to answer charges of coercion and breaking Switzerland's strict banking secrecy laws.
Zurich prosecutors allege that Rudolf Elmer stole client data after being fired from his job at the Cayman Islands branch of Julius Baer, and then tried to extort money from the Swiss-based bank and its senior executives.
Prosecutor Alexandra Bergmann also alleges that Elmer, 55, illegally gave details on the bank's offshore clients to tax authorities, media and later WikiLeaks.
The tweets come in:
Tavleen Singhsays (we'veput her tweets together)
If we needed proof that this government is just drifting along it came in this reshuffle.
In long years of covering Indian politics I find it hard to recall a more pointless cabinet reshuffle.
Those of us who cover Indian politics for a living had hoped that this reshuffle would bring new life, new hope. Alas!
The Prime Minister has given a new meaning to the saying about old wine in old bottles.
Alright then, nobody has been dropped; it's been a minor reshuffle, in the words of the PM. The PM said he was no astrologer, but the move would bring down prices. He also said that
The only alliance whose ministerial portfolio has been tweaked is the NCP (Praful Patel, Sharad Pawar) and the IUML (E Ahmad). Soearlier rumoursthat TR Baalu would be given telecomdid not prove true.
First images of the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Pratibha Patil has just walked in.
AICC president Sonia Gandhi is seated next to Sharad Pawar who has retained both food and agriculture portfolios.
Praful Patel is the first to walk up to podium to take oath as minister of heavy industries and public enterprises.
Dinsha Patel : Mines MoS Independent Charge (loses micro, small and medium enterprises.
These are all MoS
E. Ahamed : External Affairs
Harish Rawat : Agriculture and Food Processing Industries
V. Narayanasamy : Parliamentary Affairs and Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Prime Minister's Office
Gurudas Kamat : Home Affairs
A. Sai Prathap : Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises
Bharatsinh Solanki : Railways
Jitin Prasada : Road Transport and Highways
Mahadev S Khandela : Tribal Affairs
R.P.N. Singh : Petroleum and Natural Gas and Corporate Affairs
Tusharbhai Chaudhary : Road Transport and Highways
Arun Yadav : Agriculture and Food Processing Industries
Pratik Prakashbapu Patil : Coal
Vincent Pala : Water Resources and Minority Affairs
BK Handique: Development of North-Eastern Region (loses mines)
CP Joshi : Road Transport and Highways (loses rural development and Panchayat Raj)
Kumari Selja : Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and additional charge of Culture (Loses tourism to Subodh Kant Sahay)
Subodh Kant Sahay : Tourism (loses food processing industries)
Dr MS Gill: Statistics and Programme Implementation (loses, quite naturally after theCWG scam, youth affairs and sports)
Pawan Kumar Bansal : Parliamentary Affairs and additional charge of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences (gains charge from Kapil Sibal, loses water resources)
Vilasrao Deshmukh: Rural Developmentand additional charge of Panchayati Raj ((changed from heavy industries)
S Jaipal Reddy: Petroleum and Natural Gas (changed from urban development)
Kamal Nath: Urban Development (Changed from road transport and highways)
Vayalar Ravi : Overseas Indian Affairs and additional charge of Civil Aviation (earlier handled by Praful Patel)
Murli Deora: Corporate Affairs (handled petroleum and natural gas)
Kapil Sibal: Human Resource Development and additional charge of Communications and Information Technology (loses science and technology)
Amid the backdrop of a sharp decline in its image, comes the first reshuffle in UPA II.The names of the outgoing and new ministers were finalised in a two-hour long meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday. The announcement of who's in and who's out begins now.
Praful Patel : Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises (Changed from civil aviation)
Shriprakash Jaiswal : Coal
Salman Khursheed : Water Resources and additional charge of Minority Affairs (Change from Corporate affairs and minority affairs)
Ajay Maken : Youth Affairs and Sports
Beni Prasad Verma : Steel (enters cabinet)
Professor K.V. Thomas : Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution MOS
Shri Ashwani Kumar : Planning and Parliamentary Affairs and Science and Technology and Earth Sciences
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Fleming are back, so to speak...
One author has been dead for 80 years and the other passed away almost half a century ago, but two of the most famous fictional creations in the English language are to be resurrected for fresh adventures.
Sherlock Holmes will return in the first authorised novel since the death of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1930 and US thriller writer Jeffrey Deaver is to write a James Bond story 46 years after the death of 007 creator Ian Fleming, reports dailymail.com.
Mumbai's homeless people will be counted on the night of February 28 for the 15th National Census.
The first phase of the Census began with house-listing on May 1 last year, and ended on June 15.
The homeless people were not counted during this phase. To count the homeless, ward officials will carry out counting operations on the night of February 28, but the ground-work will begin four weeks before.
All 24 ward offices have been told to gather information on homeless people, who are either found on footpaths, or under the bridges.
US House Rep Gabrielle Giffords was worried about her safety long before she was critically wounded in a mass shooting that killed six people in Arizona, her husband told cnn.com. "We've discussed it a number of times," Mark Kelly said, "she felt that that was a possibility, pretty much exactly what had happened ... there have been threats against her and other members of Congress."
Giffords was hosting a constituents' meeting outside a supermarket in Tucson when a gunman opened fire. In addition to the six deaths -- which included a 9-year-old girl -- 13 others were injured.
A New York-bound Qantas jet carrying 375 people made an unscheduled landing in Fiji due to a fault with one of its engines, just four days after another safety scare on one of its aircraft.
The flight from Sydney to New York, was diverted because of a fuel valve fault yesterday, a spokeswoman for the Australian airline said today.
The truthnow--have you ever contemplated running for the door after dining atan expensiverestaurant?
Apparently, it is a crime many diners have contemplated, but few have ever actually committed.
That, it seems, has changed.
The independent.co.uk reports that last year there was a 33 per cent increase in "eat and run" incidents in London.
Police statistics show that 330 people were reported for skipping out on their bills last year, compared with 249 in 2009. The 2010 figure is the first time the number has broken the 300 mark, with the previous five years' statistics showing a relatively stable total of around 250.
Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa reports: The Karnataka government has asked the state governor HR Bhardwaj to reject a demand made by a lawyers' forum to prosecute Chief Minister Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and home ministerR Ashok in in connection with land scams.
The governor had said he has been examining the case since it was a tricky issue.
In a strongly worded letter, the Cabinet told the governor thatit would be nothing short of a farce if he considered such an application as an independent judicial commission had been appointed to look into the scams.
The Delhi High Court today granted bail to former CWG treasurer M Jeyachandran, which makes him the third Kalmadi aide to get bail after TS Darbari and Sanjay Mahindroo. Jeyachandran had been arrested on November 15 in the AM Films scam.
The Kashmir interlocutors today asked the BJP to reconsider its plan to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Republic Day, fearing it could lead to law and order problems in the Valley.
"If the exercise of the right (to hoist the flag) leads to aggravating tension or to thwarting the dialogue process now underway, it should be seriously reconsidered. This is what we have conveyed to the BJP," veteran journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, who heads the team of three interlocutors, said.
A suicide bomber used an ambulance to attack a police compound in central Iraq, killing at least 12 people, reports the bbc.co.uk.
Many more were wounded in the attack in - the second targeting Iraq's security forces in two days.
On Tuesday, a suicide bomber killed some 60 people at a police recruitment centre in Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
The Apex Court today issued a notice to the Gujarat government and 19 accused in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter killing case.
Last week, the CBI had approached the SC seeking to shift the trial in Sohrabuddin case outside Gujarat, saying relatives of some accused were prosecutors and judges in the lower judiciary.
In the petition, the investigating agency has said the charged atmosphere in the trial court because of the presence of supporters of former Gujarat Minister Amit Shah and former police officials was another ground for transfer of the case outside the state.
CBI has also alleged witnesses have been threatened and kidnapped in the past, making it impossible to hold free and fair trial in the state.
Ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle at 5 pm today, here are names that are doing the rounds. Remember this conjecture; the confirmed names and portfolios should be out by 4 pm.
No ministries being dropped in reshuffle.
Murli Deora likely to get Corporate Affairs
Jaipal Reddy likely to get Petroleum
Ashwini Kumar PMO MoS
Veerbhadra Singh, Kantilal Bhuria and CP Joshi likely to be dropped.
Kapil Sibal and V Narayanasamy may have to give up one portfolio. Sibal is likely to retain telecom.
Praful Patel could get a cabinet rank.
Sharad Pawar may lose the food ministry, retain agriculture.
KV Thomas could be made MOS independent charge.
Salman Khursheed likely to be given the law ministry.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot likely to get important portfolios.
Jairam Ramesh likely to retain environment.
The Supreme Court today rapped the union government over its 'inaction' over revealing the names of Indians who hold Swiss Bank accounts. The SC said it was a theft of national wealth and not just a black money issue and inaction therefore is a crime of mindboggling proportions.
The SC said thePIL was not limited to just black money in Swiss accounts and asked the government whether it had information of accounts held in other Swiss banks as well.
The government today said it could not discolse the names citing the double taxation avoidance treaty.
Earlier in 2010, Germany had given Indian authorities a list of some 50 individuals who stashed money in the LGT Bank in Liechtenstein and in other tax havens.
IndiGo airlines will start flights to overseas destinations in August. The Wall Street Journal reports that the airline has received approval from the civil aviation ministry to operate flights from several cities in India to Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai and Muscat.
Also read: IndiGo shows how India will go
Pop icon Elton John and partner David Furnish who recently welcomed their first child, son Zachary, say that they chose a process which kept the paternity a secret.
Zachary was born in Los Angeles through a surrogate, and both the 63-year-old singer and his partner contributed equally to the 'mixing process'. When asked which of them is Zachary's biological father, Furnish explained, "We both contributed. For the time being we don't have a clue. We look at him every day and at the moment he has Elton's nose and my hands. Neither of us care. He's our child. The important thing is that he's healthy and happy and loved."
As India readies for a Cabinet reshuffle today (likely to be at 4 pm), across the world in the US, the Commission on global religious freedom has appealed to President Barack Obama to take up the issues of human rights and religious freedom during his meeting with his visiting Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao at the White House.
Also read: Obama, Hu to confront economic strains
A R Rahman is in the race for his second BAFTA after being nominated in the Best Original Music category for Danny Boyle's '127 Hours', days after losing the Golden Globe trophy.
Rahman, the only Indian to score two Oscars, is in the Academy shortlist again in the Best Song category for 'If I Rise', his collaboration with British singer Dido.
His music in '127 Hours', starring James Franco as real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston, who cut off his arm to escape from beneath a boulder after being trapped for more than five days, had received good reviews for it's "haunting tracks" and "wonderful crescendos."
Cricketer Shane Warne is apparently ready to woo Elizabeth Hurley all over again.
The pair indulged in some serious Twitter flirting that culminated in a romantic encounter in London last month.
Their UK fling resulted in both Warne and Hurley announcing their respective marriages was over.
But the tweet-powered lovers hit the skids after it was revealed Warne had been bombarding a Brighton-based woman, who owned a leather shop near the headquarters of his charitable foundation, with hundreds of hot and heavy text messages.
Sources close to the spin king said he is prepared to jump on a plane and meet Hurley overseas to get things back on track
Just as we told you about the New York Times story on the PM's enormously high standing as a statesman abroad, here's another endorsement.
The White House said today that India and the United States enjoy a "very personal relationship", which is reflected in three consecutive American presidential visits to the Asian nation.
"India enjoys very personal relationship with the United States and has through the administrations of President (Bill) Clinton, President (George W) Bush and now President (Barack) Obama -- all taking important steps in visiting that country," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. Gibbs was responding to questions on the State visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao which began today, which he asserted is different from Oabma's India visit last November.
Announcement of the cabinet reshuffle is expected at 5 pm today. At least eight to 10 new faces are expected. Stay with us for Live! updates.
Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers M K Alagiri today said that he had not offered to resign from the Union Cabinet or from the post of DMK's south zone secretary. Alagiri said the DMK Chief and his father M Karunanidhi had already replied on the reports of his threat to resign.
Alagiri said he was not in the habit of asking for a party position, but if he was given any post, he would definitely accept it and do his best for the party.
Asked whether any DMK nominee would be inducted in the proposed expansion and reshuffle of the union ministry, Alagiri shot back, "Am I the Prime Minister to talk about cabinet berths for the DMK".
He also made it clear that he had not demanded party action against former Telecom Minister A Raja for his alleged role in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
In the UK,a man threatened to kill his cousin and harm her family after she decided to stop wearing the traditional Muslim headscarf, or hijaab. Dailymail.com reports that Mohamed Al-Hakim, 29, allegedly phoned Alya Al-Safar to tell her she must die because of the 'shame' she had brought '" leaving her too afraid to leave the house. He had already branded her family 'bitches and whores' because of her decision, the court heard.
News of the Anni Dewani honeymoon murder in South Africa.
The South African police now claim they know why British businessman Shrien Dewani allegedly killed his wife Anni on their honeymoon in Cape Town. Officers believe Dewani commissioned two hitmen to kill Anni Dewani, reports the dailymail.com, but would not reveal the details.
Remember the one-eyed Taliban leader Mullah Omar? Unfortunately, for the civilised world at large, he is alive and doing well in post-operative care of the ISI.
News comes in that the elusive, one-eyed leader of the Afghan Taliban was "rushed' to the hospital on January 7 by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
After 3-4 days of post-operative care in the hospital, he was released to the ISI and ordered to take absolute bed rest when at home for at least several days.
The physician, who was the source for the report, said: "While I was not personally in the operating theatre, my evaluation based on what I have heard and seeing the patient in the hospital is that Mullah Omar had a cardiac catheter complication resulting in either bleeding or a small cerebral vascular incident, or both."
Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, the former Haitian dictator who is back after 25 years in exile, was yesterday charged with stealing millions of pounds in public money while in power.
Duvalier, 59, was accused of corruption, embezzlement and other offences during his brutal 15-year rule, which ended when he fled to France amid an uprising in 1986.
So why is he back? Read more
Before news of bomb blasts, death and disease, a breath of fresh air from the UK.
The guardian.co.uk reports that a first-born daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton could become Queen under constitutional changes being considered by the Coalition.
Under the current law, any male child takes precedence in the order of succession over his sisters. That would mean that any son born to Prince William would become King, even if he had an older sister.
But all that is about to change.
J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today met home minister P Chidambaram over the BJP's insistence of hoisting the tricolour on Republic Day at Srinagar's Lal Chowk.
Before heading for the meeting Omar said, "We are hoping that nothing will be done by the BJP to precipitate the situation in the state. It is our constant endeavour to bring back Kashmiri Pandits who have left the Valley due to the loss of sense of security. Without them, Kashmir is incomplete.
Omar also met AICC president Sonia Gandhi after meeting Chidambaram.
The West Bengal High Court said today that no CBI probe would be needed in Lalgarh massacre. While directing the government to pay compensation to the kin of those killed, the HC said it would monitor the probe.
The court also directed the CID to give an update by February 4. Nine people were killed in Lalgarh's Netai village on January 7.
Good morning and welcome to Live! news. First up: The top 10 stories that made the news this morning
Lavasa breached green laws, but spared the axe (The Times of India)
Lavasa Corporation violated environmental laws while building its hill station close to Pune, the environment ministry concluded in its report submitted to the Bombay high court on Tuesday.
Where's the FIR on Adarsh, court asks CBI (Hindustan Times)
Upset at delay, court directs agency to take a decision within two weeks.
First phase of modest cabinet reshuffle today(The Times of India)
The Congress leadership will take the first step towards the revamp of the government and the organisation with a ministerial reshuffle on Wednesday that is to be followed by a shake-up in the party.
Rs 577-cr TutorVista deal biggest in education sector(The Economic Times)
TutorVista and integrate education services firm has sold a 59 per cent stake in the UK's Pearson group for Rs 577 crore.
SC/STs missing private sector jobs: India Inc's first caste census (The Indian Express)
Nationwide gap between their share in population and employment
Deadly virus makes first appearance in India, kills three in Gujarat (The Indian Express)
NIV isolates Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever organism.
Delhi feels tremors as earthquake hits Pakistan (Hindustan Times)
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the epicentre of the earthquake was located in southwestern Pakistan in the desert area bordering Iran and Afghanistan.
Diplomat recalled for misbehaving with passenger on AI flight to NY(Hindustan Times)
In the second incident in less than a week, Government has transferred back home yet another diplomat for allegedly misbehaving with a passenger on an Air India flight to New York.
IndiGo catches up with Kingfisher at industry second spot (Economic Times) Low-cost airline IndiGo equalled Kingfisher's marketshare of 18.6% in December to grab the second position in the aviation industry.
Clash of titans: Hu lands in Washington(Hindustan Times)
Chinese PM Hu Jintao arrived in Washington, DC yesterday on a four-day state visit.