Wed, 14 March 2012
6.1 quake hits Tokyo after 6.8 quake in N Japan

Timeline  Refresh

18:21   MHA warns Assam of ULFA terror strike on Friday

The Home Ministry today sounded a high alert and asked the Assam government to tighten security in the state in view of ULFA's 'army day' on Friday. 

Based on specific intelligence inputs, the Centre directed the state to deploy additional security personnel in all sensitive installations, crowded places, markets, railway stations and tracks to foil any attempt by the extremists to
disrupt peace. 

Sources said that the inputs suggested that the anti-talk faction of ULFA led by Paresh Baruah has been able to dispatch some explosive materials into Assam with the aim to carry out subversive activities ahead of or during the 'army day', observed on March 16 every year.

18:14   Chopper after chopper lands for Badal's coronation

At the swearing-in ceremony of Parkash Singh Badal as Punjab CM:

Several ministers touched Badal's feet to seek his blessings. Chopper after chopper kept landing close to the venue of the ceremony bringing VVIPs and VIPs for the ceremony. Advani, Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Narender Modi, Dhumal, Shanta Kumar and other leaders congratulated Badal on taking
over reins of the state.

Interestingly, NCP senior leader Praful Patel attended the ceremony, even as colleague Tariq Anwar said the party would not attend.

Badal did not hold any formal press conference after the ceremony, but along with Sukhbir and Majithia went to a special stage and sought the blessings of Sant Samaj chief Harnam Singh Dhumma and other religious figures.

18:04   6.1 quake hits Tokyo after 6.8 quake in N Japan
Strong earthquake hits Tokyo region hours after magnitude 6.8 quake hit northern Japan. Magnitude 6.1.
17:51   India Today 'deeply regrets' Imran Khan's absence

This is the official statement from the India Today Group

We deeply regret that Imran Khan will not address the India Today Conclave because of Salman Rushdie's participation.


The India Today Conclave is a platform for free and frank exchange of ideas. We do not endorse the views of any of our speakers but we do stand for the freedom of expression in all that we do; it's an essential principle of a free nation and free media.


The India Today Conclave now in its 11th year has established itself as an independent and credible forum for thinkers and leaders from around the world not all agreeable to everyone.


We wish that Imran had used this opportunity to express his views at the Conclave with all the force and lucidity that he possesses. We can all agree to disagree but we must present our argument.


Aroon Purie


India Today Group

17:49   Pak Commission on 26/11arrives in Delhi
The Pakistan Judicial commission members on 26/11 have arrived in New Delhi and will be meeting officials from the Home Ministry. They will head to Mumbai tomorrow.
17:37   Govt can handle Qadri's visit to Mumbai

The Raza Academy has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking to restrain Mohammed Tahir-ul Qadri's entry to Mumbai to deliver a speech on March 15 and on March 17 at separate venues.

The petition says that Qadri is likely to talk on the Kashmir issue, which can create communal tension in the city.

The matter will be heard tomorrow. The public prosecutor says that the organisers have sought permission but the process will only be completed today. The prosecutor also says that the state is competent enough to deal with the situation and should tempers run high, steps will be taken to curb it.

Qadri has given lectures in Karnataka and Hyderabad so far.

17:26   On Twitter

Sujata Anandan @sujataanandan  My respect for Dinesh Trivedi goes up several notches. At least he is not HMV (his master's voice) in things that matter.


Rajdeep Sardesai @sardesairajdeep  Line of the day: Dinesh Trivedi to CNN IBN: if Shahid Bhagat Singh could sacrifice his life, what's a chair? 

17:24   Wiki and all that you wanted to know about Stratfor

Wikileaks has recently released a collection of documents from the private intelligence and forecasting firm Stratfor, controversially hacked by the activist collective Anonymous.

Stratfor has been labeled a Shadow CIA by the media, and has in the past tried to cultivate an image of being a super-efficient private spying agency. Their clients include Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Coca Cola,, and Wal-Mart. Much of what Stratfor offers is geopolitical analysis, but some companies have used them for other purposes too.

Read more

17:21   Third gangrape in Noida in three days

In the third such incident in as many days, a 23-year-old woman was allegedly abducted and gangraped in a moving car by a neighbour and his friends in
Noida, police said. The woman, who was travelling to Gurgaon in search of a
job, was offered a lift by her neighbour Vinay Sharma yesterday. He drove her to Noida where he asked her to board another car in which his three of his friends were seated, they said.

The four then allegedly drugged her and gangraped her in the moving car, they said. The woman was dumped near village Hoshiyarpur in Noida Sector 51 where she was later spotted by locals who took her to a hospital, Noida SP Anant Dev said.

17:15   Mulayam to be back-seat driver for Akhilesh

Even as chief minister designate Akhilesh Yadav awaits his coronation tomorrow, his father and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav was busy giving final touches to the formation of government .  

Akhilesh, who will be the youngest chief minister of India's most populous state, was going in and out of his father's quarters where the senior Yadav was taking the final call on who should or should not be inducted into the son's cabinet.  

What Mulayam was understood to be finalizing were the portfolios to be allocated to each of the proposed members of the new council of ministers  as also the list of bureaucrats to be entrusted with the key positions.  

Read more

17:09   Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs

Or how you should write a resignation letter. Must read from the New York Times.

17:05   Harry: Struggle to get a girl when you're a prince

Prince Harry has told of his struggle to find a girlfriend -- and how sometimes he and his brother Wills just wish they were "normal".

At the end of his 10-day Caribbean tour to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Harry was asked if royalty lives up to the fairytale. He replied: "Not at all. As any girl would ever tell you, it's sort of, 'Oh my God, he's a prince.'


Read the story on the Sun.

Another killer statement by railway minister Dinesh Trivedi: I took railways out of ICU.
16:58   Pak's Imran Khan to ditch event with Rushdie

Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan today refused to attend the upcoming 'India Today' Conclave in New Delhi after learning that controversial author Salman Rushdie was participating in the event. 


In a statement issued by his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party, Khan said he "could not even think of participating in any programme that included Salman Rushdie, who has caused immeasurable hurt to Muslims across the globe." Khan was scheduled to participate as a keynote speaker in the conclave being organised by India Today magazine on March 16-17.

16:53   India should NOT support UN on Lanka: Swamy

India should not support the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Commission, Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy
today said, terming it as "one-sided" as there is no reference to violations committed by now defunct LTTE. 


He said India should move a "substitute" resolution seeking "concrete steps" for devolution of powers to the areas dominated by minority Tamils in Sri Lanka and urge President Mahinda Rajapaksa to complete the process of devolution by the end of this year. 


"I urge Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh not to agree  to the draft proposed by the US in the United Nations Human Rights Commission regarding alleged human rights excess during the anti-terrorist operation against the LTTE in 2009," he said in a statement.

16:39   In the Land of the Black Flag

In pictures: A journey to al Qaeda's Islamic emirate in southern Yemen.

On the Foreign Policy. See

16:34   Ibobi Singh sworn in as Chief Minister of Manipur

Sixty-three year old Congress leader Okram Ibobi Singh was today sworn in as 23rd Chief Minister of Manipur for a third consecutive term. Governor Gurbachan Jagat administered the oath of office and secrecy to Singh at a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan at around 3:20 pm. 


A number of senior Congress members who were to be sworn in along with Ibobi Singh could not take the oath because the names could not be finalised.

16:31   How many Tibetans have to burn themselves before Chinese care?

Twenty-seven Tibetans have set fire to themselves since 2009 in protest against Chinese rule. Since this January alone, 14 people have done so. A total of 20 have died in the past few years from self-immolation; an unknown number of Tibetans have been tortured or detained since protests broke out in 2008. What has been the reaction within China to this huge human disaster? Silence, mostly.

Read the report on Foreign Policy.

16:28   CM Bahuguna promises his 'best' for Uttarakhand

In a bid to refurbish his image in the wake of crisis in the ruling Congress, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna today held meetings with top
officials in the secretariat and went to the Congress headquarters here to meet party workers.


"I will try my best to take Uttarakhand on the path of development", said Bahuguna as he directed the officials to work impartially as per the rules and in a time-bound manner without coming under political pressure. 


The chief minister would shortly constitute his cabinet and prepare a blueprint for the overall development of the state, an official statement said.


He directed all the officials to prepare report cards of their respective departments so that the development schemes can be given an impetus and that money would not be a constraint for the development schemes, the statement said. 

16:22   Don't want railways to go the Air India way: Trivedi

Dinesh Trivedi's bone cruncher of a statement to CNN IBN: Don't want railways to go the Air India way.

16:21   Stalemate continues on India's stand on Lanka
Also in Parliament today: Union External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Wednesday informed Parliament that India is yet take a stand on the US-initiated draft resolution on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka at the ongoing 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.



A day after several parliament members and Tamil leaders raised objections against Sri Lankas alleged human rights violations againsts Tamils during the protracted conflict in Sri Lanka, Krishna, in his response today, said: As far as our position on the resolution is concerned, we are engaged with all parties in an effort to achieve a forward looking outcome that is based on reconciliation and accountability rather than deepening confrontation and mistrust between the concerned parties.

16:13   Akhilesh promises law and order
UP CM designate Akhilesh Yadav says the cabinet will be small in size initially and can be expanded later. Responsible and honest officers will be inducted, says Akhilesh and a better atmosphere for investment will be provided. Law and order will be improved, he adds.
16:09   Trivedi: Losing a chair is of NO consequence!
Dinesh Trivedi in an interview to CNN IBN says, "I have done whatever was required to be done. I did not consult Mamata or my party. I consulted the poeple. They can afford the little fare hike in my budget. I took the decision based on my conscience. Losing a chair is of no consequence."
16:06   Compulsive litigant's case comes up for hearing

Vishwanath Chaturvedi, who filed a PIL in the Supreme Court says the court has issued a notice to the Union of India and the state of UP on his application for a CBI investigation into a foodgrain scam. The issue will come up on March 28.

Chaturvedi challenged Mulayam Singh Yadav, charging him with possessing disproportionate assets, contested elections against BJP stalwart Rajnath Singh and is now responsible for all the furore over the foodgrain scam. His PIL has become the basis for a high court's December 3 order in the scam.

Read more on the man

15:54   On Twitter

Dr Manmohan Singh  @PMOIndia PM:The Budget for 2012-13 has been formulated against the background of railways' responsibilities in meeting the demands of the 12th Plan.


And now this...


Bibek Debroy @bibekdebroy  Courtesy Vinod Mehta & Outlook. Newsweek has carried a PMO tweet as 'most boring tweet in history'.

15:50   TMC Parl body to decide on Trivedi's future as rail mantri

Mamata Banerjee not aware of Budget proposals; whatever I have done is in Railways' interest: Dinesh Trivedi.

"No comment," he says when asked whether he would resign as Railways Minister in view of his party's opposition to the fare hike. 

15:45   Trivedi: Mamata's opposition to budget ideological

Dinesh Trivedi also says that Mamata never interfered in the budget since the railway ministry does NOT operate out of the Writers' Building. That is the secretariat of the West Bengal government, which houses the chief minister's office as well.

A belligerant Trivedi says he is committed to stand by his budget.

TMC says the party will ensure Trivedi rolls back the fare hike and the action against him will be decided soon.

TMC's Sudip Bandopadhyay says that Trivedi has to roll back all fare hikes, since they are unwarranted and the party was never consulted.  
15:34   Trivedi: Mamata's opposition to budget ideological
Dinesh Trivedi says Mamata's opposition is ideological and she has never interefered in the making of the budget.
15:30   Left slams Trinamool's double standards

When Dinesh Trivedi was asked by the media whether he would be forced to resign, he said, "This is a railway press conference and not a political one."

Left's Sitaram Yechury slams the Trinamool's double standards says the government together with the railway minister cleared the budget.

15:25   Railway minister likely to quit?

TV sources say that railway minister Dinesh Trivedi will be asked to quit. Incidentally, this was his maiden budget.

15:23   TMC: Trivedi will be asked to explain
The TMC says Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi will be asked to explain the fare hike in the budget and why the party was not consulted.
15:16   6.8 quake strikes Japan coast, tsunami warning
Just in: A magnitude 6.8 earthquake strikes off northeastern Japan coast, tsunami advisory issued. Tsunami advisories in place for the coastal regions of Iwate and Aomori prefecture - Japan Meteorological Agency.
15:13   On Twitter
Sachin Kalbag TMC's orchestrated opposition to Dinesh Trivedi's railway budget could not have happened without Mamata's blessings. What's going on!
15:11   On Twitter
Gautam Chikermane @gchikermane Amazing party - Left hand disposes what Right proposes @PTI_News: Trinamool Congress wants withdrawal of rail fare hike: Sudip Bandhopadhay.
15:09   TMC: Fare hike should be rolled back
The TMC's Sudip Bandopadhyay says the fare hike should be rolled back. Trivedi says he takes full responsibilty for the fare hike and says the party was not consulted. Fares have been hiked between 5 per cent and 20 per cent.
Dinesh Trivedi's explanation is that the rail fare has been hiked to take care of expenditure incurred on security and other amenities to passengers.
15:01   TMC slams rail budget: Disagree on hiking fares
TMC's S Bandopadhyay says the party was not consulted before Trivedi presented the budget. Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi is a TMC MP.
14:58   Reactions to the budget

Former railway minister and presently Bihar CM Nitish Kumar disses Trivedi's budget saying there's nothing new in the budget and accidents are on the rise.


TMC MP Derek O'Brien criticises his colleague on Twitter: Railway Budget...what was all that about increasing fares across the board? Upper class...maybe ok...but all? Sorry, cannot agree


Cong's Girija Vyas: Rail budget is a budget for all.

14:51   Pranab rates rail budget: It's Positive
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee describes the railway budget as positive; appreciates proposal to bring down operating cost.
14:46   Govt advisory on how not to kill Indian fishermen

To ensure security of Indian fishermen in high seas following the killing of two by guards of an Italian vessel off Kerala coast, India has issues a navigational warning sensitising the transiting merchant vessels about fishing activities in the area. 


In a written reply, Defence Minister A K Antony informed the House on the steps taken by the government following the February 15 incident.
"A Navigational Warning 'NAVAREA", which is issued for advising the mariners at sea about significant marine information, has been issued by the Chief Hydrographer of India sensitising the transiting merchant traffic about
fishing activities in area," Antony told the House today.

14:42   Donald Trump's sons kill elephant, crocodile, kudu on safari

Donald Trump has long faced criticism over his environmental track record. Now, it's his sons who are in the spotlight for similar behavior. Animal rights group PETA is criticizing the pair after newly released photos show the brothers on a safari in Zimbabwe last year, where they hunted and killed a slew of animals.

Read the report on the Huffington Post.

14:40   India, China to boost ailing aviation industry: Ajit Singh

The airline industry was impacted last year by the global economic slowdown but the growing Indian and Chinese markets are expected to help boost the
sector, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said today. 


"The global economy faced rough weather in 2011. The effects of rising fuel cost, European debt crisis were felt across the world and the aviation industry also felt the tremors. As per estimates, cargo markets worldwide contracted by 0.7 per cent," he said.

Just in: Inflation is expected to come down to 6.5 per cent by March-end, says  Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
14:32   Punjab Assembly is the new Crorepati club

India's northern state of Punjab may be reeling under a multi-billion dollar debt crisis but that hasn't eroded the personal wealth of its policy makers. Instead, their net worth has multiplied over the last five years, making the state's newly-elected member assembly one of the richest in the country.


Read  the report on the WSJ

14:29   Experts dismiss polio scare in India

The recent case of a girl admitted to a hospital in West Bengal with polio-like symptoms sparked worries that India's battle against polio may not be over yet. But experts say there is no reason to believe it is indeed a case of polio, at least not yet.



14:24   Here's what the tweets say on the railway budget

Abhijit Majumder @abhijitmajumder At first glance, Dinesh Trivedi is presenting a good, sensible, forward-looking #RailBudget


Sonal Kalra @sonalkalra  Jairam Ramesh is like that naughty kid who can't sit straight thru a lecture in the class:) #railbudget


Sachin Kalbag @SachinKalbag  Should have been Sreedharan, no? RT @firstpostin: Sam Pitroda to head Rail modernization panel #RailBudget


Rajdeep Sardesai @sardesairajdeep  Maybe having a less high profile minister means expectations are lower and less pressure to be populist.


Rajdeep Sardesai @sardesairajdeep  Hike is token, but at least it's a start to get the railways back on track! Most experts giving thumbs up to Dineshbhai!

14:20   Fantastic read amd a completely different take on Kahaani
The wimp beneath her wings: Vidya Balan, Kahaani and the Bengali babu. On Read
14:15   Busy with 'something': Cong on Rawat missing in Parl

When asked why Harish Rawat -- who had expressed his displeasure after being sidelined by the party leadership for the post of Chief Ministership of the state -- is not attending the Budget Session of Parliament, Alvi said, "He must be busy with something. He will come to Parliament soon."

14:13   All media hype, no revolt in Uttarakhand: Cong

The Congress today ruled out differences within its ranks on the party's decision to appoint Vijay Bahuguna as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and said there is "no revolt" on the issue and the government in the hill state will function normally. 


Admitting that there are "minor issues", Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said it is not mandatory for all the MLAs to be present during the swearing in of a Chief Minister. "There is no revolt or a big problem there which is being
hyped there by media... I can assure you that everything is normal in the party. Vijay Bahuguna is Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and his government will function normally," Alvi said outside Parliament today.


He was asked whether everything is normal with the party in Dehradun.
"There is no difference in the party and this is an internal matter of the party. It is not mandatory for all the MLAs to be present during the swearing in of a Chief
Minister," he said. 


Blaming the media for creating a hype over the issue, he said, "This is being hyped by media. There are minor issues that happen in a party and all these issues can be sorted out mutually. There is nothing to worry in it."

14:05   Man Shehla Masood was killed for takes truth test

BJP MLA from Bhopal Dhruv Narayan Singh today appeared before the CBI for the lie-detection test in connection with the murder of RTI activist Shehla Masood, even as the two prime accused architect Zahida Parvez and her
friend Saba Farooqui refused to give their consent for it. Singh arrived at the Central Forensic Science Laboratory with the CBI for his polygraph test at around 11 am, agency sources said.


They said the questioning is likely to hover around his purported relations with victim Shehla Masood and accused Parvez, besides if he was aware of murder plan allegedly hatched by the latter and whether he came to know about it after the execution. The sources said a detailed questionnaire covering these broad topics has been prepared by the experts.

13:59   Numbers tell only part of Dravids story

"It is hard to find anyone with a bad word to say about Rahul Dravid,' Huw Richards writes in The New York Times.

"Whether they are about his technique, temperament, team spirit or personality,' all the tales are positive about Dravid, the Indian cricketer who announced his retirement from international play last week, Richards writes.


13:57   In India: Phones, electricity available, but defecate in open

India's households have, overall, become more comfortable in the past 10 years, but hundreds of millions of people still lack basics like electricity, toilets and a convenient water source, according the Housing Census that was released Tuesday by Home Secretary R K Singh. The survey looks about 330 million households in India.

Read the NYT report.

13:55   Indias billionaires hit by weak economy

The number of Indian billionaires fell substantially in the past year, according to Forbes magazine's recently released list of the world's billionaires, while the numbers in emerging market rival Brazil rose dramatically. Increased transparency in Brazil and a slowing economy in India have contributed to this shift.

On the New York Times.

13:52   NOTW former editor Rebekah Brooks gets bail

Former News of the World editor Rebakah Brooks and her husband Charlie have been released on bail after being detained for 12 hours for interrogation in connection with the phone-hacking scandal.

Brooks was earlier arrested at an Oxfordshire house alongwith her husband Charlie, a millionaire race-horse trainer and columnist for the Telegraph.

13:49   Those two bright spots in the sky are Venus and Jupiter

Dinesh Trivedi continues presenting the rail budget in Parliament.


In other news, Venus and Jupiter appear side-by-side in the skies for the next two evenings and offer a dazzling spectacle. Here's how to spot them.

13:43   Krishna on SL war crimes: Don't want confrontation

In the Rajya Sabha, External Affairs minister SM Krishna speaking on the UN resolution on Sri Lankan war crimes says India wants a forward looking solution. Krishna says that a decision on the UN vote will be taken at the right time, but India does not want to deepen confrontation.

The DMK wants India to support the UN resolution.

13:38   Action against police involved in Ramlila ground crackdown

Meanwhile, action will be taken against erring police personnel involved in midnight crackdown on yoga guru Ramdev and his supporters at the Ramlila ground last June after identifying them, the government told the Rajya Sabha today. 

Those police personnel who committed excesses at Ramlila Maidan on the night of June 4-5, 2011 "will be identified and action will be taken," Home Minister P Chidambaram said during Question Hour.


He said the government was obliged to honour the Supreme Court judgement on the action taken by police against Ramdev and his followers on the night of June 5, 2011. 


Earlier, Prakash Javedkar (BJP) pointed out that 5,000 police personnel, in presence of Police Commissioner, cane charged 10,000 protestors who were sleeping. There was no reason for provocation and yet the protestors were beaten up, he said. 


The Supreme Court in its judgement on February 23 had noted that while some of the police personnel were very cooperative with the members of the assembly and helped them to vacate the ground, some others were violent and inflicted cane injuries.

13:33   Trivedi: Stations to be developed like airports

Dinesh Trivedi: All out efforts to improve hygiene in trains and stations in next six months.


Passenger amenities to be given Rs 1,112 crore in 2012-13 as against Rs 762 crore in current year.


Stations to be developed like airports.

13:10   On Twitter
Sujoy Ghosh @sujoy_g  People keep asking me how I know kolkata so well. my father taught me kolkata. he was a taxi driver and knew her like the back of his hand.
12:57   Chaos, uproar as railway budget is presented
Jairam Ramesh seems much amused. Laughing with his headphones on as Dinesh Trivedi continues his speech. Quite honestly, Mamata Banerjee's railway budget had far more drama. Last year, amid Opposition uproar, she stopped her speech, looked at benches and said, "Aay chup!" As expected the House dissolved into laughter. Trivedi's speech is a sedative.
12:53   'Slumdog' Rubina to get 21,000 pounds for British film

Child artist Rubina Ali of 'Slumdog Millionaire' fame, who has signed a British film, will get 21,000 pounds for acting in the movie, her family sources said.
Rubina, who had essayed the role of child actor Latika in Oscar winning film 'Slumdog Millionaire', has signed a small-budget British film, which will also have Hollywood veteran Anthony Hopkins in it. 


"In a few months, she would begin shooting for her role. We don't know much about her role in the film. But we are all happy," Rafiq Qureshi, father of Rubina said. 


He said that Rubina would be given 21,000 pounds for her role. "We have been told that she would get 1,000 pounds a day for her shooting schedule of 21 days. This comes up to 21,000 pounds," Qureshi said. 


Rubina moved from a shanty in Garib Nagar area, a slum  area in Bandra (East) to a flat in Bandra (West).

12:45   Revealed: Ramdev's dubious Rs 64 cr transactions
Baba Ramdev may have gone on and on in a shrill tirade against black money stashed abroad.  But the master contortionist finds himself tied up in knots now, with the Enforcement Directorate unearthing his own alleged shady overseas transactions running into several crores. Read
12:38   Beti B finally gets a name: Aaradhya
According to the latest reports in a leading English daily, Abhishek Bachchan  and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's little bundle of joy has been named Aaradhya Bachchan. The Bachchan's had been fiercely protective of the newest member of the family ever since Aishwarya gave birth on November 16 last year. Since they took over four months to think of a suitable name for the baby girl, fans and media christened her Beti B and the name has become quite popular.The report further says that the official name was registered two days ago.
12:36   Beti B finally gets a name: Aaradhya

If you've been waiting with bated breath to know what the Bachchans will name Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan's daughter -- here it is -- Aaradhya.

Earlier reports had suggested that the girl was called Abhilasha, but it's turned out to be a rumour.

The Bombay HC asks Sebi to reconsider MCX's stock exchange application in one month.
May be this is what prevented the PM from smiling: Trivedi says Rs 14 lakh crore is required in the next few years.
12:28   Poet Dinesh Trivedi...
Dinesh Trivedi's haiku on railways brings wah wahs and smiles to everyones face in the Lok Sabha, but the PM's.
12:25   Dharun Ravi may be a homophobe, but should he be jailed?

The highest-profile gay-bashing trial of the decade will turn on whether Dharun Ravi, a Rutgers University sophomore, acted out of anti-gay bias against his roommate, Tyler Clementi, when he recorded Clementi having sex with another man on his webcam and tweeted about it. The facts are not in dispute; only the motivations. In other words, not only is the entire case taking place in Dharun Ravi's head, but Ravi is on trial for what all of us feel from time to time: prejudice against those who are different from us.


Read the report on the Daily Beast.

12:22   RS: Debate on Lokpal Bill in first half of session

Details of what's happening in the Rajya Sabha today.


The government said it wants to bring the bill to set up anti-corruption ombudsman, Lokpal, in Rajya Sabha during the first part of the current Budget session of Parliament.

Replying to a notice given by Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley seeking suspension of the Question Hour to resume debate on the Lokpal bill, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal said the government has studied the 187 amendments moved by Opposition and allies in ruling alliance since debate
on the bill was adjourned after the House was adjourned sine die on December 29. "We want to bring the bill within this part of session itself," he said.

His statement marked a change of stand by government as the minister on the session eve press conference had said it would be difficult to take up the bill in the first part due to financial business. 

Bansal said the Lokpal and the Lokayukta Bills have been kept on top of the list of business to be conducted during the Budget session of Parliament.

12:15   Trivedi presents railway budget

BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha wears a stole in the Trinamool green. Trivedi says he took direction from former railway minister Mamata Banerjee.

Here's what he should read: Mamata's big plans fail to take off

12:08   Trivedi forgets to name former rail minister Lalu
Trivedi names the illustrious railway ministers before him, but forgets Lalu Prasad Yadav. When the Parliament erupts in laughter, he quickly corrects himself and says Laluji gave him his blessings.
12:06   Dinesh Trivedi forgets to mention former rail minister Lalu

Dinesh Trivedi rises to present his maiden railway budget. Much like the Oscars, Trivedi thanks every other person in Parliament including the Leader of the Opposition, Sushma Swaraj (who smiles).  

12:03   Rajesh Talwar gets bail in Aarushi-Hemraj murder case

First: The Lok Sabha resumes after a brief adjournment.

Second: Rajesh Talwar gets bail in Aarushi-Hemraj murder case. The CBI plea to quash his bail was dismissed.

In the Rajya Sabha, the debate on why the Parliament was adjourned sine die over the Lokpal Bill rages on.
11:58   Why so we even bother to have a budget?

The veteran of a thousand campaigns, of course, is Pranab Mukherjee, the finance minister, and he's stepping into the ring again on Friday when he announces the budget for the year beginning April 1. What should we expect?

Read the report on the Wall Street Journal.

11:57   26/11: Docs who did autopsies on terrorists summoned

The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of the Esplanade court has issued summons to Magistrate RV Sawant Waghule, who recorded the confession of the lone surviving Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab. Summons were also issued to crime branch officer Ramesh Mahale, who was the investigating officer in the case and two doctors who conducted the autopsies of the victims and the nine slain terrorists.

All four have been asked to appear in court to record their statements. While Waghule and Mahale have been summoned on March 16, the statements of the two doctors will be recorded on March 17, official sources said. 

11:51   Akhilesh Yadav to take oath tomorrow
SP leader Akhilesh Yadav is set to take oath as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh tomorrow for the first time, after his party gained absolute majority by winning 224 seats in the 403-member Assembly. Akhilesh, 38, will be the state's youngest chief minister and his Cabinet is likely to be a mix of youth and experience. He, however, will have his task cut out fulfilling the long list of promises made by his party in its poll manifesto.
11:47   Aarushi trial: Will Rajesh Talwar be arrested?
The CBI says that Rajesh Talwar's bail was conditional and wants it cancelled. Remember, murder trial is going on at the Ghaziabad court.  

At the swearing in ceremony of Parkash Singh Badal, 16 other cabinet rank ministers, including four from alliance partner BJP, have been sworn in.





11:42   LS adjourned till noon
Lok Sabha adjourned till noon after uproar over shortage of coal for power plants in Bihar.
At the Aarushi Talwar murder trial going on right now in Ghaziabad, the CBI asks the bench to cancel the Talwars' bail.
11:35   US 'heartbroken' over Afghan killings, Obama says

Afghan forces came under fire Tuesday during a funeral for victims of a weekend rampage blamed on a US soldier, while protesters angered by the killings blocked a major highway in the country's southeast.

Read the cnn report.


Question Hour begins in the Rajya Sabha. Chairman Hamid Ansari looks rattled.

11:29   Govt justifies midnight order on Lokpal Bill
In the Rajya Sabha, PK Bansal justifies the chairman's decision to adjourn the house sine die during the winter session. He says the government is committed to bringing in the bill and willing to consult the opposition.
11:20   Lokpal: Govt justifies midnight order

Parliamentary Affairs minister PK Bansal explains why the house had to be adjourned sine die in the winter session which is when the Lokpal Bill was being debated.

Anand Sharma and Murli Deora sitting behind Bansal, smile.  

Badal's son Sukhbir is expected to take oath as deputy chief minister of Punjab.
11:15   Badal takes oath as Punjab CM for fifth time
While this goes on in Parliament, Parkash Singh Badal takes oath as chief minister of Punjab for the fifth term.
11:12   In Parl: Left, SP support BJP on Lokpal Bill debate
The Left and the Samajwadi Party back the BJP on the Lokpal Bill debate. Jaitley also says that the government is silent on its intent to introduce the Lokpal Bill.
11:08   Arun Jaitley raises Lokpal Bill in RS

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley lays down the rules of debates and disturbances in the background of the Lokpal Bill. He says the debate cannot be indefinitely postponed.

Yesterday, the Lokpal issue could not be raised as the RS was adjourned thrice over the Sri Lanka war crimes issue.

Jaitley says since the house had adjourned sine die during the winter session, it automatically follows that the Lokpal bill debate should be continued and cannot be indefinitely postponed.

Mr Jaitley is, as expected, succinct and precise.

11:00   Rail Budget: Mamata's big plans failed to take off

As Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi prepares to present the Railway Budget on March 14, most of the big-ticket announcements made by his predecessor and party boss Mamata Banerjee last year have seen little or no progress. "Though the ministry is currently deflecting focus towards the central government for the bigger grant for gross budgetary support, the railways' performance in infrastructure creation, public-private partnership and decisions on fare has not been good," says an official.


Read the report on

10:57   Aarushi Talwar murder trial begins

The Aarushi Talwar murder trial begins in the Ghaziabad court. Her parents Dr Rajesh and Nupur Talwar are prime accused and have been charged with murder and destruction of evidence.


Chronology of the murder

10:53   Switzerland bus crash kills 28, including 22 children
At least 28 people - including 22 children - have been killed in a bus crash in Switzerland, reports the bbc. Another 24 children were injured in the accident in the Valais canton, near the border with Italy. The bus - which was registered in Belgium - reportedly crashed into the wall of a tunnel. It is believed that the passengers were returning home from skiing holidays. Details awaited.
10:49   Parliament schedule today


1. External Affairs Minister to make statement regarding situation in Sri Lanka

2. Presentation of Railway Budget for 2012-13

3. Supplementary Demands for Grants (Railways)

4. Further discussion on Motion of Thanks to President's address


1. Laying of Railway Budget for 2012-13
2. Supplementary Demands for Grants (Railways)
3. Discussion on Motion of Thanks to President's Address
4. External Affairs Minister to make statement regarding situation in Sri Lanka

10:44   Rail budget copies reach Parliament

Remember, the government will clear its stand on whether it stands with the UN resolution on Sri Lanka's war crimes. SM Krishna will address Parliament on the issue today.

Copies of the rail budget have reached Parliament.

10:41   Harish Rawat in Parliament today

Incidentally, Harish Rawat will attend Parliament today after yesterday's fiasco where he submitted his resignation to the PM over the party's choice of Vijay Bahuguna as Uttarakhand CM.  

10:36   Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi leaves for Parliament
Good morning. Big day today as Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi presents the budget today. Reports say he has already left for Parliament. This is Day 3 of the Budget session.
10:33   Headlines this morning

Rail Budget: Trivedi may levy cess to fund railway safety (The Times of India)
As Dinesh Trivedi presents his maiden Rail Budget today, all eyes are on how he deals with the political and economic requirements of the state transporter. Read



Rail Budget: Mamata's fare hike ban limits Trivedis options (Indian Express)
Railway minister will have a tough job when he presents his maiden rail Budget. Read



Forced conversion of Hindus in Pak jolts US out of slumber (The Times of India)
A US Congressman has zeroed in on the abduction and forced religious conversion of Hindus in the country highlighted by the case of Rinkel Kumari. Read



Lanka issue: India changes tack, treads cautiously on UN resolution (Hindustan Times)
In the past, India has never supported country-specific resolutions at the UNHRC. But this time, it is changing tack and is in wait- and-weigh-the-options mode as the UN resolution seeking to put Sri Lanka in a spot for alleged war crimes is likely to come up for vote by March 23. Read



Beant Singh case convict to be hanged on March 31 (Hindustan Times)
Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict in the former Punjab chief minister Beant Singhs assassination case who had requested a court to fix the date for his execution, will be hanged in Patiala central jail at 9am on March. Read



Channel 4 claims Sri Lanka footage authentic (The Hindu)

Callum McCrae, director of the documentary, said the footage of Balachandran's bullet-ridden body lying besides his "slaughtered bodyguards" had been examined by a "respected forensic pathologist. Read



Half of India's homes have cellphones, but not toilets (The Hindu)
The data on housing, household amenities and assets cast new light on a country in the throes of a complex transition, where millions have access to state-of-the-art technologies and consumer goods but a larger number lacks access to the most rudimentary facilities. Read