Wed, 10 October 2012
NCP ready for early polls: Sharad Pawar

Timeline  Refresh

23:18   NCP ready for early polls: Sharad Pawar
There was no threat to the UPA government at present, union agriculture minister and president of Nationalist Congress Party Sharad Pawar said today, adding that his party was ready if mid-term polls came.

Replying to a question regarding BSP supremo Mayawati's hint of the possibility of early polls, Pawar said here, "UPA government is stable and it does not have any problem of survival, as several other parties are supporting it."

But, he went on to say, "being a political party we are ready for mid-term polls".

Pawar was in the city today to preside over the fifth national convention of NCP, attended by the party delegates from all over the country.
22:14   Akhilesh's minister accused of abduction by CMO
A minister in the Uttar Pradesh government has been accused by the chief medical officer of Gonda district of abducting him.

The CMO, S P Singh, said that the Revenue and Rehabilitation Minister Vinod Kumar Singh was trying to force him into including the names of contractual doctors under the National Rural Health Mission scheme, reports NDTV.

Singh has alleged in a verbal complaint that the minister abducted him from his Gonda residence in central Uttar Pradesh.
21:18   Pak to award Rs 1 cr for info on Malala's attackers
Pakistani authorities today announced a reward of Rs 1 crore for information leading to the capture of the militants who attempted to assassinate teenaged rights activist Malala Yousufzai, who was shot and seriously injured in the former Taliban stronghold of Swat.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government will give a reward of Rs 1 crore to anyone who helps identify the persons who attacked Malala yesterday, provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told a news conference in Peshawar this evening.

The name of any person who provides such information will be kept secret, Hussain said.
20:26   BDM director Sudhir Mahajan rescued, 2 arrested
The Meerut police said that they have cracked the kidnapping case of the director BDM, a company making cricket accessories. Two people have been arrested by the police.

BDM company director Sudhir Mahajan has been rescued and taken to his home, said the police.

The director of BDM company was abducted by some unknown assailants on Tuesday night. According to reports,  Mahajan went missing with his private vehicle after he was returning to his home from office.

20:08   Yeddyurappa says he will quit BJP
Former Karnataka chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party strongman said today that it was impossible for him to stay on in the party, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

"I have made up my mind about not being a part of the BJP,' he said.       Yeddyurappa was speaking to reporters at his Dollars Colony residence in Bangalore on Wednesday evening.

"The decision to quit the party was made long back in the month of December. I was given a lot of assurances but none of them were fulfilled. I have been hurt and it is now impossible to stay on in the BJP. There is also no question of my return to the BJP."
19:06   Rahul's visit to Panjab university kicks up row
Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi's scheduled visit to Panjab University campus tomorrow rpt tomorrow for an interaction with students has kicked up a row. 

Students organisations are divided on whether or not Rahul should be allowed to hold a rally in the university campus. The visit has been organised by the National Students Union of India (NSUI), the students' wing of Congress party.
The minister has called the charges false and says it smacks of a conspiracy.
18:36   Goonda Raj back in UP: Minister abducts doctor
Vinod Kumar Singh alias Pandit Singh, minister of state for revenue and rehabilitation, created a scare by abducting the Chief Medical Officer of Gonda Dr S.P. Singh from his Officers' Colony residence on Monday, to force him to include the names of his aides in the list of newly appointed contractual doctors under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

Goonda Raj is well and truly back in UP. Read more on India Today.
18:06   Mukesh Ambani remains India's richest man
Energy tycoon and Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani is the country's richest man with a personal fortune of USD 19.3 billion, says a report.

According to China-based research firm Hurun's inaugural India Rich List, Ambani is followed by the London-based steel baron L N Mittal who has a wealth of USD 16.9 billion. Among others in the top 10 are: Wipro's Azim Premji (, USD 12.3 billion), Dilip Shanghvi of Sun Pharmaceuticals (USD 8.5 billion), Pallonji Mistry of Shapoorji Pallonji & Co (USD 7.9 billion), Shashi & Ravi Ruia (Essar Energy, USD 7.2 billion) and Adi Godrej (Godrej Group, USD 6.9 billion).
18:02   60% votes polled in Pranab's former constituency Jangipur
A total 60 per cent votes were cast today in the by-election to Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency in Murshidabad district where President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee is a contestant.

However, polling was boycotted in 26 booths as a mark of protest against bad roads and lack of electricity. The by-poll was necessitated by the resignation of Pranab Mukherjee after his elevation to the highest office. He had won twice consecutively from Jangipur - in 2004 and 2009.
The strange relationship between Lionel Messi and his hometown in Argentina. Read
17:45   A Home at the end of Google Earth
Separated from his older brother at a train station, five-year-old Saroo Munshi Khan found himself lost in the slums of Calcutta. Nearly 20 years later, living in Australia, he began a painstaking search for his birth home, using ingenuity, hazy memories, and Google Earth. Read
10 travel websites worth bookmarking. On the New York Times. Read
17:37   Mystery solved: Varsha Bhosle used mom's gun
The pistol allegedly used by Varsha Bhosale for ending her life belonged to her mother and legendary singer Asha Bhosale, who had lost it nearly three decades ago, police said today.

In a brief meeting with police last evening, Asha Bhosale claimed she had lost the weapon nearly 30 years ago and it is the same firearm her daughter used to commit suicide, Gamdevi senior police inspector Pradip Lonandkar said.

"Asha had informed about the weapon missing from her Peddar Road house 30 years ago to the police wing concerned and subsequently her license had been revoked," he said.

Varsha (56) shot herself dead with a Belgian-make 0.6 calibre pistol at her mother's flat at Prabhu Kunj on the posh Peddar Road of South Mumbai where her body was found lying on a sofa on Monday.

Also read: Former columnist Dilip D'Souza salutes Varsha Bhosle, also a former columnist with us.
17:32   Gaddafi's son would get hanged in Libya, says his lawyer
Muammar Gaddafi's son Seif al-Islam without a doubt would get a death sentence if tried in Libya, his lawyer told the Hague-based International Criminal Court today.

"Although the Libyan government has danced around the issue, let's be very clear: if convicted (in Libya) Mr Gaddafi will be hanged," Melinda Taylor, a court-appointed lawyer, told judges amid a dispute on where Seif should face justice.

While the ICC wants Seif, the only son of the slain Libyan leader in custody, to be tried in The Hague, Libya's post-revolutionary authorities insist he should stand trial in his home country. Libya's lawyers told a three-judge bench yesterday the country had enough evidence to charge Seif with crimes against humanity, committed when Gaddafi and his loyalists tried to put down Libya's bloody revolution last year.
17:25   Tolkien back from the dead with epic poem
JRR Tolkien, the highly revered author of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Hobbit," has a new book coming out next spring. This may seem peculiar given that the writer died in 1973.  Read
17:23   Illegal occupants Buta Singh, others get SC notice
The Supreme Court today issued notices to former Bihar governor Buta Singh, ex-Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal along with many other serving and retired bureaucrats and IPS officers for unauthorised occupation of government bungalows in the national capital.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya directed all the illegal occupants to explain on December 5 why they should not be evicted. "Time has come for intervention. Let notice be issued to all who are unauthorisedly occupying government accommodations," the bench said.
17:17   Pakistan: The Schoolgirl the Taliban Tried to Kill
At 14, Malala Yousafzai refused to be scared into silence. Now she's fighting for her life. Read the report on Newsweek.
17:05   Ex-Haryana CM backs Khaps' early marriage for girls
Former Haryana chief minister Om Parkash Chautla today came out in support of the idea given by Khap panchayats that marriageable age limit of girls should be reduced to curb incidents of rape.

After submitting a memorandum to Governor Jagannath Pahadia over recent cases of rape in the state, Chautala said slammed the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government for the "worsening" law and order situation in the state.

"Four cases of rape were reported on the very day Congress president Sonia Gandhi came to meet a rape victim in Jind district," Chautala said. When his attention was drawn towards khap panchayats' suggestion, Chautala supported the idea saying that it will help curbing such crimes against women.
16:50   From India shining to India whining
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh railed Wednesday against a "mindless atmosphere of negativity and pessimism' being created in India over the issue of corruption, which, he said, could "do us no good.'  Read more
16:48   Confessions of an Indian opium-eater
Drugs feature prominently in Jeet Thayil's debut novel Narcopolis, perhaps not surprising given its title and the opening, in which he calls Bombay "the hero or heroin of this story.' Read
@Lisaraniray #WendellRodricks Wedding Gown has arrived. More beautiful than imagined and captures a quality of 'me' that my dear friend Wendell has seen.

Former model Lisa Ray will wed Jason Denhi, an American management executive, this month.
16:31   'Which parent would want to cremated their child?'
Four years, one trial, an irreparable tragedy and several tribulations later, Bedabrata Pain is ready with his first film Chittagong, releasing this Friday. In conversation with's Sanchari Bhattacharya. Read
16:19   Leave me in peace, Strauss-Kahn begs media
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said in a rare magazine interview published on Wednesday that he is tired of being hunted by the media and begged to be left alone as he tries to move on from a sex scandal that wrecked his career.
16:04   Sonam has rejected many film offers: Anil Kapoor
Sonam Kapoor has done only seven films in the five years that she has spent so far in Bollywood but her father Anil Kapoor says he is proud of his daughter's choice of projects.

The 52-year-old actor said Sonam is not the kind of actress who looks for quantity and has rejected many big projects in her quest for quality. "Sonam always says that she doesn't want to be a decorative element in a film. She wants a substantial role and to get that, she has rejected many film offers.

"Being a father I am proud of this attitude of hers. I know in the long run it will help her evolve as a good actress and will make her base strong," Anil said.

(Why do we have this irresistible urge to snigger?)
15:58   Lalu is a liar: Nitish
Apparently stung by Lalu Prasad's charge that he scuttled the special status demand for the state by his predecessor Rabri Devi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today hit back saying that the RJD chief was being untruthful.

"It generally happens that people swear to speak only the truth ... however, he (Lalu) is an exception to the practice as he always swears to speak only lies," Kumar told a public meeting in Aurangabad during his 'Adhikar Yatra' to demand special status for Bihar.

Kumar alleged that the RJD supremo was repeating falsehoods and claimed that Rabri Devi's demand had fallen flat during NDA rule as she had presented the demand to the Centre without completing formalities at the state level.
15:48   Russia further delays delivery of Admiral Gorshkov to India
Russia has delayed delivery of a trouble-plagued aircraft carrier for at least a year on Friday, a blow to India's efforts to quickly build up naval strength as increasingly assertive Asian rival China expands its maritime reach. Read
15:47   Attack on teenage girl exposed extremist mindset in Pak: Kayani
In other news: A day after a teenage rights activist was shot in the head by Taliban militants, Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani today condemned the attack on the girl as a "heinous act of terrorism" and warned that it had exposed the "extremist mindset" confronting the country.

Kayani visited a military hospital in Peshawar to meet 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot and seriously injured by the militants during an attack yesterday in the former Taliban stronghold of Swat, located 160 km from Islamabad. T

he powerful army chief used the occasion to send out a message to the militants, saying incidents like the attack on Malala "clearly expose the extremist mindset the nation is facing." Kayani said the terrorists had underestimated the "resolve and resilience" of the people.
The Nobel Prizes were established in the will of 19th century Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Each award is worth 8 million kronor, or about $1.2 million. The awards are always handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896, writes the NYT.
15:42   Two Americans share Nobel prize for chemistry
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the two researchers had made groundbreaking discoveries on an important family of receptors, known as G-protein-coupled receptors, reports the New York Times.

About half of all medications act on these receptors, so learning about them will help scientists to come up with better drugs.

The Nobel week started Monday with the medicine prize going to stem cell pioneers John Gurdon of Britain and Japan's Shinya Yamanaka. Frenchman Serge Haroche and American David Wineland won the physics prize Tuesday for work on quantum particles.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited the two researchers for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors.'
15:26   Two Americans share Nobel prize for chemistry
Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded jointly to Americans Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka. Details in a bit.
15:20   Padma Lakshmi lets stranger eat ham off her body
Apparently, if you want to eat a piece of ham off Padma Lakshmi's body, the going rate is $1,000. Read
15:15   18 lakh children affected in Assam floods: NGO
Altogether 1.8 million children have been affected in the floods and struggling daily to meet their basic needs such as food, water, medicare and education during the past three months in Assam, as per an estimate of an internationally active NGO.

"Out of the total affected population of 4.89 million, the number of children was 1.8 million and many of them were affected twice," 'Save the Children' Chief Executive Officer Thomas Chandy said after visiting some flood affected areas yesterday.

In any emergency in any part of the world, children were the worst sufferers and they were unable to deal with the hardship caused by displacement, lack of food and clean water, he said.
15:01   BJP calls PM's anti-graft drive DISASTROUS
BJP today reacted sharply to the Prime Minister's remark on attempts to create a "mindless atmosphere of negativity and pessimism" over graft issue, saying the use of government machinery and legal system to promote corruption would lead to disaster.

"The mindful application of government machinery and the legal system to promote corruption will certainly lead us to disaster," senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said here when asked about Singh's statement. Joshi also reiterated his party's demand for a probe into the alleged financial wrongdoings of Robert Vadra.
14:57   60 BHU students try to burn professor alive
Students at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have been accused of a shocking attack on an associate professor of history, whom they allegedly tried to set on fire. Read more
14:55   Harvard neurosurgeon describes heaven after near-death experience
A successful neurosurgeon, who has taught at Harvard Medical School and other universities, spent his life dismissing claims of heavenly out-of-body experiences and refuting such talk with scientific logic, until he himself had a near-death experience. Read
14:48   Kapil Dev looks sharp in olive green at Territorial Army parade
Cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni may have given the Prime Minister's annual Territorial Army's Raising Day parade on Tuesday a miss but his absence was made up for by another World Cup-winning captain - Kapil Dev.
Read more
14:42   Fugitive Assange loses celeb backers' $150,000 bail cash
Pop star Lady Gaga visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy as nine people who acted as his bail sureties were ordered to hand over a total of 93,500. Read more
Did a ban on Facebook and YouTube save lives in Kashmir? Read
14:09   K'taka CM criticises PM for Cauvery release order
Denied appointment by Prime Minister, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar today criticised Manmohan Singh for the September 19 order of Cauvery River Authority headed by him on release of water to Tamil Nadu, and said it had no basis and was an "injustice" to the state.

Shettar left here on Sunday to meet the Prime Minister, also Chairman of the Cauvery River Authority, to discuss the latest developments on the issue and personally file the petition seeking review of the order to release 9,000 cusecs daily to Tamil Nadu from September 19 to October 15.

The Chief Minister, who returned here yesterday after the Prime Minister refused to meet him, confirmed to reporters, in response to questions, that an appointment was not given, and the petition was filed at the Prime Minister's Office.
14:05   Kejriwal used Anna and then dumped him
Arvind Kejriwal of India Against Corruption has to be complimented for drawing the attention of the public to the alleged wrongdoings of Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi. By doing so, he has shown that in the fight against corruption, there cannot and should not be any sacred cow. Read B Raman's piece on
13:55   S&P Sneezes, Indian investors take cover
It seems that Standard & Poor's only needs to sneeze and Indian markets catch a cold.On Wednesday, S&P simply reiterated in a regular report its concerns over India's large fiscal and budget deficits '" a concern that first raised headlines in April when the ratings agency warned the nation's sovereign rating could be downgraded to junk status. Read
13:48   Woman at centre of Roman Polanski rape case writing memoir
Samantha Geimer, the former teen with whom Roman Polanski was convicted of having sex in 1977, is writing a memoir to tell her side of the story in the infamous Hollywood scandal.

Geimer, now 47, has bagged a deal by Atria Books to write 'The Girl: Emerging from the Shadow of Roman Polanski'. The book will deal with incident that forced Polanski to flee the country in 1978 after being sentenced for unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old, the Vanity Fair magazine reported.

"I am more than 'Sex Victim Girl,'' a tag the media pinned on me... My friends in junior high, scolded by their parents to stay away from that girl, also labeled me. I offer my story now without rage, but with purpose'"to share a tale that in its detail will reclaim my identity.
13:42   Zardari graft cases: Pak SC approves Swiss draft letter
After weeks of wrangling, Pakistan Supreme Court today approved a third draft of a letter that will ask Swiss authorities to revive graft cases against Asif Ali Zardari, with the government making it clear that any proceedings in that country would be conditional to the immunity available to the President.
13:24   Pak docs work through night to save girl shot by Taliban
Pakistani surgeons removed a bullet on Wednesday from a 14-year-old girl shot by the Taliban for speaking out against the militants and promoting education for girls, doctors said. Read
12:45   Maya keeps UPA guessing: NO decision on alliance
Mayawati reiterates that the decision on whether the BSP will support the UPA will be made soon. "Deri nahin hogi," she assures the crowds and walks off the dais. She said general elections could happen at any moment and deferred the decision on the party's support to the UPA. All through the press conference, Mayawati smiled and paused and played with the media, well aware that her announcement was being awaited.
12:40   Maya keeps UPA hanging: NO decision on alliance
Mayawati says the party wants her to take the final call on the alliance though the UPA has done nothing to control communal forces. "Given the present political situation in the country early polls are very likely. The BSP is ready for it," she says.

Mayawati says the decision on whether she will extend her support to the UPA has will be taken later. 

Mayawati says the central government's policies are anti-poor and has been hurting the people. There have been no measures to control corruption and inflation. She added that the Centre is doing nothing to support weaker sections of society. 
12:33   Maya to announce decision to support UPA now
BSP chief Mayawati begins her press conference, the second since yesterday. She is expected to announce her decision on whether the party will support the UPA. The press conference is being addressed at the BSP's National Executive meet.
She said the party had discussed whether it would support the UPA government at the executive meet.
12:27   DLF shares fall for 3rd day; stock down over 4%
Shares of DLF today slipped over 4 per cent on fresh allegations by activist Arvind Kerijwal about company's nexus with Robert Vadra and Haryana Government - although the charges have been rejected by the realty major. After making a weak opening, shares of the company further lost 4.37 per cent to Rs 214.40 on the BSE. At NSE, the scrip was down 4.39 per cent at Rs 214.35.

The stock has been under pressure since last three days. Arvind Kejriwal yesterday demanded a probe by retired Supreme Court judges into the business relationship between Robert Vadra and DLF and a white paper by Haryana government on the benefits it allegedly gave to the realty major.
12:21   NCP-Cong to fight Gujarat polls together: Pawar
Just in: NCP chief Sharad Pawar announces that the party's ties with the Congress is intact and it will contest the elections together in Gujarat. 
12:16   Will BSP support UPA2? Announcement today
Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati will make a major announcement with respect to her party's support to the United Progressive Alliance today.

Yesterday, addressing a mammoth rally at the Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan in Lucknow, convened to mark the sixth death anniversary of her mentor and BSP founder Kanshi Ram, she sounded a full-throated bugle cry for the parliamentary electoral battle scheduled in 2014. But the meet was also clearly aimed at displaying BSP's rising strength, amply demonstrated in the several hundred thousand crowd that swarmed the entire area in and around the venue.
More on
12:08   Narendra Modi wants to be Indias next prime minister
Resplendent in a pink shirt, with a neatly trimmed white beard, Narendra Modi chuckles when asked if he is a dictator. Suggestions that he cannot compromise, lead within a team or suffer criticism are "absolutely baseless', says Gujarat's chief minister. Read
12:04   KFA asks staff to join work, but mum on salaries
The management of cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) sent a mail on Tuesday night to all employees asking them to resume work on October 13th. But the mail was largely silent on payment of pending salaries, the issue over which the airline's employees have struck work. Read
11:58   Daredevils record breaking skydive cancelled
Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian daredevil, was forced to call off his record-shattering attempt to jump from the edge of space at the last minute due to high winds. 

The 43-year old former military parachutist had hoped to become the first skydiver to exceed the speed of sound during a leap from an altitude of 23 miles, but high winds played spoil sport.  

Baumgartner had donned a specially designed pressure suit and climbed into a capsule as a giant helium balloon designed to take him to the jump altitude was inflated above him.  

A five-minute launch countdown had begun but, with moments to go, the ascent was called off as the balloon was buffeted by unexpected gusts.
11:56   Yes, Vadra did gain from DLFs benevolence
The Arvind Kejriwal-led India Against Corruption (IAC) unleashed its second round of attacks on the relationship between Robert Vadra, son-in-law ofSonia Gandhi, and DLF, India's largest listed real estate company, yesterday (9 October). Read
11:51   Think Again: The BRICS
Together, the BRICS' GDP now nearly equals the United States. But are they really the future of the global economy? Read
Great read on Foreign Policy: How extremists convince teens to become suicide bombers. See
11:45   A stinking mess
Census 2011 threw up a malodorous statistic: people in 49.8 per cent of households have no toilet facilities and defecate in the open. In contrast, 63.2 per cent of households have a telephone connection, of which 52.3 per cent have cell phones; as for televisions, almost half of the country's households possess one.

That's the editorial on the Hindu. Read
Childhoods lost rolling beedis in Pranab Mukherjee's constituency Jangipur. His son will now be contesting the by-polls from there.  Read
11:35   Is office harassment really a thing of the past?
The Jimmy Savile revelations have prompted accounts of sexual harassment at work during the 70s and 80s. So have things really changed? Read
11:25   Geithner Meets Chidambaram in Delhi
Timothy F Geithner, the United States Treasury secretary, returned to his childhood elementary school here in India on Tuesday before attending a day of meetings with Indian leaders and business executives.Both Mr. Geithner and his Indian counterpart, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, gave the usual platitudes in a news conference about how their discussions were "fruitful' and "substantive.'  Read
11:23   Sonia, Modi and the Swami
Swami Vivekananda, a monk widely credited for raising global awareness of Hinduism and yoga more than a century ago, has become an unlikely touchstone in the run-up to the closely watched Gujarat elections.On Oct. 3, Sonia Gandhi visited the Swami's Ramakrishna Ashram, in Rajkot, Gujarat, just before addressing a massive political rally. Read
11:21   Pension overhaul may not lure foreigners
Last week, India's federal cabinet cleared a bill that would, among other things, allow foreign companies to establish standalone pension fund companies in India. Until now, foreign companies have only been allowed to manage pension funds through their minority stakes in Indian insurance or asset-management companies.

11:16   Bullet removed from Pak girl's body who was shot at by Taliban
A group of doctors have successfully removed the bullet lodged near the spine of a 14-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl, who was attacked by Taliban for speaking out against the banned outfits' atrocities, her uncle said today.

Ahmed Shah, the uncle of Malala Yousufzai, told reporters in Peshawar that the surgery was conducted late last night at a military hospital and that the bullet had been successfully removed.

He said that the doctors have advised against taking Malala, the first recipient of Pakistan's National Peace Award for Youth, outside Pakistan for treatment. Doctors said it will not be advisable for her to travel in her condition. The next ten days would be crucial for her, the doctors stressed.
11:08   New Anti-corruption law in the offing?
On the Anti-Corruption law, the PM adds that experience has also shown that big ticket corruption is mostly related to operations by commercial entities. It is also proposed to include corporate failure to prevent bribery as a new offence on the supply side.
11:05   PM: Mindless atmosphere of negativity does no good
The Prime Minister added that the mindless atmosphere of negativity and pessimism that is sought to be created over the issue of corruption can do us no good. "The mindless atmosphere of negativity... can only damage the nation's image and hit at the morale of the executive. I would like to stress upon the need to protect honest public servants and keep the morale of the executive intact with our commitment," he added. 
10:57   PM seeks 'clear definition' for corruption
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the Prevention of Corruption Act may be reviewed by the Centre to "protect honest public servants".

His comments come in the wake of the Congress-led UPA facing considerable flak over a slew of corruption allegations.

"Experience has also shown that big ticket corruption is mostly related to operations by commercial entities. A clear and unambiguous definition for the term 'corruption', covering both the supply and demand sides, is being sought to be provided. Prevention of Corruption Act to be amended to fill gaps in the legislation and bringing it in line with international practices," the PMO said on Twitter.
10:50   Businessman kidnapped in Meerut for Rs 2 cr ransom
Sudhir Mahajan, director of cricket bat manufacturing firm BDM, has been kidnapped from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.   

His kidnappers have demanded a ransom of Rs 2 crore for his release. A special team of the UP police is probing the case.
10:49   China blogger sorry for Federer threat
A blogger in China who made a death threat against Roger Federer said he had apologised but remained at large after vowing to "assassinate" the world number one, according to an Internet posting.

An Internet user under the name "Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07" threatened the tennis player before he arrived to play, prompting organisers to step up security for the Shanghai Masters, which started on Sunday.

"I have not been arrested," said a posting on China's popular site, where the original threat also appeared. "I took the initiative to contact the relevant people to apologise," said the message, which was posted around midday on Tuesday.
10:46   Kejriwal eyes tie-up with Badal, meeting today
After announcing its foray into politics, India Against Corruption's (IAC) Arvind Kejriwal is looking for regional tie-ups. A few days ago, IAC leader Manish Sisodia had called on People's Party of Punjab (PPP) president Manpreet Singh Badal to forge an alliance in Punjab. A meeting between the two parties will take place in New Delhi on Wednesday. Read
10:40   Businessman kidnapped in Meerut for Rs 2 cr ransom
Sudhir Mahajan, director of cricket bat manufacturing firm BDM, has been kidnapped from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.   

His kidnappers have demanded a ransom of Rs 2 crore for his release. A special team of the UP police is probing the case.
10:22   Maha govt may make slum dwellers pay housing cost
Concerned over the loss the state exchequer may suffer due to allocating free houses to slum dwellers till 2000, the Maharashtra government is mulling over framing a policy whereby the slum dwellers will have to pay for the cost of housing. 

"We had taken an unfortunate decision of giving free houses to slum dwellers. It is now difficult to uphold that plan. We are planning to bring some policy that will make these people (slum dwellers) pay for it (the housing)," Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has said.
10:22   Rupee falls for 4th day; down 16 paise against dollar
The rupee declined for fourth day in a row by losing 16 paise to Rs 52.88 per dollar in early trade today, weighed down by dollar's gains overseas. 

Forex dealers said weakness in Asian currencies against the US dollar and demand for the greenback from importers put pressure on the rupee.
09:12   Israel gears up for early polls
Ending weeks of speculation, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for elections "now and as quickly as possible" amid projections that his Likud party will emerge stronger in the polls, giving him the mandate to carry out military action against Iran. 

In a televised speech, Netanyahu said that following discussions with his coalition partners, he has reached the conclusion that a responsible state budget cannot be passed. 

"An election year is approaching, and in such years it is difficult for parties to put the national interest ahead of the party's interest," he said, adding, "The consequence could massively increase the deficit, which can impair our economy. I won't let that happen here."
09:11   'US won't let China win the race for clean energy technology'
Ahead of another crucial presidential debate in New York, US President Barack Obama has said that the United States will not let China win the race to clean energy technology as he will continue to emphasise on developing technologies ahead of countries like China. 

"I'm not going to let oil companies continue to collect another $ 4 billion in taxpayer-funded corporate welfare every single year. I'm not going to let China win the race for clean energy technology," Obama said in an election campaign speech in the battleground state of Ohio.
09:10   US looking into human rights violations in Maldives
The US is looking into allegations of human rights violations in Maldives but it has not been able to confirm them so far, the State Department has said. 

The remarks came after Amnesty International accused Maldivian security forces of abusing their power. 

"We've seen the reports by Amnesty International about allegations of police brutality. We would take any kinds of allegations of police abuse very seriously. We are looking into them in the Maldives, but we haven't been able to confirm them," said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland.
09:09   Another rape reported in Haryana
Another incident of rape has been reported in Haryana -- this is the 14th such case in the state in the last one month.

Two men have been arrested for raping a Dalit girl in Kaithal, Haryana. 
07:46   Dr K offers wise words on China
Henry Kissinger on Xi Jinping, China's next leader, and the new Chinese leadership. Always worth reading:
07:43   Susan Rice hails Malala
America's Permanent Representative to the UN Susan Rice (a likely Secretary of State if a second Obama administration comes about) just tweeted; "@AmbassadorRice: Pakistan's future belongs to #Malala and brave young girls like her. History won't remember the cowards who tried to kill her at school."
05:10   Teenager targeted by the Taliban fights for her life
A moving must-read piece from the New York Times on little Malala Yousafzai:
04:47   India's toilets campaign battles corruption
A depressing report from the Washington Post:
04:46   Why India's Most Promising Sectors Don't Deliver takes a hard look at India's aviation business in this report:
04:43   They turned down a Google acquisition. Now what?
The fascinating story of Vineet Devaiah in Venture Beat:
04:39   An Embrace of Foreign Retailers
Vikas Bajaj reports on the mall culture and the generational retailing divide from Patna in this New York Times feature:
04:35   How the bin Laden mission was planned
Maps and visuals have surfaced of the mock-up of Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbotabad, where the US Navy Seals trained for Operation Geronimo:
04:33   US sues Wells Fargo for mortgage fraud
The United States filed suit against US banking giant Wells Fargo, alleging mortgage fraud that cost the government hundreds of million of dollars after the home loans defaulted.

The civil fraud lawsuit, filed by Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara in New York federal court, seeks to recover damages in connection with Wells Fargo's residential mortgage lending business.

The San Francisco-based bank is the nation's largest mortgage lender.

As a result of Wells Fargo's false certifications of mortgages, the Federal Housing Administration has paid "hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims on thousands of mortgages that defaulted," the US attorney's office for the Southern District of New York said. 

It claimed the alleged misconduct occurred for more than 10 years.
04:18   Felix delays death-defying 23-mile free fall
For the second straight day, extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner aborted his planned death-defying 23-mile free fall because of the weather, postponing his quest to become the world's first supersonic skydiver until at least Thursday.

As he sat Tuesday morning in the pressurized capsule waiting for a 55-story, ultra-thin helium balloon to fill and carry him into the stratosphere, a 25 mph gust rushed across a field near the airport in Roswell.

The wind rushed so fast that it spun the still-inflating balloon as if it was a giant plastic grocery bag, raising concerns at mission control about whether it was damaged from the jostling.

The balloon is so delicate that it can only take off if winds are 2 mph or below on the ground.

"Not knowing if the winds would continue or not, we made the decision to pull the plug," mission technical director Art Thompson said. Baumgartner's team said he has a second balloon and intends to try again.
04:14   Netanyahu calls early Israel poll
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called an early general election, which could come as soon as January, nine months ahead of schedule.

Netanyahu said the new elections for the 120-member Knesset -- the Israeli parliament -- would take place "as soon as possible."

His right-wing coalition government has been in power since 2009.

Although he remains a popular leader he has been unable to agree the annual budget with his coalition partners.

The next election had originally been scheduled to take place in October next year.

Netanyahu said he had decided to pull the date forward because bickering among his coalition partners had made it impossible to pass a "responsible budget" for 2013.

"At this time, in the face of the turmoil around us, it is my obligation as prime minister to put the national interest above all," he said.
03:04   'Obama is no friend of Israel'
A lawmaker from the Israeli prime minister's party is in the United States ahead of the presidential election and has said that President Barack Obama has "not been a friend of Israel."

Danny Danon, chairman of Likud's international outreach branch, said in Chicago today that Obama's policies have been "catastrophic."

Danon said he will also travel to Florida and New York to promote his new book and to meet with Republican and Democratic leaders.

He says he is not interfering in the presidential race but merely stating his personal opinion. He has previously praised Mitt Romney.

But his comments could be embarrassing to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been trying to shed accusations that he favours his longtime friend Romney in the race for the White House.
01:07   Radical cleric Abu Hamza pleads not guilty
British radical cleric Abu Hamza Al Masri has pleaded not guilty in a court here to 11 terror charges, including plotting to set up a terrorist training camp on US soil and providing material support to Al Qaeda.

Egyptian-born 54-year-old one-eyed and hooked-hand cleric appeared in Manhattan federal court amid tight security for his arraignment before US District Judge Katherine Forrest, his second court appearance after being extradited from UK over the weekend.

Forrest set an August 26, 2013, court date for al-Masri's trial and remanded him to custody in the maximum security detention center next to the courthouse. 

Wearing blue prison clothes, al-Masri briefly replied "Yes, your honour" when asked by Forrest if he was pleading not guilty to the 11 terror charges against him, including hostage-taking in Yemen in 1998 that resulted in four deaths, a conspiracy to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon in 1999 and supporting violent jihad in Afghanistan.

He faces a maximum term of life imprisonment.
01:07   Naxals derail goods train in Bastar
Two engines and three bogies of a goods train derailed in Bastar district on Tuesday night after suspected Naxalites uprooted the railway track, a senior police officer said.

"A police team has been dispatched to Badekaklur area in Bastar district after report of the ultras uprooting the railway track received tonight," Special Director General (Anti-Naxal Operations) Ramnivas said.

According to preliminary information, three coaches and two locomotives jumped off the track in the area which is a Naxal stronghold. 

Freight trains for Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh usually pass through this route and Naxals often target them, he said. 
01:07   US State Dept owns fleet of 192 aircraft
The US State Department has informed that it owns a fleet of as many as 192 aircraft that range from vintage of 1940s to 2010.

"We've got some 192 aircraft; 150 are rotary wing, 42 are fixed wing," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters. 

"The vast majority support our international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, counternarcotic and law enforcement assistance programmes, specifically in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, Afghanistan and Pakistan. So, primarily we use these for those programmes. We also use them to move our personnel around safely in Afghanistan and in Iraq," she said.
01:06   Mexican drug lord's body stolen from funeral home
A major coup for the Mexican authorities turned to embarrassment, when it emerged that the body of the slain leader of the Zetas drug cartel had been stolen from a funeral parlor.

Heriberto Lazcano's corpse and that of another man were taken to a funeral home in the town of Sabinas in the northern state of Coahuila shortly after they were killed in a shootout on Sunday with naval special forces.

Coahuila state prosecutor Homero Ramos told a press conference in Sabinas that a gang of heavily armed men wearing face masks later entered the parlor and subdued the staff. 

"They took the bodies, stuck them in a hearse, and made the owner drive it off," Ramos said.

The Mexican navy, which conducted the operation against the Zetas leader, said fingerprints had been used to identify the body as Lazcano's before it was stolen.