Wed, 09 December 2015
FBI chief: California attackers radicalised before dating

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23:34   FBI chief: California attackers radicalised before dating
The husband and wife who killed 14 people in an attack on a year-end holiday party in San Bernardino, California were radicalised before they started dating online, FBI Director James Comey said today. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's terror probe has determined that US-born Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a Pakistani national, were inspired by foreign terror groups and discussed "jihad and martyrdom" as early as 2013, Comey said. 

The investigation "indicates that they were actually radicalised before they started courting or dating each other online," Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing. 

"And online, as early as the end of 2013, they were talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom before they became engaged and then married and lived together in the United States.

"We also believe they were inspired by foreign terror organisations," Comey said.

The Islamic State group hailed the perpetrators and called them soldiers of the caliphate.
23:00   Cabinet nod to real estate bill that will assuage Oppn concerns
The Union Cabinet today approved various amendments to the contentious Real Estate bill, introducing provisions for depositing 70 per cent of the project cost by builders into an escrow account and punishment for violations of the proposed law, meeting key opposition demands.

Reaching out to the opposition, the Cabinet, in its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved a string of amendments to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015, aimed at protecting the interest of the buyers and promoting investments in the sector while ensuring transparency.

A key amendment is the provision for depositing 70 per cent of the money received by the builders from buyers for a project into an escrow account, especially created for the concerned scheme, so the builders do not invest a large portion of the money thus raised for other projects. It would also act as a safeguard against uncertainty over a project in the event of the builder backing out.

The real estate bill approved by the previous UPA government had provided for deposit of 70 per cent of the funds raised from buyers into the escrow account but it was reduced to 50 per cent by Rajya Sabha's select committee which examined the bill.

The amended bill also provides for imprisonment up to 3 years for the builders in case of violations of the provisions of the proposed law and upto one year in case of real estate agents and buyers, according to a senior official of the Urban Development Ministry.
22:57   Turkey PM accuses Russia of seeking ethnic cleansing in Syria
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu today accused Russia of pursuing a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" in Syria and strengthening Islamic State jihadists, in a new escalation of tensions between Ankara and Moscow after the downing of a Russian warplane. 

Speaking to foreign reporters at his Istanbul offices in the Ottoman-era Dolmabahce Palace on the Bosphorus, Davutoglu said he was nonetheless ready to work with Moscow to prevent a repeat of the November 24 incident. 

"Russia is trying to make ethnic cleansing in the northern Latakia (region) to force (out) all Turkmen and Sunni populations who do not have good relations with the (Syrian) regime," Davutoglu told foreign reporters in Istanbul. 

He said Russia wanted to purge the northwestern Syrian region of unwanted elements to ensure the security of its air and naval bases in Syria. 

"They want to expel, they want to ethnically cleanse this area so that regime and Russian bases in Latakia and Tartus are protected," he said. 

"They don't want to see any Sunni Arab or Turkmen population in that part of Syria. That is the purpose," Davutoglu said.
21:35   Petition to ban Trump from UK may be considered for debate in Parliament
A petition calling for Republican Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump to be banned from entering the United Kingdom has attracted more than 170,000 signatures -- more than enough for a committee to consider sending the motion for parliamentary debate.

The petition to block the front-running Republican presidential candidate from entering the country was created on the British government's official petitions website in response to Trump's call Monday to ban Muslims from entering the United States due to the threat of terrorism.

However, Britain's treasury chief said on Wednesday that the country has no plans to ban Trump.
21:04   Bardhan's condition 'very critical', no signs of improvement
The condition of veteran Communist Party of India leader A B Bardhan' who was admitted to a hospital in New Delhi on Monday after suffering a paralytic stroke, has become 'very critical', a senior party leader said on Wednesday night.

"His health showed no sign of improvement today. His condition has become very critical," party leader Atul Anjan said after visiting GB Pant hospital, where the ex-CPI general secretary is admitted in the intensive care unit.
20:44   Beijing blanketed by hazardous smog despite red alert
The Chinese capital continued to be blanketed by hazardous smog for the second day today despite the first-ever red alert which halved the number of cars on the roads and shut factories and construction sites in the city of over 22 million people.

While heavy air pollution remained around 360 in PM2.5 particles in the United States Embassy Air Quality Monitor in Beijing, meteorologists have issued warnings for the next bout of smog expected to cover the city from Saturday.

The red alert is due to end tomorrow.

The levels of air pollution have not come down much despite allowing odd- and even-numbered cars on specific days which has eased pressure on roads.
20:12   India-Pak agree to resume composite dialogue
India and Pakistan announced the commencement of a comprehensive bilateral dialogue on Wednesday after External Affairs Minster Sushma Swaraj met with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz.

She announced that the foreign secretaries of the two countries will meet soon and will work out details on how to take this composite dialogue forward.

Details are awaited.
19:57   No cricket series between India and Pak: PCB chief
Pakistan Cricket Board chief Shahryar Khan said that there will be no cricket series between India and Pakistan, according to television channels.

"Indian authorities have said that they will not play cricket series with us," Khan was quoted as saying.

Earlier, he had 'expressed hope' that a decision on the India-Pakistan cricket series will be taken during External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's visit to Islamabad on Wednesday.
19:21   Imran Khan to visit India
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief and former cricketer Imran Khan will visit India on December 11, says Pak media.
NIA arrests LeT operative Asadullah from Mumbai airport in connection with criminal conspiracy to kill prominent citizens in Bengaluru.
18:48   4000 additional buses will be on the roads from Jan 1: Rai
As many as 4000 additional buses will be pressed into service by the Delhi government, as part of its efforts to strengthen the public transport, from January 1, when the odd-even scheme for plying of private vehicles will come into force.

The Delhi government has tied up with the Delhi Contract Bus Association (DCBA), an apex body of contract carriage and tourist bus operators in Delhi.

"We had a meeting with the members of Delhi Contract Bus Association (DCBA) in the Secretariat following which details have been prepared.

"Around 4000 extra buses will be on the roads between January 1-15 and they will be all CNG buses. To chalk out the details of the proposal, a committee has been formed," Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai said today. These buses will run through Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC).

Rai further said that tomorrow, Delhi government will hold a meeting with the heads of the schools in the national capital to see if the school buses can be also roped into the mission. The Minister also appealed to the people of Delhi to cooperate with Delhi government in its efforts to decongest the roads and combat pollution.
18:35   German chancellor Angela Merkel is Time's Person Of The Year
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is named Time Magazine's person of the Year.

TIME Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs revealed that the woman who courted controversy in 2015 by opening her nation's border to hundreds of thousands of refugees and managed Europe's debt crisis as the choice in a TODAY show exclusive Wednesday morning.

The magazine bestowed the title on the 61-year-old world leader "for asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply."

Merkel is the first individual woman to receive the "Person of the Year" recognition since TIME changed its title from "Man of the Year" in 1999. Women, however, have been recognized as part of a group, such as last year's winner, "Ebola Fighters."

Merkel was up against: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who as leader of ISIS has inspired followers to both fight in his self-declared caliphate of Iraq and Syria, and also stage attacks in countries like Tunisia and France.

Black Lives Matter activists, who have protested inequality towards African Americans, especially in their treatment by law enforcement.

Caitlyn Jenner, whose coming out as a transgender woman prompted widespread conversations about gender identity and issues of equality for the LGBT community.

Travis Kalanick, who as CEO of Uber drove his car-hailing company to a nearly $70 billion valuation, but also drew criticism about the downside of the sharing economy.

Vladimir Putin, who as president of Russia has defied Western sanctions over his country's military activity in Ukraine to play a critical but precarious role in the war on ISIS.

Hassan Rouhani, who as president of Iran is seeking to bring his country out of pariah status and repair its sanctions-crippled economy by pursuing a nuclear deal with the West.

Donald Trump, whose populist rhetoric has made him frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential candidacy and stirred debate about the party's future.
18:28   Women drivers may be exempted from Delhi's odd-even car plan
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal meets home minister Rajnath Singh over the odd-even car plan in the national capital. Kejriwal says ministers and officials are not exempt from the plan. He said the home minister was receptive to the idea. The CM also said the government was considering excluding women driving alone from the plan.

The Delhi government's odd-even formula will be implemented from January 1 to January 15 in the first phase and will follow dates. Delhi's transport minister Gopal Rai on Tuesday announced that the odd-numbered vehicles will ply on odd dates, while the even-numbered vehicles would ply on even dates. The rule will be enforced from 8am to 8pm only and there will be no restrictions on Sundays, the minister announced.
17:48   6-month-old daughter of California shooters in custody battle
The six-month-old daughter of the Pakistani woman and her Pakistani-American husband who massacred 14 people in California last week is at the centre of a custody battle between their relatives and the state.

The girl is in the custody of San Bernardino County Child Protective Services, blissfully unaware of the carnage and misery wrought by her parents, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, last Wednesday.

Saira Khan, Farook's older sister, and her husband, Farhan Khan, are seeking to adopt the baby girl. The couple already have two children of their own.

Experts have predicted the baby will not be raised by blood relatives but her aunt and uncle have moved to gain custody at a Family Court hearing on Monday, Fox News reported.

The next hearing is set for January, and the baby likely will be placed with a foster family until then. Council on American-Islamic Relations attorney Fatima Dadabhy, who represented the family, said its priority is to ensure the baby is placed with a Muslim foster family. The Monday hearing was closed to the public, San Bernardino County spokesman David Wert was quoted as saying.
Incredible pictures apart, find the one with a Harry Potter reference.
Take a look
17:28   Heart to heart in Islamabad: Sushma meets Pak PM Nawaz Sharif
External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj met Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad today on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad. She will also held talks with Pakistan Prime Minister's Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.

Swaraj, who reached Islamabad on Tuesday said, the relationship between India and Pakistan should be better and that she will hold talks to find ways to improve bilateral ties.

Sushma attended a dinner hosted by Aziz for the heads of delegates participating in a multilateral conference on Afghanistan.
EAM Sushna Swaraj meets Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad. 
17:12   PM to visit Pak for SAARC summit in 2016, says Sushma
Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Pakistan next year to attend the SAARC summit, says External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Modi will participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit, Swaraj told the media. She said she would accompany Modi during his visit, Geo TV reported.

"It is time we display maturity and self-confidence to do business with each other and strengthen regional trade and cooperation," Sushma Swaraj said in her address at the Heart of Asia Summit in Islamabad earlier in the day.
Foreign Ministry denies statement attributed to Sushma Swaraj that PM Modi will visit Pak for SAARC summit next year, says NDTV.
16:53   Senior journalist S Balakrishnan wins bid for Dawood's property
Senior Journalist S Balakrishnan wins bid for Dawood Ibrahim's property 'Hotel Delhi Zaika'.

The property was auctioned off at Rs 4.28 crore.

The journalist runs an NGO called 'Desh Seva Samiti' for slum children for the past 10 years and wanted to have a centre in central Mumbai, and Bhendi Bazaar (where Dawood's property is located) has many young children suffering from drug addiction.

Read more about S Balakrishnan and his efforts to buy this infamous piece of real estate HERE.
16:32   Order in Salman hit-and-run case on Thursday
Justice A R Joshi  of the Bombay high court, who has been dictating his order in actor Salman Khans appeal against his conviction in the hit and run case, will complete his order tomorrow.

Which means, the superstar, and the rest of us, will know his fate only tomorrow. 
16:07   Judge dictates final pages of verdict in Salman Khan hit-and-run case
The verdict in the Salman Khan hit-and-run case is likely to be out soon. Syed Firdaus Ashraf/ who is inside the Bombay High Court reports on what the judge has been dictating in court today.

The court will soon announce its ruling on the 49-year-old superstar's appeal against his conviction in the hit-and-run case in which he was found guilty of killing a man and injuring four others with his SUV after a night out drinking.

While dictating its order on Monday and Tuesday, Justice A R Joshi questioned the quality of evidence brought by the prosecution against the actor.

Today, the court brought up the following:

-- The prosecution says there were three people in the car -- Salman Khan, his bodyguard Ravindra Patil and Kamaal Khan.

-- The defence says there were four people -- the 4th person was the driver Ashok Patil.

-- Salman could not give evidence who was driving the car.

-- The only option remaining was Kamaal Khan. (Kamaal Khan has not been examined as a witness in the sessions court.)

-- When Ravindra Patil (Salman's bodyguard passed away in 2007) was not available, it was incumbent for the prosecution to put forth direct evidence.

--  Prosecution said only Kamaal Khan was not examined even though a lookout notice was given to summon him.

-- Summons could not be served to him as his address as available in 2002 was not found and there was another occupant at the address.

-- Kamaal Khan could therefore not be examined.

-- At this stage inference needs to be taken that Kamaal Khan needs to be bring to the trial court.

-- Kamaal Khan was the only person who could throw light on who was driving (the SUV).

-- Under such circumstances Kamaal Khan was withheld by the prosecution.

-- Kamaal Khan was present in India then and had asked permission to leave India.

-- His permanent address was in Britain and even his Indian address was given and known to the prosecution, but nothing was done to secure him.

-- This conduct of the investigating agency proves they did not want him to come to court.

-- The evidence given by Ravindra Patil (since deceased) was critically discussed.

-- The the evidence of Patil was doubtful because he had made improvements in his version later when his statement was recorded.

--  In view of this, he is a wholly unreliable witness.

-- Ravindra Patil's evidence that Salman Khan was drunk was weak.

Salman, who is on bail, did not come to the court, though his sister, Alvira Khan-Agnihotri, attended the hearing.
16:05   Salman hit-and-run case: Prosecution witness unreliable, says court
A court in Mumbai will soon announce its ruling on superstar Salman Khan's appeal against his conviction in the 2002 hit-and-run case, in which he was found guilty of running over pavement dwellers with his SUV after a night out drinking.

While we wait for that, the Bombay High Court today questioned the credibility of a key witness for the prosecution - Salman Khan's bodyguard Ravindra Patil -- who had said that he was driving drunk and had ignored warnings.

"If witness is partly reliable then corroboration is required. Ravindra Patil cannot be considered as a wholly reliable witness," the court said, asserting that the lower court had made a mistake by admitting his statement.  The court also said that no one except Ravindra Patil had said that Salman was driving the car during the accident.

In May this year, the actor was sentenced by a lower court to five years in jail after being convicted of "culpable homicide not amounting to murder". The actor then appealed against the conviction in the Bombay High Court, which suspended his sentence.

Pic: Salman Khan's bodyguard, Ravindra Patil, who passed away in 2007.
15:36   Speak in parliament if you have proof, BJP tells Rahul on allegations
Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi, the government today dared him to give proof in Parliament on his allegations against the government and PMO on National Herald issue instead of wasting time of the House, after the opposition party stalled proceedings alleging political vendetta.

Soon after the Congress Vice President alleged that the National Herald case is "hundred per cent political vendetta coming out of PMO", Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said Rahul "did not have enough courage" to speak in Parliament on the issue.

"He (Rahul) is instrumental in disrupting the House. Court has taken some cognisance against him and Sonia Gandhi. They are trying to become a hero after the charges against them and at the same time they do not have enough courage to come inside the House and say what they are speaking outside to the media.

"We should ask Rahul Gandhi, if he has courage enough, if he has honesty enough, if he has standing as a leader of his political party, he should come to Parliament and give proof of the statement he has made against the judiciary.

"The proof of the statement he has made against the government and the PMO... he should come and give an explanation in the House and the proof of what he is talking," Rudy said.
15:14   On the President's birthday, a special treat for kids
President Pranab Mukherjee will turn 80 on Friday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and vice president Hamid Ansari will quite naturally wish the president with bouquets, but there is something special planned for the day.

The president will launch a Children's Corner -- a special link to the President of India website -- similar to what the White House and the Buckhingam Palace have.

The president plans to have an interactive chat with children every week, especially on Teacher's Day on September 5 and Children's Day on November 14.

That apart, the president's birthday celebrations will be subdued since it's been barely four months since First Lady passed away. 
15:01   Say cheese!
EAM Sushma Swaraj at the Heart of Asia conference, just ahead of lunch. Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif are standing next to her. On wall, behind Ghani, is a portrait of the Mohd Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates are part of Heart of Asia. The two-day conference began yesterday with the meeting of senior officials of the participating nations.
14:52   JMB admits to killing Japanese man in Bangladesh
An operative of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) has confessed his involvement in the killing of Japanese man Kunio Hoshi in Rangpur, claim police.

'Masud Rana had opened fire on the Japanese national,' Humayun Kabir, deputy inspector general (DIG) of police (Rangpur range), told a press briefing at his office yesterday. He said the arrested member of the banned militant outfit gave his confessional statement before Senior Judicial Magistrate Shafiul Alam on Monday.
14:37   The first pic of woman terrorist Tashfeen Malik entering the US
The couple who killed 14 people in a California shooting rampage the FBI is investigating as an act of terrorism borrowed about $28,000 from an online lender, a sum deposited into their bank account about two weeks before the attack, Reuters reports.

Disclosure of the unsecured loan the husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, took out from San Francisco-based Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending service, offered a new glimpse into the money trail under scrutiny by investigators of last week's mass shooting.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has described Farook, the U.S.-born son of Pakistani immigrants, and his Pakistani-born wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, as a couple "radicalized" by Islamic extremist ideology.

Malik, who spent a good portion of her life in Saudi Arabia and married Farook there before returning with him to California in the summer of 2014, is believed by investigators to have pledged allegiance on Facebook to the leader of the militant group Islamic State just before the killings.

That's the first picture of Tashfeen Malik at US immigration after she married Syed Farook in Saudi Arabia. She entered the country at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on July 27, 2014. Photograph:US Customs and Border Protection/Handout/Reuters.
And a congratulatory tweet from @MadhuriDixit  for Rani Mukherjee and Aditya Chopra on Adira's birth: Congratulations to Adi and Rani and lots of love to Adira 
14:24   Farah Khan, Shirish Kunder celebrate 11 years of marriage
It's celebration times for Bollywood director Farah Khan as she completed 11 years of marriage with Shirish Kunder today. The 50-year-old director took to Twitter and posted a picture of the 42-year-old film editor with their kids.

Along with the picture, Farah wrote Happy 11th anniversary.. @Shirishkunder..only thing better than having u as a husband,is our kids having u as a dad!"

Shirish Kunder tweeted: @ShirishKunder  11 years! And they say there's no tolerance.

Meanwhile, her Bollywood pals also wished her over the micro-blogging site.

Abhishek Bachchan wrote, "@TheFarahKhan @ShirishKunder badhai ho badhai"

Ritiesh Deshmukh tweeted, "@TheFarahKhan @ShirishKunder happy anniversary....wishing u happiness forever my friends".
Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa writes to PM Modi and urges him to immediately declare "the unprecedented, catastrophic floods as a national calamity".
14:05   Difficult to accept Ravindra Patil as a reliable witness: HC
Update on the Salman Khan case. Bombay High Court says that no one except Ravindra Patil said that actor Salman Khan was driving the car during the accident. Bombay High Court says that Ravindra Patil is a partially reliable witness and therefore his evidence needs corroboration.
The HC observes "it's difficult to accept the answer of witness Ravindra Patil that the car tyre burst due to impact" and said that in a criminal trial it's the duty of the prosecution to establish its own case, not for accused to prove his innocence."
13:54   We know who is threatening judiciary, says Rahul on National Herald case
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today said the National Herald case is "hundred per cent political vendetta coming out of PMO" but declared that he has full faith in the judiciary.

He also rejected the charge that Congress was using Parliament to threaten judiciary saying "it is the other way round".

"One hundred per cent political vendetta. Pure political vendetta coming out of PMO. It is their way of doing politics. Pure 100 per cent vendetta," Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament. He said he has full faith in the judiciary.

"I have full faith in judiciary. We will see at the end what comes out. Truth will come out." Asked about Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu's charge that Congress was using Parliament to threaten judiciary (by disruption), he said, "It is the other way round. Who is threatening judiciary. We all know."

Congress members disrupted proceedings in both the houses of Parliament yesterday and got the Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 pm today
13:30   Is President Mukherjee's relationship with the govt strained?
Is President Pranab Mukherjee's relationship with the government strained?

The answer is no. An emphatic NO.

There have been rather loud whispers in political circles in New Delhi that all is not well between Rashtrapati Bhavan and 7RCR.  

To counter this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release two books -- selected speeches of the president and another on presidential retreats -- on Friday at  the Darbar Hall inside Rashtrapati Bhavan.

This is an indication that from the BJP's side at least, the relationship is cordial.

But Congress circles refuse to buy it, saying the president's relationship with the PM has been strained in the aftermath of the award wapsi and his statements on intolerance.

The president has referred to growing incidents of intolerance, expressing the apprehension whether tolerance and acceptance of dissent are on the wane in the country. On at least three occasions, the president said humanism and pluralism should not be abandoned under any circumstances.

The PM of course referred to these remarks saying he took guidance from the president's speeches. 
13:18   Salman case: HC may dismiss key witness Ravindra Patil's statement
Reports say there may be a possible relief for Salman Khan in the hit-and-run case as the Bombay HC may dismiss key witness Ravindra Patil's statement in the case. The high court is undecided about depending on Salman's Ravindra Patil's statement, who was then Salman Khan's bodyguard and whether it was an accident or a case of irresponsible driving that led to the death of one person. The sessions court was heavily dependent on Patil's observations.

Ravindra Patil consistently maintained until  his death that it was Khan behind the wheel that night. Patil  was a Mumbai police constable who had been assigned as Khans bodyguard  and was sitting beside the actor when he ran over five sleeping  pedestrians, one of whom succumbed to his injuries. Patil died in 2007.
13:07   Salman hit-and-run-case: Court continues to dictate order
The Bombay High Court today continued to dictate its order in the 2002 hit and run case involving actor Salman Khan. The actor has appealed against his conviction by a Mumbai Sessions Court.

In May this year, the 49-year-old superstar was convicted for culpable homicide not amounting to murder amongst other charges sentencing him to five years in jail.

While dictating its order on Monday and Tuesday, the court questioned the quality of evidence brought by the prosecution against the actor.

The court yesterday questioned the manner in which the blood samples of the actor were collected and analysed observing that requisite and necessary care was not taken while taking the blood sample.
12:45   CBI files chargesheet in actress Jiah Khan's death
The CBI has fileed a chargesheet in Bollywood actress Jiah Khan's death case. The actress was found dead in her flat in June 2013 and what the police say is a suicide.

Jiah's mother has alleged that her daughter's boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi was in relationship with the actress and should be probed for the death of her daughter. She has alleged that it was not suicide.

The case had come to CBI last year following the orders of the Bombay High Court, which had directed the agency to probe whether the death was suicide or homicide on the plea of Jiah's mother Rabia.

"The High Court has directed the CBI to consider whether this is a case of suicidal or homicidal death. If it comes to a conclusion that it is a homicidal death, then further probe be made to find out who is the perpetrator of the crime and accordingly action be taken," CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad had said after registration of the case.

She said that Mumbai Police have already filed a chargesheet on January 11, 2014 against a person under section 306 (abatement of suicide) of IPC.

Explaining the reasons for transferring the case to CBI, the bench had said forensic opinion privately obtained by Khan's mother Rabia were at variance with those of Mumbai Police, suggesting there was a "lacuna" in the investigation.

Jiah, the 25-year-old British-American actress, best known for her role in the film, Nishabd, with Amitabh Bachchan, was found hanging from a ceiling fan at her home in Juhu on June 3, 2013.

Pic: Jiah Khan and her boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi
12:39   When Sonia was simply Rajiv Gandhi's wife
On Sonia Gandhi's 69th birthday today, a lovely picture of her on the campaign trail with her husband and former PM Rajiv Gandhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished the Congress president early on Wednesday morning, as the BJP-led government continued to walk a fine line on the National Herald case. "On her birthday, greetings to Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi. May Almighty bless her with long life & good health," PM Modi tweeted. Mrs Gandhi also received a phone call from Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu to wish her.
12:35   AAP's vehicle plan: HC refuses to pass interim order on PIL
The Delhi High Court today refused to pass any interim direction on the PILs filed against AAP government's plan to restrict plying of private vehicles from January 1 to combat pollution, saying it was too early to pass an order.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath termed the PILs as "premature" and said, "The Delhi government has proposed an idea, which is to be implemented from January 1, 2016, on trial basis for 15 days, so let them (Delhi government) try it."

"It's just going to be implemented on trial basis. They have proposed an idea for which suggestions have also been called form various stakeholders of society. Meetings are being held in this regard. Let's see what the stakeholders suggest," the bench observed orally.

It further said "also, no notification has been issued so far, let such notification come then we will see." "We will take up the matter after two weeks, by when the suggestions may also reach to the government," the bench said and fixed the matter for further hearing on December 23.

The bench also said, "Don't use these PILs to pressurise the respondent (Delhi governments)." The court's oral observation came during hearing the PILs, filed by Shweta Kapoor and Sarvesh Singh, which sought directions for restraining implementation of the policy.

Defending the Delhi government's idea, its senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra sought dismissal of the PILs and imposing of a heavy cost on the petitioners.
12:21   Terrorism, extremism, common enemy of Afghanistan, Pakistan: Ghani
Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani, in his address, at the Heart of Assia conference said, "Our children have been killed, our hospitals attacked, and terrorism has now become a regional, national and global phenomenon."

"Al-Qaeda, Daesh, terrorists from Russia, Uzbekistan, the Middle East and beyond; are all present on our soil," he said. Ghani said Afghanistan is ready to accept the groups which lay down arms and join the political process. "Finalisation of border management standard operating procedures will be helpful in containing the movement of terrorists across the border," he said.

On his part, Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif said the "scourge of terrorism that has been plaguing our region for many years requires a firm and coordinated response on the part of all of us."

"We are convinced that terrorism and extremism is the common enemy of Pakistan and Afghanistan. We need a collective approach to combat this menace," he said.

He also said that the massive cross-border movement of refugees constitutes "a security risk" and is exploited by the miscreants for their nefarious designs.

"Moreover, the emergence of newer and more threatening terrorist groups like Daesh (Islamic State) should strengthen our resolve against terrorism," Sharif said. On the stalled Afghan reconciliation process, Sharif reiterated Pakistan's "commitment" to facilitate the process.

"In this regard, Pakistan is ready to extend support to a meaningful process, wherein both the Afghan Government and the Taliban can move forward, in a spirit of accommodation and reconciliation," he said.

"We believe that the association of China and the US in the reconciliation process has been instrumental in moving the process forward," Sharif said.

Pakistan's Foreign Office said that officials from 14 participating states, 17 supporting countries and 12 international and regional organisations are attending the conference, including foreign minister of 10 nations.

The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was launched in 2011 and include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates. The two-day conference began on yesterday with the meeting of senior officials of the participating nations. The ministerial meeting today will adopt Islamabad declaration.
12:08   Winter session washout? Cong, BJD protests lead RS to adjourn twice
Protests over "politics of vendetta" continued in Rajya Sabha for the second day today, with Congress members forcing two adjournments of the House till noon by storming the Well and raising anti-government slogans.

Even before Deputy Chairman P J Kurien could take his seat when the House assembled for the day, Congress members rushed into the Well shouting slogans like "Modi teri tanashahi nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi (dictatorship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be tolerated)."

BJD members also trooped into the Well carrying placards opposing the multi-purpose Polavaram irrigation project. The placards read "Polavaram will harm Odisha", "Condemn Polavaram. Stop Stop" and "We Oppose Polavaram."

Amid the din, Kurien got the listed papers of the day laid on the table of the House, but two of them to be laid by Congress members were not tabled.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affiars Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Congress was insulting the mandate of the people and went on to suggest that the House should not be adjourned. "Don't you know that displaying placards is not allowed," Kurien told BJD members. "Shouting slogan is also not allowed. Coming into well is also not allowed," he told the protesting Congress MPs. He asked members to return to their places and allow the Zero Hour to proceed but no one heeded to his pleas, forcing him to adjourn the House till 11:30 hours.
12:00   Chalo Dilli! Sushma invites Pak, China, Afghanistan in 2016
More updates on EAM Sushma Swaraj's speech at the Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad.

Swaraj invited her counterparts from Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and other Asian countries to India next year.

"I look forward to welcoming you all in India next year," she said at a meeting of foreign ministers at the "Heart of Asia" conference in Islamabad.

-- Swaraj also pushed for Pakistan to allow the transit of goods from Afghanistan to India.

-- It's our collective duty to ensure that forces of terror and extremism do not find sanctuaries and safe havens in any name or form.

-- For its part, India is prepared to move our cooperation at a pace which Pakistan is comfortable with.

-- India is ready to work with Afghanistan to strengthen its defence capability.

-- It is our collective duty to ensure that the forces  of terrorism and extremism do not find sanctuaries and safe havens in any name, form or manifestation.

-- India extends its hand to Pakistan as well. It is time that we display the maturity and self confidence to do business with each other. 

-- India's vision for Afghanistan is one of interlinked trade, transit, energy and communication routes with the country as an important hub.

Pic: Sushma Swaraj with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani at the HOA conference in Islamabad.
11:45   Sushma to make a statement in Parl tomorrow on Pak visit
EAM Sushma Swaraj has to make a statement in Parliament after she returns from Islamabad tomorrow. Her visit has raised objections from opposition parties who have accused the government of a flip-flop on its Pakistan policy. The first visit by an Indian foreign minister in three years came about after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif in Paris two weeks ago on the sidelines of a climate change conference in Paris. That meeting led to secret talks between the National Security Advisors of both countries in Bangkok last week.
11:39   The burden of expectation on Mrs Swaraj
If you expected Sushma Swaraj to earmark a peace charter in Islamabad, read this column by Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain (retd), where he says the public has unfair expectations from Mrs Swaraj from the Heart of Asia Conference. To restore India's position among stakeholders on Afghanistan is a fair one, but to expect her to do more on the Indo-Pak front without requisite preparatory work is unrealistic. Read
11:36   Sushma in Islamabad: Heart of Asia can't function if arteries are clogged
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses the Heart of Asia summit in Islamabad. Highlights.

-- The Heart of Asia cannot function if arteries are clogged.
-- Nothing can benefit Afghanistan more than full and direct overland access to Indias markets.
-- We underline Indias commitment to Afghanistan's stability and  development of Indias vision of Heart of Asia. We believe in interlinked trade, transit, energy & communication routes, with Afghanistan as an important hub. 
-- Nothing can benefit Afghanistan more than full and direct overland access to Indias markets. 
-- India is willing to receive Afghan trucks at Attari. We are willing to join Afghanistan-Pakistan Trade & Transit Agreement. India is working with Afghanistan & Iran to develop trilateral transit through development of the Chahbahar Port.

Sushma Swaraj acknowledged the role of Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani & CEO Dr Abdullah in building on Prez Karzai's work for peaceful, democratic & inclusive governance.

She ends by inviting delegates to the 6th Ministerial of the HoA in India in 2016.

Will join hands with Pakistan and Afghanistan to promote trade and commerece.

Pic: EAM Sushma Swaraj speaking at the Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad. The picture was tweeted by MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

11:22   Is a new alliance brewing? Mamata, Kejriwal to meet in Central Hall of parliament
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal are scheduled to meet this afternoon. Interestingly, the venue is the Central Hall of Parliament.

TMC MPs Will welcome their boss in the house. Being a former MP, Mamata gets a special entry pass to the house, but Kejriwal being an MLA cannot enter Central Hall.

So, how do they meet?

There's a loophole. A sitting MP of the Lok Sabha can give a certificate to the parliament security so that the Delhi CM can enter through gate number one.

Kejriwal, ostensibly has been keeping 2019 in mind, which is when the next Lok Sabha elections will take place. Reports say he has been eyeing the PM's post and has begun cultivating smaller parties to familiarise himself with their policies and programmes. In any case, the presence of both the leaders in Central Hall will be a mega treat for news hounds.

In August, there was an attempt to form a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party front at the national level. The Trinamool Congress chief, Janata Dal-Uniteds Sharad Yadav, Samajwadi Partys Ramgopal Yadav and Aam Aadmi Partys Arvind Kejriwal met at Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawars residence.
11:09   In 'safe' Mumbai, rapes go up by 49%
Crimes like rape and molestation have witnessed almost a three-fold increase in the metropolis since 2010-11 raising questions over safety of women, children and senior citizens, according to a survey conducted by a city-based NGO.

In 2014, rape cases rose by 49 per cent compared to 2013, while molestation went up by 39 per cent, said Nitai Mehta, founder and managing trustee of Praja Foundation, quoting its survey.

In a span of four years from 2010-11 to 2014-15, rape cases jumped by 290 per cent and molestation cases were up by 247 per cent, Mehta said. In 2010-11, only 165 rape cases were registered while in 2014-15, this number reached 643, he said.

Another matter of concern is the poor conviction rate in rape cases , he said adding "there were only 27 per cent convictions in 2014, compared to 57 per cent in UK last year."

However, chain-snatching incidents decreased by 44 per cent in year 2014-15 as compared to previous years. Also, cases of theft and stolen vehicles as well as rioting dropped in 2014-15 than in 2013-14, Mehta said.
11:01   MP Govt. announces lifetime pension for botched up eye surgery victims
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday announced that a lifetime monthly pension of Rs. 5,000 will be given to the affected people of Barwani botched up eye surgery, who lost their vision.

"We have taken the issue seriously. What has happened in Barwani is unfortunate," Chouhan told reporters. "We have announced Rs. 2 lakh each as compensation to the victims. We have also decided to give Rs.5,000 as pension to the victims every month," he added.

In a camp held in the Barwani district hospital in Madhya Pradesh last week, 24 people lost their eye sight after cataract surgeries. Around 28 patients complained of infections post the surgery and were referred to Indore for further treatment. Out of these, 24 lost their eye sight.

The state government has suspended eye specialist RS Palod and initiated action against the authorities of the Lions Club. The government has also set up a three-member committee to probe the matter.
10:40   Heart of Asia: Swaraj meets Sharif, Aziz
And here is Swaraj greeting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawab Sharif after the latter's address at the conference. She also met her counterpart Sartaz Aziz.

Swaraj met Aziz during a banquet hosted by him yesterday for the heads of delegates participating in a multilateral conference on Afghanistan.
JUST IN:  A high-level BJP delegation will meet President Pranab Mukherjee at 2:30 pm today over Himachal Pradesh CM DA case. 

Meanwhile, speaking of meetings, opposition Congress will be convene a meeting of its MPs shortly. The party is also expected to continue its protest in Parliament over summons to its leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.
President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani is speaking now. In his opening statement he thanks Pakistan for hosting countless Afghan refugees over the years,
10:24   Afghanistan is the heart of Asia: Nawaz@Islamabad meet
The Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad has formally begun.Pakistan prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is now speaking."Pakistan gives great importance to Afghanistan's development."

It's prosperity is important for the growth of Asia," he says in his opening statement.

"Pakistan remains committed to strengthening its relations with all its neighbours and regional countries. The emergence of newer and more threatening terrorist groups like Daesh should also strengthen our resolve against terrorism," he says.

Pakistan remains committed to strengthening its relations with all its neighbours and regional countries.

"The emergence of newer and more threatening terrorist groups like daesh should also strengthen our resolve against terrorism," he adds.

09:46   Bardhan's condition 'very critical': CPI leader D Raja
The condition of CPI veteran AB Bardhan, who was admitted to a hospital here on Monday after he suffered a paralytic stroke, is "very critical", party national secretary D Raja said today.

"He is very critical. Doctors are making efforts to see his health gets better," Rajya Sabha member D Raja said. Bardhan, 92, is in the ICU at the GB Pant hospital. He could open eyes and showed a little movement in left leg, another CPI leader Atul Anjan had said yesterday.

"But there was not much improvement observed later in the day," he said. Ardhendu Bhushan Bardhan has been a leading figure of the trade union movement and Left politics in Maharashtra.

He had won as an Independent candidate in the Maharashtra assembly in 1957. He later rose to become the general secretary and then the president of the All India Trade Union Congress, the oldest trade union in India.
And here is a picture of supporters of Congress president Sonia Gandhi outside her residence to extend their greetings on her birthday 

09:35   Fire at Kolkata's Infinity Building, no casualties reported yet
JUST IN: Fire has been reported on the 5th floor of Infinity Benchmark building, salt lake, Kolkata; 7 fire tenders rushed to the spot.

No casualties have been reported yet. More details are awaited.
09:04   Drunk Russian diplomat punches, abuses Delhi cop
According to reports, a Russian diplomat allegedly hit a Delhi cop after a drink-driving incident.

The incident happened late at night around 1:30 am where the diplomat after hitting the bike was asked to stop by the police. But instead of stopping, he slammed his car into the barricade.

The diplomat refused to come out of the car and allegedly punched and abused a constable on duty. He was later taken away by his friend, who had a lengthy discussion with the police.

The police have established contact with the Russian embassy and are contemplating legal action. 
09:04   PM tweets B'day greetings to Sonia
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted Sonia on her 69th birthday,wishing her a long life and good health.

"On her birthday, greetings to Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi. May Almighty bless her with long life & good health," Modi tweeted. Modi's greetings came even as the Congress party and the government were locked in a bitter fight with the opposition alleging "political vendetta" after Sonia and her son Rahul were summoned by a court in the National Herald case.

The Congress yesterday stalled Parliament and took to streets over the issue.
And here is a tongue-in-cheek look at Sonia's yesterday's comment "I am the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I am not scared of anyone. I am not disturbed."

She was asked about the Delhi high court rejecting their pleas for quashing the summons by a Delhi court against them in the National Herald case.

Incidentally, it is Sonia's birthday today.
08:09   US not running talks between India, Pak on counter-terrorism
The United States is not running or convening any talks between India and Pakistan with respect to counter-terrorism, a State Department official has said welcoming the latest series of talks between the two South Asian countries to resolve their bilateral issues.

"We are not running any or convening any talks between India and Pakistan with respect to counter-terrorism. We strongly and still believe that the best solution is for the two countries to work out these issues together," State Department Spokesman John Kirby on Tuesday told media persons at his daily news conference.

"These are common threats they both face, so I'm not aware of any effort by the United States to lead or convene some sort of effort," he said in response to a question. The US, he said, welcomes report of the meeting between Indian and Pakistani officials.

"We support any and all positive steps India and Pakistan can take to reduce the tensions, to engage in dialogue, forge closer relations. The normalisation of relations between  those two countries is vital not only to them but to the region, so we once again encourage this kind of dialogue," Kirby said.
07:52   Swaraj to meet Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif today
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today on the sidelines of the conference; she will also hold bilateral meeting with Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad.

Swaraj met Aziz during a banquet hosted by him yesterday for the heads of delegates participating in a multilateral conference on Afghanistan.

"Heart of Asia conference is very important for India because it is associated with Afghanistan. That is why I have come here to participate. Since it is happening in Pakistan it is necessary and appropriate for me to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and hold talks with my counterpart Sartaj Aziz to talk about improving the bilateral ties and take them forward," Swaraj said.
07:26   Parrikar to meet US Defence Secy today: Pentagon
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar would meet US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter in Washington today to discuss ways to deepen the long term strategic partnership between the two countries, according to Pentagon sources. 

Parrikar, on his maiden visit to the US as the defence minister, would be hosted by his American counterpart for an informal dinner at the Pentagon today and both are scheduled to meet tomorrow as well.

"That will be followed by a bilateral meeting tomorrow in which they will discuss ways to deepen the long-term strategic partnership," the Pentagon press secretary, Peter Cook, told reporters at a news conference. 

Soon after their meeting, the two leaders would hold a joint press conference. This is for the first time that an Indian defence minister would be addressing the Pentagon correspondents.
03:09   Lyon lights up names of Paris victims in sombre tribute
The French city of Lyon paid tribute Tuesday to the 130 victims of last month's Paris attacks, projecting their names in huge letters on the facades of buildings lining the Saone River.

The commemoration took the place of the Festival of Lights, normally a four-day event that draws around three million people to the eastern city, which was cancelled this year over security concerns following the November 13 attacks in the capital.

Lyon's mayor Gerard Collomb called for Tuesday's tribute instead, while city residents still placed lighted candles in their windows and in public squares as tradition dictates.

And a light installation that had been planned for the cancelled festival was retained for Tuesday's event, a creation titled "Regards" (Looks) by Daniel Knipper.

The installation featured 80 penetrating glances and gazes depicted in works of art by masters such as Matisse and Botticelli, projected against a basilica and the facades of the quayside buildings.

The names of the Paris victims -- their first names, lit up in a giant hand-written scrawl -- then followed as thousands looked on.
01:24   White House says Trump comments disqualify him from presidency
The White House has challenged Republicans to denounce their party's presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, saying his proposal for a ban on admitting Muslims to the United States disqualified him from being commander-in-chief.

Painting Trump as a "carnival barker" with "fake hair" whose campaign has a "dustbin of history" quality, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said "what Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president."

Trump's critics called his remarks a new low and triggered calls for him to be barred from taking power after he urged a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

In a speech late Monday, the 69-year-old billionaire real estate mogul and reality television star doubled down on his initial statement.

"We have no choice," Trump said, saying that Islamist radicals want to kill Americans.

"It's going to get worse and worse. We're going to have more World Trade Centers," he said, referring to the deadly attacks on September 11, 2001.
01:23   Obama calls Modi, discusses climate change
US President Barack Obama today called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the progress made in climate change negotiations currently underway in Paris, the White House said.

Early Tuesday morning (local time) President spoke with Prime Minister Modi, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.

It is likely that Obama would also be talking over phone with his Chinese counterpart too, he said. 

A day earlier, Obama had spoken with his Brazilian counterpart.

Earnest said the US President is closely following the developments in Paris where more than 180 countries are trying to hammer out a deal on climate change. 
01:22   Paris attacks 'ringleader' Abdelhamid Abaaoud evaded Athens police
Greek police tried to capture the suspected ringleader of the Paris terror attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, in January but the operation failed.

A Belgian anti-terrorism source told the BBC the Athens operation planned to target Abaaoud before anti-terror raids in Belgium, but that did not happen.

Abaaoud had been directing the Belgian cell by phone from Athens.

Abaaoud died in a battle with French police five days after the 13 November Paris attacks that killed 130 people.

The Greek operation was supposed to have taken place before the one carried out by security forces in Verviers, eastern Belgium, on January 15. That raid saw an exchange of fire that left two suspected jihadists dead.

Read more HERE

01:22   Russia strikes ISIS targets in Syria from submarine in Mediterranean for first time
Russia has, for the first time, targeted Islamic State targets in Syria with Kalibr land-attack cruise missiles launched from a submarine in the Mediterranean Sea, according to Russia's defense minister.

The 3M-54 Kalibr missiles were launched from the Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine Rostov-on-Don, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

Russia's warships based in the Caspian and Mediterranean seas launched similar missiles targeting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) positions in late November. This is the first time that Russia has targeted IS in Syria from a submarine.

"(The missiles) targeted two major terrorist positions in the territory of Raqqa," he said.

"We can say with absolute confidence that significant damage has been inflicted upon ammunition warehouses and a mine production plant, as well as the oil infrastructure."

Earlier on Tuesday, a source within the Russian Ministry of Defense revealed that the Rostov-on-Don, equipped with modern Russian Kalibr cruise missiles, had appeared near the Syrian coast.