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Fri, 13 February 2015
Live! Pakistan doesn't allow JuD chief Hafiz Saeed to hold rally in Punjab

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23:48   Ukraine fighting kills 27 as clock ticks to ceasefire
Fighting raged in Ukraine today as the clock ticked down to a ceasefire that will be a first test of the commitment by Kiev and pro-Russian separatists to a freshly-inked peace plan. 

At least 27 civilians and soldiers died in shelling as German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Russia it risked fresh sanctions if the fighting did not stop.
23:18   Bedi not invited to BJP meet to review poll debacle
Delhi BJP today did not invite Kiran Bedi, who was its chief ministerial candidate for the Assembly elections, to a meeting where party leaders analysed its humiliating defeat here at the hands of AAP. 

At the meeting, which went on for two hours, senior BJP leaders reviewed the party's performance in the polls with the majority of them saying they felt that bringing in the former IPS officer just three weeks before the elections was a "bad move".
23:18   Use of laser, high beam lights near IGI Airport banned
Delhi Police has prohibited use of laser and high beam lights in the vicinity of IGI Airport at night saying this can distract pilots of descending flights which may lead to a major disaster. 

There are a number of farm houses, marriage gardens and banquet halls and use of such lights is a common practice during marriage processions.
21:45   Pakistan doesn't allow JuD chief Hafiz Saeed to hold rally in Punjab
The mastermind in the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks, Hafiz Saeed has been denied permission to hold a rally in the Punjab province in Pakistan, sources have reported. The Pakistan government in January had reportedly frozen the Jamaat ud Dawa chief's financial assets in a step to prove that it was actively fighting terrorism. 
In 2008, the United Nations said the JuD is a front for the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which planned and executed the attack in Mumbai, which left 166 people dead. The US State Department declared the JuD a "foreign terrorist organisation" last year.
21:37   These are the words you can't use in a Bollywood film anymore
Central Board of Film Certification chairman Pahlaj Nihalani has reportedly sent the Producers' Association and Regional Officers a list of words that cannot be used in films. Along with cuss words, the Censor Board also forbids any reference to Mumbai as Bombay. 

Click on the image for a larger, clearer version. 
21:15   Would choose the same experience, says scribe released from jail
Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy, who were held in Egypt for 411 days, were reunited with their families. Their release came a day after an Egyptian court granted bail in the case against the journalists and said the next hearing would be on February 23.

Speaking after his release, Baher Mohamed said he was "proud of every moment ... spent in prison for the freedom of expression". "I am really proud of it. If time goes back I will choose the same experience. I know the case is still there and I will continue to fight for our freedom of expression. I will not back off."
21:08   AAP to telecast Kejriwal's oath-taking ceremony in Varanasi
Aam Aadmi Party's Varanasi unit will telecast live at Prahlad Ghat in the temple town the swearing ceremony of Arvind Kejriwal as Delhi Chief Minister tomorrow. 

Party sources said the volunteers have planned to erect a LED screen at Prahlad Ghat in Varanasi where Kejriwal had unsuccessfully contested against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections last year. 

"We have decided to live telecast the oath-taking ceremony tomorrow of our leader. We have invited our party volunteers who cannot make it to Delhi for the ceremony. Even the public is free to join us," Rakesh Pandey, AAP volunteer from Varanasi, said.
20:43   This V-Day, Uber to provide chopper services to couples
This Valentine's day, taxi service provider Uber is all set to launch a chopper service in Delhi to give joy rides to love birds. Priced at Rs 5,000 per couple, the deal includes a 20 minute chopper ride on the skies of the city and a pool side meal, the company said. The service will be available between 9-10.30 am on February 14 and can be booked by using the Uber.
20:26   US soldier behind WikiLeaks to get hormone therapy
The US Army has agreed to provide hormone therapy for Chelsea Manning, the soldier serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking a huge trove of classified documents to WikiLeaks. 
The prisoner formerly known as Bradley Manning, and once held to be male, said in August 2013, the day after her court sentencing, that she is female. 
Just over a year later, it emerged that she had filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming she has been denied access to medically necessary treatment for her gender disorder.
20:10   2015 swine flu toll at 485, more than two-fold jump over 2014
More than 70 people across the country succumbed to swine flu in just two days since Feb 10 as the toll from the disease so far this year reached 485, which is more than double the number of deaths reported in the whole of 2014.

Official data said that the total number of cases of swine flu reported till Feb 12 this year has reached 6,298.

After the ministry reported 216 deaths due to swine flu in the first 10 days of February -- which had put the toll between Jan 1 and Feb 10 at 407 -- it today said that the number of casualties till Feb 12 stands at 485.
19:48   AAP govt to pursue corruption charges against Dikshit, Ambani
Delhi's AAP government to be sworn in tomorrow will pursue allegations of corruption against ex-Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and industrialist Mukesh Ambani and others, Deputy Chief Minister-designate Manish
Sisodia said today.

All the cases that were registered last year during Kejriwal government's 49-day stint "will be pursued", he told PTI.

Sisodia, who had been asked whether the FIRs lodged by the AAP government last year against Mukesh Ambani, the then Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily as also allegations against Dikshit would be pursued, responded "yes, definitely". 

The then Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had ordered filing of an FIR on February 11 last year against Moily, his predecessor Murli Deora, who is dead now, and RIL Chief Mukesh Ambani for alleged collusion in hike of prices in natural gas from the KG basin.

The then AAP government had also ordered a probe into street light purchase scam during the Commonwealth Games of 2010 in which Dikshit's role had come under the scanner. 
19:01   MSG screening stopped at several cinema halls in West Delhi
The screeing of the controversial movie "MSG" featuring Dera Sachch Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in title role was today stopped at several cinema halls in West Delhi following protests by Shiromani Akali Dali (Badal) activists and some other groups. 

Protestors also burnt the effigy and posters of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, demanding a ban on the screening of MSG, the debut movie of the Dera chief. 

Police have beefed up security outside cinema halls where the movie is to be screened, especially in west Delhi having several Sikh-dominated areas. 

Raja Garden, Subhash Nagar, Vikaspuri were among the areas where screening of MSG were stopped for several hours after the protests.
18:41   Kejriwal to retain key portfolios; may keep cabinet small says sources
Delhi Chief Minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal is expected to retain finance, home and energy portfolios, say sources.

Kejriwal's second-in-command Manish Sisodia, who is set to be the Deputy CM, is expected to be given the education and public works portfolios.

AAP leader S K Jain could get the health ministry and may have to handle the industries portfolio as well, whilst Jitendra Tomar could get the Delhi law ministry and Asim Ahmed could get the food & civil supply portfolio.

The tentative Kejriwal cabinet also includes Sandip Kumar, who is expected to get women and child development ministry, Gopal Rai who will get the transport, labour portfolio.

Kejriwal is set to be sworn-in tomorrow as the Delhi CM at Ramlila ground. 

The AAP, led by Kejriwal, won 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi assembly. 

The other three seats went to the BJP. 
18:10   Satara order on Valentine's Day cancelled
Hours after the education department in Satara directed schools and colleges to celebrate Valentine's Day as 'Mother's Day' in the district, the order was cancelled.

Maharashtra Education minister Vinod Tawde had told Rediff.com," "The circular is issued by the local authority. The state government doesn't go with the views of these local authorities."

The minister said that the person who issued the circular had done it with good intentions. However, he added, "It is not his job. He should not have done it."
17:54   Terror attack rumour triggers panic in schools in Jammu
everal panic stricken schools in Jammu called it a holiday while parents rushed to collect their children after a rumour spread that militants had attacked a prestigious school along the India-Pakistan border today.

The rumours spread after the news that a Christian school had been vandalised in Delhi was flashed in the media.

"There was panic after the rumours spread and several schools in the area had to call it a holiday today. First there was a rumour that a school in Miran Sahab was attacked, then in Bishnah and then R S Pura," a police officer said.

He said that the police also reached there, but there was no threat to any school. "As a precautionary measure police teams reached the spots, but found that there was nothing to worry about," he said.
17:26   Ashton Carter confirmed as new US defence secretary
Ashton Carter, a close confidant of President Barack Obama and a strong proponent of Indo-US strategic ties, has been confirmed by the Senate as the next American defence secretary.

He was confirmed to the top Pentagon post with an overwhelming 93 to five votes. Carter, 60, will be the 25th US Secretary of Defence, replacing Chuck Hagel who quit from the post in November last amid reports of differences with Obama.

Obama lauded Carter's election to the top post yesterday even as he hoped that the new secretary will work with the Congress and find a "more responsible" approach to defence spendings.

"With his decades of experience, Ash will help keep our military strong as we continue the fight against terrorist networks, modernise our alliances, and invest in new capabilities to keep our armed forces prepared for long-term threats," Obama said in a statement.

"As secretary of defence, Ash will play a central role in our work with Congress to find a more responsible approach to defence spending that makes the department more efficient, preserves military readiness, and keeps faith with our men and women in uniform and their families," he said.
17:03   Main accused in Japanese tourist rape surrenders in Jaipur
The main accused in the Japanese tourist rape case surrendered before police and was subsequently arrested today, a little over a month after the incident took place in a suburb of this city.

Twenty-five year old Ajit Singh Choudhary, who was absconding since January 9, surrendered at Dudu police station around 1000 hours, IG (Jaipur Range) D C Jain told reporters.

Immediately, he was arrested in the case registered with the police station, the IGP said, adding a charge sheet will be filed within seven days for fast trial.
16:49   Sri Lankan prez Sirisena to visit India on February 15
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will be in India on February 15 on his first overseas visit. according to MEA sources.

"We will discuss issues related to reconciliation and reconstruction with Sri Lanka," Ministry Of External Affairs Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.

"We desire a peaceful, stable Sri Lanka in which all Sri-Lankans live in harmony and peace," he added.
16:42   Amanda Knox, convicted of Kercher murder, 'to marry'
She was aquitted - then re-convicted - of murdering her British roommate in a case that captivated the world.

Now American Amanda Knox has announced she is getting married.Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison after an Italian court found she had murdered 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in a drug-fuelled sex attack carried out with her then boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, and a third man, Rudy Guede.

Read this article HERE
16:33   'Modi's call to Sharif shows effort to break deadlock in ties'
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in what is being seen here as an effort to revive the suspended diplomatic dialogue.

Prime Minister Modi telephoned Sharif and other heads of the SAARC nations participating in the ICC Cricket World Cup and conveyed best wishes for the showpiece event. Modi said he would be sending country's new Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on a 'SAARC Yatra' to "further strengthen our ties".

Modi's telephonic call to Sharif today came hours after US President Barack Obama spoke with the Pakistani Premier. Prime Minister Modi's call to Sharif and the announcement to send the foreign secretary shows that he is now ready to move ahead, a senior Pakistani government official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
16:31   Kejriwal not to take metro to his swearing-in tomorrow
Delhi's chief ministerial designate Arvind Kejriwal will travel by car, accompanied by his family, to the venue of swearing-in ceremony at Ramlila Maidan, party sources said today.

Unlike the last time, he will not be taking the Metro, a move that had drawn a lot of criticism from the people.

 A party member, involved in preparations related to the ceremony at his residence in Kaushambi here, said that since Kejriwal is down with fever, he has decided to go by car.

"He is not well today and may not be well enough to ride in Metro tomorrow. So he would take road route tomorrow," the AAP member said. 

"He (Kejriwal) may leave home around 10.30 am from home along with his family. Traffic police would be escorting him via Barakhambha road," a police official said, adding that he would be accorded "CM route protocol".

Image: People wait outside the metro station to travel with Kejriwal to the oath-taking ceremony in this picture taken on December 28, 2014. Photograph: @AamAadmiParty/Twitter

16:24   Cricket diplomacy: PM Modi effects a 'course correction'
On Friday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he had spoken to all SAARC leaders, whose countries were all set to participate in the upcoming cricket world cup to wish them well.

This included, among others, Pakistan's PM Nawaz Sharif. Modi also announced that the new foreign secretary, S Jaishankar, would head out on a Saarc yatra to strengthen ties.

Read this story here
15:58   AAP in talks with IT cos for free wi-fi in Delhi
The Aam Aadmi Party has already begun talks with companies, including Facebook, for setting up free wi-fi facility across Delhi, at a total cost of about Rs 150-200 crore, sources said.

The initial talks are being held by party volunteers, many of them holding senior positions in IT companies, to make the process easy for the bureaucrats once the new government starts implementing the promises made by AAP.

"We have had a round of talks with Facebook, which has installed such a service in Mumbai. Similarly, we are also holding talks with other companies and will try to get a better deal," said a party volunteer. 

The volunteers said that the free service will come with an advertisment for thrity seconds, a feature which they were not sure Kejriwal would agree to, and which would enable the government to earn around Rs 100 crore.

"We are not sure whether Arvind (Kejriwal) will agree with advertisments coming on a government launched programme even if it fetches revenue. We will brief him with all the aspects and let him take a call on this," they said.

AAP leader Manish Siodia, who is tipped to be next deputy chief minister, had said that it will strive to implement 70 point programme.
15:56   Former ISI chief incorrect on Osama Bin Laden: US
The US has said the statement by the former ISI chief that Pakistan's spy agency "most likely sheltered" Osama bin Laden is incorrect. 

The State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, insisted there is no reason to believe that Pakistan government knew about the whereabouts of the slain Al Qaeda chief. 

"As we've stated in the past, and the President (Barack Obama) and Secretary (Hillary) Clinton at the time stated, we don't have any reason to believe that the government of Pakistan knew about the location of bin Laden. That remains our belief," Psaki told reporters at her daily news briefing yesterday.

"Correct", Psaki said when asked what ex-ISI chief Lt Gen (rtd) Asad Durrani is saying is entirely wrong. 

Durrani in an interview to Al Jazeera said that most likely ISI sheltered Osama bin Laden and hoped to use the Al Qaeda chief as a bargaining chip with America  to strike a deal on Afghanistan before he was killed in a covert US Navy SEALs raid in 2011.
15:33   Sonakshi responds to Bhatt tweet: Nobody EVER went to jail for laughing
After an FIR was filed against Alia Bhatt and 14 other members who were a part of the recent AIB Roast, film-maker Mahesh Bhatt had come in support of daughter Alia Bhatt and given a statement that why was it only Alia and Deepika Padukone who were booked and not Sonakshi Sinha. 

He further stated that since she is the daughter of BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha therefore she was spared.

In reaction, Sonakshi Sinha has replied to Mahesh Bhatt on Twitter and has said that she too was earlier booked in a number of pointless cases where Alia Bhatt wasn't, but her father Shatrughan Sinha never questioned them.

She tweeted, "Dear Mr @MaheshNBhatt, a couple of pointless FIR's have been filed before this (delhi and kol if im not mistaken, in which my name was Mentioned and Alia's wasnt. I don't remember my father questioning them as to how or why so. I do agree with u however, if these FIR's Are filed on 2-3 members of the audience, why not the other 3,998. Let's not give these ppl the attention they so desperately seek, And as far as my memory serves me, nobody EVER went to jail for laughing (sic)"
15:11   Blasts, firing near mosque in Peshawar; 10 killed, 60 injured
Ten people have been killed and 60 injured in a blast near a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Express News correspondent Yasir Ali said one of the blasts took place inside Imamia Masjid, shortly after the Friday prayers came to an end.

An eyewitness claimed six terrorists had entered the mosque and thrown grenades in addition to detonating a suicide vest.

Police were unable to confirm this.

The number of casualties is expected to increase.

The injured are being shifted to a hospital nearby, and the area has been cordoned.

Two weeks earlier on Friday, at least 60 people were killed and 60 others injured in an explosion inside a central imambargah in Sindh province's Shikarpur district.

The militant organisation Jundullah, a splinter group of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, had claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack.
14:56   Mulayam invites Sonia for grand nephew's wedding
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today invited Congress president Sonia Gandhi to his grand-nephew Tej Pratap Yadav's wedding on February 26.

Tej Pratap, who is a member of Parliament from Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh, will marry RJD chief Lalu Prasad's youngest daughter Raj Laxmi on February 26 in New Delhi. 

A few days ago, Lalu Prasad had also met Gandhi. 

The two Yadavs are in the forefront of consolidation of opposition forces, bringing six constituents of the erstwhile 'Janata Parivar' under the banner of one party. 

These parties include SP, Janata Dal (Secular), Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (United), Indian National Lok Dal and Samajwadi Janata Party.
14:52   PM summons Delhi police commissioner after school is vandalised
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today summoned Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi in the wake of the vandalisation of a prominent Christian school in South Delhi's Vasant Vihar area and directed him to come down hard against those involved in such attacks. 

Expressing "deep concern and anguish" over the rising crime rate in the Capital, the prime minister asked the police commissioner to speedily investigate the recent incidents of vandalism and ensure that the guilty are brought to book. 

Modi also spoke over telephone to Union home secretary L C Goyal and asked him to 'pay special attention to the rising incidents of crime, and vandalism, and to work towards ensuring the safety and security of women in the capital,' an official release said here.
14:47   The continuing story of the Elephant and the Dragon
So is India on track for catching up China's economic growth? While India's newly-released growth rates, which were newly revised as well, have led some to chorus that India is well on track for what has long been a cherished dream in the country, there are others who have cried a halt to such talk. 

Even if the forecasted economic growth looks impressive, they say, to reach China's record of over eight pc growth over 30 years is a steep challenge, and India has to do much more to get there. 

Meanwhile, here are two views. One, the IndiaRealTime blog of Wall Street Journal announced in a recent headline that India passes China to become fastest growing economy, BloombergView says no, India isn't growing like China. Enjoy!
14:41   V-Day as Mothers Day? Not our call: Maha education minister
Maharashtra Education minister Vinod Tawde confirmed that the local authorities in Maharashtra's Satara district have issued the circulars to all the schools under Panchayat Samitis in the district to observe February 14 as Mother's Day.

Here's what he told rediff.com: "The circular is issued by the local authority. The state government doesn't go with the views of these local authorities. The person who issued the circular has done it with good intentions. But it is not his job. He should not have done it."
14:29   Kejriwal to be sworn-in at 2 pm on Saturday
Delhi's chief minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal, who led his party to a historic win in the assembly polls, will take oath at Ramlila Maidan at 2 pm tomorrow. 

The preparations at Ramlila Maidan for Kejriwal's swearing-in ceremony are underway. Seating arrangements for nearly 40,000 people have been made. Security has also been beefed up in and around the venue along with the installation of 40 CCTV cameras. 

It is being reported that the first Cabinet meeting will take place at 4.30 pm at the Delhi Secretariat on Saturday. 

Meanwhile, PTI reports that Kejriwal is still down with fever."He has been down with fever for the last four days. "Even today, it was difficult for him to sit, so we had to cancel all the scheduled meetings," an AAP leader said.
14:17   Satara schools ordered to celebrate V-Day as Mother's Day
In a bizarre move, education officials in Satara district have directed all schools and colleges to celebrate Valentine's Day Saturday as Mothers Day and sing poems dedicated to mothers, an official said here Friday.

The stern circular (READ IT HERE) ordering all schools and colleges to celebrate Valentine's Day as Mother's Day has kicked up a raging controversy in academic circles.

It was sent to hundreds of public and private primary schools and around 25 colleges in the district Feb 11, asking them to celebrate V-Day with a difference by dedicating it to mothers.
14:09   How many fighters does the Islamic State really have?
Estimates of the number of fighters in the ranks of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant are extraordinarily wide-ranging. 

On the low end of things, CNNs Barbara Starr recently reported that "US intelligence estimates that ISIL has a total force of somewhere between 9,000 to 18,000 fighters". 

In late 2014, the CIA's estimate of ISIL's numbers was slightly higher, as its analysts assessed that the group had between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters between its Iraq and Syria holdings.

Other estimates are far higher.

Read more HERE
13:49   Sunanda case: Tharoor at Sarojini Nagar Police Station
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor arrived at the Sarojini Nagar Police Station on Friday afternoon, possibly for questioning, in connection with the alleged murder of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.

On Thursday also, Tharoor was called for questioning twice by the Delhi Police. In total, he was questioned for about seven hours yesterday.

The police called Tharoor again for questioning as, according to sources, some of his statements before police have been contradictory.

Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi had said earlier today, "We gathered detailed information from him (Tharoor) yesterday. Now his statement will be analysed."

The former union minister was yesterday questioned over the ownership of Kochi Tuskers, a defunct IPL franchisee, to find out if Sunanda had received equity on his behalf from the franchisee.
13:43   Willingly opted out of cabinet: Somnath Bharti
After being dropped out of the new Arvind Kejriwal-led cabinet, former AAP minister Somnath Bharti today said he had willingly decided not to take any responsibility because he wants to focus on building his constituency as a model one.

"Let me put all speculations to rest. I have willingly opted not to take any responsility in the government and not because I possess any demerit. I want to focus on building my constituency as a model one and utilise all my time and energy for the same," the Malviya Nagar MLA tweeted.

Responding to Bharti's tweet, Delhi's chief ministerial designate Arvind Kejriwal said he was proud of Bharti. 

"@attorneybharti I am proud of u," Kejriwal tweeted.

Bharti, who was a former law minister, is one of four ministers to have faced the axe. He is also known to be extremely close to Kejriwal. 

AAP sources said Bharti will be kept away from the cabinet till his name is cleared from the case relating to a midnight raid on the house of African women.
13:27   AAP member Ashutosh gets emotional over father's praise
Former journalist and AAP member Ashutosh's joy knew no bounds when he received a letter from his father on the party's spectacular showing in the Delhi elections.

'No father has written a better letter to his son than mine. My father wrote this to me, can't be more emotional,' he has tweeted. You can see the letter here.
13:24   No way Pak will accept permanent UNSC seat for India: Sharif tells Obama
India's permanent membership in the reformed UN Security Council is unacceptable to Pakistan as it has not complied with UN resolutions on Kashmir, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has told US President Barack Obama. 

The US President called Sharif last night and both leaders discussed issues of mutual interest and those related to regional stability and peace for over half-an-hour, officials said in Islamabad.

During their conversation, Sharif expressed reservations about US support for India's bid to secure a permanent UN Security Council seat.

Sharif told Obama that India cannot become a UNSC permanent member due to its non-compliance of all the resolutions passed by the UN on Kashmir and has "not fulfilled the commitment to give the right of self-determination to people of Kashmir," officials said. 

"India does not deserve to be a permanent member of the UN," Sharif was quoted as saying.

During his unprecedented second India visit last month, President Obama had reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member. 

In his telephonic conversation with Obama, Sharif also said that Pakistan wanted to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Obama, during his India visit, had also reaffirmed the US' position that India is ready for NSG membership. 
13:08  
Baba Ramdev tweets: I pray for the speedy recovery of Sureshbhai Patel. Mr @BarackObama will Martin Luther King be not shocked today?
13:00   Warnie looking seriously at Bollywood offer
After a successful cricket career, Spin King Shane Warne will be seen trying his luck in Bollywood later this year.

"There is an offer. There is someone who has something for me," Warne told PTI while attending a Tourism Victoria event in Melbourne.

Warne said he may look into the Bollywood project later this year, after the cricket season gets over. 

The former cricketer was recently announced as the monarch of the famous Moomba festival, an annual event in Melbourne, along with the Melbourne-raised Bollywood star Pallavi Sharda.

Warne, 45, said he had been asked about his Bollywood plans many a time but he has not finalised anything yet.
12:47   Hearing in Gulbarg Society fund embezzlement case put off
Just In: The Supreme Court has deferred till February 19 the hearing in the anticipatory bail plea moved by activist Teesta Setalvad in the Gulbarg Society fund embezzlement case.
12:21   SBI's profit goes up to Rs 2,910 cr
Just In: State Bank of India's Q3 net profit up 30 per cent, to Rs 2,910 crore from Rs 2,234 crore, in the year-ago period.
11:56   Modi telephones Sharif to wish him for cricket World Cup
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will visit Pakistan and other SAARC nations soon. 

Announcing this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he telephoned his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to convey his best wishes for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

He also spoke with the presidents of Afghanistan and Sri Lanka andthe prime minister of Bangladesh to convey his best wishes for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Modi said.
11:50   18pc and 15 pc turnout in bypoll to 2 WB seats
A voter turnout of 18 and 15 per cent was recorded till 10 AM in by-elections to one Lok Sabha and one Assembly constituencies in West Bengal respectively, which are underway amid tight security.

Over 18 per cent polling was recorded in Bongaon (SC) Lok Sabha seat in North 24 Paraganas district and nearly 15 per cent voters exercised their franchise in Krishnaganj (SC) Assembly seat of Nadia district till 10 AM.

"Polling is going on peacefully and there has been no untoward incident. Around 18.25 percent turnout was recorded in Bongaon Lok Sabha seat and 15 per cent was recorded in Krishanganj assembly seat till 10 AM," Assistant Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Amitjyoti Bhattyacharia said. 

The by-polls this time are being viewed as a crucial test of popularity for the ruling Trinamool Congress at a time when the party is facing heat over Saradha scam. 
11:43   Guru Greg reveals why he had a fallout with Sachin
Former India coach Greg Chappell says his relations with Sachin Tendulkar soured after the Australian had asked the Indian cricket icon to bat down the order at the 2007 World Cup.

The 66-year-old Chappell's statement comes a few months after Tendulkar launched a scathing attack on the former Australia captain by referring to him as a "ringmaster" in his autobiography, Playing It My Way.

In an episode of Cricket Legends, aired on Fox Sports across Australia, Chappell said that the reason for their fallout was him suggesting that Tendulkar bat down the order during the tournament in the Caribbean. 

"I expected, I thought, that he would want to do what was right for the team. But he really wanted to bat where he wanted to bat and that was a real gulf between us," Chappell said on the show. 

India had a disastrous outing in the mega-event, getting knocked out in the first round itself.

Chappell claimed that Tendulkar, now 41, initially agreed to his proposal, but later changed his mind. 

"He preferred to open the batting ... but in the World Cup in the West Indies, we needed him to bat down the order. That was where our problems were, we had other players who could bat at the top of the order. He agreed to it initially, but then he recanted and said he didn't want to do it. I forced him to do it and, from that point onwards, he didn't want to work with me again. In hindsight, I probably would have found a different solution." 
10:47   Why is Sonakshi Sinha not named in AIB Roast FIR: Mahesh Bhatt
CNN-IBN reports: After a social activist filed a petition before additional chief metropolitan magistrate CS Baviskar in Mumbai court and following the order, FIR was registered against 14 people involved in the AIB Roast including Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt, Mahesh Bhatt has alleged witch-hunt and has questioned why Sonakshi Sinha was not named in the FIR. 

Bhatt said that Sonakshi's name was not mentioned because she is the daughter of BJP MP.

Speaking to CNN-IBN, the filmmaker said, "If being part of 4000 people in the audience and laughing is a crime, then why have the other attendees not been named in the FIR. Sonakshi Sinha, who is the daughter of person ( Shatrughan Sinha, BJP MP) who is part of the present dispensation was also in the audience, why was she not named in the FIR? Certain forces are orchestrating this series of events. You have to be naive not to see that."

The AIB roast video was pulled down from YouTube after it sparked a controversy for obscene language and content.
10:46   Assam: 2 killed as ULFA targets businessman
Two persons were killed in a grenade blast at Sepon in Sibsagar district of Assam on Friday.

Unknown persons travelling in a cycle hurled a grenade at the house of prominent businessman Biren Agarwal on JP Road in Sepon Market at around 8.45 am, killing two persons there, police said.

Biren Agarwal's younger brother Situ Agarwal and their driver Dimbeswar Bhuyan were killed on the spot in the explosion as they were going out of the house, the officer said.

Superintendent of Police Bijoy Kuligram has rushed to the area.

The locals claimed that the proscribed ULFA-Independent, which is active in the area, had recently demanded extortion money from the Agarwal family who refused to make the payment. 
10:44   Delhi BJP meets today for soul searching post poll defeat
Three days after suffering an embarrassing defeat in the Delhi assembly elections, the state BJP leadership will meet in New Delhi on Friday to take stock of the results.

The meeting will be chaired by Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay, who did not contest February 7 polls.

The results on February 10 proved to be an embarrassment for the BJP which won just three of the total 70 seats. 

In the last elections in December 2013, the BJP had won 31 seats emerging as the single largest party in a hung assembly ahead of the Aam Aadmi Party
10:22   New Zealand robot predicts Afghanistan will win World Cup 2015
A New Zealand robot has predicted minnows Afghanistan will win the upcoming Cricket World Cup, although even the machine's programmer admits such a shock result is unlikely.

The University of Canterbury's robot Ikram made the prediction using software developed by doctorate student Eduardo Sandoval.

When the flags of the 14 participating nations were placed in front of the robot it selected Afghanistan, who are playing their first World Cup and drawn in a tough pool including Australia, England and New Zealand."Of course this is unlikely, but with cricket the result can always be unexpected," Sandoval said.

New Zealand bookmakers do not share the robot's views and have Afghanistan as 1,000-1 outsiders to win the tournament, with Australia favourites at 3-1.
10:20   Don't make political statements out of desperation: Bihar governor to Nitish
A day after Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar accused Bihar Governor of acting at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre, Keshari Nath Tripathi on Friday reacted sharply saying that it is not right to make political statements out of desperation.

Kumar had made the statement after the Bihar Governor on Wednesday asked Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi to prove majority on the floor of the assembly on February 20.

Justifying his decision, Tripathi today said Nitish Kumar wanted a decision to be made within 24-48 hours on Bihar CM's post, which is not constitutionally right.

He further said that it was a well thought out decision which was taken after looking into all aspects.

Nitish Kumar on Thursday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "encouraging" horse-trading in Bihar and alleged that the Centre "pressured" the Governor into giving the incumbent Chief Minister a long time to prove his majority so that MLAs could be "lured".

09:53   Rupee gains 26 paise against dollar in early trade
The rupee strengthened by 26 paise to 62.05 against the dollar in early trade today at the Interbank Foreign Exchange on fresh selling of the US currency by exporters and banks. 

Forex dealers said besides selling of the American currency by exporters and banks, a higher opening in domestic stock market, supported the rupee. 

The rupee had shed six paise to hit a fresh one-month low of 62.31 in yesterday's trade on persistent demand for the American currency from banks and importers in view of sustained foreign capital outflows.

Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex rose by 110.17 points, or 0.38 per cent, to trade at 28,915.27 in early trade. 
09:45   'MSG' starring Dera chief releases today; Haryana on high alert
With controversial film MSG: The Messenger featuring Dera Sachcha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh set to release on Friday, security arrangements at theatres which will screen it have been tightened.

Prohibitory orders have been issued by authorities in various districts of Haryana to prevent any untoward incident as Sikh organisations are opposing the release of the film.

"The film is given certificate by the censor board and it is a subject of the central government. We are ensuring strict security to prevent any untoward incident," Haryana Cabinet minister Ram Bilas Sharma told reporters.  

To deal with any situation resulting due to the build-up of tension over the film's release, police and paramilitary forces have been stationed at several places across the state.

Two companies of reserve police force have been stationed in Sirsa where the Dera has its headquarters.
09:38   Bengaluru-Ernakulam express derails, many feared injured
Just IN: In a major accident, the Bengaluru-Ernakulam Intercity Express derailed near the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border today.

The inter-city train derailed near Mulagondapalli around 7.35 am.

Many are feared injured in the accident. A train passenger said ten boxes, including two AC coaches, had derailed. 

The cause of the derailment in not known at this point.

Seven ambulances from Tamil Nadu and 10 ambulances from Karnataka have been dispatched.

More information is awaited.
09:21   Gulberg fund embezzlement case: Will Teesta Setalvad be arrested today?
The Supreme Court, which yesterday stayed the arrest of social activist Teesta Setalvad in connection with the Gulberg Society fund embezzlement case, is expected to pronounce its decision on Friday.

The honourable apex court will pass its order on Setalvad's interim bail plea today.

The SC directive staying Setalvad's arrest came hours after the Gujarat High Court rejected the anticipatory bail petitions filed by the social activist, her husband Javed Anand, Tanvir Jafri (whose father Ehsan Jafri, former Congress MP, was killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots) and Firoz Gulzar, a resident of Gulberg Society here, in the case.

They all are accused of misusing funds to the tune of Rs 1.51 crore and face arrest.

A team of Gujarat police even went to Setalwad's residence following the Gujarat HC verdict yesterday.

At the last hearing at the HC, senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, who appeared for the prosecution, had put before the court the statements of Setalwad's former accountant Rais Khan who accused her and others of misusing the funds meant for the families of Gulberg Society riot victims.
08:44   Bye-election begins for Jayalalithaa's seat
Voting began on Friday morning in the bye-election for the Srirangam Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu.

Polling began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm.

A total of 322 polling booths have been set up for around 270,000 voters to elect their representatives from 29 contestants.

The assembly seat was earlier held by former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa and the bye-election was necessitated after she was disqualified following her conviction in a corruption case and sentenced to four years in jail.

However, the contest will be among the AIADMK, DMK, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist CPI(M).
03:53   US expresses condolences to family of paralysed Indian man
The US Government today expressed condolences to the family of the 57-year-old Indian man, who has been left partially paralysed after a police officer allegedly assaulted him in Alabama, but refrained to comment on any diplomatic discussion with India on this issue. 

"The Secretary (of State) and the State Department certainly express our strong condolences to the family for everything that he has been through," the State Department Spokesperson, Jen Psaki, told reporters at her daily news conference.
03:53   US Senate confirms Ashton Carter as Defence Secretary
The US Senate has confirmed Ashton Carter as the next Secretary of Defence after he was elected to the top Pentagon post with an overwhelming 93 to five votes. 

Carter, 60, will be the 25th US Secretary of Defence, replacing Chuck Hagel who quit from the post in November last amid reports of differences with President Barack Obama.
03:30   Boris Johnson to consider radiation devices for London police
The London mayor will ask Scotland Yard to evaluate whether issuing radiation devices to police officers could help in the fight against terrorism in London.Boris Johnson was speaking after meeting New York Police Department commissioner Bill Bratton, who said the devices were useful when searching for weapons

Johnson said: "What we need to do is get a better understanding of the risks versus the investment, what I am thinking of doing is going back to the Met and trying to evaluate what the likelihood is of an attack of that kind."
03:08   Former ISI chief incorrect on Osama Bin Laden: US
The United States today said the statement by the former ISI chief Lt Gen (rtd) Asad Durrani that the Pakistan's powerful spy agency "most likely sheltered" Osama bin Laden is incorrect. 

The State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, insisted there is no reason to believe that Pakistan Government knew about the whereabouts of the Osama bin Laden.
01:41   World dumps 8.8 million tons of plastics into oceans: Study
Each year about 8.8 million tons of plastic ends up in the world oceans, a quantity much higher than previous estimates, according to a new study that tracked marine debris from its source. 

That's the equivalent of five grocery bags full of plastic debris dotting each foot of coastline around the world, said study lead author Jenna Jambeck, an environment engineering professor at the University of Georgia.
01:11   EU leaders debate new anti-terror measures
Galvanised by the recent terror attacks in France, European Union leaders today debated a range of ambitious steps to better protect their 28 nations, including exchanging airliner passenger manifests, tightening controls at the border and combating extremism on the Internet. 

EU President Donald Tusk, the summit meeting's host, said he would seek agreement on a "work plan to step up the fight against terrorism." The bloc's top official for counter-terrorism warned member governments last month that "Europe is facing an unprecedented, diverse and serious threat."
00:19   'Glimmer of hope' for Ukraine after new ceasefire deal
 Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine agreed a deal offering a "glimmer of hope" for an end to conflict in easternUkraine on Thursday, but the United States said continued, intense fighting ran counter to the spirit of the accord.

The deal, announced after more than 16 hours of discussions through the night in the Belarussian capital Minsk, was followed swiftly by allegations from Kiev of a new, mass influx of Russian armour into rebel-held eastern Ukraine.
00:17   Syria rebels call for help against Assad as death toll rises
A Syrian opposition leader called on world leaders to take "immediate action" to end government attacks on rebel-held suburbs of Damascus, amid reports that some 150 people have been killed in government airstrikes in the past 10 days. 

Khaled Khoja, leader of the Syrian National Coalition, made the appeal at a press conference held from the group's base in Turkey.
00:17   AI Kolkata-London flight delayed by 7 hours
Air India's Kolkata-London flight via New Delhi today took off after a 7-hour delay because of cabin crew shortage and the passengers for London would have to stay in New Delhi for the night. 

Air India officials here said the flight was scheduled to take off from here at 10.30 AM but it actually left at 5.30 PM because of shortage of crew members.

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