Sat, 24 January 2015
Clinton was 1st US Prez to be invited for R'day parade

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23:25   Clinton was 1st US Prez to be invited for R'day parade
Barack Obama may be the first US President to attend the Republic Day parade but he is not the first American leader to be invited for this event, according to a former Indian diplomat.      

Former Foreign Secretary K Srinivasan said today the then President Bill Clinton was invited for the Republic Day parade on behalf of then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao in 1994 but he declined as he was not willing to change the timing of his State of the Union address.      
22:39   Japan checking IS 'hostage death' video
Japan says it is seeking to verify a video that claims Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa, held by Islamic State militants, has been killed.Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denounced the video as "absurd and unforgivable", following an emergency cabinet meeting.

Abe said Japan "will not give in to terrorism".

On Tuesday the group threatened to kill Mr Yukawa and fellow Japanese hostage Kenji Goto unless Japan paid $200m (130m) within 72 hours.

The video purports to show Goto holding a picture of what appears to be the body of Yukawa, and issuing a new demand from IS in return for his own release.

Read full story HERE.
21:56   ISIS video claims 1 Japanese hostage killed
One of ISIS' two Japanese hostages has been killed after a deadline for ransom passed, and the terror group has issued a new demand for the other's freedom -- a prisoner exchange -- a video posted online Saturday by a known ISIS supporter purports to show.

The video appears to show a static image of surviving Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, dressed in orange, holding a photo of what appears to be beheaded compatriot Haruna Yukawa.

Read full story HERE.
21:45   Sri Sri Ravi Shankar declines Padma award
According to reports, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has declined the Padma award.

The spiritual leader's decision came the same day after yoga guru Baba Ramdev declined from accepting the award citing his principle of asceticism.

The Art of Living of which Ravi Shankar is the founder also issued a statement in which he was quoted as saying, "I thank the government for considering me for the Padma award. There are many other deserving people.

Instead of me, I would like them to honour someone else.
21:07   US Brewery agrees to rename Gandhi-Bot beer
A US brewery that drew flak over its use of Mahatma Gandhi's name and images on beer cans today agreed to drop them from its bottles, terming it as the "right move" in the wake of complaints by the Indian-American community. 

The Connecticut-based brewery - New England Brewing Company - said it would rename and rebrand the 'Gandhi-Bot' beer. 

The renaming process could take as long as three months, it said and assured customers that the recipe for the beer will not change. 

The company had been using a robotic image of Gandhi, who favoured prohibition, to sell its beer. 

The controversial beer had been distributed for about five years, and was promoted on the brewery's website as "fully vegetarian" and "an ideal aid for self-purification and the seeking of truth and love".
20:35   BJP launches 'Selfie with Modi' to woo young voters in Delhi
In an effort to woo young voters, BJP will set up around 2,500 'Selfie with Modi' booths across Delhi where people will be able to click their photos with a "virtual Narendra Modi".

The first such 'Selfie with Modi' booth was today inaugurated by BJP President Amit Shah today at Central Delhi's Khan Market. Modi is himself known for clicking selfies on various occasions. 

"Moreover, Narendra Modi is our Prime Minister and the main leader whereas Kiran Bedi is our CM candidate. So we have launched this Selfie with Modi campaign." 
19:58   Aamir Khan's 'PK' to release in China
Aamir Khan's blockbuster hit 'PK' is expected release in China which has emerged as a major box office earner in recent years rivalling Hollywood and Bollywood. 

An agreement for the release of the Chinese version is due to be signed in Beijing in the next three days making it perhaps the first Indian film to get a release in China this year. 

There are expectations that Beijing may permit more Indian films considering the improvement in relations, especially on the cultural front between the two countries. Currently only 34 foreign films are permitted in China every year. 

Most of that quota is grabbed by top Hollywood films. An agreement for the release of the 'PK' was expected to be signed in Beijing next week. 

Aamir is perhaps the most well known of Indian film stars in China in recent years as his previous film '3 Idiots' was a massive success in China. 

The Chinese patrons of the film expect 'PK' to replicate the success of '3 Idiots' which resonated well with the audience there.
19:27   Baba Ramdev refuses to accept the Padma Vibhushan award
Yoga guru Ramdev has declined any Padma award for him reportedly being considered by central government on the occasion of 66th Republic Day.

In a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, he referred to media reports that the Government was considering his name for Padma Vibushan, the second highest civilian award but felt that as an "ascetic" he should refrain from getting "rewards or honours".

Ramdev requested the Home Minister instead to select some other personality for the award.
18:54   Flogging of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi postponed again
After enduring wounds from being struck 50 times, a Saudi blogger has been given a reprieve in receiving another 50 lashes this Friday, said Amnesty International.

The case of Raif Badawi has garnered international headlines and global outrage.Badawi started a blog called "Free Saudi Liberals" in 2008 to encourage discussion about Islam, particularly the intrusion of the nation's religious police in Saudis' personal lives. 

He was officially charged with "adopting liberal thought," "founding a liberal website," and "insulting Islam."

Read full story HERE.
18:12   Boko Haram gunmen kill 15 in northeast Nigeria
Boko Haram gunmen killed 15 people including a village leader near Maiduguri, the heartland of the Islamist group blamed for thousands of deaths in its six-year insurgency, security sources and residents said today. 

"The terrorists attacked Kambari village which is less than five kilometres to Maiduguri around 5.00 am. They killed 15 people and set the entire hamlet ablaze," the security source who requested anonymity said of the attack yesterday. 

Read full story HERE.
17:36   US President Barack Obama & Michelle Obama leave for India
US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama left for for India today.

The first couple boarded the president's personal plane, the Air Force One, from Andrews Air Base on early Saturday morning.

Obama will be attending the Republic Day celebrations as the official chief guest of India. Security has been heightened in light of his arrival.
17:10   British PM wishes 'partner' India on Republic Day
UK Prime Minister David Cameron described the Indo-British ties as "a partnership between equals" in his special message to India ahead of the country's 65th Republic Day. "As millions of people mark this important milestone, we can reflect on the enduring and special relationship between our two nations," said a statement from his Downing Street office. "This relationship has gone through great changes. Our collaboration is now stronger, deeper and more far-reaching. It is a partnership between two equals with a mutual respect for each other," the statement said.
16:57   Just 5 Ebola cases left in Liberia: government
Liberia said today it had just five remaining cases of Ebola, confirming it was close to eradicating an epidemic which has left thousands dead. The worst outbreak of the virus in history has seen the west African nation and its neighbours Guinea and Sierra Leone register almost 9,000 deaths in a year, although experts believe the real toll could be far higher. "We have five confirmed Ebola cases in Liberia as of today," assistant health minister Tolbert Nyensuwah said. 
16:09   Shelling in Ukraine market kills 10
A crowded open-air market in Ukraine's strategically important coastal city of Mariupol came under rocket fire this morning, killing at least 10 people, regional police said. Mariupol lies on the Azov Sea and is the major city between mainland Russia and the Russia-annexed Crimean Peninsula. Heavy fighting in the region in the autumn raised fears that Russian-backed separatist forces would try to establish a land link between Russia and Crimea.
16:01   President Obama regrets cancellation of Taj visit: White House
The White House has issued a statement saying that US President Barack Obama regrets the cancellation of his visit to the Taj Mahal during his three-day visit to India. 

The US president was scheduled to visit the Taj on January 27 on the final day of his visit but will now instead fly out earlier to Saudi Arabia to meet the new king following the demise of King Abdullah. 
15:43   For Obamas visit, India takes a broom to stray monkeys and cows
When an important guest is on his way over, it is common practice to sweep up one's odds and ends and hide them all in the back room. So it was in New Delhi this week.

With days to go before US President Obama's arrival on Sunday, the order went out to "sanitize." Municipal cow catchers were ordered to round up the stray cattle that amble down the city's thoroughfares, unperturbed by the backup of traffic behind them. Men with slingshots have fanned out in the neighbourhood around the Indian president's sandstone palace, shrieking and barking in an effort to frighten away hundreds of rosy-bottomed monkeys.

Read more HERE
14:34   Islamic State publishes list of punishments
Islamic State has published a list of punishments ranging from 80 lashes for drinking alcohol and losing a hand for theft, to death for committing blasphemy. The Sharia code of conduct will be enforced in areas under its control which now covers large swathes of Iraq and Syria. Those who commit adultery will be stoned to death if the adulterer was married and lashed 100 times and exiled if he or she was unmarried. Those engaged in sodomy (homosexuality) will be sentenced to death, along with those who 'spy for the unbelievers'. Those who steal 'as part of banditry' will have their right hand and left leg cut off, and the punishment for terrorising people is exile.
14:27   AAP's poster pitches 'honest' Kejriwal against 'opportunistic' Bedi
Ahead of the February 7 polls in New Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party has released a new poster pitching their chief ministerial candidate 'honest' Arvind Kejriwal against Bharatiya Janata Party's 'ooportunistic' Kiran Bedi. 

The poster asks people to choose between an honest Kejriwal and an opportunistic Bedi, who had slammed Kejriwal in the past for splitting up from Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement to form his own political party. 

Since the BJP announced that Bedi would be the CM candidate for the party, the AAP has launched scathing criticisms of Bedi.
14:03   Titanic survivor's letter sells for $12,000
An indignant letter written by a Titanic survivor to a friend in New York sold at auction this week for $11,875 (Rs 7.29 lakh), according to RR Auction in Boston. The remarks were written on Lady Lucy Duff-Gordon's personal letterhead and dated May 27, 1912 -- six weeks after HMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage -- seem to indicate that she and her husband, Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon, didn't receive such a warm welcome home after their rescue.
13:49   '150 terrorists waiting to cross LoC ahead of Obama's visit'
Ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit, the General Officer Commanding of the Army's 15 Corps Lt General Subrata Saha has said that 150-160 militants are waiting across the Line of Control to infiltrate into India. "There are 17 launchpads and 150 to 160 militants across the Line of Control waiting for infiltration," Lt General Saha said today. There is a nationwide security alert ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit to India which begins tomorrow.
13:46   Intangibles and deliverables
When they meet, the core challenge before Narendra Modi and Barack Obama will be how best to harness their personal and national goodwill towards each other for positive outcomes that relate to the concerns of the common people.

Read more HERE
12:43   Indonesia search team to float AirAsia fuselage
Indonesian salvage teams today launched an operation to raise the fuselage of AirAsia Flight 8501 from the sea bed as they recovered four more bodies from the wreckage of the crashed jet. The bid came a day after divers were able to enter the main section of the jet, which crashed in the Java Sea last month, for the first time.
12:26   Uber cabs partially resume services in Delhi
Even though they haven't received an approval for their radio licence, Uber cabs are back on Delhi streets. The cab service had been banned in the capital after a driver was arrested for raping a woman passenger.
12:14   AAP sees red over no R-Day invite to Kejriwal
Former Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal has apparently not been invited for the Republic Day parade, where US President Barack Obama will be the chief guest. 

AAP, however, feels that the government is breaking the protocol by not inviting the former chief minister. Kejriwal, who was keen to attend the parade, is unhappy with the government's move.

Kejriwal terms this as politically motivated move and said that as former CM he was not suppose to be treated this way.
11:27   Peshawar school victims will be given prestigious award
Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain has decided to confer Tamgha-i-Shujaat on 145 students and staff members of the Army Public School in Peshawar who were killed in a terrorist attack December 16. A meeting chaired by the president decided that the civil award would be conferred on the principal, teachers, other staffers and students of the school who were killed by the terrorists.
11:24   Obamas to cancel Taj visit?
JUST IN: According to sources within the ministry of external affairs, US President Barack Obama and wife Michelle might skip their visit to the Taj Mahal, which was scheduled for Tuesday, January 27. 

The US president and wife are leaving the country tonight and will arrive in the nation's capital on Sunday morning. They were supposed to visit the Taj in Agra on Tuesday, the last day of their 3-day trip to India.
10:47   BJP's Kiran Bedi interacts with Delhi locals
Bharatiya Janata Party's chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi today interacted with residents of Krishna Nagar in Delhi ahead of the February 7 polls. Speaking to the people, she said that one should not take money from anyone and one should not be lured by such statements, in an apparent dig at AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal who had a few days ago said that voters should take money from the BJP and Congress, but vote for the AAP. 
10:36   Say no to handshakes, only namaste: Telangana govt
With 11 swine flu deaths and 250 cases in January, Telangana is the worst hit state in the country. Alarmed with the situation, the Telangana government is putting effort in to control and treat swine flu cases in the state. To prevent the spread of the disease, the government is even advising people to say no to handshakes and hugs and only say 'Namaste' to greet people. The government is reaching out to people and creating awareness about preventive measures. "We are telling people to avoid body contact that can handshake or even hugs as they can get infected," said Dr Narendra Nath, Director, NIMS, government appointed spokesperson for swine flu.
10:12   Now, Shah Rukh, Saif, Aamir accused of love jihad
The Hindu Mahasabha has accused Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan of love jihad and said that if the stars truly loved their wives, they would convert to Hinduism. The latest attack came in their publication -- Hindu Sabha Varta. The article also targets Fardeen Khan and Emraan Hashmi for marrying Hindu women.
09:23   Dwivedi dilemma in Congress
Contradictory signals from the Congress on Janardan Dwivedi's statement linking Narendra Modi's election win to a "triumph of Indian-ness" have brought to the open the churning within the party following its worst ever poll defeat last year. 

Read more HERE.
09:19   ASI yet to receive official word on Obama's Taj visit
With just three days left for United States President Barack Obama to visit Taj Mahal on Tuesday, the Archaeological Survey of India is yet to receive any formal intimation of the visit. ASI Additional Director General B R Mani confirmed that the agency hasn't received any information yet from either the ministry of culture or the ministry of external affairs, regarding Obama's visit to the Taj. 

Senior officials at ASI believe that the agency is being kept out of the loop in view of the tight-security arrangements around Obama's visit. Even ASI Director General Rakesh Tiwari has not received an invite to receive and accompany the guests on their tour. "We may get intimation later from the ministry, as there are still a few days to go,' Tiwari said. 
03:55   'Genuine honour' for Obama to be chief guest at R-Day: White House
It is a 'genuine honour' for US President Barack Obama to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade and witness India's national day celebrations firsthand, the White House has said.

"The President is very much looking forward to this visit. It is a genuine honour to be invited as guest for Republic Day. He is looking forward to traveling there to see the festivities associated with Republic Day firsthand.

"We've got many colourful descriptions about the parade and other festivities that go along with marking this important day," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told media persons at his daily news conference. Obama has not attended any national day ceremonies of any other countries.
03:24   One last visit to Auschwitz for many survivors
For what is likely to be the last time, a large number of the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz will gather next week under an expansive tent, surrounded by royalty and heads of state, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of those held there at the end of World War II.

Read the full story HERE
03:12   Is Winnipeg Canada's most racist city?
The mayor of Winnipeg was surrounded by indigenous people as he spoke to the press Thursday -- the same day his city was declared the most racist in Canada.

Read the full story HERE
03:04   12 jawdropping facts about China's massive growing military
China has now developed and tested its first stealth fighter jet, the J-20. The US is the only other country in the world to have a stealth fighter.

Read this story HERE
02:55   Woman, 5 policemen injured in Egypt blast
At least five policemen and a woman were injured when a bomb planted in a vehicle went off in restive Alf Maskan area here, an official statement has said.

The bomb was reported to have planted by unknown militants in a private car parked near a police vehicle, a statement by ministry of health said yesterday, adding that one of the injured persons was in a critical condition.

On Thursday, suspected militants had carried out a bomb blast outside the presidential palace here, injuring at least two policemen. Alf Maskan area has witnessed frequent protests and clashes between Islamist demonstrators and police since the ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. 

Militant attacks, targeting police and the Army, increased after the ouster of Morsi. Over 500 security personnel have been reportedly killed since then.
02:39   Big asteroid to fly by earth on Monday
A big asteroid will fly by Earth on Monday, but NASA says don't worry -- we'll be safe.The asteroid is called 2004 BL86. It'll come about 1.2 million kilometers from earth, or about three times as far away as the moon.

You're wondering, doesn't this happen all the time? Yes and no. There are lots of asteroids that pose a threat to earth -- about 550 as of today. None are predicted to hit anytime soon.

Read this article HERE
02:29   Top Google executive predicts end of the internet
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Google guru Eric Schmidt gave an answer regarding the evolution of the web. "I will answer very simply that the internet will disappear,' Schmidt said on Thursday.

Read this story HERE
01:21   Doomsday Clock watchers prepare for end of the world
We're three minutes from Doomsday. Have you updated your will? Oh, right, that won't matter anymore.For more than 60 years, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has been keeping track of just how close we are to the end of it all. 

They've now moved their famous Doomsday Clock's little hand to represent the present situation: we're three minutes to midnight, which is when the world self-destructs.

Read this article HERE
01:12   Mild tremors felt in south Hyderabad
Mild tremors were felt in south Hyderabad late tonight. The quake, with a magnitude of 1.8 on the Richter Scale, was felt late in the night, according to the National Geophysical Research Institute observatory.

"The tremors were felt near Shamshabad and Rajendra Nagar in south Hyderabad. It was a low intensity quake and there is nothing to worry," NGRI chief scientist R K Chaddha said.

There was no immediate report of any loss of life or damage to property. People came out of their houses in panic after they felt the tremors.
01:05   No truce with Ukraine, rebel leader says
A leader of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region said Friday he is not interested in a truce with the Ukrainian government in Kiev because his troops are on the offensive.

"Since we're attacking, there is no sense to have peace talks now," Aleksandr Zakharchenko, leader of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk, said in a meeting with university students, according to his media office.

Read the full story HERE
00:58   Terrorists functioning with impunity in parts of Pakistan: White House
A number of terror groups are functioning with impunity in parts of Pakistan, the White House today said, as it stated that the US values counter- terrorism co-operation with India.  

ours before President Barack Obama's departure to India, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest expressed concern over the continued presence of terror safe havens in Pakistan even though the Pakistan army has taken steps against them in recent months.
00:20   Divers enter AirAsia fuselage for the first time
For the first time, Indonesian divers have been able to enter the fuselage of the AirAsia jetliner that crashed last month into the Java Sea and retrieved six bodies, an official said.

Read the story HERE