Tue, 15 September 2015
Autorickshaw permits only for those who speak Marathi: Maha minister

Timeline  Refresh

22:06   Autorickshaw permits only for those who speak Marathi: Maha minister
Triggering a fresh controversy, Maharashtra government on Tuesday issued a circular stating that from November 1, 2015 fresh autorickshaw permits will now be issued to only those who can speak the regional language of the state -- Marathi.

"After 1st November, permit for new auto rickshaw will be given only to those applicants who can speak Marathi," Maharashtra Transport Minister Diwakar Raote said.

However, this will not be applicable for those who already have auto rickshaw permits.

Apart from knowing Marathi language, applicant should be 8th class pass. Also the new autorickshaws would have GPS and RPRS system installed, as per media reports.

This move by the state government has the potential to stir up a hornets nest, for there are thousands of migrants in Maharashtra, especially in Mumbai, from north Indian states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh who make a living by driving taxis and autorickshaws in Indias financial capital.
22:04   Profit should not supersede humanity: Kejriwal to hospitals
In the wake of reports claiming that private hospitals were turning away dengue patients, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said that though his government was working towards making the city a 'business hub', profit should not supersede humanity.
Referring to the death of a seven-year-old boy due to dengue after being denied admission by various hospitals in the national capital, Kejriwal said, "It is very heartbreaking.. I feel very sad after hearing such incidents."
"In the mad race to earn profit, one should not become blind. If the hospitals would have treated him, would it have made the turnover of hospitals suffer?"
21:58   Delhi govt launches new helpline for dengue-related queries
Delhi government has announced its Anti-Corruption Helpline - 1031 - as new helpline number for dengue-related queries.

The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, to give all relevant information about dengue and its treatment. 

"As we were getting more calls on existing number - 011-23307145, we have decided to use ACB's helpline number 1031 as an additonal dengue helpline number," said a senior government official.

The official said that the tele-callers are in good numbers at ACB's call centres which will speed up the process to guide the callers.

"We will use ACB's helpline number as dengue helpline till the situation gets normal," official said. 

Yesterday, Delhi government had launched a round-the clock helpline -- 011-23307145-- to help dengue patients. Kejriwal said this helpline will provide all relevant information relating to treatment of dengue.
21:56   Vadra's exemption from being frisked at airports likely to end
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju today hinted that Robert Vadra's exemption from being frisked at domestic airports could soon be withdrawn as he described the hue and cry over his no-frisking status a "non-issue".

Wondering why Vadra did not seek to remove himself from the elite list of people who are not frisked at domestic airports, Raju said he should have raised the issue during the previous regime which had given him such a privilege. 

"First of all, if you look at Vadra (issue), is it an issue? How does it serve the Indian citizen," he asked. 

When questioned whether the government is looking to remove Vadra from the no-frisking list after his public outbursts over the issue, Raju said, "I think it is happening."

"Tell me, first of all it is a non-issue... what's so special about the guy that we should specially treat him. I don't think there is anything special. 

"... As far as we are concerned, it is totally a non-issue," he said.
21:53   Secure IAF network under cyber attack threat
Cisco routers in India, Ukraine, Philippines and Mexico have been attacked by a sophisticated malicious software that possibly allows cybercriminals to harvest huge amounts of data without being detected, security solutions firm FireEye said today. 

Indian Air Force's secured communication network AFNET, telecom operators and several other government departments use Cisco routers. However, it could not be ascertained which routers were compromised.

The US-based firm is a major supplier to many Indian telecom companies as well. 

The attack, which uses a highly sophisticated malicious software called SYNful Knock, has been implanted in routers made by Cisco, FireEye said in its report. 

"Mandiant (a FireEye company) can confirm the existence of at least 14 such router implants spread across four different countries: Ukraine, Philippines, Mexico and India," it added. 

Cisco confirmed the attacks saying it has recently alerted its customers to a new sort of attack against networking devices.

"These attacks do not exploit vulnerabilities, but instead use compromised credentials or physical access to install malware on network devices. We've shared guidance on how customers can harden their network and prevent, detect and remediate this type of attack," a Cisco spokesperson said. 
20:21   Sri Lankan Tamils reject wartime truth commission
Sri Lanka's minority Tamils today rejected government plans for a truth commission to promote reconciliation after decades of ethnic war, insisting on an international inquiry.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera unveiled a range of reconciliation measures yesterday at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, two days before the release of a long-awaited report on Sri Lanka's alleged war crimes.

But Tamil leaders said the new unity government's plans for a truth commission and an office for war reparations were not enough, amid concerns abuses would not be properly investigated.

"The minister tells us to have confidence and trust them. But ... he himself acknowledges that their track record is not good," said Suresh Premachandran from the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front.

"That is why we say: have an internationally independent inquiry."

Tamil legislator Dharmalingam Sithadthan also rejected the commission in favour of an international inquiry, adding that the ethnic minority was also seeking a greater share of political power.
20:19   BCCI argues that CSK is not a legal entity
In response to Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited's petition in the Madras high court challenging Justice Lodha Committee's verdict of two year suspension from the IPL, the BCCI has argued that the CSKL is not a legal entity and hence cannot file a case. 

"The said CSK is not a legal entity as such. It is the second respondent (India Cements) who participated in the proceedings before the Bombay High Court, Supreme Court, HPPC, DPC, as owner of the franchisee CSK... Though the writ petitioner was incorporated on 19.12.2014, it did not choose to appear before the Hon'ble Supreme Court," the BCCI said in its counter affidavit submitted to the Madras high court.

In its affidavit, the BCCI said that CSK challenging the order of the committee appointed by the Supreme Court was not "maintainable" as it was a society under the Tamil Nadu Society Registration Act and various Rules framed by this respondent are only in exercise of its powers under the Bylaws.

The affidavit said that there was a possibility of conflict of decisions if the present writ petition is entertained by this Court.
20:10   Diplomat case: Saudi embassy may be given timeline to respond
With Saudi embassy not responding to India's demand to cooperate in the case involving one of its diplomats charged with rape of two Nepalese women, the government is contemplating giving it a timeline for its
response before taking any action against the diplomat.

The External Affairs Ministry, which had called in Saudi Arabian Ambassador Saud Mohammed Alsati last Thursday and told him that the accused diplomat should cooperate in the probe into the case, was yet to get any response despite being in touch with the mission officials here, sources said. 

It is understood that there is a view in the South Block that the government should give Saudis a timeline to respond as it cannot wait unendingly for them to decide what they want to do with their diplomat.

The options before Saudi Arabia are to either withdraw the diplomat or waive his diplomatic immunity to enable prosecution proceedings. The latter being very unlikely. 

On its part, India can declare him persona non grata and expel him if he does not cooperate with the investigation. \

The current impasse followed a raid by Gurgaon police at the residence of the diplomat more than a week ago after receiving a complaint that the two Nepalese women were kept there in confinement and raped by the diplomat and his "guests" repeatedly.

There are reports that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has decided to handle the issue amicably as it has a potential to impact the Indo-Saudi relations negatively. However, there was no official confirmation to this effect. 
19:47   Sale of meat banned on September 17 in Bengaluru for Ganesh Chaturthi
The ban on meat is spreading with Bengaluru being the latest city to ban it on Ganesh Chaturthi, which falls on September 17.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has issued a press statement calling for the ban for a day. Also read: Eggs hurled at trader's shop for supporting meat ban on Facebook 

Authorities in Bengaluru said it was a routine ban every year similar to the one on Gandhi Jayanti, which is observed on October 2. Also read: Haryana fifth BJP-ruled state to ban sale of meat

Read more HERE.
19:31   8 dead as flash flood washes away vehicles at Utah-Arizona border
Eight people died and five others are missing after a flash flood washed away vehicles at the Utah/Arizona border, the Hildale, Utah, fire department said.

All the victims are mothers and small children, Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Barlow said. The youngest child was about 4 years old.

The flooding ravaged a community that straddles the border from Hildale, Utah, to Colorado City, Arizona.

Read more HERE.

Picture for representation only.
19:25   Govt announces reward to informants of Kalburgi's assassins
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today said the government has announced Rs five lakh to those who could provide clues about the murder of noted Kannada progressive writer and scholar M M Kalburgi.

The government has decided to give a reward of Rs five lakh to whoever gives information about Kalburgi's murder.

The identities of the informants would be kept secret, he told reporters here after meeting the families of Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, the rationalists who were killed in Maharashtra, and Kalburgi, who was shot dead at Dharward in Karnataka on August 30.

The families during their meeting with the Chief Minister demanded speedy investigation into the case and were assured by him that the culprits would soon booked.
19:22   Egypt sentences 8 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death
An Egyptian court today sentenced eight supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood to death while 80 others were sentenced in absentia to life in prison for indulging in violence and attacking a police station in Upper Egypt in 2013, resulting in the death of two poilcemen.

The supporters were convicted of attacking a police station in Samalout, a city in Menya governorate. 

Fourteen defendants were jailed for 15 years while eight defendants received a 10 year sentence besides six others who were sentenced to five years in prison.

Five other defendants were acquitted in the same case.

The defendants were also accused of killing two policemen and injuring a number of people including police and civilians.

Since Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi's ouster in 2013, the Egyptian government has been cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters. 

Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide Mohamed Badie and 100 other leaders were sentenced to death in June for escaping from prison in 2011. 

The two leaders were also sentenced to life in prison in the espionage case.
19:14   Nepal to unveil new Constitution on Sept 20, says FM
Nepal today said it will unveil its long-awaited new Constitution on September 20, despite the ongoing deadly protests by minority groups over the proposed federal structure.

The Constituent Assembly has already began clause-by-clause voting on the proposed constitution, under preparation since 2008, since Sunday and as of now 37 articles have already been endorsed by the 601-member strong body.

A fully democratic Constitution will be promulgated by the Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav at a special function here attended by all the heads of diplomatic missions, Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said today.

"Nepal President will promulgate the new Constitution of the Federal, Democratic, Republic Nepal, endorsed by the CA, that would institutionalise the achievements of the Peoples Movement of 2006," he said.

The CA unanimously approved the proposal on fixing the date for the promulgation of the Revised Bill of the Constitution of Nepal, on September 20, Pandey added.

The announcement follows last night's violent protests after the CA overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to revert Nepal as a Hindu state, amid an already volatile situation over federal structure.
That's a jam-packed Churchgate station this evening. The picture was tweeted by @nitish_nitigya. 
18:11   Derailment turns Mumbai's local train lifeline into horror story
When Mr Anthony D'Costa, a senior journalist with the Times of India, left his home in Vasai this afternoon and reached the railway station, he had little inkling of the horror that awaited him, and lakhs of other commuters like him who travel to South Mumbai every day on work.

The train derailment at Andheri in the morning had crippled the railway network on the Western Railway local line, and the station presented a picture of utter chaos.

It was 3 pm by the time the noon Virar-Churchgate local pulled in, and D'Costa boarded it. The train crawled its way to the next major station on the line, Borivli, where it was abruptly terminated. D'Costa managed to board another local train, which too snailed its way towards Andheri station, where it was halted for a long time.

When we spoke to D'Costa, his train had just pulled out of Andheri station. "We are passing the derailed train, and there are lots of people working on it. But tell me, the derailment happened in the morning, and it takes so long to clear it? Is this a sign of the government that works?" he was understandably furious as someone who has spent hours getting to work.

Although the railways seems to claim that services were being restored or are near-normal, that is not a story Mumbai's harassed commuters are willing to buy.

Pic: Sahil Salvi.
17:27   Bomb scare in Mamata Banerjee's office at Writers' Building
Just in: Kolkata's iconic Writers' Building evacuated after bomb scare. A bomb disposal squad is at the site. Writers' Building is the secretariat of the government of West Bengal and also houses chief minister Mamata Banerjee's office.
16:57   Rajasthan govt reinstates Bakri Eid holiday
Just in: The Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government in Rajasthan has climbed down from its earlier stance of cancelling the holiday on Eid, on September 25. The state government says the holiday will stand, and it's up to employees to decide if they want attend work. No prizes for guessing what the decision will be.

The BJP-ruled Rajasthan government has ordered schools and colleges not to declare a holiday on Bakri Eid this year. Instead, it had asked schools and colleges to prepare for blood donation camps on September 25, to mark the birth anniversary of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, an icon of the BJP and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. 
Train services still affected on the western line of Mumbai's suburban railway as this indicator at Mahim station shows.
Pic: Syed Firdaus Ashraf/
No, Charlie Hebdo did not mock Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi in its cartoons. Read
16:08   Charlie Hebdo under fire for Syrian toddler cartoon
French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has been criticised for publishing a cartoon depicting the death of three-year-old Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi as its own controversial take on the refugee and migration crisis, the media reported on Tuesday.

The cartoon attributed to the publication and circulating on social media features Aylan lying face down on a beach with the words "So close to his goal..." written above him, The Huffington Post reported. In the background a McDonald`s-style Happy Meal Board states, "Two children`s menus for the price of one."

Aylan drowned along with his brother and mother on September 2 when the boat they were travelling from the Greek island of Kos to the Turkish town of Bodrum capsized.

The family fled after Islamic State militants advanced upon their home town of Kobane. Another cartoon said to be from the same edition of the magazine is entitled The Proof that Europe is Christian and features a man believed to be Jesus standing on the surface of the ocean while a child`s legs`s (presumably meant to be Aylan`s) protrude from the water. It says: "Christians walk on water? Muslim kids sink."

The cartoons have been met with a mixed response. Turkish newspaper The Daily Sabah claimed the images mock the drowned toddler. Morocco World News concurred, accusing the publication of "hiding behind the freedom of speech."

"Charlie Hebdo is a purely racist, xenophobic and ideologically bankrupt publication that represents the moral decay of France," Barrister Peter Herbert, who is Chair of the Society of Black Lawyers and former vice chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, tweeted.

"The Society of Black Lawyers will consider reporting this as incitement to hate crime and persecution before the International Criminal Court." Complaints are being left on the magazine`s Facebook page and Twitter users have criticised the images, describing them as "tasteless" and "disgusting."

But some commenters have said the cartoons are not mocking the dead child and are instead using the tragedy to ridicule Europe for not doing enough to prevent it.
15:50   Mumbai reels after train derails; buses overcrowded, cabs overcharge
If it isn't rains, it's trains.

Mumbaikars using the suburban train network on the western railway were left stranded after a seven coaches of a local train today derailed between Andheri and Vile Parle stations, disrupting traffic on the busy route linking Churchgate in South Mumbai to Virar. The incident occurred at 11 am. No casualty has been reported.

All trains on the western railway on the slow track were affected, with a few services working on the fast track. Early reports say the Virar fast line will be restored by 6 pm today.

The effects of the train derailment spilled over on to the roads with BEST buses overcrowded, and autos and cabs overcharging customers.

The following long-distance trains were also affected:
2955 Mumbai Central-Jaipur Express will depart at 21.00 Hrs instead of its schedule departure at 18.50 Hrs.

12961 Mumbai Central Indore Avantika Express will depart at 21.15 Hrs instead of its schedule departure at 19.05 Hrs.

19005 Mumbai Central Okha Saurastra Mail will depart at 21.30 Hrs instead of its schedule departure at 20.25 Hrs.

12959 Dadar-Bhuj Express will depart from Borivali at 00.38 Hrs.

The harbour line was also affected after another train derailed while entering the platform at Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), causing inconvenience to commuters during the peak hours.

Suburban harbour line services, both up and down, were yesterday suspended between CST and Wadala Road Station owing to the mishap.

Pic credit: Anil Phansekar. 
15:24   Andheri train derailment affects long-distance trains
Heads up if you are taking a long-distance train out of Mumbai:

Due to derailment between Andheri and Vile Parle, following WR trains are rescheduled today, 15th September,2015:

12955 Mumbai Central-Jaipur Express will depart at 21.00 Hrs instead of its schedule departure at 18.50 Hrs.

12961 Mumbai Central Indore Avantika Express will depart at 21.15 Hrs instead of its schedule departure at 19.05 Hrs.

19005 Mumbai Central Okha Saurastra Mail will depart at 21.30 Hrs instead of its schedule departure at 20.25 Hrs.

12959 Dadar-Bhuj Express will depart from Borivali at 00.38 Hrs.
India's health ministry gets a sanitary-napkin machine -- but there's just one problem. Read more
14:53   AAP advises Somnath Bharti to take part in probe: Ashutosh
AAP's Ashutosh on absconding colleague (and his dog) Somnath Bharti:  This is Somnath-ji's personal matter, AAP won't interfere. But we advise him to come forth and take part in an investigation.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Somnath Bharti, the Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Law Minister of Delhi. Bharti, 41, has been accused by his estranged wife Lipika Mitra of domestic violence and attempt to murder.

Since the case was filed late last week, Bharti has ignored multiple requests by the police to make himself available for interrogation.The police says that the former minister did not keep a Friday appointment, and has gone missing since then. On Thursday, Bharti tweeted, "This too shall pass".

A Delhi judge yesterday refused his request for anticipatory bail, which would have ensured he could not be arrested till a date decided by the court.

The judge said "as per the complainant, on March 19, 2013, when she (Lipika) asked Bharti to pay the rent, he not only tried to strangulate her, but also unleashed his dog on her despite knowing that she was in the seventh month of pregnancy."
14:19   A blast and some questions
A horrific blast in Petlawad, in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, has claimed the lives of about a hundred people. It was caused by a stockpile of gelatine sticks stored illegally in a building. The detonation, which ripped through a three-storey residential-cum-commercial complex that also housed an eatery, raises disturbing questions about the practice of illegally storing explosives in congested residential areas. Read more
Yasin Malik who was on his way to Sopore, detained by police in Sangrama area of Baramulla district (J&K).
14:10   Whoever works on a Tipu Sultan movie is anti Indian
"I am very sure that Rajnikanth, a patriot and spiritual person, will not do this movie which is about a tyrant, killer and murderer," BJP leader H Raja tells Syed Firdaus Ashraf/ Read
13:59   7/11 train blasts: Quantum of punishment arguments continue today
The arguments over the quantum of sentence in the 7/11 local train blasts will continue on Tuesday in a special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act or MCOCA Court in Mumbai. 189 people died and over 800 people were injured in the 2006 blasts.

Last Friday, the special court convicted 12 of the 13 people allegedly belonging to the Students Islamic Movement of India or SIMI, while one was acquitted. Arguments on their quantum of sentence began today after the convicts recorded their statement.
13:42   For iPhone, two Chinese men try to sell kidney
Two men in China's Jiangsu province tried to sell their kidney for Apple's latest offering, the iPhone 6s. One of the men, surnamed Wu, wanted an iPhone 6s but could not afford it. His friend Huang suggested they sell a kidney each for money, reported China Daily on Tuesday. The two found an illegal agent on the internet who asked them to take medical examinations at a hospital in Nanjing. However, when they arrived on September 12, the agent did not turn up as scheduled. They later reconsidered selling the organs. Wu told his friend, Huang, to stop the plan but Huang did not listen. Wu then called the police, but Huang ran away and has been out of reach ever since.
13:27   India-Lanka reaffirm commitment to fight terrorism
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who arrived in India on Monday on a three-day state visit, held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. Excerpts from the joint statement.

-- This is a historic year for India-Sri Lanka relations.

-- We had the honour of hosting Sri Lankan President  on his maiden foreign visit. As a close neighbor and friend we wish Sri lanka every success and assure India's unwavering support.

-- We are confident Sri Lankan will achieve all round development. And Sri Lankan Tamils can achieve a life of dignity and prosperity.

-- As a close neighbor and friend we wish Sri Lanka every success and assure India's unwavering support.

-- We are confident Sri Lanka will achieve all round development and Sri Lankan Tamils can achieve a life of dignity and prosperity.

-- We welcome development in bilateral relations including currency swap agreement in March.

-- We both want deeper economic engagement.

-- We want trade to become more balanced for Sri Lanka.

-- I also sought support for Indian investors in Sri Lanka's economic development.

-- We both reaffirm commitment to security and defense cooperation.

-- We reaffirm commitment to fight terrorism. Sri Lanka is largest partner in defense training. Will continue cooperation.

-- We agreed that the fishermen community will continue to find solution to disputes.

-- I am here to convey our desire to continue our relationship, says Sri Lankan Premier Wickremasinghe.

-- We have briefed his excellence (PM Narendra Modi) and Foreign Minister that we will are looking forward to reconciliation.
12:46   Postal stamps of Indira, Rajiv discontinued, BJP icons to replace them
Two stamps featuring Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, launched by the Department of Posts (DoP) in December 2008 as part of its series titled Builders of Modern India, have been discontinued, an RTI query by The Indian Express has revealed.

The government now plans to introduce stamps under a new series featuring Deendayal Upadhyaya, Jayaprakash Narayan, Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Ram Manohar Lohia in the coming months, the RTI further stated.
Read more
12:39   Pentagon creates India Rapid Reaction Cell
The Pentagon has established a first-ever country special cell to speed up its defence ties with India and accelerate the process of co-development and co-production of hi-tech military equipment in the country.

Established soon after Defence Secretary Ashton Carter assumed Pentagon's leadership role in February, India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC) is headed by Keith Webster, Director, International Cooperation Office of the Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. India is the only country to have a specific cell of its kind inside the Pentagon.

Currently, seven persons are working on this cell, representing various wings of the US Department of Defence. Given the new thrust on India-US defence relationship under Carter, officials say there is quite a few on the waiting list who have shown keen interest in working at the Pentagon's India Rapid Reaction Cell.
A close-up of the wheels off the train that went off the track.

Pic courtesy: Prasanna D Zore/
Another picture of the derailed train, between Vile Parle and Andheri stations.

Pic courtesy: Prasanna D Zore/
12:14   7 coaches derail between Andheri-Vile Parle, 2nd incident in two days
Seven coaches of a local train today derailed between Andheri and Vile Parle stations in suburban Mumbai, disrupting traffic on the busy route linking Churchgate in South Mumbai to Virar. No casualty has been reported, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), Western Railway, Sharat Chandrayan said.

The train coming from Borivili to Churchgate derailed at around 11 am between Andheri and Vile Parle stations, the second such incident involving local trains in as many days.

A team of engineers and rescue officials have rushed to the spot to restore the services, the CPRO said. An inquiry would be conducted to ascertain the cause of the derailment, he added. The suburban train services were badly affected on the busy route due to the derailment.

A local train coming from Bandra had last evening derailed on the Harbour Line of Central Railway while entering the platform at Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), causing inconvenience to commuters during the peak hours.

Suburban harbour line services, both up and down, were yesterday suspended between CST and Wadala Road Station owing to the mishap.
@DaddysPride tweets this picture of people on the tracks at Goregaon station.
12:00   Good politics is not necessarily good governance
One is forced to wonder whether Modi is serious about all the bills people want him to pass. Because to me he has made no real honest effort at getting things moving legislatively,' says Aakar Patel. Read more
Another picture of the suburban train in Mumbai that derailed between Andheri and Vile Parle stations.
11:53   Seven coaches of Churchgate-bound train derail near Andheri
Just in: Early reports say seven coaches of a suburban train travelling from Mumbai's Andheri to Churchgate station, derails between Andheri and Vile Parle. Details awaited.

The picture was tweeted by @Dhrumil929 
11:31   Obama tells daughter to be open to new experiences at college
US President Barack Obama has advised her daughter Malia to be open to new experiences when she goes to college and ensure that she gets a good grade.

"The advice... is to be open to new experiences when you go to college. Don't go to college just to duplicate the same experience you had in high school," Obama said yesterday at a Town Hall on college access and affordability at Des Moines, Iowa.

"Don't make your decision based on, well, where are all my friends going so that I can do the exact same things with the exact same friends that I did in high school," Obama said.

"The whole point is for you to push yourself out of your comfort level, meet people you haven't met before, take classes that you hadn't thought of before. Stretch yourself. Because this is the time to do it, when you're young. Seek out new experiences," he added. 

He was responding to a question on what advice he would give to his daughter Malia, 17, when she goes to her college. "My best advice to Malia. Now, this is assuming that Malia would listen to my advice. She's very much like her mother at this point. She's got her own mind," he said.
11:02   It's a raw deal, shocked at seat allocation, says Paswan's son Chirag
Notwithstanding claims of an amicable seat sharing arrangement having been reached among NDA partners for Bihar assembly polls, discontent seems to be brewing in Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP over allotment of 40 seats to it.

LJP sources said there was a feeling in the party that Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and RLSP of Union minister Upendra Kushwaha got a "better deal" given their political clout in the state.

They said before HAM joined the NDA, the proposal from BJP was that it would contest 75 per cent of the state's 243 assembly seats and the rest would go to LJP and RLSP. Another proposal mooted by BJP was that LJP and RLSP would get six assembly seats for every Lok Sabha seat contested by them in 2014.

Under the arrangement, LJP, which has contested seven LS seats, would have got 42 and Kushwaha's RLSP 18.When the decision to include HAM into the NDA fold was taken, it was decided that the new entrant will get 12 seats to contest in the assembly polls, LJP sources said.

Accordingly, it was decided that BJP will spare nine seats from its quota for Manjhi's party, LJP two and RLSP one. Under that arrangement, LJP would have been allotted 40 seats, RLSP 17 and HAM 12, they said.

"As Manjhi remained adamant on more seats, he ultimately succeeded in getting 20 and also extracted a promise that five of his candidates would contest on BJP symbols," a senior party leader said.

"HAM and RLSP secured a better deal than us despite our steadfast support to the NDA and our decision not to engage in hard bargain," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, Chirag Paswan, son of the LJP chief and chairman of its Parliamentary Board, is scheduled to address a press conference on Tuesday where he is likely to articulate the party's unhappiness over the 'raw' deal it has got and said the party was shocked at the seat allocation.

Earlier on Monday, BJP president Amit Shah had announced the seat sharing formula under which BJP will contest 160 seats, LJP 40, RLSP 23 and HAM 20.

Claiming all differences over seat sharing had been sorted out, Shah had said,"There is no tug of war. There is no tension. You can see their smiling faces."
10:52   Bravest girl I have ever met, says Rahul after child's death
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today described Sasmita Rana, who died at Sishu Bhavan in Cuttack a day after his visit, as the bravest girl he ever met.

Expressing grief over the death of the little girl from Raitala village in Odisha's tribal dominated Keonjhar district, Gandhi tweeted, "Sasmita Rana -- the bravest little girl I ever met died at Sishubhawan in Cuttack today. She remained proud and strong against all odds."

"My thoughts are with her mother and family in this time of grief," he added.

The seven-year-old succumbed to aplastic anemia on Saturday, a day after meeting Gandhi. The Congress leader had come in contact with the girl during his visit to Sishu Bhavan in Cuttack on September 11. He went to Sishu Bhavan after being informed about the death of more than 60 infants in a span of 12 days last month.

Photograph: PTI
10:27   4 Islamic State supporters detained in Kerala
Four men suspected to be supporters of Islamic State have been detained in Kerala. They were deported from UAE, reports NDTV.

Two of the men were held at the Thiruvananthapuram airport and two from the Kozhikode airport. The police say they are verifying the allegations.
10:24   Woman among 2 Maoists killed by police in Telangana
Two Maoists including a woman were today killed in an alleged exchange of fire with police in a forest area of Warangal district of Telangana in the wee hours.

"There was an exchange of fire with the KKW (Karimnagar-Khammam-Warangal) committee near Somlagadda in Tadavai mandal under Pasara police station limits wherein two cadres including a woman were killed," a senior police officer told PTI.

Police seized one-carbine and one .303 weapon besides six kit-bags from the spot, he said. The combing and search operations is still on. There was no casualty on the police side, the officer added.
10:18   Tony Abbott's parting speech as Australia's PM
A day after being ousted as Australia's prime minister, Tony Abbott fronted the press with a message for his successor.

"My pledge today is to make this change as easy as I can ... There will be no wrecking, no undermining and no sniping," Abbott said.

"This is not an easy day for many people in this building. Leadership changes are never easy for our country."

"I want our government and our country to succeed. I always have and I always will. I've consistently said in opposition and in government that being the prime minister is not an end in itself; it's about the people you serve. The great privilege that I have had is to see the wonder of this country like few others. And I want to thank the Australian people for giving me the honour to serve," he added.

Australia is set to swear in Malcolm Turnbull as its new prime minister, after  Abbott's ouster by his party in a leadership challenge. Turnbull will go to Government House in Canberra today to be sworn in by the governor-general.

Read complete text of Abott's speech here

Just in: Four Islamic State supporters detained from Saudi Arabia detained in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode in Kerala.

Details awaited.
10:02   Where's don? Police 'needs Somnath Bharti's dog to probe' domestic violence case
The Delhi police said the recovery of Aam Aadmi Party leader Somnath Bhartis pet dog was key to their probe in a alleged domestic violence case against him filed by his wife.

The pet Labrador, named Don, was alleged to have bitten a pregnant Lipika at the behest of his master, reports The Indian Express.

Where is Don? He is very crucial to our investigation. He is still missing, we need to recover him, the police reportedly said.

Opposing Bharti's anticipatory bail petition in a Delhi court yesterday, police said the recovery of Bhartis pet dog was key to their probe.

Bharti faces arrest after a trial court issued a non-bailable warrant against him in the domestic violence and attempt to murder case filed against him by his wife.

09:05   Govt says 50 additional work days under MGNREGA in drought-hit areas
The Centre today decided to provide additional 50 days of work in drought-hit areas under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scheme to provide relief to farmers in view of deficit monsoon in various parts of the country.

At present, 100 days of work is provided to rural job card holders under the MGNREGA. The decision has been taken after monsoon deficit today reached 16 per cent across the country, which could affect kharif crops and rural income.

Already, Karnataka has declared drought in 27 out of 30 districts, while Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are also likely to declare drought-hit areas in their states.

"The government has decided to provide an additional 50 days of unskilled manual work in the financial year, over and above the 100 days assured to job card holders, in such rural areas where drought or natural calamities has been notified," the agriculture ministry said in a statement.
08:50   Bangladesh PM Hasina wins UN award for leadership on climate change
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been announced as one of the winners of the United Nations Champions of the Earth award in recognition of her country's initiatives to address climate change.

"Serving as the prime minister of Bangladesh, one of the world's least-developed countries Sheikh Hasina has proven that investing in climate change is conducive to achieving social and economic development," said the announcement issued by the UN Environment Programme, which confers the awards.

UNEP noted that Bangladesh is one of the world's most populated countries, with over 159 million people. It is also one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Cyclones, floods and droughts have long been part of the country's history, but they have intensified in recent years.

"Through a number of forward-looking policy initiatives and investments, Bangladesh has placed confronting the challenge of climate change at the core of its development," UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said. "These initiatives, from climate change adaptation measures to ecosystem preservation legislation, mean that current and future generations of Bangladeshis are better prepared to address climate change risks and reverse the impacts of environmental degradation," he said.

He added that Hasina has demonstrated "leadership and vision" in both making climate change an issue of national priority and advocating for an ambitious global response.
04:09   India, Pak among major illicit drug producing nations: Obama
US President Barack Obama has determined India and its three neighbours, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar, among a list of 22 nations that are major illicit drug producing or transit countries. 

Other countries on the list consists of the Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
03:35   EU ministers fail to reach unanimous refugee deal: official
EU interior ministers have failed to reach unanimous agreement on a plan for binding quotas to relocate 120,000 refugees and take the strain off Greece, Italy, and Hungary, officials said. "Yes, not everyone is on board at the moment," Luxembourg minister Jean Asselborn told a press conference in Brussels yesterday, adding however that there was a "large majority" in favour and they would return to the issue in October. 

EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos added: "For our proposal on 120,000 we did not have the agreement we wanted."
02:53   1,000 migrants arrive in Bavaria despite border checks: police
Around 1,000 migrants still arrived in southern Germany from Austria today despite a shock decision to reimpose border controls, German federal police said. 

Hundreds of refugees and migrants are still crossing the frontier, albeit at a slower pace than before the policy U-turn announced by Berlin yesterday, police spokesman Rainer Scharf told AFP in the southern German town of Freilassing.
02:25   Russia successfully launches satellite with Proton rocket
Russia today successfully launched a Proton rocket, carrying a Russian telecoms satellite, from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the second successful launch since the disastrous loss of a Mexican satellite in May. 

The Proton-M took off at 10:10 pm local time (19:10 GMT) from the desert launch site. "The launch of the rocket was normal," the Russian space agency Roscosmos said in a statement.
02:25   US condemns 'all acts of violence' at Al-Aqsa compound
The United States today condemned "all acts of violence" at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa compound where Muslims and Israeli police clashed for a second straight day. 

"The United States is deeply concerned by the recent violence and escalating tensions surrounding the Haram al-Sharif Temple Mount. We strongly condemn all acts of violence," State Department spokesman John Kirby said, calling on all sides to exercise restraint.
01:52   There is massive gap between PM's rhetoric & reality: Tharoor
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today said that there is a "massive gap" between Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'impressive speeches' and the reality, as he might have given "excellent" ideas but could not provide "adequate" attention to them. 

"There is a massive gap between Modi's rhetoric and reality. There is no point in having a doctor who gives an excellent diagnosis but cannot write a prescription or give adequate medication to cure it," Tharoor said at a programme.
01:08   Professor dead after shooting at college in Mississippi
A professor was killed in his office at Delta State University in Mississippi, an official said today, and the campus remained on lockdown with the shooter still believed to be on the loose. 

County Deputy Coroner Murray Roark said history professor Ethan Schmidt was killed inside an office. It was not immediately clear if anyone else was wounded.
01:07   Hollande says air strikes against IS in Syria 'necessary'
French President Francois Hollande, whose country is carrying out surveillance flights over Syria, said today it would be "necessary" to carry out air strikes against Islamic State militants there.

"We announced surveillance flights that would allow us to prepare air strikes if they were necessary, and they will be necessary in Syria," he told journalists after talks with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
00:17   California Gov declares emergency amid massive wildfires
The governor of the US state of California today declared a state of emergency after massive wildfires in the state's north intensified due to a prolonged drought, destroying many homes and forcing thousands to flee.

California Gov Jerry Brown declared the state of emergency as firefighters in the state's north battled the rapidly spreading wildfires, that have spread to tens of thousands of acres north and east of San Francisco.
00:13   Pope feels 'used' by fake friends
Pope Francis says he has felt "used" by people claiming to be his friend since he became pontiff, in a radio interview touching on the personal side of his papacy. 

"I never had so many quote-unquote 'friends' as now. Everyone is the pope's friend," Francis said in a telephone interview with radio station Millennium in his native Argentina.
00:11   Quota row: Hardik renames 'reverse Dandi Yatra' as 'Ekta Yatra'
Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel tonight renamed his controversial 'reverse Dandi Yatra' as `Ekta Yatra' as he met Chief Minister Anandiben Patel during which he demanded suspension of cops who used force during the August 25 rally and release of those held. 

After the first face-to-face between Patel and the Chief Minister, the government said the community leaders will have to approach the state OBC Commission over the demand of reservations under the OBC quota.