Sun, 10 April 2016
Taliban respond with rocket fire to Kerry's calls for peace

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21:47   Taliban respond with rocket fire to Kerry's calls for peace
The Taliban claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on Kabul's diplomatic area which came just after US Secretary of State John Kerry ended a surprise visit by calling on the insurgents to come to the negotiating table to end the 15-year war. 

Kerry told reporters late Saturday in Kabul that "the people of Afghanistan should be demanding that the Taliban, who are the only people holding out on that possibility, actually engage in (the peace) process."

A Taliban spokesman said that the rocket attack, which caused no casualties, was meant to undermine Kerry's visit. "This shows foreigners cannot remain safe in any spot in the country and we can target them wherever they are," said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. "We couldn't know exactly where he was (but) at least we could sabotage his visit and send a message he is not welcome here."
20:54   Congress wont celebrate when Panama details come out: Jaitley
As a multi-agency probe continues into leaked 'Panama Papers' showing alleged offshore tax haven holdings of Indians, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said, "Congress will not have many reasons to celebrate when the details come out in this case."

He also asserted that the probe is being done in a "very impartial" way and rejected demands from Congress and Aam Aadmi Party that he should "recuse' himself from the matter. 
20:24   Imran Khan threatens march over Panama Papers probe
Imran Khan has announced to march towards Raiwind if Panama Papers revelations were not probed by an independent judicial commission. "We will surround Raiwind with millions of people to press the premier to either constitute an independent judicial commission or step down," Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman said in his address to the nation on Sunday.

A massive leak of 11.5 million tax documents on April 3 exposed the secret offshore dealings of world leaders and celebrities, also naming three of the premiers children for owning London real estate through offshore companies.

We will announce our next plan of action on April 24 his partys 20th foundation day - and surround Raiwind to stage a sit-in there if our demands are not met.

He added that the premier has lost the moral authority to continue running the affairs of the state as he is accused of money-laundering, tax evasion, corruption and concealing of assets.
20:04   Merc hit-and-run: Teenager apprehended again, sent to correction home
The minor boy, who had allegedly run over a 32-year-old man with his father's Mercedes in north Delhi's civil lines area, was today held under charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sent to juvenile justice home, the police said. 

He will be produced before the Juvenile Justice Board tomorrow. 

The police today also arrested the man who claimed to be the actual driver of the Mercedes at the time of incident but did a volte-face after he got to know that victim Siddharth Sharma was dead. 

The driver and the boy's father, who was arrested on Friday, were today produced before a city court and they were granted bail. The driver was arrested for the offence under section 203 (giving false information respecting an offence committed) of the IPC. 

Meanwhile, the police said that the juvenile, who turned 18 years old day before yesterday, along with his lawyers came to the court to surrender and his advocates moved a bail plea. The police said that the court refused to grant him bail on the ground that it was a matter of the juvenile justice board
19:39   Shatru happy on 'brother' Nitish's elevation as JD-U president
Senior BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha is "happy" that his "friend and brother" Nitish Kumar has become the new JD-U president. "I am very happy to hear the elevation of Nitish Kumar as president of JD-U," Sinha said.  

"Nitish Kumar has gained popularity through his progressive policies. I see great hope in him becoming a national here," Sinha, the second consecutive term BJP Lok Sabha member from Patna Sahib, said.  

"His elevation is timely and will have a positive impact on national politics," Sinha popularly known as 'Bihari Babu', said in praise of the Bihar chief minister. The senior BJP leader said his appreciation of Kumar was out of him being a son of the soil. "Elevation of Nitish Kumar as president is an internal matter of the JD-U," the BJP MP also said.
18:57   Shift patients to Delhi, Mumbai if needed: Modi after visiting temple site
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was shocked and disheartened with the extent of injuries sustained by the victims of the temple tragedy. He visited the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College and met some of the injured. Kerala Governor and BJP leader Sreesanth join him. 

After his visit, he said, "I visited the site and the hospital today, my sympathies are with the kin of the deceased persons. Government of India stands with the people of Kerala, we will help them in the best way possible. Difficult to express the painful accident in Puttingal, people at a distance of 200 metres got injured."
18:37   Shoe hurled at Kejriwal: Accused remanded to judicial custody
A court today remanded Ved Prakash, who hurled a shoe at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at a press conference yesterday, to one-day judicial custody.  

Prakash, 28, a national general secretary of Aam Aadmi Sena, was produced before a duty metropolitan magistrate and was sent to judicial custody after the police said he was not required for custodial interrogation. The shoe had not hit Kejriwal as it was quickly deflected by an official standing near the chief minister who, later, continued with the press conference. 

Prakash, who was arrested yesterday, had first interrupted Kejriwal when he was briefing reporters at the media centre of the Delhi Secretariat about the rollout of the second phase of odd-even scheme and had thereafter thrown a shoe and a CD at the chief minister. 

He had claimed that he was angry with Kejriwal for not taking action against those involved in alleged irregularities in distribution of CNG stickers.
18:04   Indian-origin researcher led team finds new way to predict quakes
Scientists, led by an Indian-origin researcher, have discovered a way to forecast earthquakes based on slow fault movements caused by moving sub layers of Earth. 

So far, scientists believe that larger earthquakes are unlikely to occur following tremors or earthquakes below a Richter scale of 2 that are caused by small vibrations or slow fault movements. 

However, researchers from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore found that not only do these vibrations potentially point to an impending earthquake, they also discovered a discernible pattern to them.

"This discovery defied our understanding of how faults accumulate and release stress over time," said Sylvain Barbot, from NTU's Asian School of the Environment and an earth scientist at Earth Observatory of Singapore. "These vibration patterns are caused by alternating slow and fast ruptures occurring on the same patch of a fault."If only slow movements are detected, it does not mean that a large earthquake cannot happen there. On the contrary, the same area of the fault can rupture in a catastrophic earthquake," Barbot said.

The study, led by Barbot's PhD student, Deepa Mele Veedu has major significance on the prediction of earthquakes.
17:41   Rahul Gandhi reaches Kollam to meet the temple victims
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has reached Kollam in Kerala and is heading to the hospital to visit the injured after a fireworks display at a temple went wrong, leading to a massive fire, killing 100 people. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also in Kollam taking stock of the situation and meeting the injured parties. Modi has also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the family members of those who died and Rs 50,000 for the injured. 
Delhi Metro services temporarily halted after earthquake jolts the capital.
16:14   6.8 magnitude earthquake strikes Pakistan, tremors felt in Delhi
Preliminary reports state that a 6.8 magnitude earthquake has shaken North India, with Delhi, Srinagar and parts of Punjab feeling the tremors. Experts state that the epicentre of the quake was in Pakistan's Peshawar area. Panic has spread in Kashmir with people running out of their homes. 

More details are awaited. 
16:00   India, China to hold talks on April 20, Masood issue may figure
India and China will hold next round of Special Representatives talks on April 20 during which National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is expected to raise the issue of China blocking move to get Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar designated as international terrorist. 

The two-day talks in Beijing, 19th round of such parleys, will focus on boundary and strategic issues, official sources said. Doval, who is the Special Representative for Sino-India boundary talks, will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi. 

He is also expected to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. At the 19th round of SR talks, the two sides are expected to review the status of the situation on the border and ways to maintain peace and tranquility there, the sources said. 

"We want to move forward," a senior official said here about the ties with China. The talks are taking place in the backdrop of China blocking at the UN India's move to get Jaish-e-Mohammad chief designated as international terrorist. Doval is expected to raise this issue with Yang.
Kerala CM announces ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh to kin of each of those killed in fire tragedy, Rs 2 lakh for injured
15:12   Judicial probe ordered into temple fire tragedy
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy chaired a cabinet meeting in Kollam to order a probe led by Crime Branch ADGP A Ananthakrishnan. The local police in Kollam have already registered a case, which would be handed over to the crime branch. 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modis Air India One has landed in Thiruvananthapuram. He will head straight to the medical college where those injured in todays fire are being treated. A team of about 15 doctors including burn specialists accompanied the PM and will be assisting at the hospitals. 
Kollam temple tragedy: PM Narendra Modi arrives in Thiruvananthapuram
14:34   'Was threatened,': Family that complained against temple fireworks
The woman on whose complaint fireworks were banned at the Puttingal temple in Kerala's Kollam lives barely 25 metres from the spot where a massive fire broke out early on Sunday, killing over 100 and leaving 350 injured.

Pankajakshi, who comes from the UK twice a year to stay at her Kollam home with her daughter, said she had complained many times about the danger of the fireworks and had even been threatened.

"My house is 25 metres from the place where the fireworks are stored. I complained against the fireworks display to the temple authorities," said Pankajakshi.

"They said they will look into it but did nothing. I complained to the civic body and its officials visited but I don't know what action was taken," she added.

The fire erupted during what officials describe as "competitive fireworks" between two groups during the temple festivities at the town 60 km from Thiruvananthapuram.

Pankajakshi's daughter said the family was "abused and threatened by goondas" even a day ago.

"We were threatened a day before. They threatened my mother and husband and said do what you want," she said.
14:17   Kollam fire: Government sends team to probe storage of firecrackers
Government has rushed the Chief Controller of explosives safety organisation PESO to probe the use and storage of firecrackers at Puttingal Devi Temple complex in Kollam where 102 people have died and over 280 injured in a major fire. "Instructed the Chief Controller of Explosives (PESO) to rush to the #KeralaTempleFire site to check on legal/illegal storage/ use of... firecrackers/explosives," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a tweet. 

The fire broke out in Puttingal Devi Temple complex during a display of fireworks for which there was no permission was given by the authorities, according to Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy.  
13:43   We're fully equipped, arrangements are good: Chandy on temple tragedy
Speaking to reporters on his arrival in Kollam, Kerala CM Oomen Chandy said sufficient medical facilities were available, and that the government was providing best medical care to all the injured. "Meeting state cabinet today, we will discuss and then take a decision on judicial probe. The central government has already offered medical assistance, but we're fully equipped, arrangements are good,' Chandy said. 

Meanwhile, the Centre has ordered a probe into the illegal storage of fire crackers inside the Kollam temple premises
13:41   Pakistan expresses grief over Kollam temple fire
The Pakistani government expressed its condolences through a statement after over 100 people died in the Kollam temple fire tragedy. It said, "The Pakistan government expresses its deep condolences on loss of precious lives, resulting from fire breakout in temple in south Kerala. Our sympathies are with the bereaved families. We wish early recovery to all injured people."
JUST IN: Minor fire breaks out in room number 212 in Parliament building, fire is under control
12:48   Wills-Kate pay tribute at 26/11 memorial at Taj Hotel
Britain's Prince William and Kate pay their respects to those who died in the Mumbai 26/11 attacks at a memorial at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai. William and Kate are in India for a seven day trip, which will include a cricket match, a charity dinner with Bollywood stars and a visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra. 
12:17   Kerala temple tragedy: BJP president Amit Shah visits injured at hospital
BJP president Amit Shah visited the injured at Trivandrum Medical College and also spoke to the doctors treating them. Over 280 people have been injured after a fireworks display went wrong at the Kollam temple. Oomen Chandy has also confirmed that the death toll in the fire has gone up to 102 people. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with 15 specialist doctors, are enroute to Kollam where the PM will visit the site and extend all help and support while the doctors will provide medial aid to those who require it. 
Kollam temple tragedy: Blood donors urgently required at Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram. 
11:37   President condoles loss of lives in Kollam fire
President Pranab Mukherjee expressed heartfelt condolences over the loss of lives in the massive fire at a temple in Kerala.  "Heartfelt condolences on loss of lives in Kerala temple fire," he said in a tweet. "Urge state government and other agencies to provide all help to bereaved families and medical assistance to the injured," the president said.
11:32   Wills-Kate arrive in Mumbai for first ever India visit
Britain's Prince William and wife Kate have arrived in Mumbai ahead of their first ever India visit. While in India they will experience the four passions which unite the country - cricket, Bollywood, politics and family. The royal couple will also visit the Taj Mahal. 

The two will head to the Oval Maidan on Sunday to watch and take part in a cricket match between beneficiaries and representatives of three charities based in Mumbai -- Magic Bus, Doorstep, and India's Childline. 

In the evening, they will attend a glittering reception and dinner alongside some of the biggest names in business and Bollywood, to celebrate Mumbai's film and creative industries.
10:59   Rahul Gandhi also to visit Puttingal temple
This just in: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will also visit the Puttingal temple in Kollam today and meet the injured. The young Gandhi wrote on his Twitter page, "News of the devastating fire at Puttingal temple in Kollam, Kerala is extremely shocking. My prayers are with the families of those who've lost loved ones in this terrible tragedy. Spoke to CM Oommen_Chandy ji to ensure that adequate relief, medical care and assistance is being provided to the injured at the earliest."
10:57   Anupam Kher stopped at Srinagar airport by police officials
Meanwhile, Anupam Kher has been stopped by the Jammu and Kashmir police at the Srinagar airport. The actor was supposed to visit the NIT campus today. He had even tweeted earlier in the day, "Landed in Srinagar. Home away from home. Will go to NIT Srinagar and meet the students and give them a warm hug and a special gift."
10:53   Sonia expresses grief over temple fire tragedy
Congress President Sonia Gandhi expressed grief over the loss of lives in the temple fire tragedy in Kerala that has left over 90 dead. Praying for the departed souls and well being of the injured, she has asked the state government to ensure ample and immediate relief measures.
10:37   Kollam temple fire: Toll goes up to 96
While some say that the toll has gone up to 102, the Kerala DGP has told ANI that the count is now 96. Meanwhile, the Karnataka government is sending a team of burns ward doctors and medicos from Bengaluru to Kollam. 

Prime Minister Modi, who will be visiting the site soon, will also be bringing a team of specialist doctors to assist the injured. 
10:29   Puttingal fire: Navy and Air Force join rescue ops
PM Modi has asked for mobilisation of Air Force and Navy assets in the area to assist in rescue and relief. According to officials, 1 dornier and 2 ALHs with medical teams have been dispatched from Garuda Naval Air station near Kochi. 
Kerala CM Oommen Chandy to chair cabinet meeting at 3 pm in Kollam
09:58   Nadda and Rudy rushing to Kerala
Health Minister J P Nadda and Skills Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy are on their way to Kerala to help with the relief operations.
09:35   Helicopters rushed to Kollam
@SiddiquiMaha  from India Today tweets: 'Kerala home minister Ramesh Chennithala tells IndiaToday that helicopters have been rushed to Kollam to ferry serious patients to T'puram.'
09:31   Kollam tragedy worst in Kerala history
 @Syddie  tweets: 'Fireworks fatalities in Kerala was the maximum in 1952 at Sabarimala. 68 deaths then. The Kollam tragedy of 2016 eclipses that number.'
09:30   Injured to be flown to hospital in helicopter
Prime Minister Modi says he has spoken to Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy and made arrangements for the injured to be flown to hospitals in Thiruvanathapuram by helicopter.
09:26   District collector had forbidden fireworks
Arun Janardhanan  of the Indian Express tweets: 'District Collector had earlier denied permission for the massive fireworks,'

09:23   Amit Shah cancels BJP campaign launch in Kannur
T S Sudhir '@Iamtssudhir  tweets: Amit Shah who was to launch BJP campaign in Kannur today, has cancelled his programme.'
09:19   'The Surgery Unit is completely swamped. People being rushed in are in bad condition'
@Syddie  tweets 'Brother says that the Surgery Unit is completely swamped. People being rushed in are in bad condition. This is a serious tragedy... Human limbs are being transported in plastic bags in Omni vans. If this doesn't paint you a picture of the scale of the tragedy, nothing will.. Burnt charred bodies lying in the open, buildings gutted. People still walking around in between them. Where are the cordons?'
09:15   Fire at temple shocking: PM
Fire at temple in Kollam is heart-rending & shocking beyond words: PM
09:14   Pakistan army violates ceasefire
Pakistan army violates ceasefire, opens fire in Poonch sector, Jammu and Kashmir
09:13   Modi to visit temple site
Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will travel to Kerala 'soon' to take stock of the situation.
09:07   Toll in temple fire rises to 86, PM asks Nadda to rush to site
The fire at a temple in Kollam is heart-rending and shocking beyond words:, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and asked Health Minister J P Nadda to immediately reach the site of the tragedy. 

At least 86 people were killed and several others injured when an explosion took place at the Puttingal Devi temple during a festival at Paravoor in Kerala's Kollam district at around 3 am on Sunday morning, PTI reports. 

As the temple festival was on, a fireworks display had commenced at the temple precincts since midnight and hundreds of people had gathered to watch the show. As the fireworks display was coming to a close at 3 am, an explosion is suspected to have occurred at the storeroom filled with crackers, the police said. 

08:40   86 killed in Kerala temple tragedy
At least 86 people were killed and several others injured when an explosion took place at the Puttingal Devi temple during a festival at Paravoor in Kerala's Kollam district at around 3 am on Sunday morning, PTI reports. 
As the temple festival was on, a fireworks display had commenced at the temple precincts since midnight and hundreds of people had gathered to watch the show. 
As the fireworks display was coming to a close at 3 am, an explosion is suspected to have occurred at the storeroom filled with crackers, the police said. Men, women and police officials are among the dead. 
Fifty of the injured were rushed to the Trivandrum Medical College in the state capital and five people died after being brought there.
08:33   86 killed in Kerala temple tragedy
Manorama Online says the toll has gone up to 86 dead and 200 injured. With many of the injured critical, the Manorama says, the toll is likely to rise.
08:32   Impact of fire felt in 1.5 km radius
A report from News Minute ( quotes a temple official saying, 'The fire started when a sparks from the fireworks fell on a huge cache of other fireworks kept nearby. Constant announcements were being made to ask people to get back and not stand near the explosives, but excited people stood there.' 
08:22   86 killed in Kerala temple tragedy
Manorama Online says the toll has gone up to 86 dead and 200 injured. With many of the injured critical, the Manorama says, the toll is likely to rise.
08:20   Helpline for Kollam fire tragedy
Helpline number: 0474 2512344
T S Sudhir '@Iamtssudhir, the well known television reporter, tweets that Kerala CM's office says the 'Kollam temple had no permission to store firecrackers in the premises. District collector also had denied permission.'
07:57   Kerala CM on way to disaster site
Kerala Chief Minister Ooomen Chandy is on his way to the site of the fire in Kollam district. He is expected to reach the area at 11 am. Meanwhile, reports say the toll has gone up to 84.
00:21   Turkey warning: US advises of threats to Istanbul and Antalya
The US has warned its citizens of "credible threats" to tourist areas in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul and the southern resort city of Antalya.

Both the Islamic State group and the Kurdish militants have claimed a number of attacks in Turkey in recent months.

Turkey is part of the US-led coalition against IS, and coalition planes use its air base at Incirlik for raids in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey is also conducting a campaign against Kurdish militants.

Read more HERE.
00:12   Explosions rattle central Kabul following Kerry's visit
Several explosions rang out in central Kabul today, shortly after the US Secretary of State John Kerry left the Afghan capital following an unannounced visit to call for the Taliban to re-enter peace talks.

Authorities were not immediately able to comment on the nature of the blasts nor on whether they had claimed any casualties, but Taliban insurgents frequently attack government and military installations in the city.

"We heard several explosions, but we don't know what caused them," a police official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Kerry's visit came as Kabul desperately tries to bring the insurgent group back to the negotiating table to end their conflict which began in 2001.

Buoyed by a series of victories on the battlefield, the Islamist group have so far refused to talk until their conditions are met, including the departure of 13,000 foreign soldiers from Afghanistan.
00:08   Migrant crisis: Germany sees huge fall in asylum claims
Germany has seen a slump in the number of people arriving to seek asylum, weeks after several Balkan states tightened their borders, figures show.

Some 20,000 people applied in March; last December it was 120,000.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the focus had switched from crisis management to integrating the more than one million who arrived in 2015.

The news came as a second group of migrants were deported from Greece to Turkey under a controversial EU deal.

Read more HERE.