Live: Mandela remains hospitalized as questions grow

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 14, 2012 13:25 hrs

7.00 pm:

 Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has entered the seventh day of a hospital stay for a lung infection as questions grow about where he is receiving treatment.

The 94-year-old patriarch of South Africa's democracy has been hospitalized since Saturday, first undergoing tests and later being diagnosed with the ailment.

On Friday, government officials avoided questions over where Mandela was receiving treatment. The nation's defense minister told journalists Monday that Mandela was being treated at 1 Military Hospital near the capital, Pretoria. However, after local media reported Mandela wasn't there Thursday night, a presidential spokesman refused to say where Mandela is being treated.

Mandela is revered for being a leader of the struggle against racist white rule in South Africa. He served one five-year term as president before retiring from public life.

6.10 pm:

Rehman Malik has landed in Delhi.

The Pakistani Interior Minister, in India to formalize a new visa-regime between India and Pakistan, was delayed after some confusion over his landing earlier.

5.45 pm:

At what speed do Indian trains run?

An express train runs at an average speed of 50 km an hour and a good train at 25 km an hour. But this is only on broad gauge, Minister of State for Railways K.J. Surya Prakash Reddy told the Rajya Sabha Friday.

On meter gauge, the trains slow down, with express trains plying at 30 km an hour and goods trains at 14 km an hour.

Also on broad gauge, EMUs (electrical multiple units) run at 40 km an hour and ordinary passenger trains cover 36 km an hour.

The speed of trains, Bansal explained, was dependent on factors such as the trains themselves, signalling system, rolling stock and stoppages.

"It is a constant endeavour of Indian Railways to improve the average speed of trains," he said.


Economy to grow at 5% this fiscal: C Rangarajan

The economy is expected to grow at 5.5-6 per cent in the current fiscal and the next year will see a better rate of expansion, Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan said today.       

"I think the overall growth rate of the economy will be between 5.5-6 per cent," he said on the sidelines of the Delhi Economics Conclave.       

Growth in the first half of 2012-13 has fallen to 5.4 percent, from 7.3 per cent in the same period last fiscal.

For the entire 2011-12 fiscal, the growth had declined to 9-year low of 6.5 per cent. The Reserve Bank, meanwhile, expects it to be 5.8 per cent in the current fiscal.

4. 30 pm

England are bowling reverse swing better than India, says Akram

One of the finest exponents of reverse swing, former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram feels the Indian bowlers have not been able to use the art as well as their English counterparts are, in the ongoing Test series.

"Look at the state of the ball in Calcutta when the two teams were bowling. When India had the ball it was average looking. Nobody was bothering to shine the ball, or take responsibility for keeping it dry.

"When England bowled it was different. One side of the ball was shiny and the other dry," Akram said.

3. 40 pm

In suicide note, Indian-origin nurse was 'critical of colleagues'

A nurse was found hanging in her room three days after she had been duped by a hoax call from Australian DJs about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge, a U.K. inquest was told. The case is being treated as an apparent suicide.

Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was discovered hanging by a scarf from a wardrobe in her nurses' quarters Dec. 7 by a colleague and a member of security staff at London's King Edward VII Hospital, coroner's officer Lynda Martindill said Thursday.

Martindill said an attempt to revive Saldanha failed.

Police detective chief inspector James Harman said Saldanha, 46, also had injuries to her wrists.

He told the inquest at Westminster Coroner's Court that two notes were found at the scene and another was found among Saldanha's belongings. He said there were no suspicious circumstances, meaning nobody else was involved in Saldanha's death. "In one of the notes she is believed to criticise colleagues at the King Edward VII hospital over her treatment following the prank call," the Daily Mail reported.

3. 10 pm

Bishan Singh Bedi criticises BCCI, MS Dhoni; calls Nagpur pitch disgraceful

Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi on Thursday blasted the Nagpur pitch calling it "disgraceful" and also called the Indian team's strategy as "myopic."

The legendary left-arm spinner, who has always been forthright in his opinions took to micro-blogging site twitter to criticise the 22-yard strip that saw England crawl to 199 for five after 97 overs.

"Another disgraceful pitch in Nagpur-Indns may've to pay fr myopic strtgy- Dhoni welcome dig own grave-why take Indn crkt along?BCCI silent?!," Bedi wrote on his twitter page.

Bedi feels that Indian team might have to pay for their shortsighted approach.
The veteran feels that it is fine that the current skipper has decided to "dig (his) own grave" but he shouldn't take "Indian cricket along" while the BCCI remains "silent".

Bedi also praised Mohinder Amarnath for coming out in the open and speaking on the Dhoni's captaincy controversy and Rahul Dravid for stating that the Indian players "lack technique and ability."

"Salute Jimmy Amarnath & Dravid fr their honest upright views on Indn crkt presently-truth must surface even in untruthful times.....!!!!!"

2. 10 pm

'Little movement' by Pak in 26/11 case: Khurshid

India today said that presenting of evidence by Pakistan on Mumbai terror attacks to a court there was a "little movement" as far as the accountability of the 26/11 strikes was concerned.

"We should go with open mind with a reasonable determination to push things in a direction we want," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters accompanying him to Myanmar, responding to questions on Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik's visit to India for talks and New Delhi's expectations from it.

There should not be "great expectations" given the "constraints and limitations" in the relationship between the two countries, Khurshid said.

His comments came days after Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) presented evidence on 26/11 Mumbai attacks to a Rawalpindi-based anti-terror court.

1. 10 pm

We share your agony: SC to Kargil martyr Kalia's family

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the centre on a plea to refer to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) the torture of Indian Army officer Capt. Saurabh Kalia by the Pakistani Army after he was captured during the 1999 Kargil war.

An apex court bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice Anil R. Dave issued notice after counsel Arvind Kumar Sharma told the court that the victim's family approached the defence ministry seeking the matter be referred to ICJ as Kalia's treatment after being captured violated the international convention on the treatment of prisoners of war.

The petition has been moved by Capt. Saurabh Kalia's father N.K. Kalia.

The judges hearing his petition observed: "We fully share your agony. But what is the role of the court? Can we direct India to take up the case with International Court of Justice?" they added, "This is an important issue. If the government wants, it can take up the issue with the International Court of Justice and there's no need for our interference."

The court has given the government 10 weeks to reply to Mr Kalia's petition.

12. 50 pm

Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in Patna sealed

Bihar's first Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlet has been sealed after it was found to be running without a licence, state Food Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said on Friday.

"KFC's newly opened outlet was sealed by concerned officials after the franchisee failed to produce a licence to run it," Sanjay Kumar said.

"Now, action would be initiated for violating the rule," he said.

The outlet, which opened in Patna in October, was sealed on Thursday night.

12. 20 pm

Modi making false promises: Sonia

Breaking into Gujarati to ask people to vote for her party, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said Friday that the Narendra Modi led government was misleading people in the name of development and making false promises.

Campaigning for the second phase of Gujarat election to be held Dec 17, Gandhi blamed the state government for not utilising funds provided by the central government under various projects.

Addressing a rally in Kalol town of Gandhinagar district, she spoke briefly in Gujarati and said people should vote her party to power.

"The Gujarat government is misleading people in the name of development. Congress doesn't make empty promises like others and we will implement all that we promise if voted to power."

11. 40 am

Granite scam: Durai Dayanidhi surrenders before Madurai court

Union Minister MK Alagiri's son Durai Dayanidhi on Friday surrendered at a Madurai court three days after being granted anticipatory bail in connection with the multi-crore granite scam by the Madras High Court.

Durai has been on the run since August this year after his involvement in the illegal granite scam came to light.

On Monday, Justice C.T. Selvam of the Madurai bench of the court directed Dayanidhi to surrender his passport and also to appear daily at the Melur police station in Madurai district, where the case is registered against him, until further orders.

On August 7, cases were registered against 10 persons, including Durai Dayanidhi, charging companies owned by them with mining sand and granite without permission.

The action came close on the heels of a detailed survey of 175 granite quarrying sites by the district administration on a report by former District Collector U Sagayam, estimating loss to the state exchequer by illegal quarrying at Rs16,338 crore.

10. 30 am

Deeply divided Godhra braces for poll

A decade after Godhra provided the spark that ignited almost the whole of Gujarat into a communal cauldron, this relatively underdeveloped constituency in the prosperous state remains deeply divided along religious lines.

Going to poll in the second phase on December 17, the Muslims, who have a large presence among the 2.13 lakh electorate, are still not ready to forget and forgive the 2002 communal carnage, notwithstanding Chief Minister Narendra Modi's much publicised "Sadbhavna Mission" and numerous other overtures to woo them.

Amid the seemingly unbridgeable chasm, voters of this constituency, nearly 150 km from capital Gandhinagar, will decide the fate of eight candidates, including sitting Congress MLA C K Raulji who has thrice won the seat in 1990, 1995 and 2007, contesting as Janata Dal, BJP and Congress nominee respectively.

He is locked in a triangular fight with BJP's Praveensinh Chauhan, son of sitting MP from Panchmahal, Prabhatsinh Chauhan. Praveensinh is a political novice and is contesting an election for the first time.

Also in the fray is Girwatsinh Solanki of Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), a BJP breakaway faction headed by former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel.

Though poll watchers are not giving independent candidate Rameshbhai Patel much of a chance, the realtor from Surat, a moneybag, is also in the fray, banking on the politically influential Patel votes.

9. 30 am

China issues 'green cards' to foreigners

A total of 911 foreigners have been recently granted green cards or permanent residency in China, the authorities said Thursday.

Green card holders share the same rights and responsibilities as Chinese nationals with the exception of politics, Xinhua reported.

8. 00 am

Both Houses of Parliament have been seeing lots of drama, screaming, angry screaming and little else.

Every day since Mayawati's BSP cut a deal with the government - getting the quota in promotions bill in the Rajya Sabha in exchange for supporting FDI in Retail - the Samajwadi Party has ensured that the Rajya Sabha does no business. (this most excellent delay tactic they undoubtedly learned well from the BJP.)

In the meantime, an increasingly bitter Mayawati gets more and more vicious in Parliament. So we have another day, another session - hopefully some work is done before another adjournment.

(Interestingly the public is treating the Rajya Sabha with scant interest. The lack of Sonia, Sushma and the hurl-burly of the Lok Sabha seems to have dampened public interest.)

Now is all probability, similar to the Mandal Commission laws, the Congress will ensure the quota bill gets passed in some way or the other, but it does the raise the question - what do our lawmakers think parliament is for?

Can Parliament do any work before it close on the 21st? We shall have ti see.

Also, India restricted England to 190 for 5 on the first day of the fourth India vs England Test. In today's session the big question is whether the bowlers can clear the English side before they pack on a size-able score.

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