Against the backdrop of row over Kamal Haasan's movie 'Vishwaroopam', the centre today set up a committee to review the powers of the Censor Board and suggest measures to enable it to deal with "contemporary requirements of certification. "
The eight-member committee, headed by Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal, would also examine the role of central government vis--vis the powers of the state governments in allowing cinematographic exhibition of films.
The certification of films for exhibition comes under the domain of the centre as per entry 60 of union list while entry 33 of the state list gives state governments powers over theatres and dramatic performances, cinemas subject to the provisions of entry 60.
During the controversy of 'Vishwaroopam', there was a view that the movie already had a CBFC certification required for its release, while the Tamil Nadu government had held back its release citing law and order concerns.
Retired chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Mukul Mudgal is the chairperson of the committee while Lalit Bhasin, chairperson of Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), actor Sharmila Tagore, lyricist Javed Akhtar, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson Leela Samson would be members.
Film Federation of India President L Suresh, lawyer Rameeza Kakim and Raghvendra Singh, Joint Secretary in the I&B ministry are the other members of the committee, which will submit its report in a time frame of two months.
Ahmadinejad wants to be Iran's first astronaut
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he's ready to be the first Iranian astronaut sent into space as part of Iran's goal of manned space flight.
Ahmadinejad says he's willing to sacrifice his life for Iran's ambitious space program.
His comments were reported on Monday by the official IRNA news agency.
Iran sent a monkey into space last Monday, describing the launch a successful step toward Tehran's plan to send an astronaut into space within the next five to six years.
The monkey named "Pishgam," or "Pioneer" in Farsi, reportedly traveled 120 kilometers (72 miles) into space and then safely returned to Earth.
In 2010, Iran said it launched an Explorer rocket into space carrying a mouse, a turtle and worms.5.50 pm:
Malala makes video statement, says she's getting better
A Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban has made her first video statement since she was nearly killed, saying she is recovering.
Speaking clearly but with a slight stiffness in her upper lip, 15-year-old Malala Yousefzai said that she was "getting better, day by day."
The video statement was published on Monday, just hours after Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital said they had successfully operated to reconstruct her skull and restore her hearing.
The teenager drew the world's attention when she was shot by Taliban militants on Oct. 9 on a school bus in northwestern Pakistan. The Islamist group said they targeted her because she promoted girls' education and "Western thinking" and criticized the militant group's behavior when it took over the scenic Swat Valley where she lived.5.30 pm:
UK cops stole dead children's IDs
The Guardian newspaper says that London's Metropolitan Police Service stole the identities of dozens of dead children to use as aliases for undercover officers, learning the infants' personal histories and even issuing fake passports in their names.
The allegation is another potential embarrassment for U.K. law enforcement's undercover programme, which has previously been rocked by revelations that police spies had sex with their targets and fathered children with activists.
Police said in a statement Monday that they were investigating the complaint and "appreciate the concerns that have been raised." It said the "practice referred to in the complaint is not something that would currently be authorized."
The Guardian based its story on two detailed accounts provided by former undercover officers, whom it did not identify by name.
After Vishwaroopam, looks like Mani Ratnam's Kadal is under the scanner in Tamil Nadu. Turns out a few Christian groups find the movie to be in 'bad taste' for being 'anti-Christian'. A Christian group led by a priest has filed a complaint against the movie and called for a ban.
Facebook turns 9
With more than one billion users, popular social networking site Facebook celebrated its ninth birthday on Monday.
The social networking site was launched on Feb 4, 2004. It is owned and operated by Facebook, Inc.
It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.
The website's membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University.
It gradually added support for students at various other universities before opening to high school students, and eventually to anyone aged 13 and over.
The social networking site made its public listing in May last year.4.00 pm:
Minor girl raped by teacher in school toilet
A Class III girl student was allegedly raped by a guest teacher in a school toilet at a village in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh, police said today.
On February 2, when the girl was sitting alone in the class room of Naveen Government Primary School at Lato village here, the guest teacher - Prem Kumar (22) - asked her to go to the toilet for cleaning her running nose, police said.
The accused then followed the girl and after reaching the toilet locked its door and allegedly raped her, Sub-Divisional Officer of Police (SDOP) R F Kalda told reporters. Read more
Marital rape a difficult issue, will be debated: Chidambaram
Finance Minister P Chidambaram is addressing the media in New Delhi on the anti-rape ordinance promulgated by the government, and says they hope the stringent provisions will be a deterrent.
Of the 22 clauses in the ordinance, 11 of which have been taken from a piece of legislation pending before Parliament, Chidambaram says.
The anti-rape ordinance is only the starting point of the legislative process, Chidambaram says.
On marital rape, there is divergence of opinion, as well as what is the age for a juvenile, admits Chidambaram.
On keeping marital rape out of the ambit of the ordinance, Chidambaram says it is a "difficult issue on which we have to hear the views of everybody". We have taken it one step forward by saying if husband and wife are separated, if there is sexual act then it will be punishable. Within marriage, this is debatable, Chidambaram says. There are differing views on this, he adds.
The bill that will be passed by Parliament and which will replace the ordinance will reflect the broadest consensus on the issue, and government welcomes proposals and suggestions on the subject, Chidambaram says.
Along with Chidambaram, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari is also addressing the media.
Read the highlights of the speech here
Panetta admits use of torture in Osama hunt
US defence secretary Leon Panetta has admitted that torture and enhanced interrogation techniques were used to "put together the puzzle" that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
Panetta made the candid admission, becoming the highest-ranking Obama administration official to do so, while responding to a question on Kathyrn Bigelow's Oscar-nominated film "Zero Dark Thirty", the New York Post reported.
"The movie seems to say, to indicate that enhanced interrogation techniques or torture was used to get information to get bin Laden. Is that true?", Panetta, outgoing US defence secretary, was asked on a NBC show.
"Yes, some of it came from some of the tactics that were used at that time, interrogation tactics that were used," Panetta responded.
SC agrees to re-examine Juvenile Justice Act
The Supreme Court has decided to review the definition of Juvenile in the Juvenile Justice Act.
The SC's move comes in the wake of the Delhi gangrape, where one of the main accused happens to be a minor.
The Apex Court's move came after a plea was filed asking for review of the age limit used to defione juveniles.
The Attorney General will assist the court in reviewing the Juvenile Act.
Meet the baby who cannot cry
Doctors believe a 14-month-old baby who cannot suck, swallow, gag, cough or cry because of a baffling condition could be the only person in the world with the bizarre complaint.
Maddison Gill, of Trull, who has spent her whole life until now at Musgrove Hospital, in Taunton, Somerset, needs to be regularly fed and given medication through a tube and has to be watched at all times.
Doctors first realised something was wrong with Maddison, who was born in October 2011, when she began to gurgle instead of cry when she was born.
Akhilesh Yadav govt spends Rs 120 cr to protect VIPs
With security often seen as a status symbol, the Uttar Pradesh government is spending a whopping Rs.120 crore in public money a year to provide security cover to around 1,500 VIPs of different hues, deploying as many as 2,913 police officials, officials records show.
Inspector General of Police (Law & Order) Badri Prasad Singh admitted that 1,476 VIPs (very important persons) were being given security based on "pre-emptive threat perception".
"Police does a security check of the threat perception to a person who has applied for security from the state and thereafter the home department approves it," Singh told IANS.Read more
Kerala Assembly disrupted over Suryanelli case
The CPI(M)-led LDF opposition disrupted proceedings in the Kerala Assembly today, demanding a fresh probe into the allegation of the victim against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien in the Suryanelli gangrape case.
Rejecting the LDF's adjournment notice on the issue during zero hour, Home Minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan held that the state Government could not comply with the demand for a re-investigation since the complaint against Kurien had been dismissed by the Supreme Court.
The placard-waving opposition members, led by their women colleagues, then rushed to the well of the house and raised slogans denouncing the government's stand, forcing Speaker G Karthikeyan to adjourn the proceedings briefly.
Support pours in for J-K's all-girls rock band
Asserting that there should be no difference on the basis of gender, National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Mamta Sharma on Monday said there is no need to impose a ban on the all-girls rock band of Kashmir.
"This is absolutely wrong. Every individual has his own mindset, traditions and customs, but I believe that if we stop these girls from doing something so many years after independence then it reflects our dual attitude," said Sharma.
"On one hand we say that there should be no difference on the basis of sex and on the other hand we impose restrictions on the girls. So, I believe that this absolutely incorrect," she added.Read more11.30 am:
Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman resigns
Rohinton F Nariman resigned on Monday as the Solicitor General of India.
The reason behind his resignation is not known yet.
RF Nariman was appointed as the Solicitor General by the government in July 2011 after Gopal Subramaniam quit the post protesting the former's appearance in 2G scam case before the Supreme Court for telecom minister Kapil Sibal.Read more11.00 am:
Outrage over Saudi 'blood money' in five-year-old girl's death
Online activists in Saudi Arabia are calling for harsher punishments for child abuse after reports that a prominent cleric received only a light sentence after confessing to the beating death of his 5-year-old daughter.
The social media campaign gaining momentum Sunday is the latest attempt to use the Internet to pressure the kingdom's ultraconservative rulers.
Saudi media reports say Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a frequent guest on Islamic TV programs, was arrested in November on charges of killing the girl. The reports said he questioned the child's virginity.Read more
CWG scam: CBI court frames charges against Kalmadi, 9 others
A CBI court framed charges against Suresh Kalmadi and nine others for allegedly cheating, conspiring and causing a loss of over Rs. 90 crore to the exchequer in the CWG-related corruption case, a report on NDTV said.
They have been charged with cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery and destruction of evidence. They are accused of "illegally" awarding a contract to install the timing, scoring and results (TSR) system for the 2010 games to a firm named Swiss Timing at inflated rates.