Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticised the UPA government's decision to hike the subsidy on LPG cylinders from six to nine as 'drama'.
"It is a 'nautanki' (drama) by the government to raise subsidised LPG cylinder cap from 6 to 9....There is nothing to celebrate about it," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said while addressing a press conference.
Speaking on the issue of diesel price, he said: "The government has cloaked the diesel shock by leaving it to oil companies to decide. It is an anti-people decision."
"This is escapism. The government has no fixed policy," Javadekar said.
Actress Sophiya Haque, a popular VJ back in the 1990s, has died in London of cancer. She had been ailing for a long time.
Her friends and colleagues turned to Twitter to express condolences.
VISHAL DADLANI @V1SH4L
Life is short, so fickle. RIP Sophiya Haque, you beautiful spirit. People, hold your loved ones close, tell 'em you love them everyday!
Asjad Nazir @asjadnazir
With a deep sense of sorrow, heartbreak & loss, I want to let you know my dear friend Sophiya Haque has passed away :-( #RIP #SophiyaHaque
Channel V India @ChannelvIndia
V expresses grief and sorrow over the passing away of our former VJ Sophiya Haque.
Pooja Bhatt @PoojaB1972
Tragic news about Sophiya Haque. One of the most gorgeous women to have walked this planet... Shine on where-ever it is you now are luv...
TMC leader Arabul Islam arrested
Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Arabul Islam was arrested on Thursday for his alleged attacks on Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MLA Abdur Rezzak Mollah and other workers in West Bengal earlier this month, reports said.
According to reports, the West Bengal Police arrested him from Eastern Metropolitan Bypass area.
He will produced in a Baruipur court later in the day.
Delhi rape prime accused wants case moved out of capital
The prime accused in the Delhi gangrape-murder case, Ram Singh, is now planning to move the Supreme Court to transfer the case away from Delhi to any other state except for Uttar Pradesh, reports CNN IBN.
Ram Singh, who is the driver of the bus in which the gangrape took place, expressed apprehension about getting justice in Delhi.
This comes even as a Delhi court on Thursday extended the judicial custody of all the five accused. The court will now hear the case next on January 21. A fortnight after the trial began, the case is yet to be moved to a fast-track court.
Pak govt forms committee to hold talks with Qadri
The Pakistan government today formed a four-member committee to hold talks with cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri shortly after he announced a fresh deadline for action on his demands for the government to resign and to dissolve the national and provincial assemblies.
The committee includes Religious Affairs Minister Khurshid Shah, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain‚ senior Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Farooq Sattar and Awami National Party leader Afrasiyab Khattak.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf directed the committee to "immediately hold talks" with Qadri, who has been camping near parliament since Tuesday with thousands of supporters to push his demand for electoral reforms.
The committee was formed shortly after Qadri gave the government a 90-minute deadline at 1.30 pm to act on his demands.
However, support for Qadri's protest has begun to dwindle and opposition parties led by the PML-N yesterday said they would oppose any unconstitutional or unlawful move to derail the democratic system.
'Division of Andhra Pradesh not acceptable'
Congress leaders from Rayalaseema and Andhra regions of the state Thursday said a division of Andhra Pradesh was not acceptable to them.
In a resolution passed at a meeting here, the leaders of Seemandhra, as the two regions are referred to, demanded the central government should keep the state united.
"The meeting of ministers, legislators of Rayalaseema and Andhra met in Hyderabad and resolved that nothing short of united Andhra Pradesh is acceptable to us," said the resolution.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Defence Minister A K Antony brief the Union Cabinet on situation at the Line of Control.
Khurshid told the cabinet that Pakistan has indicated scaling down of its stand; it now wants bilateral talks on LoC issue rather than internationalising it.
Rape accused an adult at time of incident, rules Juvenile Board
Eight years after a youth allegedly raped a minor girl, the Juvenile Justice Board here has finally declared that he was an adult at the time of the incident.
The board, in its decision on Tuesday, said that on the basis of his first school record, Gaurav Shukla, the prime accused in Ashiyana rape case, was not a juvenile at the time of the incident, board sources said.
Petition against envoy Sherry Rehman over blasphemy
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has admitted a petition filed against Sherry Rehman over allegedly committing blasphemy.
The petition against Rehman, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, was filed by Faheem Akhtar Gill, a citizen of Multan. Gul had requested to the court to register a case against Rehman for allegedly committing blasphemy, reports The Dawn.
The petition claims that Rehman had committed blasphemy while speaking on a news channel two years ago.The petition was heard by a two-judge bench of the apex court comprising Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Ejaz Afzal, who directed CCPO Multan to take action in accordance with the law.
The Election Commission Thursday gave the government the go ahead to raise the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders from six a year to nine, official sources said here.
The commission had raised objections when Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily had announced the decision in December last year before the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections.
Cabinet has cleared the subsidized LPG cap from 6 to 9 cylinders. However, no changes in diesel prices have been announced, the oil minister M Veerappa Moily said.
The cabinet has given oil companies the nod to revise diesel prices from time to time, but it cannot be a huge hike, tv reports said.
Cabinet likely to decide on hiking LPG, diesel prices today
The Union Cabinet is set to consider the petroleum ministry’s proposals to increase diesel, cooking gas and kerosene prices in its meeting stipulated for Thursday reports said.
As per media reports, the new prices will be effective from midnight Thursday if the Cabinet approves Oil Ministry’s proposal for fuel prices hike.
The Oil Ministry is suggesting revision in diesel, domestic cooking gas (LPG) and kerosene rates to the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs based on recommendation of the Vijay Kelkar Committee, which was appointed by the Finance Ministry to suggest a roadmap for fiscal consolidation.
"(Kelkar Committee) report has already been submitted. He has given number of proposals. That is under serious consideration of the government," Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily had said.
The panel had recommended an immediate hike in price of diesel by Rs 4 per litre, of kerosene by Rs 2 a litre and of LPG by Rs 50 per cylinder along with raising the number of subsidised cooking gas cylinders for households to nine a year from the current cap of six.
Price of diesel, which currently costs Rs 47.15 per litre in Delhi, was last revised on September 14 when it was hiked by a steep Rs 5.63 per litre. Kerosene rates have not changed since June 2011 and it currently costs Rs 14.79 per litre in Delhi.
Subsidised LPG costs Rs 410.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder and any household requirement beyond current cap of 6 cylinders is to be bought at near market price of Rs 895.50 per bottle.
State-owned oil companies currently sell diesel at a loss of Rs 10.16 per litre, kerosene at Rs 32.17 a litre and LPG at Rs 490.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder.
Pro-Telangana students attempt to disrupt Seemandhra meet
Police arrested dozens of pro-Telangana students here Thursday as they tried to disrupt a meeting of Seemandhra leaders, opposing the proposed division of Andhra Pradesh.
Students belonging to Osmania University and activists of the Telangana Jagruthi, cultural arm of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), tried to barge into the high-security Ministers' Quarters in Banjara Hills to stop the meeting of Congress party leaders of Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra regions).
Raising slogans of 'Jai Telangana', the students said they would not allow any meeting which is aimed at stalling formation of Telangana state.Read more
Official refuses court order to arrest Pakistan PM
The head of the Pakistani government's anti-corruption wing has refused an order by the country's top court to arrest the prime minister in a graft case.
Fasih Bokhari, chief of the National Accountability Bureau, told the Supreme Court on Thursday that he does not have sufficient evidence to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
The court ordered Bokhari on Tuesday to arrest Ashraf and 15 others accused of corruption in a case involving private power stations built to provide electricity to energy-starved Pakistan.
The accusations against the prime minister, which he has denied, stem from his time as the minister for water and power.
The court ordered Bokhari on Thursday to bring the case files back to the judges so they can determine whether there is incriminating evidence.
Soon, dog squads to sniff out drugs at Wagah
Dog squads will soon be deployed at the Attari-Wagah international transit point by customs authorities to sniff out drugs being smuggled into India from Pakistan.
According to a Finance Ministry proposal, around 130 canines will be trained in batches at National Training Center for Dogs (NTCD) in Madhya Pradesh in the next two years. As a pilot project, the customs department has bought four dogs of Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd breeds and sent them for training along with their handlers at NTCD earlier this month.
"Initially, the dogs will be deployed at Attari (India-Pakistan border in Punjab) and at Indira Gandhi International Airport after six months training at NTCD. Later, the canines will also be put on duty at other important air and land international transit points," a ministry official said.
No force against Qadri supporters, says Zardari
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has ruled out the possibility of using force to disperse cleric Tahirul Qadri's followers who are staging a sit-in near parliament.
Zardari told a Geo News TV host over the phone that no use of force would be undertaken against the marchers in Islamabad.
The clarification came when speculation was rife over the Pakistan government's next line of action to deal with the massive sit-in in the capital.
Qadri, a Pakistani-born Canadian cleric and Thehrik-e-Minhajul Quran leader, has been staging a protest along with his tens of thousands of supporters here since Tuesday to seek ouster of the government, dissolution of parliament and a corruption-free Pakistan.
HCL Technologies profit rises 68.4%, beats estimate
HCL Technologies, India's fourth-largest software services provider, beat estimates with a 68.4 percent jump in quarterly profits joining Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services in signalling an outsourcing pickup.
Consolidated net profit for the fiscal second quarter that ended December 31 rose to 9.65 billion rupees from 5.73 billion rupees for the year-earlier period. Analysts were expecting profit to rise to 8.26 billion rupees, according to the latest Thomson Reuters data.
Jharkhand crisis: Centre likely to recommend President's rule today
The Union Cabinet is likely to recommend on Thursday imposition of President's rule in Jharkhand, which is facing political instability, while keeping the Assembly in suspended animation.
The state is expected to come under a spell of central rule as no party or combination of parties is in a position to form a government in the wake of fall of the BJP-led coalition last week, official sources said.
The Home Ministry has prepared a note on the basis of the report sent by Governor Syed Ahmed which will be placed before the Cabinet on Thursday, the sources said.
Desert drama: Islamists take hostages in Algeria
In a desert standoff deep in the Sahara, the Algerian army ringed a natural gas complex where Islamist militants hunkered down with dozens of hostages Wednesday night after a rare attack that appeared to be the first violent shock wave from the French intervention in Mali.
A militant group that claimed responsibility said 41 foreigners, including seven Americans, were being held after the assault on one of oil-rich Algeria's energy facilities, 800 miles from the capital of Algiers and 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from the coast.
India grounds Air India's 6 Dreamliners after U.S. decision
India has grounded all six of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft operated by state-owned carrier Air India after the same decision was made by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the Indian aviation regulator said on Thursday.
"The FAA has issued an advisory to ground the Dreamliners. We took a decision after that," Director General of Civil Aviation Arun Mishra told Reuters.
"As of now there is no clarity on when the Dreamliners will be back in service. Boeing has to satisfy everyone with safety standards."
After another emergency, US grounds Boeing 787s
The US government grounded Boeing's newest and most technologically advanced jetliner Wednesday, declaring that U.S. airlines cannot fly the 787 again until the risk of battery fires is addressed.
The Federal Aviation Administration's emergency order affects only United Airlines, the lone U.S. carrier to operate 787s. United said it would put passengers on other aircraft and work closely with the FAA and Boeing to review its fleet of six Dreamliners.
Rehearsals for Republic Day will be held from today with police on Wednesday asking commuters to expect congestion near India Gate and its surrounding areas till noon.
The rehearsals for the January 26 parade will be held on Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday.
"The rehearsal will be from Vijay Chowk to India Gate. The timing of the parade will be between 9:00am and 12 noon and traffic will be stopped by 8am. It will not go to Red Fort as it is done on the Republic Day," a senior police official said here.
Motorists are advised to avoid Rajpath area before noon as the roads will be closed, he said.
"As a consequence, Rajpath will remain closed from Vijay Chowk to India Gate for traffic from morning on 17th, 18th, 20th and 21st," the official said.
"Congestion is expected around Rajpath particulary near India Gate. People must avoid areas surrounding Rajpath and India Gate upto 12 noon," he said.