Live: Death penalty should be abolished, says Karunanidhi

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 18, 2013 12:06 hrs

5.30 pm:

DMK chief M Karunanidhi has said that the death penalty should be abolished. This comes in the wake of this: Three people given the death penalty for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, have asked the Supreme Court to commute their sentence to life in prison because it took 11 years for their mercy petition to be rejected.

4.22 pm:

Finmeccanica former Chief Executive and Chairman Giuseppe Orsi, who was arrested for alleged bribes paid to secure the sale of 12 AgustaWestland executive aircraft when he was head of the Finmeccanica helicopter unit, may get bail.

4.20 pm:
Bihar farmer sets new world record, harvests 108.8 tonnes of potato per hectare

Bihar's farmers have done it again. A farmer from Sohdih village of Bihar's Nalanda district has set a new world record in potato production through organic farming this year. The potato farmer, Rakesh Kumar, has harvested 108.8 tonnes of potato per hecrtare and set a new world record in potato production, Nalanda district magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agrawal said on February 18.

4.00 pm:

Mercedes injures five in Mumbai

At least five people were injured when a speeding Mercedes car hit them at Andheri (West) area in Mumbai on Monday, reports said.

The car hit the victims when they were walking along the road at around 5 am.

"Due to impact of the accident the logo and number plate of the car fell on the spot which is aiding the police in collecting evidence," DNA reported.

Victims were taken to Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital.

3.50 pm:

Govt unlikely to give Afzal's body to family

Government is likely to turn down the request of family of Afzal Guru, who was hanged and buried in Tihar jail, for handing over his body.

A senior Home Ministry official said a final decision in this regard will be taken soon and the Jammu and Kashmir government will be informed about it.

The state government had forwarded a letter sent by Tabassum, wife of Parliament attack convict Afzal, to Deputy Commissioner of Baramulla in North Kashmir demanding handing over of his body.

The Home Ministry official said Afzal was buried inside Tihar jail complex in line with the prison manual and the government has no plans to hand over the body considering various aspects, including the law and order situation in the state.

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2.30 pm:

Militants storm govt complex in Peshawar; 4 killed

At least four persons were killed and seven others injured on Monday when militants, including suicide bombers, stormed a government complex in the restive Peshawar city of northwest Pakistan, officials said. At least two explosions and heavy gunfire were heard after the militants barged into Khyber House, the office of the political administrator of Khyber tribal region.

The attackers were wearing uniforms of the Levies militia, several witnesses told the media. A meeting of leaders of political parties was underway at Khyber House at the time of the attack.

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2.06 pm:

Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily today ruled out a roll back in the Rs 1.50 a litre hike in petrol and 45 paisa per litre increase in diesel rates saying only a small raise has been passed on to consumers.

1.40 pm:

David Cameron pushes 600-mile Mumbai-Bangalore corridor

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday he wanted his country's companies to help India develop new cities and districts along a 1,000 km (600 mile) corridor between Mumbai and Bangalore, generating investment projects worth up to $25 billion.

1.30 pm:

Chopper deal scrapping: PMO 'unhappy'

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is unhappy with the proposal to cancel the AugustaWestland chopper deal, media reports said on Monday.

"The government is divided on whether to cancel the AgustaWestland chopper deal or not. Sources say the Prime Minister's Office is unhappy with the proposal to cancel the chopper deal. This comes amidst reports that the Defence Minister was inclined to cancel the deal in view of the bribery allegations against former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi," CNN-IBN reported.

12.50 pm:

Rapists shoot gangrape of 30-yr-old woman

Four persons allegedly gangraped a 30-year-old woman and also made a video clip of her at Sikri village in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district, police said today.

The rape survivor alleged in her complaint the accused entered her house when her husband was not there and raped her at gun point on Sunday evening, said Kalpana Saxena, SP Crime.

In a similar incident, a man allegedly raped his 28-year-old widowed sister-in-law at Bhaderi village in the district, police said. The victim's husband had died five years ago and she was living with her in-laws.

12.15 pm:

Chopper deal: probe team departure delayed again, likely to leave for Italy tomorrow

A joint probe team comprising a senior investigating officer of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and a law officer along with officials of ministry of defence is likely to leave for Italy on Tuesday to probe the allegations of kickbacks in the Rs. 3,760 crore deal for the 12 AgustaWestland 101 choppers, a report said.

Official sources said the team would meet Italian prosecutors to ascertain the details of the case.

11.58 am:

Furore over Obama's leaked immigration plan

Amid a furore over a leaked Obama administration plan to put America's 11 million illegal immigrants, including some 250,000 Indians, on a path to citizenship, the White House has reaffirmed its commitment to a bipartisan plan.

The Obama administration has circulated the draft legislation that would put the illegal immigrants on the citizenship after about eight years and would require them to go to the back of the line behind legal applicants within various government agencies, according to various media reports.

A draft proposal first reported by USA Today included an eight-year path to permanent residency, and eventually citizenship, for illegal immigrants.

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11.54 am:

PM appeals to trade unions to call off strike, offers talks

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has offered talks and appealed to trade unions to withdraw their proposed two-day countrywide strike from February 20.

"I appeal to the central trade unions to withdraw their call for countrywide general strike on February 20 and 21. Such a strike would lead to avoidable loss to our economy and inconvenience to the public through disruption of services," Dr. Singh said in his message.

Dr. Singh also pointed out that some of the issues raised by the trade unions are already being acted upon and others are at various stages of consideration.

11.30 am:

Delhi NCR gets its first World Trade Center (WTC) at Spire Edge in Manesar, an integrated 1.6 million sq.ft mixed use IT/ITeS development. This is result of a rigorous assessment by World Trade Centers Association (WTCA), New York.

10.50 am:

Russian meteor damage estimated at over $30 mn

Russian authorities estimate that the meteor that entered the Earth's atmosphere and exploded in the sky over the Ural Mountains region caused more than $30 million in damage.

"Around 100,000 homeowners were affected (by Friday's incident). The damage is estimated at more than 1 billion rubles (some $30 million)," the governor of the central Russian region of Chelyabinsk, Mikhail Yurevich, said at a press conference.

10.45 am: 

Bloodied cricket bat found at Pistorius home

The South African police have found a bloodied cricket bat at the home of Oscar Pistorius, who has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, found dead in the early hours of Friday.

The finding, amidst speculation that Reeva was having an affair with a national rugby star, appeared to further weaken the family's version that Pistorius attacked his girlfriend, mistaking her for a burglar.

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10.28 am: 

The Jamaat-e-Islami has called for a bandh across the Bangladesh to protest against what they see as a victimisation of their party. CNN-IBN reports state that the right wing extremists were caught at the centre of a controversy after students in many Bangladeshi cities, particularly in Dhaka, protested against life term given to Jamaat-e-Islami members for 1971 Liberation war crimes The protesters are demanding death sentences for war criminals.

10.18 am: 

Nagaland Home Minister detained 

Nagaland Home Minister Imkong L Imchen was today detained near Wokha district for allegedly carrying a cache of arms and ammunition and Rs 1.10 crore in cash in a vehicle, official sources said. 

Imchen was going to his constituency Koridanga in Mokokchung district from Kohima when Assam Rifles personnel conducting search of vehicles near Wokha district found the arms and ammunition, liquor and cash, the sources said.

9.30 am:

Veerapan's wife rallies to stop execution of aides

The Supreme Court will today take up the petition of the four associates of Veerappan asking to stay their execution. A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Justice Altmas Kabir will hear the petition.

Meanwhile, V Muthulakshmi, Veerappan's widow, has requested the Tamil Nadu government to intervene and pass a resolution to stop the execution of his aides. President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected their mercy petitions last week.

"Jayalalithaa had passed a resolution in the Tamil Nadu Assembly for those death convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. These four people too are Tamils. They are not terrorists but innocent people wrongfully arrested. More than hundred people were acquitted in the case. So a resolution has to be passed for these people as well," she was reported as saying.
Pro-Tamil groups in the state too have asked the government to pass a resolution to stay the hanging of the four men.

The four convicts - Gnanaprakash, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran - have been on death row since 2004, when the Supreme Court sentenced them to death for killing 22 policemen and forest personnel from Tamil Nadu in a landmine blast at Palar, Karnataka.

8.50 am:

Congress MP calls Suryanelli rape victim prostitute

A Congress MP from Kerala has created a furore after calling the victim in the Suryanelli rape case a prostitute, media reports said.

During a press conference in Muscat on Saturday, K Sudhakaran said that the victim — who was allegedly raped by 42 men over 40 days in 1996, when she was 16 — had carried out “outright prostitution”.

He was quoted as saying, "After receiving benefits, she is making a fool of people. She had opportunities to escape if she wanted… Charges against Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien are baseless.”

8.20 am:

Funeral for Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend to be held on Tuesday

The family of Reeva Steenkamp said on Sunday her body was back in her hometown of Port Elizabeth after the model and reality TV contestant was shot dead inside the house of Oscar Pistorius. A private funeral will be held on Tuesday.

The family said that Steenkamp, who was shot multiple times and killed at the double-amputee Olympic athlete's home early Thursday, will be cremated in a ceremony closed to the public and the media in the city on South Africa's southern coast.

Pistorius was charged with her murder and is expected to make a second court appearance - also on Tuesday - for the start of his bail hearing. He remains in custody in a police station in Pretoria ahead of that hearing.

8.00 am:

Feel no sense of loss, be proud of my sacrifice, Afzal Guru wrote in his last letter to family

In the last letter written to his family, just before he was hung, Afzal Guru, asked his family to not feel a sense of loss and asked them to feel proud of his sacrifice, a report on CNN-IBN said.

The letter written in Urdu was released by his family on Sunday evening.

In the eight line letter, his closing words were, "Allah is ally and protector". 

7.30 am: 

Up to 21 people were killed and 125 wounded in a series of bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad Sunday, while four others were killed during a gunfire attack in Mosul city.

In Baghdad, a spate of car bombs and roadside bombs struck crowded marketplaces and parking lots at the mainly Shiite districts with the aim of causing heavy casualties among residents, Xinhua reported.

The attacks occurred around 11.00 a.m. when three car bombs went off in Sadr City district, two car bombs hit Al-Husseiniyah district, and one in Al-Ameen, Kamaliyah and Saidiyah districts each.

Two more roadside bombs ripped through Palestine Street and the district of Karrada in central Baghdad.

The attacks killed 21 people and wounded 125 others, the interior ministry said.

An officer in the provincial intelligence department was killed in the morning by three gunmen in front of his house in Mosul city, capital of Nineveh province which has long been a stronghold of insurgent groups, including Al Qaeda militants.

But an Iraqi army patrol close to the scene, chased the attackers and killed all of them following a clash, a source said.

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