Live: Fire in Kolkata again: 700 shanties burnt, 1,500 homeless

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 16, 2013 12:40 hrs

6.10 pm:

Fire in Kolkata again: 700 shanties burnt, 1,500 homeless

Around 700 shanty huts of the poor were destroyed, leaving around 1,500 people homless in a fire that broke out in Maheshtala area's Sholo Bigha slum of South 24 Parganas district Saturday, police said.

There were no reports of any injuries.

The police have, however, detained some people who locals alleged were involved in setting the slum on fire.

Seven fire tenders were rushed to the spot.

Leader of the opposition and Communist Party of India - Marxist politburo member Surjyo Kanta Mishra went to the spot and spoke to the affected people, who alleged that it was a case of arson in which "some Trinamool Congress men" were involved.

However, the Trinamool denied the allegations.

Mishra demanded rehabilitation of the affected people.

5.50 pm:

Swiss tourist gang-raped in central India

A Swiss woman who was touring by bicycle with her husband through the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh was gang-raped by a group of eight men, police said Saturday.

Thirteen men were detained and questioned in connection with the attack, which occurred Friday night as the couple camped out in a forest after bicycling from the temple town of Orchha, local police officer R.K. Gurjar said.

The men beat the couple and gang-raped the woman, he said. They also stole the couple's mobile phone, a laptop computer and 10,000 rupees ($185), Gurjar said.

The woman was in a hospital Saturday in the nearby city of Gwalior. She and her husband were fine physically, Gurjar said.

Police detained 13 men and questioned them in connection with the attack, he said. Six of the men were released after questioning. No other details were immediately available.

Indian television stations showed scores of police searching the forest where the attack occurred.

India has seen outrage and widespread protests against rape and attacks on women since December's fatal gang-rape of a young woman in a moving bus in New Delhi, the capital. The crime horrified Indians and set off nationwide protests about India's treatment of women and spurred the government to hurry through a new package of laws to protect them.

5.30 pm:

Thane's dam under scanner over irregularities

Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare has ordered an inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the construction of Lendhi dam near here in Thane district, a local MLA claimed today.

Vivek Pandit, the MLA from Vasai in Thane district, said Tatkare ordered the probe after he raised the issue in Legislative Assembly yesterday.

Construction of the dam was yet to be completed but the contractor has already been paid crores of rupees by the Government. Also, there is not a drop of water in the dam located in the tribal-dominated Jawhar taluka, he said.

The MLA said around 70 tribal families, who had been affected by the irrigation project, had neither been compensated nor rehabilitated.

Pandit said tenders for the project were awarded by the Government even without acquiring land. This was done in clear violation of the existing rules.

Tatkare informed the House that a detailed report had been sought from Executive Director of Kokan Irrigation Development Corporation regarding the alleged irregularities in construction of the dam and action would be initiated after the report was received, he said.

The Minister also agreed to hold a meeting to thrash out the long pending issue of compensation to the project- affected farmers, the Shiv Sena legislator said.

The locals have opposed the dam's construction and set up a Samiti to spearhead their agitation.

4.35 pm:

Pak threatens to pull out of Hockey Junior World Cup

A miffed Pakistan has threatened to pull out of the FIH Junior World Cup to be held in India later this year, a day after the Indian government has cancelled the proposed bilateral series between the two nations.

"We may pull out of the Junior WC to be held in India in December. Enough is enough and we can't take this anymore. This is happening again and again. First they send our players back without event giving them a chance to play in a single match in the Hockey India League and now this," Pakistan Hockey Federation general secretary Asif Bajwa said.

Bajwa's comments came after the simmering political tensions between India and Pakistan has prompted the Indian government to call off the upcoming bilateral hockey series between the two countries. Pakistan was scheduled to tour India in mid-April for five hockey Tests, followed by a return visit by India.

3.50 pm:

Student dies of cardiac arrest during campus interview

In a tragic incident, a 21-year old final year engineering student died of heart attack on the premises of a college in Kinathukadavi on the outskirts of Coimbatore, where he had come for campus interview for employment today.

According to police, Murugesan, native of Sivaganga District, and studying in an Engineering College in Dindigul, had come to attend the interview this morning.

As he complained of chest pain, he was taken to the Government Hospital here, where he was brought dead, police said.

3.30 pm:

TN Governor's wife admitted to hospital

Sivalakshmi, wife of Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah has been admitted to a private hospital here for a check up, official sources said.

Rosaiah had come to the city last night and admitted his wife in Gem Hospital, Coimbatore, for a general check up, doctors said.

3.00 pm:

Woman allegedly gangraped on Indore bus

A woman was gangraped inside a bus by its staff and their associate in Indore yesterday afternoon, NDTV reported.

The woman, who boarded the private bus from Dewas, around 40 km from Indore, didn't alight from when all the other passengers got off at Vijay Nagar.

The bus driver then headed towards a flyover, where another man boarded.

The two of them with the bus conductor then allegedly gangraped the woman.

Medical reports have confirmed rape. The three accused have been arrested and the bus impounded.

The private bus reportedly had tinted windows despite recent orders against such vehicles.

2.30 pm:

Law to prevent crime against women soon: Sonia

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Saturday said a law will be passed soon to prevent crime against women in the country.

Gandhi, who was speaking after the foundation stone laying ceremony of Ghani Khan Choudhury Institute of Engineering and Technology here in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said the UPA government had taken various steps for the cause of women and establishing their rights.

"The UPA government has taken several steps for the betterment of women and to make them self dependent. With a fund of around Rs 1,000 crores, we are planning to set up a Women Bank, which will be run by women and help women in their business ventures," said Gandhi, who is also the AICC president.

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2.00 pm:

Kerala police grill Bitti Mohanty's father

The Kerala police today began the questioning of rape convict Bitti Mohanty's father Bidya Bhushan Mohanty, a former Odisha director general of police at the DCP office in Cuttack.

12.45 pm:

Srinagar attack: Third accused arrested

A third accused has been arrested for his role in the fidayeen attack on a CRPF camp in Srinagar on Wednesday. Five CRPF jawans and two terrorists were killed in the attack.

The Pakistani terrorist arrested in the case (second arrest) has confessed to the police that he was a LeT recruit and has revealed how he picked up the two suicide bombers and dropped them at Benima camp. 

12.40 pm:

Chavez's body moved to museum site

The body of late president Hugo Chavez was moved Friday from Venezuela's Military Academy to the site of a planned Museum of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Cavalry officers in 19th-century uniforms carried the coffin into the academy's courtyard, where more than 1,000 cadets rendered honours to the one-time paratrooper.

Chavez, 58, died March 5 after a nearly two-year battle with cancer and his state funeral took place last Friday, but authorities decided to keep the glass-covered coffin at the military academy for an extra week to give as many people as possible the chance to pay their final respects.

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12.10 pm:

Devotees faint after taking prasadam

Twenty devotees were admitted to hospital following suspected food poisoning after they took palm juice and "prasadam" prepared using meat, which was offered during a temple festival in Tirumangalam, police said today.

The devotees started vomiting and showed symptoms of diarrhoea after taking the palm juice and prasadam offered to the deity at Gurunathan temple here last night, police said.

Special poojas were performed last night.

They had been admitted to government hospital.

12.00 pm:

Mukesh Ambani to quit Bank of America Board

Mukesh Ambani would step down as the board of director of the Bank of America and instead join its global advisory council, the bank announced Friday.

Ambani has decided not to seek another term on the company's board of directors at its 2013 annual meeting of stockholders, the Bank of America said in a statement.

He has served on the Bank of America board of directors since March 2011 and became a director prior to the establishment of the Global Advisory Council.

11.30 am:

Mamata won't share dias with Sonia, Manmohan

When a Congress MLA went to invite Mamata Banerjee to an event that will be presided over by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Trinamool chief reportedly turned him down saying she had prior commitments, a report on Zee News said.

Both Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi will be in Malda, West Bengal later today for a brief visit during which they will lay the foundation for an engineering institute, and also visit the grave of Malda strongman lateABA Ghani Khan Choudhury.

11.10 am:

24 Pak soldiers die in accident

At least 24 Pakistan Army soldiers were killed and five were injured Saturday when a bus fell into a river in Khyber Paktunkhwa province, a media report said.

The Gilgit bound passenger bus plunged into Indus river in Kohistan Saturday morning, reported Dawn.

"All those 24 who were killed are Pakistan Army personnel and we have started the rescue operation and called the army to airlift injured and bodies to Rawalpindi," Deputy Commissioner Kohistan Aqal Badshah was quoted as saying.

He said that soldiers were on their way to Gilgit from Rawalpindi.

10.40 am:

Oprah Winfrey is Forbes 2013's most influential celebrity

Oprah Winfrey has been crowned as the US' most influential celebrity by Forbes for a second straight year on Friday, despite dropping off TV in 2011.

Forbes magazine ranked the 59-year-old chat show host ahead of Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, journalist Barbara Walters and financial guru Suze Orman, Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Forbes said that 48 per cent of people surveyed rated Winfrey as influential, down just one point from last year.

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10.10 am:

Swiss woman gangraped by 7 men in MP

A Swiss woman was allegedly gangraped by seven men in the Datia district in Madhya Pradesh as she was out cycling with her husband, CNN-IBN reported.

The couple intended to cycle from Orchha in MP to Agra in Uttar Pradesh.

While they were camping near Jhadia village, seven men looted them and raped the woman.

A case has been registered and the woman taken to the Gwalior hospital.

9.55 am:

Anti-rape law: Lowering age of consent uncalled for, say BJP sources

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday said it favours a strong anti-rape law but has certain reservations on some of the clauses in the Bill cleared by the Cabinet and will voice them in the all-party meeting here on March 18.

"BJP agrees with most issues stated in the Bill and would like it to be passed. But some sections in the party have reservations on decreasing the age of consent from 18 to 16 years. We will take a final call on these issues after discussing it in the party," a senior party leader said.

Party sources said there is concern that decreasing the age of consent is uncalled for as the minimum age for marriage is 18 years. BJP's core votebank as well as a majority of its leadership is traditional in its thinking and has conservative views on issues like pre-marital sex, they said.

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9.00 am:

Teenager, who set herself on fire after being molested, dies

A teenager from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh who had set herself on fire after she was allegedly sexually harassed by three men died at a hospital this morning.

The girl had suffered 85% burns injuries and was being treated at Delhi's Safdarjung hospital.

8.50 am:

Photo of molesters goes viral on Facebook, helps cops catch them

When Akshay Kingar and Ajay Bhaskar uploaded a piture of two boys making lewd gestures at two girls on March 8 on Facebook, little did they know then that it would lead to the molesters' eventual arrest.

Within a couple of hours, the facebook post generated so much interest - over 15,000 likes and shares - that the Banaglore police had no choice, but to take action, CNN-IBN reported.

The boys who sparked the campaign believe that social media can be used to reduce attacks against women.

Akshay was quoted as saying, "The process of actually going ahead and filing an FIR is too tedious or it might be even torturous for a girl to do it herself. So I think there should be easier ways for them to say, this is what happened and to seek help. So this is where the whole social network comes in and does a fabulous job"

8.25 am:

Hospital wardboy rapes two-and-half-year-old girl

A two-and-half-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a wardboy of the government hospital at Kanad town, about 30 kms from here, police said.

The incident took place yesterday when the girl was at the hospital with her mother, who had been admitted there for delivery, they said.

The accused, identified as Lakhan Yogi (21) took the girl to an adjacent room and raped her there, police said.

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8.00 am:

Man arrested for uploading obscene photos of woman

A person was nabbed for allegedly uploading morphed obscene photos and videos of a young woman on several websites including Facebook after she refused his marriage proposal, police said.

Accused Suresh Patta, a former colleague of the woman had made a marriage proposal to her but she fixed her marriage with an another person, police said.

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7.30 am:

Pranab to visit Kerala today

President Pranab Mukherjee will visit Kerala today.

During the visit, Mukherjee will inaugurate the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the T.D. Medical College at Alappuzha and attend the Quasi-centennial Celebrations of Malayala Manorama at Kottayam.

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