Live: Former President Pervez Musharraf announces return to Pakistan

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 01, 2013 13:36 hrs

7. 10 pm

We will have to remain positive: Ashwin

Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin believes India, after a clinical performance in Chennai, will have to remain positive in the second Test against Australia starting here Saturday.

"We did well in Chennai. It was a clinical performance and I think we will go out with not thinking too much about what happened previously," he said when asked about the series against England which India lost 1-2 after winning the first Test.

"We have not spoken honestly about it. It is just a result and numbers don't go too much into head. We will have to remain positive about it inside the dressing room," he said talking about India's strategy to prevent a similar slide against Aussies.

Ashwin was talking to reporters after the team's practice session at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium at Uppal here.

He feels that the eight-wicket win in the first Test would help the team here.

"I have not seen the wicket yet. Obviously when you go there, you will have good feel of the wicket. It is a different soil," he said.

"I seriously don't know much about the preparation of the wicket but by the look of it you can make out what it is going to do. I think it will be a good wicket for the first couple of days," added Ashwin, who claimed 12 wickets in the Chennai Test.

6. 35 pm

Former President Pervez Musharraf announces return to Pakistan

Former Pakistani President and military dictator, Gen (Retd) Pervez Musharraf announced on Friday that he would return to the country within a week after the interim government takes control.

The All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) chief, who has been away from Pakistan since 2008 after the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was elected into power with a coalition government, was speaking at a press conference called in Dubai.

The former president faces two court warrants for his arrest in connection with the 2006 death of Akbar Bugti and the 2007 assassination of ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

6.00 pm: 

Turkish PM draws criticism for Zionism remarks

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan drew sharp criticism for comments equating Zionism to a crime against humanity at a U.N. meeting promoting dialogue between faiths, and a U.S. official said Secretary of State John Kerry will take the Turkish leader to task on Friday for the "particularly offensive" remark.

Addressing the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations conference in Vienna this week, Erdogan complained of prejudices against Muslims. He said Islamophobia should be considered a crime against humanity "just like Zionism, like anti-Semitism and like fascism."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sharply condemned the remark late Thursday, calling it a "dark and mendacious statement, the likes of which we thought had passed from the world." The United States and the United Nations joined the criticism.

5.15 pm: 

Comet could hit, radically change Mars in 2014

New observations confirm that a comet heading toward Mars could collide with it in October 2014, possibly ushering in radical environmental changes on the Red Planet, astronomy experts said.

The C/2013 A1 comet may pass as close as 37,000 km from the surface of Mars, according to data published Wednesday by the New Mexico-based ISON-NM observatory.

"A collision scenario is becoming more likely, though its possibility remains low," Leonid Elenin, a Russia-based amateur astronomer in charge of the remotely managed ISON-NM, told RIA Novosti.

A possible impact would release up to 20 billion megatons of energy and leave a crater 500 km wide and two km deep, given that the comet is 10 to 50 km wide and moving at a speed of 56 km per second in respect to the planet, according to ISON-NM's data.

4.48 pm:

A seven-year old girl has allegedly been raped at a government school in north-west Delhi. Around 400 people protested outside a Delhi hospital, where the girl has been admitted. Police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd, NDTV reports.

The girl, a Class 2 student of a primary school run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). She has so far not identified the accused.

4.10 pm: 

Govt approves 9 proposals of FDI

Based on the recommendations of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in its meeting held on Jan 21, the government has approved nine proposals of Foreign Direct Investment amounting to Rs.1140.14 crore approximately.

"In addition, one proposal viz., M/s Ingka Holding Overseas B.V., amounting to Rs.10,500 crore, has been recommended for consideration of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA)," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Friday.

3.50 pm: 

Court orders interim unblocking of anti-IIPM URLs 

The Dabra court in Gwalior has ordered the anti-IIPM URLs blocked by an earlier judgment to be unblocked in the interim. The next hearing of the case will be on March 14. 

Ruchiv Sharma, who ran an affiliate centre of the IIPM in Dabra, filed the original petition. Sharma had claimed that the content of these URLs was defamatory and affecting his business. The court, on January 29, had ordered all 78 URLs blocked - including one belonging to the University Grant Commission and several belonging to major news organizations. 

The move caused uproar on the Internet where IIPM and its head Arindam Chaudhuri was accused of suppressing legitimate criticism. 

A counter petition was filed by the Department of Telecommunications after the blocking of the UGC website, which was accepted by the court and the block has been lifted for the interim.

3.45 pm:

Air New Zealand said Friday that one of its pilots fell into a deep sleep while at the controls of an international flight but insisted that safety aboard the aircraft was never compromised, media reports said.

He was one of two pilots flying a 332-seat Boeing 777-300ER from London to Los Angeles in November 2011, according to a report released after a freedom of information request.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) document said the pilot voluntarily submitted a "fatigue report" with the regulator, recounting how he slept on the job.

3.26 pm:

MNS' protest: Buy car, then set it on fire

On Wednesday, as members of Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) clashed across Maharashtra after NCP workers stoned Mr Thackeray's car in Ahmednagar, details now emerge as to how over-zealous MNS workers went the extra mile to please their boss, NDTV reports

An FIR filed by the Mumbai Police states that MNS cadre went and bought a second hand Maruti 800 car for Rs. 35,000 and set it on fire at LBS Marg in Kurla in Central Mumbai. The farcical show of anger - that created tension in Mumbai and large parts of Maharashtra - exposes the claims made by MNS leaders that the protests were "spontaneous".

3.14 pm:

There was outrage in Parliament on Friday over the Bhandara rape and murder case as Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's written statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs mentioned the three victims' names, CNN-IBN reports.

However, Shinde later withdrew the statement and said, "I have withdrawn the statement. Rajya Sabha Chairman has also withdrawn the statement. Have asked the secretary to conduct an enquiry into the matter."

2.50 pm: 

PM condoles death of MP Mukesh Gadhvi

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday condoled the passing away of Congress MP from Gujarat Mukesh Gadhvi, sayinga promising political career had been cut short by death.

"In the sad and untimely demise of Gadhvi, a promising political career has been cut short. I offer my deepest condolences to the family, friends and admirers of Gadhvi," the prime minister said.

Gadhvi, a first-term Congress MP, breathed his last in a hospital in Ahmedabad Friday, after suffering a brain stroke ten days ago. He was 50.

Gadhvi is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.

His father, B.K. Gadhvi, was union minister of state for finance in the Rajiv Gandhi government, and had also served as president of the Gujarat unit of the Congress.

Mukesh Gadhvi had served three terms as a member of the Gujarat assembly from 1998-2009.

2.30 pm: 

Subhash Kapoor to direct next 'Munna Bhai' film

"Munna Bhai Chale Dilli", the tentative title of the third "Munna Bhai" film of the popular Bollywood franchise, will be directed by Subhash Kapoor.

The earlier films in the franchise - "Munna Bhai M.B.B.S." and "Lage Raho Munnabhai" - were directed by Rajkumar Hirani under the Vidhu Vinod Chopra Films Pvt Ltd. banner.

Now, Kapoor, who has earlier helmed "Phas Gaye Re Obama" and also the upcoming "Jolly L.L.B", has taken over, said a statement.

Chopra, Hirani and co-writer Abhijat Joshi jointly feel that Kapoor is perfect to take the franchise to another level. They are especially confident after watching the special screening of "Jolly L.L.B.", a satire on the country's judiciary system.

2.10 pm: 

UP allows sale of premium liquor in shopping malls

Premium foreign liquor would now be available in Uttar Pradesh's shopping malls. For this, the state government has decided to levy a license fee of Rs.10 lakh.

A proposal mooted by the excise department was approved by the state cabinet Thursday, paving way for opening of liquor vending shops in malls across the state.

This move comes as part of the new excise policy of Uttar Pradesh for the financial year 2013-14 which aims at a revenue realization of Rs.12,500 crore.

1.55 pm:

China to use modified rocket for moon landing mission

China has developed a modified model of the Long March-3B carrier rocket for an upcoming moon landing mission to be completed by the Chang'e-3 moon orbiter, a rocket expert said Friday.

The orbiter's structure and size are considerably different than those of its predecessors, requiring some modifications for its carrier rocket, according to Liang Xiaohong, Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

With its improved design, the modified carrier rocket's reliability has been increased and its carrying capacity has been boosted by 30 kg, reported Xinhua quoting Liang.

1.36 pm:

Bangladesh violence toll rises to 42

The toll in fierce clashes in Bangladesh between activists of an Islamist party and law enforcers over a war-crime trial verdict has risen to 42, the authorities said.

Dozens were injured in about a dozen districts of Bangladesh, Xinhua reported citing an agency.

It was not known whether all the victims were engaged in party politics.

To thwart any further untoward incidents, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel have been deployed in violence-hit cities and towns.

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1.20 pm:

Jaitley's call data records not disclosed: Shinde

Attempts had been made to access Arun Jaitley's phone records but no information had been obtained, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Friday in reference to allegations that the opposition leader's phones had been tapped.

"This was not the case of phone tapping. The Delhi Police has made some arrests, they said we came to know some person sought to know call record data of Arun Jaitley... The call data records were not disclosed," Shinde told Rajya Sabha.

He also informed the house that four arrests had been made.

His statement was, however, rejected by opposition members who said it contained no information at all.

12.47 pm:

Conmen used electronic chips at petrol pumps to dupe customers, arrested

Be careful while getting your vehicle filled at petrol pumps in Punjab, as you can get less petrol than the quantity ordered. The Mansa police has busted a gang which used to steal petrol or diesel by using an electronic chip attached to the pump while it was in use. The meter readings showed the right quantity of petrol even though the chip ensured that fuel much less than that demanded was being dispensed.

The Mansa police has been arrested four people including their leader, CNN-IBN reports

12.30 pm: 

Uproar in J&K assembly over Guru's hanging

The Jammu and Kashmir assembly was adjourned Friday after uproarious scenes over the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demand to discuss parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's hanging.

Members of the ruling National Conference (NC), as also the lone Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) member, too joined the demand. The PDP started shouting slogans demanding the adjournment motion.

PDP legislators were led by the party president Mehbooba Mufti, who said: "We want an adjournment motion on this important issue."

NC leader Nasir Aslam Wani, along with veteran CPI-M leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, too joined the demand.

12.20 pm: 

Four MNS activists arrested in Pune for attack on NCP office

Four MNS activists were arrested for allegedly attacking the office of NCP in Pune, police said today.The four were arrested on Thursday for attacking the NCP office in the city on Wednesday after tension in some parts of the state following a stone-pelting incident targeting MNS chief Raj Thackeray's convoy, Khadak police said.

11.45 am: 

Rahul Gandhi meets party leaders in Mumbai

Congress Vice President Rahul is meeting with workers and leaders from the party's faction-ridden city unit here today.

This is Rahul's first visit to the city after taking over as the Vice President of the party.

He was accompanied by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre and AICC in-charge Mohan Prakash for the meeting at the party's state headquarters Tilak Bhawan in central Mumbai.

All MPs, MLAs, corporators, office-bearers and chiefs from the six district units of Mumbai are attending the meeting with the Congress leader.

Mumbai Congress unit has been without a leader for the last one year, after Kripashankar Singh, facing allegations of corruption, resigned following the party's defeat in the civic elections last year.

The party has not been able to find a replacement for Singh since then.

Party sources attribute the delay in appointment of a city unit president to infighting and decision-making regarding organisational matters in each of the six district units resting with the high profile MPs from Mumbai.

11.15 am: 

Shinde to make a statement in RS on Jaitley phone-tapping row 

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is likely to make a statement in Rajya Sabha today on the alleged attempt to tap Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley's phone.

Jaitley's party, the BJP, has demanded an apology from the government for the alleged phone-tapping. Rajya Sabha witnessed uproar over the issue last week and had to be adjourned.

BJP has termed the attempt to secure the Call Data Records (CDR) of Jaitley's mobile phone as a serious matter and demanded an answer from Shinde as to who ordered this unauthorised surveillance.

"This is a government of spies like James Bond and when any government functions in a mafia style then the people of this country does not forgive it. This is a serious crime," said BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Private detective Anurag Singh, the alleged main conspirator arrested in connection with the attempt to access call details of Jaitley, was on Tuesday remanded in judicial custody by a Delhi court.

The other three accused-constable Arvind Dabas, Neeraj and Nitish-are already in judicial custody.

Anurag has earlier been accused of tapping the phone of former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh in 2005. 

10.53 am:

US teen designs compact nuclear reactor

Eighteen-year-old Taylor Wilson has designed a compact nuclear reactor that could one day burn waste from old atomic weapons to power anything from homes and factories to space colonies.

The American teen, who gained fame four years ago after designing a fusion reactor he planned to build in the garage of his family's home, shared his latest endeavor at a TED Conference in southern California on Thursday, reports AFP

10.43 am:

Pakistan issues list of 109 'most wanted' terrorists

Pakistani authorities on Friday issued a list of 109 "most wanted" terrorists, including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) member Mati-ur-Rehman who was accused of involvement in a suicide attack on former premier Shaukat Aziz.

Read more

10.40 am:

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in Mumbai to interact with state and Mumbai city Congress workers today.

10.36 am:

Great Train Robber dies at 81

Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind of a British heist known as the "Great Train Robbery," has died aged 81. Reynolds was part of a gang that stole 2.6 million pounds from a Glasgow-to-London mail train in 1963 - worth more than 40 million pounds ($60 million) today, and then Britain's biggest robbery.

10.30 am:

Pope Benedict XVI leaves Vatican, tweets deleted

Pope Benedict XVI tweeted his final message on microblogging site Twitter, thanking his followers for their love and support, just before leaving the Vatican on Thursday.

Soon after, all the tweets were deleted and the profile was changed to read 'Sede Vacante', meaning 'vacant seat', reports CNN-IBN

9.56 am:

BJP national executive to meet today

Bharatiya Janata Party's national executive committee will meet in New Delhi on Friday and the national council on the next two days to discuss the preparations for Assembly polls later in 2013 and galvanise workers for the Lok Sabha polls scheduled in 2014.

Party sources said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is expected to be in the limelight at the meeting with voices having already risen for declaring him as prime ministerial candidate for the general elections.

9.30 am:

CBSE board examinations for Class X, XII begin today

More than 12 lakh students will be sitting for the CBSE class X examination and nearly ten lakh will appear in class XII test, both beginning March 1. In all, 12,59,202 students will be sitting for the class X examination, an increase of 6.70 per cent over in 2012.

Similarly, 9,42,035 students will be taking the class XII examination also beginning March 1, which is an increase of 15.51 per cent over last year, it said. This year CBSE has provided facilities to schools to generate 'online roll number wise' list of candidates appearing in 2013 class X and XII examinations.

9.00 am:

New, temporary radiation belt spotted around Earth

You may not have noticed it, but for several weeks last year, the Earth was surrounded by an extra ring of radiation.

There are two doughnut-shaped rings of highly charged particles encircling the planet. Discovered in 1958, they're known as the Van Allen radiation belts.

So it came as a surprise when NASA's recently launched twin satellites to the treacherous region discovered a third, temporary ring. It appeared for a month before a shock wave from the sun destroyed it. Scientists are still trying to figure out how often this happens.

The twin spacecraft launched last year on a mission to explore the Van Allen belts. Solar storms can cause the rings to expand, posing a potential threat to satellites.

The discovery was reported online Thursday in the journal Science.

8.30 am:

Obama urges court to overturn gay marriage ban

In a historic argument for gay rights, President Barack Obama on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to overturn California's same-sex marriage ban and turn a skeptical eye on similar prohibitions across the country.

The Obama administration's friend-of-the-court brief marked the first time a U.S. president has urged the high court to expand the right of gays and lesbians to wed. The filing unequivocally calls on the justices to strike down California's Proposition 8 ballot measure, although it stops short of the soaring rhetoric on marriage equality Obama expressed in his inaugural address in January.

Read more

8.00 am

BJP executive council meeting to discuss coming state polls

The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) national executive committee will meet here Friday and the national council on the next two days to discuss the preparations for assembly polls later this year and galvanise workers for the Lok Sabha polls scheduled in 2014.

Party sources said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is expected to be in the limelight at the meeting with voices having already risen for declaring him as prime ministerial candidate for the the general elections.

Read more

7.30 am

It's yet another bid to draw attention to a dying and polluted river that not just sustains life in the Braj region but is also a heritage treasure and a religious symbol for millions of Indians.

At least "100,000 bhakts (religious devotees)" will turn out for a 10-day march to Delhi that begins from here Friday to demand that the river Yamuna be cleaned up.

While the Mathura district authorities have drawn up elaborate plans to manage the traffic and the influx of activists from all parts of India, the organisers say traffic would be confined to one carriageway of the extremely busy National Highway-1 that links this city to the national capital.

At the Chatikara starting point, a tented township has come up to lodge tens of thousands of activists. Mathura's Jai Gurudev ashram has also joined the movement and taken the responsibility of feeding the activists. A huge dais has been readied at Chatikara site to hold a Yamuna conference before the march begins. The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Bhanu group) has mobilised thousands of farmers to join the march.

The demands include the release of a minimum quantity of water into the Yamuna round the year from the Hathini Kund barrage, some 100 km upstream of New Delhi, and effective checks on drains in the national capital that dump pollutants, effluents and sewer waste into the river - literally turning it into one huge drain.

For the past one year, scores of NGOs and groups of sadhus and babas have been actively mobilising support for the march in the hope of awakening the powers that be.

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