8. 50 pm
Govt wants to experience kolaveri first hand: AIADMK during FDI debate
The Congress-led UPA government is lying that FDI in retail will help farmers, small manufacturers and create more jobs, AIADMK leader V Maitreyan said on Thursday.
"The Prime Minister had opposed FDI when he was in the Opposition, today he is (its) prime mover, said Mr Maitreyan, who moved the motion against foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
"Maybe they want to experience the 'kolaveri' (rage) first hand," he said.
8. 00 pm
John McAfee, antivirus pioneer, arrested in Guatemala City
Software company founder John McAfee was arrested by police in Guatemala on Wednesday for entering the country illegally, hours after he said he would seek asylum in the Central American country.
The antivirus guru was detained at a hotel in an upscale Guatemala City neighborhood with the help of Interpol agents and taken to an old, three-story building used to house migrants who enter the country illegally, said Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla.
It was the latest twist in a bizarre tale that has seen McAfee refuse to turn himself in to authorities in Belize, where he is a person of interest in the killing of a neighbor, then go on the lam, updating his progress on a blog and claiming to be hiding in plain sight, before secretly crossing the border into Guatemala.
7. 20 pm
Egyptian army deploys tanks at presidential palace, crisis worsens
The Egyptian army has deployed tanks outside the presidential palace in Cairo following clashes between supporters and opponents of Mohamed Morsi that left five people dead and nearly 500 wounded.
Six tanks and two armored vehicles belonging to the Republican Guard, an elite unit tasked with protecting the president and his palaces, have been stationed outside the complex.
After a night of violence, the opposition plans another demonstration outside the palace later Thursday to press demands that Morsi shelve a draft constitution adopted by his Islamist allies and rescind decrees giving him sweeping powers.
The situation was calm on Thursday morning, with thousands of Morsi supporters camping outside the palace after driving away opposition activists who had been staging a sit-in there, prompting fierce street battles.
6. 00 pm
BJP misused CBI during its tenure, says Mayawati
BSP supremo Mayawati today targetted BJP alleging that CBI was misused against her during NDA rule and dismissed its charge that she was siding with UPA on FDI issue because of government pressure through the investigating agency.
"I feel it is important to share how CBI was misused during NDA tenure. Ruling BJP at that time had put pressure of CBI on me. I would like to inform you that BJP investigated all cases for political purpose," she said participating in the debate in Rajya Sabha on FDI in multi-brand retail.
The CBI was directed to investigate the Taj corridor and disproportionate assets cases after the BSP refused to fight 2004 General Election along with BJP, she said, adding that it was the BJP government in the state which took the decision on the Taj Corridor issue.
5. 30 pm
Akali Dal leader arrested for allegedly murdering Punjab cop who protested daughter's harassment
The Punjab Police on Thursday arrested a local Shiromani Akali Dal leader (SAD) leader Ranjit Singh Rana for allegedly gunning down an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Ravinder Pal Singh as he protested against the politician and others for harassing his daughter.
The police arrested the leader and a co-accused Gurveer Singh from Tarn Taran district of Punjab.
The police have recovered three weapons from them.
"We arrested Ranjit Singh Rana and one more person in wee hours of the day. Three weapons including 12 bore gun, .315 bore rifles and a pistol were recovered from his possession," Amritsar's Police Commissioner Ram Singh was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
The Samajwadi party has said that it will walk out of the Rajya Sabha during the vote on FDI.
Walmart under ED lens for alleged FEMA violation
The government today said the Enforcement Directorate is probing alleged violation of FDI regulations by cash and carry chain Walmart.
"Directorate of Enforcement has taken appropriate action to examine alleged contravention of provisions of foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, (FEMA) by Walmart, on the basis of reference received from RBI," Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
He was replying to a question whether any enquiry is being conducted to probe allegations of foreign exchange rules violation by Walmart when it invested USD 100 million into a company owned by Bharti group in 2010.
Violation of foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations is covered by the penal provision of the FEMA.
The US retailer had invested USD 100 million in Cedar Support Services, an arm of Bharti Ventures.
CPI Rajya Sabha member M P Achuthan has complained that this violated Indian rules as this investment took place when FDI in retail was barred in this country.
Naresh Agarwal from the Samajwadi Party has said that his party is opposed to FDI in retail. He stated that his party i is neither responsible for propping up the government nor for its downfall
'We did not implement VAT in Uttar Pradesh, we will not let FDI there,' said Agarwal.
Derek O'Brien, the Trinamool Congress' MP, has begun a scathing attack on the government. He said that his party is not against reform. His party is against the UPA government's brand of reforms he said.
"Before FDI there needs to be infrastructure. UPA is like a property developer who is decorating a drawing room, without constructing the building," Derek said.
3. 15 pm:
Yechury said that the real reason for the government to bring in FDI is to reduce revenue deficit of 70 billion dollars. He said that FDI is not the answer to this problem.
'We are not against foreign capital. But FDI in retail does not add anything to the productive capacity of the economy,' said CPM's Sitaram Yechury who opposes FDI.
The BSP has said that it will support government on FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha.
Mayawati has this to say about her party's decision, 'BSP says the policy should be tested and the govt should not decide in a hurry. We suggest that the centre try this policy out in some Congress-ruled states and see how the experience is in a time bound fashion.'
'Like the Lok Sabha we wanted to abstain in the Rajya Sabha... but if the Opposition's motion goes through tomorrow then they will get a political peg and the house will not function... many important legislation will go on the back burner.'
'We have never been afraid of the CBI nor of the Congress and BJP governments at the centre', says Mayawati.
After BSP leader Mayawati attacked BJP leader Sushma Swaraj there was uproar in the house. The house was adjourned for ten minutes. Mayawati has now resumed her speech.
2:00 pm: BSP leader and four-time UP Chief Minister Mayawati has taken the floor now and is defending her party against the dig made by Sushma Swaraj, specifically the BJP leader's charge that "the problem is the issue has now become FDI vs CBI".
Swaraj had implied it was CBI cases against Mayawati that was leading to BSP helping the UPA government by abstaining from the vote in the Lok Sabha.
"When BSP wants support, they come to us, and then, we aren't communal... this dichotomy won't work," Swaraj had added in the Lok Sabha.
Mayawati's defence in the Rajya Sabha where she is a member now: Swaraj's was the 'sour grapes' syndrome.
It is interesting to see if the BSP will now vote for the motion in the Rajya Sabha, the house where the UPA badly needs every vote it can manage.
Jaitley poked holes inthe UPA's argument for FDI in retail by saying, 'The major argument is that back-end infrastructure will be strengthened - these stores will not provide irrigation or build roads or provide farmers electricity. They will make cold storage chains, but that is not rocket science alien to India. For that we do not have to impact our food security...' he said.
The BJP leader went on to add that while reforms are needed in the manufacturing sector, FDI in retail will only end up destroying it and creating legal tangles. "We will become a nation of sales boys and sales girls," he said, harking back to Napoleon's dismissive dig of Great Britain being a "nation of shopkeepers".
He asked Rajya Sabha members to vote according to their conscience and defeat the motion.
Talking about middlemen the BJP leader said, 'When small middlemen get out of the equation, the super-middleman comes in... these are the WalMarts and Tescos. A fragmented market is better than a consolidated market.'
'We'll cease to be a manufacturing nation, we will become a nation of traders . We will have a stores by Americans, French and British selling Chinese goods and India will be a nation of sales boys and sales girls,' said Jaitley.
In the month of September, WalMart decided to open its first store in Manhattan. There were protests and the proposal was taken back. There was only one reason - one WalMart will hit 50 small stores. And when that happens Mayor Michael Bloomberg knows he will not be in office.
Manufacturing sector will take a big hit, said Jaitley.
'I challenge Mr Sibal, who spoke for FDI, to get a store opened in his constituency. Elections are round the corner and he'll come to know what the people want,' said Jaitley.
Every change is not a reform, says Jaitley. Congress allies including the NCP and the DMK are opposed to FDI said the BJP leader.
Jaitley immediately launches an attack against the UPA government for making deals with the parties to pass the FDI motion in the Lok Sabha. He says the government is a 'lame duck' and that it will have to pay a price for the deal everyday.
Arun Jaitley takes the floor of the Rajya Sabha.
'There has been a lot of talk about WalMart and China. WalMart went to China and the farmers there were benefited. Consumers will also benefit from FDI. They will have a wide range of products to choose from,' said Kumar
'30% of all products procured by these chains should be from medium and small scale enterprises - this will exponentially expand the country's production base,' maintains Kumar.
Kumar said that job opportunities would increase exponentially for youth in the rural areas because of FDI.
Kumar has said that India's post harvest infrastructure was lacking and this is the primary reason behind the government's decision to bring in FDI.
12. 34 pm:
Congress' Ashwini Kumar has begun his speech to make a case for FDI in retail.
When Maiteryan brought in the Nadar community's name during his speech DMK MPs including Kanimozhi raised a ruckus. They accused him of of casting aspersions on a community.
He said that the community well known for being traders in Tamil Nadu is well aware of the government's doublespeak . The speaker of the house said that any derogatory remarks will be expunged.
Dr Maitreyan said that even the PM had opposed FDI when he was in the opposition and wondered why there was such a drastic change in stances. He also said that the government was wrong in assuming the FDI will create more jobs.
The AIADMK's V Maitreyan has moved the motion on FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha. He has said that Tamil Nadu will not exercise FDI in retail. He said his party opposes the move by the minority UPA government to bring in FDI in retail.
The BJP has objected to papers being laid on the FEMA regulations in the Rajya Sabha as the debate on FDI begins.
A Delhi court has begun hearing the bail plea of the 2 Zee journalists who were arrested for allegedly extorting the Jindal group.
Lok Sabha adjourned till noon following uproar over Babri mosque demolition issue.
11. 15 am:
2 held for ICU deaths in Delhi
Delhi Police have arrested two people in the case of hospital deaths that took place on Tuesday, reports said.
Four patients died at the ICU of at Sushrut Trauma Centre in north Delhi on Tuesday, allegedly from shortage of oxygen supply.
Reports said the oxygen supply machines allegedly malfunctioned. An inquiry has been ordered into the incident.
The Samajwadi Party has said that it will not support the UPA government on FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha. The SP MPs had walked out on the vote on FDI in retail in the Lok Sabha yesterday.
Veteran Gujarat politician Narhari Amin joined the Bharatiya Janata Party today along with his 500 supporters.
Amin quit from the Congress after he was denied a party ticket to contest in the upcoming assembly elections. Amin was the former deputy chief minister of Gujarat.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said, "I welcome Amin and his party supporters to the BJP. I appreciate Amin for joining us. He has taken a difficult decision."
Guatemalan police arrest software guru McAfee
A Guatemalan official says software company founder John McAfee has been arrested in Guatemala City for entering the country illegally.
Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said McAfee was detained by police at a hotel in an upscale neighborhood.
Earlier Wednesday, McAfee said he had formally requested asylum in Guatemala claiming he is being persecuted in Belize, where he is wanted for questioning in the fatal shooting of a neighbor.
Islamists battle opponents as Egypt crisis grows
Egypt descended into political turmoil on Wednesday over the constitution drafted by Islamist allies of President Mohammed Morsi, and at least 211 people were wounded as supporters and opponents battled each other with firebombs, rocks and sticks outside the presidential palace.
Four more presidential aides resigned in protest over Morsi's handling of the crisis, and a key opponent of the Islamist president likened Morsi's rule to that of ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.
Both sides were digging in for a long struggle, with the opposition vowing more protests and rejecting any dialogue unless the charter is rescinded, and Morsi pressing relentlessly forward with plans for a Dec. 15 constitutional referendum.
Four killed in Pakistan drone strike
At least four suspected militants were killed in a drone strike in Pakistan's northwest tribal area early Thursday, media reports said.
The strike took place at pre-dawn, Xinhua reported citing the Ary TV channel.
A US unmanned aircraft fired two missiles at a house suspected to be a militant hideout in Mir Ali area of North Waziristan.
The identities of those killed were not immediately known.
On Dec 1, Al Qaeda leader Abdul Rehman Azman, a Yemeni national believed to be a close aide of slain chief Osama bin Laden, was killed in a drone strike in neighbouring South Waziristan.
Thursday's drone strike was the 37th of its kind in 2012. At least 265 people have been killed in such strikes this year.
The debate on foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail is scheduled for Thursday in the Rajya Sabha. But the opposition has raised doubts about the debate being allowed fearing that the house will again be adjourned amidst din.
The upper house of parliament, during the current winter session, saw peaceful proceedings only on Nov 30.
As the Lok Sabha debated the issue of FDI in retail Wednesday, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned after protests by Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) members.
Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has alleged that the government was using supporting parties to disrupt the house since it does not have the numbers there.
"The government is deliberately trying to create an atmosphere where the house cannot function. Even when the Lok Sabha is functioning normally, the Rajya Sabha is being stalled.
"I have a suspicion that the government is unsure which way the Rajya Sabha will vote. So it is not letting the house function. We doubt they will allow the debate on FDI tomorrow (Thursday)," Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.
In the Rajya Sabha, the government is likely to face a tough test in defeating an opposition-sponsored motion on FDI in retail since its numbers do not cross even the half-way mark despite the help of outside supporters.
The motion would be debated under rules 167-168, which entail voting after an "in principle" decision taken at a meeting of Rajya Sabha chairman and leaders of political parties.
The government needs the support of 123 members in the 244-member house to defeat the motion brought by the opposition.
The Congress with its allies has a strength of 89 in the upper house.
Outside support from Rashtriya Janata Dal, Lok Janshakti Party, Nagaland People's Front, Bodoland People's Front and Sikkim Democratic Front add another six members, taking the total to 96.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with allies Janata Dal-United, Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal have 65 seats. The Left parties have 14 members and Trinamool Congress nine.
Also expected to vote for the motion are Biju Janata Dal (seven), Asom Gana Parishad (two), AIADMK (five) and Telugu Desam Party (five). The opposition tally thus goes to 107 -- ahead of the government.
However, BSP (15) and SP (nine) have not made their respective positions clear, and have rather been forcing adjournments repeatedly in the upper house.
SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav had Thursday said if there was a vote on FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha, the party will vote against it.
But party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav toned down his remarks some hours later and said a decision would be taken at the right opportunity.
BSP leader Mayawati, meanwhile, said her party's stand would be decided at the time of voting.
Meanwhile, buoyed by Lok Sabha's approval of its decision on FDI in multi-brand retail, Government on Wednesday night expressed confidence it will muster the numbers in Rajya Sabha also to defeat the Opposition motion against the contentious measure.
"FDI policy that we have put in place has the approval of this House," a beaming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters immediately after the Opposition motion seeking immediate withdrawal of the decision was rejected marked by a walkout by BSP and SP from the Lower House.
Rejecting the allegations of Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj that CBI was used to ensure that SP and BSP do not vote against the government, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamalnath said, " this is a rejection of the politics of the BJP. They had FDI in their manifesto. Swaraj has lost her cool because the motion moved by her has got defeated. She is frustrated".
The minister said that the motion of the BJP fell in the House and SP and BSP walked out as they realized that BJP was only doing politics on the issue.
Asked how will the government manage the numbers in Rajya Sabha to defeat this motion on which the debate starts in the Upper House tomorrow, Kamalnath said "its true that our numbers are less in Rajya Sabha but we are fully confident that we will win there as well....I do not think that the numbers are against us in the Rajya Sabha."
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid also rejected the allegations of the use of CBI by Swaraj adding "it is not proper for anybody to raise questions on the entire system only because of the failure of any step by anybody."