Live: Nothing wrong with SAIFAI fest celebrations, says Akhilesh

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 10, 2014 10:12 hrs

3.40 pm:

Nothing wrong with SAIFAI fest celebrations, says Akhilesh

Launching a staunch defence of himself and his government, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav slammed the media for misleading the public on the SAIFAI festival.

The UP CM claimed that only Rs 7 crore was spent on the event, as opposed to some media reports which stated that he had spent Rs 300 crore of tax payers money on film stars, at a time when Muzzafarnagar riot victims where freezing in makeshift camps.

The CM also defended the Bollywood stars who attended the event, stating that it was wrong to attack them.

Akhilesh has come under severe criticism for a lavish Bollywood gala evening on Thursday to mark the end of the SAIFAI fest in his native village.

On Thursday, film personalities Sharmila Tagore and Mahesh Bhatt slammed the film actors for being 'insensitive' to social reality and join in merrymaking in troubled times.

2.30 pm:

Delhi HC refuses to suspend new nursery admission norms

The Delhi High Court Friday refused to suspend a government notification on the criteria for nursery admissions in the capital on a plea filed by the city's unaided private schools.

Justice Manmohan, issuing notice to the Delhi government, asked it to file its reply within three weeks. The matter was posted for hearing next March 11. However, he declined to suspend the new norms for nursery admissions this year.

The plea, filed by the Action Committee of Unaided Private Schools, challenged the Dec 18 notification of Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung and claimed it was "absolutely illegal, arbitrary and without jurisdiction".

1.57 pm:

Centre clears POSCO's Odisha project

South Korean steel maker Posco has received environment clearance for its Rs 52,000 crore steel plant in Odisha, ending an eight-year wait for the project to get off the ground.

"Yeah, I have cleared it," new Environment Minister M Veerappa Moily said here. "It (the approval) was given about a week back."

The approval comes a week ahead of South Korean President Park Geun Hye's visit to India.

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1.34 pm:

Congress discusses anti-graft measures

Congress top brass on Friday discussed the strategy to pass a slew of anti-corruption bills pushed by Rahul Gandhi to create a 'framework' to fight graft as also the issue of Jat reservation and the party's floor strategy in Parliament.

The issues came up for discussion in a meeting of Congress Core Group chaired by party President Sonia Gandhi along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh minutes after Rahul Gandhi had an over 30-minute long meeting with the Prime Minister.

Highly-placed sources in Congress said the hour-long Core Group meeting deliberated at length on the Congress strategy in Parliament during the fortnight-long session in early February to pass the vote on account as well as the pending anti-corruption legislations prioritised by Rahul.

1.00 pm:

Shah Rukh plans special performance at Zee Cine awards

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan will put up a special performance with some of his co-stars at the 14th Zee Cine awards to be held here Feb 8, and he is very excited about it.

SRK was on mini world tour when he conceptualised the idea.

"This is a very special performance. I was doing a mini world tour and that time I got this idea of putting up an act with my co-actors. We haven't started anything yet and it is still just a thought. But I hope the item that we put up will be very interesting. I think everyone will like it," the 48-year-old said here Thursday at a press conference of the awards.

Shah Rukh, who has hosted the award function earlier too, would want to chip in here and there in the hosting department this time as well.

12.29 pm:

Don't eat onions, apex court tells petitioner

The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking direction to the government to regulate the prices of Onions and other vegetables.

Stop eating onions, prices will come down, said the apex court bench headed by Justice B.S. Chauhan.

The court told the PIL petitioner that it should not be burdened with such public interest suits.

12.26 pm:

Devyani vindicated, says father

Devyani Khobragade's father, Uttam Khobragade, on Friday said her daughter has been vindicated.

"Devyani left U.S. soil with full diplomatic immunity, vindicating the stance that whatever dispute has been raised in the U.S. is a prerogative of the sovereign country of India," said Uttam, a retired bureaucrat.

The issue of immunity is key to the case, which erupted a month ago after revelations that Devyani, a 39-year-old mother of two, was strip-searched and thrown in a cell with other criminal defendants before being released on $250,000 bail.

11.41 am:

Kejriwal adamant, refuses to take security

Though the Uttar Pradesh government has supposedly decided to provide Z plus security of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party founder has turned down the offer. "I don't need it," Kejriwal told a news channel on Friday. "I only need security for crowd management."

The reported move by the UP government comes after Kejriwal’s office was attacked by right-wing goons who vandalized the AAP premises in Kaushambi, Ghaziabad and also shouted slogans against AAP leader Prashant Bhushan who had sought a referendum on Army presence in Kashmir.

11.00 am:

AAP to kick off national membership drive today

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will launch its nation-wide membership drive today.

Called 'Main Bhi Aam Aadmi', the 17-day campaign aims to garner support in several states, where AAP is looking to contest majorly in the Lok Sabha elections.

AAP leader Yogendra Yadav had earlier said that the party would start a membership drive where people from all over the country can apply to contest for the Lok Sabha elections.

"From tenth there will be a membership drive called 'main bhi aam aadmi hoon' where we will request the people from all over the country, who are interested in joining our party to get a membership of the AAP," said Yadav.

"We will ask them to take out time for the country and start doing something for their constituencies. No fees will be charged for the registration. The applications will be accepted from 10th to 26th of this month and the responsibility of which has been given to Gopal Rai," he said.

9.30 am:

Cabinet allows, BSNL, MTNL to return 4G spectrum

The Union Cabinet allowed state-run telecommunications carriers Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd  and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd to return their 4G radio spectrum and get refunds of a total 112.6 billion rupees, in a move to help the money-losing companies.

The government will refund 67.24 billion rupees to BSNL and 45.34 billion rupees to MTNL in a staggered manner, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters on Thursday after a meeting of the cabinet.

BSNL and MTNL had received the spectrum in 2010 but have not yet launched the services.

7.30 am

After missing several deadlines in past three years and incurring over 32% cost escalation, the new international terminal (T2) at the Mumbai airport is all set to be inaugurated tomorrow, promising to provide fliers a whole new experience with its features.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will dedicate the terminal, a spanking four-storey glass marvel, whose design has been inspired by a dancing peacock, to the nation.

However, the actual operations at the terminal is likely to commence from February. Earlier, the operation was to start from this month itself.

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