Live: Three bomb blasts in Hyderabad

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 21, 2013 14:37 hrs

8. 05 pm

Three bomb blasts in Hyderabad

Three blasts have been reported in Hyderabad. 15 people are reported to be killed.

7. 10 pm

Ponting named Mumbai Indians skipper

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting will lead Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League's sixth edition beginning April 3.

Sachin Tendulkar was expected to lead the side following Harbhajan Singh's resignation but the team management has gone ahead with Ponting.

Ponting, who retired from international cricket in December, was bought for a base price of $400,000 at the IPL auction held last month.

"It's a huge honour and I thank Mrs Nita Ambani and the Mumbai Indians management for the faith they have reposed in my abilities. Mumbai Indians has the potent combination of Indian and international cricketers and I look forward to leading the team to play to its full potential," Ponting said on his appointment.

Chief mentor Anil Kumble said: "Ricky has a lot of experience to lead a competitive and a high-profile side like Mumbai Indians in the IPL. Sachin readily agreed to my suggestion that Mumbai Indians is best served when he leads the batting unburdened by the rigours of captaincy. It was our idea (Sachin and mine) to bring in Ricky as the captain."

5. 45 pm

SP comes out in defence of embattled Kurien

Samajwadi Party today came out in defence of embattled Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, saying a two-decade-old case settled by courts cannot be raked up against a person.

"A 17- or 20-year-old case settled by the courts cannot be raked up against a person. Courts have said there is no case against him. He should not step down," SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav told reporters here.

He said once the courts have settled the matter, it should not be used against a person.

Yadav's defence came a day after Kurien wrote to Rajya Sabha MPs saying the case against him is untrue.

4.43 pm:

In fresh trouble for the head of crisis-ridden Kingfisher Airlines, Vijay Mallya, the special court for economic offences here has issued summons to him on an income tax department criminal case for not remitting to government the tax deducted at source from salaries of its employees.

4.24 pm:

CBI arrests Gujarat police officer in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today arrested Gujarat IPS officer G.L. Singhal in connection with the fake encounter of 19-year-old college girl Ishrat Jahan.

Singhal was the ACP in 2004 during the fake encounter case. Singhal is among the 20 policemen, including DIG Vanzara, named in the case.

4.19 pm:

Ruling BJP suffered a fresh setback in poll-bound Karnataka with two more Ministers quitting the Jagadish Shettar cabinet today, amid indications that they would join the Congress.

Forest Minister C P Yogeeshwara and Small Scale Industries Minister Rajugouda alias Narasimha Nayak tendered their resignations to the Chief Minister today.

4.08 pm:

Murder accused Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is reportedly sleeping on the floor in the cell at the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria where he is being held, because of the absence of beds.

According to the station commander Brigadier Andre Wiese, Pistorius may be sleeping on bedding supplied by his family and has to share his cell with other detainees, News24 reports.

Wiese added that Pistorius is being treated with the same amount of dignity afforded to any other prisoner, as stipulated in the Constitution.

He also confirmed that each communal holding cell had only one single shower and toilet, the report added.

3.35 pm:

BJP criticises President's address to Parliament

Terming as a "damp squib" President Pranab Mukherjee's joint address to Parliament, BJP today said the speech did not touch upon relevant issues like price rise and corruption.

"It is a damp squib as it has not actually touched what is relevant today and we are very disappointed," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters outside Parliament after the President's address.

Rudy also dubbed the address as a "old one".

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3.00 pm:

Search on for Madhubala in Kishore Kumar biopic

Filmmaker Anurag Basu, who is scripting late singer Kishore Kumar's biopic, is still hunting for the actress to play yesteryear diva Madhubala in the film.

"I am hunting for Madhubala but it is too early to talk about it. Casting happens two to three months before we start shooting. The film is in its initial stage and would probably release next year," Anurag said.

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2.25 pm:

In West Bengal, TMC workers chopped off  a panchayat employee's ear for not turning up on day 2 of the Bharat bandh reports NDTV. While the victim was admitted to hospital and is said to be in a stable condition, no formal complaint has been lodged yet.

2.20 pm:

Harbhajan to play 100th Test in Chennai

Harbhajan Singh has been picked in India's starting XI a day before the Chennai Test against Australia.

He will become the eighth Indian to reach the landmark of 100 Test matches.

The Turbanator has taken 408 Test wickets at an average of 32.27.

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2.00 pm:

G L Singhal, a prime suspect in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, has been arrested.  Singhal was the ACP when the encounter took place in  Singhal, who had been moved out of Ahmedabad as SP of Kheda district after the probe started in the encounter case, is now in the state intelligence bureau in Gandhinagar. Jahan and three of her friends were killed in 2004.

1.55 pm:

In a remarkable twist in the case of Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee track star accused of murdering his girlfriend, the South African police said Thursday that the officer leading the investigation against the athlete is himself facing attempted murder charges, The New York Times reports

The disclosure deepened questions surrounding the detective, Hilton Botha, who, under cross-examination at a bail hearing Wednesday, was forced to concede that he could not rule out Pistorius' own version of events based on the existing evidence.

1.45 pm:

Kohinoor is ours, won't be returned: Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron says a giant diamond his country forced India to hand over in the colonial era that was set in a royal crown will not be returned.

Speaking on the third and final day of a visit to India aimed at drumming up trade and investment, Cameron ruled out handing back the 105-carat Kohinoor diamond, now on display in the Tower of London. The diamond had been set in the crown of the current Queen Elizabeth's late mother.

1.10 pm:

Partial impact of trade union strike in Odisha

Normal life was partially affected in several parts of Odisha today on the last day of the two-day nation-wide strike called by central trade unions.

People faced difficulties in commuting as buses, taxis auto-rickshaws remained off the roads, leaving a large number of passengers, including women and children, stranded at different places.

In the state capital here, some three-wheelers were seen plying in many areas since this morning, giving respite to the commuters who had a tough time travelling yesterday.

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12.30 pm:

Only two women candidates in Nagaland Assembly election

Only two women are contesting the February 23 Assembly elections in Nagaland where women comprise around 49 per cent of the electorate in the state.

Nagaland has a total electorate of 11,93,438, out of which male voters are 6,03,933 and female voters are 5,89,505, according to figures released by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer of the state.

The first Assembly election in Nagaland was held in 1964 and till the last Assembly election in 2008 no woman has emerged victorious to break the glass ceiling.

Out of a total of 188 candidates trying their luck in the day after tomorrow's election to the 60-seat Assembly, only two - Rakhila and Dr Yangerla - are women candidates and the rest are all men.

Rakhila is contesting on a BJP ticket from the Tuensang Sadar-II constituency in Tuensang district, while Dr Yangerla, a medical practitioner, is contesting as an Independent from the Mokokchung Town Assembly constituency in Mokokchung district.

In the last Assembly election held in 2008, four women had contested the poll, but none tasted success.

12.01 pm:

President's address:

Making progress in engagements with Sri Lanka in resettling refugees and ensuring life of peace and dignity for the  Tamil people.

Govt to introduce Constitution Amendment Bill to give effect to Indo-Bangla Land Boundary Agreement

We have enhanced economic relations with countries of Africa, developed closer relations with ASEAN.

At the Doha conference on climate change, India played a lead role in ensure the principle of equity be continued to recognised

The world recognises India's democratic and secular practices as a major achievement

The challenge is to widen opportunities within our democratic framework

Our space programme epitomizes India's scientific achievements and benefits the country in a number of areas.

The launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle on 9 September 2012 marked our 100th space mission.

India's first remote sensing satellite RISAT-1, with all-weather imaging capability, was also launched in 2012.

Several space missions are planned for 2013, including India's first mission to Mars and the launch of our first navigational satellite

India stands tall as a nation because we are seen as a liberal and plural democracy, which has faced and overcome tremendous odds.  

The world recognizes India's demonstrable democratic and secular practices as a major achievement. 

While we should rejoice in the benefits that our plurality brings, the challenge is to relentlessly pursue our efforts to accelerate economic growth and widen opportunities within our democratic framework.

It is only if we constantly renew and defend the democratic values that define our nationhood that we will be able to face the great challenges that lie before us.

On behalf of my Government, I appeal to all of you to support our endeavours in marching ahead as a proud nation. Jai Hind

11.52 am:

President's address:

Govt considering a scheme for concessional credit to handloom sector to benefit about 10 lakh weavers

Govt is committed to dealing with left-wing extremism in a constructive manner.

Government is committed to dealing with left-wing extremism in a constructive manner.

Govt committed to probity; considering amendments to Prevention of Corruption Act

Govt committed to judicial reforms; will introduce Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill

We attach highest importance to relations with our neighbours

It is important that Pakistan desist from acts that contribute to a trust deficit

Govt intends to work with new Chinese leadership

Seeking concerted international action against piracy; bill introduced in Parliament

Govt is deeply committed to promoting the interests and security of overseas Indians

11.42 am:

President's address:

Govt in the process of allocation  of 17 coal blocks to  govt companies

More than 1 lakh unelectrified villages have been electrified

Scheme for financial restructuring of state owned power companies

Govt is targeting significant reduction  of our dependence on imported oil and gas

11. 35 am:

President's address:

The government continues to break ground in providing employment

My government has enacted a path breaking act - protection of children from sexual acts

Strict punishment will be implemented

After the JS Verma Committee recommendations, Govt has promulgated ordinance to provide stringent punishment for heinous offences against women

Govt has also undertaken series of administrative measures to ensure safety of women

Mid-day meal for schoolchildren started

As far as higher education is concerned, my government encourages states for comprehensive higher education plans for students

In January 2013, the government completed two years without a single detection of polio in the country - longest period of time

Govt remains committed to creating a 100 million jobs within a decade

The govt has liberalised FDI policy in single brand and multi-brand retail

Govt remains committed to creating a 100 million jobs within a decade

The govt has liberalised FDI policy in single brand and multi-brand retail

11.23 am:

President's address:

Govt has enhanced allotment under the Indira Awas Yojana

Confident that the land acquisition bill will be enacted

Rajiv Awas Yojana extended to all small and medium towns with the target of 1 million houses

The MNREGA provided employment to 5 crore people

11.17 am:

President's address:

12th Plan proposes to consolidate central schemes in a smaller number and increase their flexibility

Our slower growth is the consequence of global and domestic factors

Inflation is easing gradually but is still a problem

My government had announced a road map for fiscal consolidation; working with state governments to achieve consensus on GST

Government is committed to enacting the national food security bill

My government will continue to lay emphasis on development of rain-fed and degraded areas

11.10 am:

President's address:

There is growing anxiety about economic slowdown, job security

Past years has been very difficult for global economy

Most emerging markets are growing very slowly

It has been a difficult year for India as well

Government is responding by taking initiatives to revive investor sentiment

Important initiative is roll out of direct benefit transfer system

This will help cut down leakages and lead to better targeting of beneficiaries

11.07 am:

Here are the highlights from the President's address:

I hope this session will be productive as useful

As I speak to you, I am aware that an aspirational India is emerging

Our youth, our greatest national assets are a confident and passionate lot

People are concerned about the security of women and children

My govt has taken several measures to revive investment activity and investor sentiment

11.02 am:

President Pranab Mukherjee has arrived parliament. He is currently addressing the joint session of the Parliament.

11.00 am:

Railways are planning to introduce about 100 trains, including AC double deckers, new passenger services and extension of services to cater to the demands of various states in the Rail Budget 2013-14.

As far as rolling stock programme is concerned, the announcement will be made for manufacturing of 4200 new coaches including 600 LHB coaches in the Rail Budget.

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10.48 am:

The Left parties will be boycotting the joint session of the Parliament due to the Bharat Bandh.

President Pranab Mukherjee is set address both houses of the parliament in a short while.

10.44 am:

Google to sell Internet glasses to contest winners

Google is giving more people a chance to pay $1,500 for a pair of the Internet-connected glasses that the company is touting as the next breakthrough in mobile computing.

The product, dubbed "Google Glass," will be offered to "bold, creative individuals" selected as part of a contest announced Wednesday. Participants must live in the U.S. and submit an application of up to 50 words explaining what they would do with the Google Glass technology. Entries must include the hash tag "ifihadglass" and be submitted through Google Plus or Twitter by next Wednesday. Google did not say how many glasses it will sell this way.

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10.26 am:

Ranjan Mathai to hold talks with US Secy of State

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai will hold talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry tomorrow during which discussions on cooperation in key strategic areas and the regional situation is likely to be the focus.

Mathai, who arrived here on a three-day US trip—his first of the Obama Administration’s second term—, would also hold a series of meetings with top American officials on a range of bilateral and regional issues.

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10.15 am:

PM Manmohan Singh has said that he is looking forward to a productive parliament session."We are meeting at the backdrop of a global economic slowdown", said the PM ahead of the budget session of the parliament.

Besides the rail budget and the country's financial budget being  tabled in this session, the VVIP chopper deal is also expected to rock the parliament this time around.

10.00 am:

Panel to probe Noida violence

A two-member panel has been formed to probe the violence in Noida that broke out on the first day of the two-day countrywide shutdown, leaving many people injured and property worth crores gutted, said authorities.

The state government late Wednesday named Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Arun Kumar and Home Secretary Rakesh as members of the probe committee and asked them to submit a fact finding report within three days.

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9.22 am:

A makeover in the Indian Railways

A total of 543 trains have been identified for providing On Board House Keeping Scheme (OBHS) to keep toilets and coaches clean and hygienic. Railways have also proposed to set up about 10 mechanised laundries to improve supply of clean and quality linens on trains.

New measures for fire suppression system in AC coaches and pantry cars, which are more fire prone, are likely to be announced in the Railway Budget. Cash-strapped railways, which has sought Rs 38,000 crore as general budgetary support (GBS) from the Finance Ministry, is likely to get about Rs 28,000 crore for the next fiscal.

Last year, it had got Rs 24,000 crore as GBS.

9.10 am:

As the Bharat Bandh enters Day 2, at least 71 people have been arrested for vandalising factories and setting 25 vehicles, including a fire engine, on fire in Noida.

Most schools in the area have also been closed today. Police are on high alert.

In Delhi only a few autos are on the road. Meanwhile in Lucknow state owned transportation is off the road and public sector banks are closed.

In Bangalore few autos and taxis are on the road according to NDTV. Schools and colleges remain shut there.

9.06 am:

Woman, 104, forced to lie about age on Facebook

Facebook is apologising for a problem that makes a 104-year-old Michigan woman lie about her age on the social media website. Marguerite Joseph's granddaughter says Facebook won't let Joseph list her real age.

Gail Marlow says when she tries inputting her grandmother's birth year as 1908, Facebook changes it to 1928. So for the past two years, the Grosse Pointe Shores centenarian has remained 99 - online, anyway.

8.57 am:

Sony announces PlayStation 4 with touchpad

Sony announced its next-generation gaming system, the PlayStation 4, and promised social and remote capabilities. Wednesday's announcement gives the struggling Japanese electronics company a head start over Microsoft and an Xbox 360 successor.

The new PlayStation's updated controller closely resembles the PlayStation 3 controller but adds a touchpad, motion control and a "share" button. The Japanese electronics giant said the console will be part of a new ecosystem focused on hardware, software and "the fastest, most powerful gaming network."

8.30 am:

Oscar Pistorius applied for licenses for six more guns

Oscar Pistorius applied for firearm licenses for six more guns weeks before the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp inside his house.

Pistorius already had a license for a 9 mm pistol, the gun that used in Steenkamp's shooting, which the athlete says was accidental.

In details obtained by The Associated Press from the South African Police Service's National Firearms Center and given over the telephone, Pistorius applied for licenses for a Smith & Wesson model 500 revolver, a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, a Vector .223-caliber rifle and three shotguns.

The applications listed the guns for Pistorius' private collection.

The details were given Wednesday to the AP by two separate officials at the government department. They declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to media.

8.00 am:

Chopper deal: CBI team left red faced as Italian authorities refuse to share any documents

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team met the Italian judge presiding on Wednesday but they were red faced as Italian authorities refused to share any documents with them, CNN-IBN reports.

Sources from the district attorney office in Milan said that the most they can do is to allow the CBI team to meet the judge or the magistrate who prepared the arrest warrant of the Finmeccannica officials.

The CBI is now headed to Rome to meet the Finmeccanica officials on Thursday. Meanwhile, Finmeccannica ex-CEO Giuseppe Orsi was interrogated twice by the Italian authorities. Reports said that Orsi refused to admit that he had any dealing with the former Indian Air Chief Shashi Tyagi.

7.30 am:

The Budget session of Parliament looks set to be stormy with Opposition vowing to strongly raise issues like corruption and inflation even though government expressed readiness to discuss all issues and order any kind of probe into the chopper scam.

However, a possible confrontation between government and BJP over Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's "Hindu terror" remark was averted on the eve of the session as he expressed regret and the main opposition welcomed it.

Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj had demanded that Shinde withdraw his comments and tender an apology, failing which the party would boycott him.

The three-month long session will begin with the customary address by President Pranab Mukherjee to the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

The session has a heavy legislative agenda, including getting Parliament nod to three ordinances, introduction of as many as 16 bills, consideration and passage of 35 bills.

The Railway Budget will be presented on February 26, the Economic Survey the next day and the General Budget on February 28.

NDA, which held a strategy session here this evening, said it wanted Parliament to function smoothly and would make all efforts in this regard.

However, it said there were lot of "challenges" before the which needed to be raised in Parliament with "full strength".

NDA convenor Sharad Yadav listed these issues as the helicopter scam, other corruption cases, inflation, farmers plight due to drought in Maharashtra and hailstorm in Madhya Pradesh and ordinance on stronger anti-rape laws.

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