7. 30 pm
No move to block trade with south India: Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has rejected moves to block trade with Tamil Nadu and has insisted that economic relations should not be disrupted despite political tensions, an official said Thursday.
"There were reports regarding a protest by a port employees' organization which said their members will refrain from handling or processing Indian supplies due to the situation in Tamil Nadu," Port and Highway Deputy Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardana said.
"I am confident that such a situation will not arise," Xinhua quoted him as saying.
6. 20 pm
Historian Bratindra Nath Mukherjee passes away
Doyen of ancient Indian history Professor Bratindra Nath Mukherjee, who deciphered many ancient scripts, died today at his residence here after a protracted illness, his family said.
79-year-old Mukherjee is survived by his wife and son.
A Padmashri winner Mukherjee was a former Carmichael professor in the department of ancient Indian history, Calcutta University and was the only scholar from India who knew central Asian languages, including Sogdian (Eastern Iranian language of the area which is modern-day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and the closely related and now extinct Bactrian.
He was a student of celebrated historian A L Basham and had deciphered many ancient scripts like Shell and Kharoshti Brahmi.
Formerly a fellow of Royal Asiatic Society, England, Mukherjee was a leading epigraphist and numismatist.
Sudipta hit head on a lamp post, says Kolkata police
The Kolkata police during a press conference on the death of 22-year-old SFI student leader Sudipto Gupta, said he died due to head injuries, which were not injuries from lathis.
The police said that his injuries were from hitting his head on a lamp post.
They said that the probe will be transparent. The police said that the nature of the injuries were consistent with hitting a stationery blunt object.
Scientists create world's lightest material - carbon aerogel
Chinese scientists have developed the world's lightest substance - carbon aerogel - with a density only one sixth of that of the air.
Scientists at Zhejiang University produced the solid material which has a density of only 0.16 mg/cubic centimetre, breaking the previous record of the world's lightest material held by graphite aerogel.
The graphite aerogel was developed by German scientists last year with a density of 0.18 mg/cubic centimetre.
Government awaits anti-doping agency report on pugilist Vijender
Sports ministry is awaiting for the results after Olympic bronze medallist, Vijender Singh, accused of consuming heroin, submitted samples to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
Union Sports Minister, Jitendra Singh said on Thursday that they would take necessary steps only after the results of the test are out.
Pugilist Singh, whose middleweight bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics helped raise the profile of boxing in India, landed in trouble after last month's $24 million drug haul in Punjab when a fellow boxer told the investigators he and Singh consumed heroin supplied by the drug dealer.
Modi to address FICCI meet
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will address the annual general body meeting of the ladies' wing of industry lobby Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on April 8 in New Delhi.
Modi will speak on the topic "Unleash the entrepreneur within; exploring new avenues", a FICCI official said Thursday.
The Gujarat chief minister's appointment with the FICCI comes close on the heels of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's address Thursday to another industry body, CII.
Gandhi and Modi are both seen as prime ministerial candidates from their respective parties, the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party.
North Korea moved missile to east coast, says South Korea
North Korea has moved a missile with "considerable range" to its east coast, South Korea's defense minister said Thursday, but he added that there are no signs that Pyongyang is preparing for a full-scale conflict.
The report came hours after North Korea's military warned that it has been authorized to attack the U.S. using "smaller, lighter and diversified" nuclear weapons. It was the North's latest war cry against America in recent weeks, with the added suggestion that it had improved its nuclear technology.
SC asks Centre, state govts to cut down on use of red beacons on cars by second week of July reports the Times of India.
'There can be no comparison between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi,' said senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha to NDTV. Referring to Rahul Gandhi's speech at the CII meeting today, Sinha said that he was perplexed that the young leader had nothing to offer.
Girl gang-raped after being kidnapped in UP
A 17-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped by three youths after being abducted in Riyavli Nagla village here, police said today.
According to the police, the girl was gang-raped yesterday in a nearby jungle after being abducted by the trio in a SUV. The girl was later threatened with dire consequences, if she revealed anything about the incident.
Police said a FIR has been lodged against the absconding three accused on the basis of a complaint filed the girl's brother.
The girl has been sent for a medical examination.
A suspicious vessel has been intercepted by the coast guard 15kms off Mumbai. The ship coming from Dubai had some suspicious objects on board reports NDTV. The crew of MVS Yusuf has been handed over to the Mumbai police.
Here are some reactions to Rahul Gandhi's speech at the CII meeting:
Ramesh Srivats @rameshsrivats
Rahul Gandhi is right. Of course India is a beehive. Hajaar worker bees. Many drones hanging around in parliament. And er... one queen bee.
Aditya Sinha @autumnshade
#rahulgandhi should have skipped speech and gone directly to Q&A. Despite minor flaws, better connect.
Sucheta Dalal @suchetadalal
All the "basic minimum" that Rahul Gandhi is giviing away is coming from our taxes. Meanwhile Cong politicians r looting India's resources
Rohan Joshi @mojorojo
Rahul Gandhi speech, North Korean declaration of nuke strike, same thing.
Rahul Gandhi on attacks on Biharis and on becoming PM:
I hate politics which says beat up the Biharis when they come to Mumbai.
Or, keep Muslims out of the system. It's a complete waste of energy. That is not what a good political system is about.
It's funny about how people keep asking me, specially the media, about when I will be married, or when I will be PM.
These are irrelevant questions
The only relevant question is how can we give people a voice
I promise to come back
You're the cutting edge of the 21st century
World used to talk of Hindu rate of growth
Now the Hindu rate of growth is the European rate of growth
That's not a good thing, that's a bad thing
More from Rahul Gandhi's Q&A session at the CII meeting:
Clogged political system is holding India back
All this complexity is good training
If you can do it here, you can do it on the moon
This has been a good experience, I should do this more often
It is an accident of fate that I come from a chain of people
You get a tag in India - he only cares about only poor people, or Dalits, or rich people
But these tags are just pieces of paper
I have been told - Boss here you are... we have to move away from the idea of the guy on the horse
I want to help Indian people
More from Rahul Gandhi's Q&A session at the CII meeting:
China is a 'dragon', people call us an 'elephant' but we aren't, we are a 'beehive'. We have to understand where our power comes from
We are much more powerful than we think, we don't apply it in a centralised way
People doing yoga in New York or Big B in nightclub in Spain is our power
Indians are always complaining because we are dealing with complexity. In China, there is no complexity
Our environment is not simple, we can't give you simple answers
All of you are masters of complexity
Question and answer session between industry leaders and Rahul Gandhi begins:
On Centre-state relationship:
I am an MP and I get Rs. 5 crore
I have 700 pradhans who work with me - each one of them is working with a couple of crores
I have power to make policy, he has tremendous power at the local level - and what he is saying is this system is too closed
That is the pressure that is driving MNREGA, etc
It is a devolution of power problem, not a state-Centre problem
Our political parties are designed for MPs and MLAs and not pradhans
But he is going to solve problems
We need to build architecture
The stricture currently is totally disconnected from political system
We have to absorb these guys
Higher level policies dealt with MPS MLAS lower level for pradhans
On water problem:
We need to move to a structure to deliver these voices, we need institutional structures
50 years ago it could have been done without a structure... the political parties are not responding to the structure
If we open up the value-chain most of the problems will be solved
Large number of problems can be fixed by people at lower levels; that is what I am trying to fix in the Congress
Give one individual all the power and he can't solve the problems of a billion people
It can't be about one person, it has to be about voice of people
Give one billion people power and the problems will be solved
If you expect Manmohan Singhji or anyone else to solve everything, you can keep expecting
I am one out of a billion Indians
Our power will only come when we channel that river of Indian people
Then we will be sitting on monsters which cannot be imagined
You open up the voice of the Indian people and you see what comes out
More highlights from Rahul Gandhi's address:
India cannot move forward without partnerships of the various components of the country -- the poor, the middle-class and India Inc.
You are critical to make that happen.
Growth must include backward communities, the poor and the tribals.
The spirit of India is to move forward
More highlights from Rahul Gandhi's address:
Inclusive growth is a win-win for everybody
There are some problems that need exponential solutions; whenever India has done well it has done so not by incremental change but by radically altering structures
I invite business to unleash entrepreneurship, jobs and skills
We are readying ourselves for a new political architecture
I have come here to forge a long-term partnership with you to take this country forward
More highlights from Rahul Gandhi's address:
Today we are mortgaging our future because large part of our education and training is based on defunct ideas
Why is it that degree from Harvard costs the same as much as capitation fee of a medical college in Lucknow?
Road to development cannot have potholes
Our economic vision must be more than money, it must be about compassion. Embracing the excluded is essential
India will move forward with inclusive growth that embraces everyone
India has the largest pool of human capital
Congress Vice President is currently addressing the CII meeting. This is the first time Rahul is addressing India Inc.
Here are some of the highlights from his speech:
You are the people at the cutting edge
Huge part of what India is, is due to you
India is bursting with dreams and ideas
You are the front-liners. I remember nobody thought of India in the 1990s when I went to university. Nobody says India's about elephants on the roads
You are ambassadors of India's industry and have done a tremendous job in the last few years
We are sitting on an unstoppable tide of innovation
Joblessness is not a problem, lack of training is
Industry takes the lead in creation of jobs
Biggest problem is excluding the poor, middle-class, dalits, women, minorities
Government alone cannot build infrastructure
Have to give the people the basic minimum
Man tries to stop molestation, thrown out of train
A 28-year-old man, who tried to prevent some inebriated youth allegedly from molesting a woman co-passenger, was seriously injured after he was thrown out of a moving train at nearby Cheruthurthi, police said today.
The man was found unconscious on the tracks in the morning yesterday, with both his hands severed. He was rushed to a hospital where doctors said his condition is critical.
The victim, hailing from Idukki district, was travelling in the Malabar Express on his way to the Mookambika temple near Mangalore, they said, adding that the incident came to light when he regained consciousness.
Police said the man had tried to help the woman who was being harassed when he was pushed out of the train.
English media says IPL 'major headache' for ECB
The English media has said that the Indian Premier League may be on a collision course with the English Cricket Board (ECB) if England's top cricketers continue to participate in the lucrative Twnty20 tournament.
Stating that the cricketing world has its eyes fixed on England as the country will host both the ICC Champions Trophy in June and the first of back-to-back Ashes in July, the Mirror said that the IPL has become an integral part of the England cricket establishment even if there are not many England players in the tournament.
President clears all seven pending mercy plea cases
President Pranab Mukherjee has used his powers under Article 72 of the Constitution to dispose of the mercy petitions of nine people convicted in seven heinous crimes reports the Times of India. The President has upheld execution in five cases while commuting death sentence to life term in two others.
According to TOI, the home ministry had recommended rejection of mercy pleas in five cases and left two cases open for commutation of death sentence to life imprisonment with a rider that the life term should mean jail for the entire life of the convict and not just 20 years or 14 years in prison.
The President does not have any mercy petition pending before him now.
Judge to retire after sending racist Obama email
A Montana federal judge will retire following an investigation into an email he forwarded that included a racist joke involving President Barack Obama.
U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull had previously announced he would step down as chief circuit judge and take a reduced caseload, but he informed the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that he now intends to fully retire May 3.
The appellate court posted a statement by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski on its website Tuesday announcing Cebull had submitted the retirement letter.
Obama to return 5 percent of salary to Treasury
Sharing a bit of budget pain, President Barack Obama will return 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury in a show of solidarity with federal workers smarting from government-wide spending cuts.
Obama's decision grew out of a desire to share in the sacrifice that government employees are making, a White House official said Wednesday. Hundreds of thousands of workers could be forced to take unpaid leave — known as furloughs — if Congress does not reach an agreement soon to undo the cuts.
100 EU observers to monitor Pakistan elections
The European Union is sending a huge 100-member mission to observe the general elections in Pakistan to be held May 11, EuAsiaNews reported.
"The forthcoming parliamentary elections in Pakistan will be a historic moment for the democratic development of the country as they mark, for the first time, the transition of power from one elected government to the next," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
Ashton said she has nominated Michael Gahler, a member of the European Parliament, as chief observer for the mission.
"I am confident that, under the leadership of MEP Michael Gahler, this EOM (Election Observation Mission) will enhance the confidence of Pakistani voters in the process," she said.
The EU mission will remain in Pakistan to observe the final counting of votes and any complaint procedures, and to prepare a full report including recommendations to improve the electoral process.
SRK returns favour to Deepika, to cheer for RCB now
With actor Deepika Padukone cheering for Shah Rukh Khan owned KKR in the inaugural match, the King Khan today promised to egg on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in this IPL season when they are not up against KKR.
Deepika is from Bangalore.
"It is really great to have Deepika with us. Yesterday she performed really well in the opening ceremony, after that she agreed to stay back and cheer for KKR. So I have decided that in this IPL season when RCB is not up against KKR, I will cheer for RCB along with Deepika," said an elated Shah Rukh.