Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro, Hugo Chavez's successor, is a follower of Sathya Sai Baba, media reports said.
He reportedly visited the Sai Baba's ashram at Puttaparthi in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh, in 2005 wih his wife, Cilia Flores.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will host lunch for Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf during his one-day private visit on Saturday to Jaipur but there will be no "substantive" discussions.
"Khurshid will host a lunch for him (Ashraf) at a local hotel (Rambagh Palace) in Jaipur following which Pakistan Prime Minister will depart for Ajmer. Upon completion of prayers at Ajmer, the visiting Prime Minister will return to Jaipur the same evening and take a special flight back to Islamabad.
"The Pakistan Prime Minister is not visiting New Delhi and no substantive discussions are scheduled to be held in Jaipur," official spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said while giving details of Pakistan Prime Minister's trip to Jaipur. 5.40 pm:
Berlo gets one year in jail for wiretap trial
A Milan court has convicted former Premier Silvio Berlusconi for the illegal publication of transcripts of wiretapped conversations in a newspaper owned by his media empire.
The court on Thursday sentenced him to one year in jail, although he is unlikely to be put behind bars during a possible appeal.
CBI names Raja Bhaiya in UP cop murder case
he Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday named former UP minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya and four others in connection with the killing of the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Zia-ul-Haq, media reports said.
The CBI registered four different cases in connection to the killing of DSP Zia-ul-Haque, Balipur village head Nanhe Yadav and his brother at Pratapgarh district in Uttar Pradesh last week, reports said on Thursday.
The FIR registered by the CBI names Om Srivastava, Gulshan Yadav, Guddu Singh and Rohit Singh, besides Raja Bhaiyya, Zee news
No alcohol to mourn Chavez?
The Interior Ministry of Venezuela has ordered a ban on sales and consumption of alcohol across the country for the seven-day period of mourning for late president Hugo Chavez.
The ban, which will be in force until March 12, is aimed at providing normal conditions for holding a funeral ceremony for Chavez and will be monitored by law enforcers, the ministry said Wednesday.
The ministry also introduced a temporary ban until March 12 on carrying weapons in public for those individuals, who have permission. Police, military and special service officers are the exception to the ban.
Chavez, 58, died Tuesday following a two-year-long tough battle with cancer. His funeral will be held Friday.
Expedite probe against Raj Thackeray: Court to cops
A court today directed the Delhi Police to expedite its investigation in the FIR lodged against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray for allegedly branding Bihar natives in Mumbai as infiltrators.
The order was passed after the police filed a report on the status of the probe in the FIR and said it has issued notices to chief editors of various newspapers and news channels seeking certified copies of news reports of Thackeray's speech in which he had allegedly branded Bihar natives as infiltrators in Mumbai and threatened to throw them out of the state.
Free national roaming likely before October: Sibal
Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said the government will try to start national free roaming for customers before October this year.
"Trai has floated a consultation paper on it (national free roaming). So when Trai's recommendations come and after that, we will try to start free roaming before October," Sibal told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of National Internet Registry (NIR) here.
Sushma Swaraj more admired than Sonia Gandhi, finds shaadi.com survey
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj was voted as the most admired female politician followed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in a survey conducted by shaadi.com.
The matrimonial website conducted the poll on the occasion of International Women's Day (March 8) to understand which successful Indian women are admired for striking a perfect balance between their career and their family life.
Here's what the tweeple have to say about Sehwag being dropped from the Indian Test team
My cricket career has not ended - @virendersehwag ! Thats the spirit bro !! Come back with bang bro!!!
Virender Sehwag rested. #nothurtingsentiments
Relief for Virender Sehwag. Doesn't have to get out for 5 runs and keep fielding all day.
Meanwhile Virender Sehwag fans plan disparaging tweets about Murli Vijay and Gambhir.
Nowadays most things in the world #LastsLongerThan Virender Sehwag's innings
Dropping Virender Sehwag from the team is much like dropping Nuclear Bombs on Virender Sehwag Fans.
Virender Sehwag being dropped...Atleast gives him a chance to get his glasses checked again, batting or fielding he couldn't spot the ball
ISI employees approach court against their chief
Four civilian employees of the spy agency ISI have approached the Islamabad High Court with complaints against its chief, Lt Gen Zahir-ul-Islam, in probably the first case of its kind in Pakistan's history.
The employees claimed in their application that Islam and other senior government officers should be charged with contempt of court for not acting on a ruling of the Islamabad High Court on regularising employees.
Sehwag axed from Test team
Indian selectors have dropped the struggling Virender Sehwag for the final two Tests against Australia.
Left-handed Shikhar Dhawan will most likely open in the Tests, to be played in Mohali and Delhi.
Sehwag made just 27 runs in the three innings he played in the first two Tests. His batting had slipped from the November 2010 series against New Zealand, a lean period that has seen him score 1036 runs in 20 Tests at 28.77, with just one hundred.
The rest of the squad has been retained.
The 14-man squad: MS Dhoni (Captain), Sachin Tendulkar, M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harbhajan Singh, R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda.
You can catch Sify.com's full coverage of the India-Australia Tests right here
Curfew continues in Kashmir Valley
Kashmir observed a shutdown for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday even as authorities continued curfew in several parts of the Valley to prevent deterioration of law and order in the wake of killing of a youth allegedly in Army firing in Baramulla.
"Curfew remains in force in eight police station areas of Srinagar city and Sopore (Baramulla district), Trehgam (Kupwara district) and Kulgam towns," a police spokesman said.
Little PSY goes solo after 'Gangnam Style' cameo
The impish boy who showed off his dance moves alongside PSY in "Gangnam Style" is hoping to go viral, too.
The 7-year-old nicknamed "Little PSY" is releasing an electro pop song next week through iTunes. The boy whose real name is Hwang Min-woo says he wants to gain global fame like his "big brother," PSY.
Chavez's coffin taken to military academy, supporters swarm streets to bid farewell
The coffin of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez was taken to a military academy where he will lie in state for three days, as throngs of weeping supporters swarmed Caracas streets to bid farewell.
Hundreds of thousands waved flags and chanted "Chavez lives" as his hearse crawled across the capital on Wednesday in a seven-hour trip from the hospital where he died to the academy he once called his second home.
Cabinet did not discuss anti-rape bill
CNN-IBN reports: After weeks of promising strong legislation to curb crime against women, it seems the Cabinet is dithering on the new anti-rape law. The bill was not discussed by the Cabinet on Thursday after some amendments proposed by the home ministry ran into opposition.
CNN-IBN has learnt that the Law Ministry has sent some recommendations and has reservations about replacing the word sexual harassment with rape saying that this limits it to just women-related crimes.
Sources said that there is also no consensus to bringing voyuerism under sexual abuse and reducing the age of consensual sex from 18 to 16 which were part of recommendations by the Justice JS Verma committee.
Purulia arms drop: Talks on Kim Davy's trial to be held today
After months of diplomatic pressure, Denmark has sent a high-level delegation to hold talks with India Thursday to find ways to extradite prime accused in Purulia arms drop case Kim Davy to face trial in New Delhi.
A 6-member Danish team led by Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Justice Ministry Jens Christian Bulow will hold talks with the Indian team headed by Special Secretary (Internal Secretary) in the Home Ministry S Jayaraman and explore options to bring back Davy to face trial in court in the 18 year-old case.
FBI keeping tabs on the Web: Google
Google says the FBI is monitoring the Web for potential terrorist activity. But it cannot say how extensive is the surveillance.
As part of the Google Transparency Report, the Internet giant this week released data on so-called National Security Letters — official requests for data under the Patriot Act passed after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The Cabinet on Thursday will consider a Bill providing for time-bound delivery of services like pensions, passports, caste certificates, ration cards and tax refunds with a penalty of Rs 250 a day subject to a maximum of Rs 50,000 for default, TOI reports.
The right of citizens for time-bound delivery of goods and services and redressal of grievances Bill is to be enacted under the concurrent list, which means all states have to offer the entire gamut of services listed by the Centre's citizen's charter.
A winter storm marched into the Mid-Atlantic region on Wednesday, dumping nearly two feet of snow in some places and knocking out power to about 250,000 homes and businesses. It largely spared the nation's capital, which was expecting much worse and had all but shut down.
Govt set to put new mechanism for interception of telephone
A new mechanism will be put in place by the government to eliminate the loopholes in authorised phone tapping by intelligence and enforcement agencies. The process, followed by the agencies by approaching telecom service providers individually after due authorisation, will be brought under one roof.
The interface with the telecom service provider will also be done away with. Official sources said the Central Monitoring System (CMS) is likely to be operational within a month and it will be brought under the Department of Telecom (DoT) and will be manned by the Intelligence Bureau (IB).Read more
Pope Benedict's official ring cancelled
Pope Benedict XVI's gold papal ring, the symbol of his power used to officially seal documents and ensure their authenticity, has been cancelled, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.
100 huts gutted in Mumbai slum blaze
Eight people sustained burn injuries and around 100 huts were reduced to ashes in a major fire that engulfed a slum near Bandra station in west Mumbai, officials said on Thursday.
The fire which started around 2am quickly spread to adjoining slums in the congested Shastri Nagar slum colony, catching people unawares in their sleep, according to BMC Disaster Control room.Read more
Bill on anti-rape law is likely to be taken up by Cabinet today
Bill on anti-rape law or the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill is likely to be taken up by the Cabinet today. The bill, which proposes a person in authority convicted of rape will have to spend rest of his natural life in jail, has inputs from a parliamentary committee which had studied the new rape laws that the government cleared as an Ordinance last month.
The proposal will replace the provision in the ordinance which has subscribed life imprisonment as the maximum punishment for those in authority committing rape.
Indian-origin girl has IQ higher than Einstein
Neha Ramu, 12-year-old Indian-origin girl in UK has stunned everyone after she scored an incredible 162 on her IQ test - even higher than Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.
Neha Ramu, daughter of an Indian doctor couple, achieved a score of 162 on a Mensa IQ test - the highest score possible for her age.
The score puts the tween in the top one per cent of brightest people in the UK and means she is more intelligent than physicist Hawking, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and scientist Albert Einstein, who are all thought to have an IQ of 160.
UP cop killing update:
Media reports state that police officer Zia-ul-Haq was beaten and dragged along the ground before being shot dead. The Uttar Pradesh police also confirmed that he had severe injuries on his legs and head.
The government doctors citing his post-mortem report have said that his life could have been saved had he been taken to the hospital within 30 minutes of being shot.
Armed fighters linked to the Syrian opposition captured 21 U.N. peacekeepers Wednesday in the increasingly volatile zone separating Israeli and Syrian troops on the Golan Heights, a new escalation in the spillover of Syria's civil war.
The capture comes a week after the announcement that a member of the peacekeeping force, known as UNDOF, is missing.
A man identified as Abu Qaed al-Faleh, spokesman for the Martyrs of Yarmouk Brigades, announced the group is holding the peacekeepers until Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces withdraw from Jamlah.
"They will not be released until after Bashar Assad's forces withdraw from the village of Jamlah bordering Israel," the man said.
UN representatives said the capture of the peacekeepers "is particularly unacceptable and bizarre (because) UNDOF are unarmed and they have nothing to do with the situation in Syria."