Live: Decision on raising LPG cylinder cap on Thursday

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 29, 2014 10:31 hrs

4.05 pm:

Hindu prayer room sought in all Australian universities

A US-based Hindu group has asked for a permanent and dedicated prayer room at all the university campuses in Australia. Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) on Wednesday, said that Australian universities, both public and private, should respond to the requirements of its Hindu students to provide designated prayer-meditation hall for rituals, quiet reflection, festivals and spiritual exercise, which would help in their personal growth.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that it would be a "step in the right direction" in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students at Australian universities, as it was important to meet the spiritual needs of these students.

He noted that Australian universities needed to recognize the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism.

Zed suggested that these Hindu prayer rooms should have an altar containing murtis (statues) of popular Hindu deities like Shiva, Vishnu, Rama, Krishna, Durga, Venkateswara, Ganesha, Murugan, Saraswati, Hanuman, Lakshmi, Kali, etc.; besides being equipped with ghanta (big metallic bell hanging from the ceiling), dholak (two-headed hand-drum), Shiva-linga, etc.

3.35 pm:

AAP harassing me, alleges Delhi Women's Commission chief

Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women Barkha Singh on Wednesday accused the AAP government of harassing her for summoning controversial Law Minister Somnath Bharti in connection with the south Delhi raid episode and refused to step down from the post.

A former Congress MLA, Singh had a public confrontation with Bharti's lawyers last week when they came to depose before the DCW on his behalf in the case of alleged harassment of a number of Ugandan women.

Singh, who had lost the assembly election from R K Puram, said she was holding a constitutional post and there was no need to resign from it though the Congress dispensation, which had appointed her, was defeated.

Earlier this month, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Arvinder Singh Lovely had asked all partymen to quit from various posts in government-run boards and commissions, following convention.

"It is a constitutional post and I still have one year and four months left in my tenure. The AAP government is harassing me and targeting me because I summoned Bharti in connection with the the ill-treatment of Ugandan women during the midnight raid in Khirki Extension," Singh said.

3.00 pm:

Decision on raising LPG cylinder cap on Thursday

The Cabinet will decide on hiking subsidized LPG cylinder cap to 12 on Thursday. On January 17, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to raise the cap from nine to 12 cylinders a year.

Addressing the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meet here, Gandhi had said: "I appeal to the Prime Minister to raise the bar of LPG usage from 9 cylinders to 12 cylinders." The same evening, Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily said the cap will be increased to 12 cylinders a year.

1.39 pm:

Sonia cautions against forces weakening secular ethos

Cautioning people against forces weakening the country's secular ethos, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi ON Wednesday said communal harmony should not be disturbed over small, local incidents which should be dealt with sternly without any bias.

She also expressed hope that the Communal Violence Bill would soon be tabled in Parliament, saying it is aimed at protecting social amity and the nation's secular legacy.

Apparently referring to the Muzaffarnagar riots, the Congress President said police should ensure that communal harmony is not disturbed over small, local incidents and they should be dealt with sternly without any bias.

"It is the government's responsibility to protect and encourage secular values and ensure that minorities get equal opportunities. It is necessary that minorities feel secure and have trust in law and order mechanism. We should be cautious of powers which weaken India's secularism," she said.

1.10 pm:

Stalin makes light of Alagiri's alleged 'death' remark

MK Stalin has made light of Alagiri's alleged remarks saying, "All those who are born have to die one day."

Emphasizing party discipline Stalin asked his supporters not to agitate against Alagiri and added that "elder brother Alagiri's effigies should not be burnt."

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12.55 pm:

Now, printer that uses water instead of ink

A team of chemists has unveiled a new 'water-jet' printer that uses water instead of ink. The used paper fades back to white within a day, which enables it to be reused.

Sean Xiao-An Zhang, a chemistry professor at Jilin University in China, who oversaw work on the innovation, said that many statistics indicate that about 40 per cent of office prints are taken to the waste paper basket after a single reading. The trick lies in the paper, which is treated with an invisible dye that colours when exposed to water, and later disappears, News24 reported.

The print fades away in about 22 hours at temperatures below 35 degree Celsius and quicker if exposed to high heat. Zhang and his team used a previously little-studied dye compound called oxazolidine that yields a clear, blue print in less than a second after water has been applied.

The paper has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

12.15 pm:

AAP has not given information on funding, Centre to Delhi HC

The union government on Wednesday said that the Aam Aadmi Party and its leader have failed to furnish information about their overseas funding.

A PIL filed at the Delhi High Court has sought information about the sources of the huge funds the AAP gets. The Home Ministry was told by a court in November last year to look into the sources.

11.55 am:

Waqf assets could help build Muslim community: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said returns from Waqf assets across India could be used for the socio-economic development of the community.

Speaking at the launch of National Waqf Development Corporation Limited (NAWADCO) here, the prime minister said that the corporation will "facilitate and mobilize financial resources for starting schools, colleges, hospitals on Waqf properties in a transparent manner".

"Waqf assets have the potential of generating considerable returns which could be used for the socio-economic development of the community," he said.

NAWADCO is a new Central Public Sector Enterprise under Ministry of Minority Affairs and will work towards the development of the 4.9 lakh Waqf properties in India, the largest in the world. "Today we take another step forward in our efforts to promote the interests of minorities in our country," said Singh.

11.00 am:

Taylor reveals Kiwi strategy to thwart Indian spinners

Revealing New Zealand's strategy that has outwitted Indian bowlers in the ongoing ODI series, batsman Ross Taylor said the Kiwis have focussed on denying wickets to the visiting side's spinners to wear out the rest of their attack.

"Tuesday was pretty tough against the spinner. Against (Ravindra) Jadeja, I don't think we laid a bat on ball in those first couple of overs. He bowled very well, on another day, he could have got a couple of wickets and stifled our momentum," said Taylor.

"In the past, I have played a few years in India and in New Zealand, it doesn't really turn as much and you just lunge on the front foot. But now our strategy has been to play off the back foot as much as possible and play into the gaps. Kane is a very good player of spin and we knew then that if we could negate them, we gave ourselves the chance to put pressure on their fifth and sixth bowler and that's what we did," he added.

10.30 am:

Women too must take the blame for rape, says NCP leader

A Nationalist Congress Party woman leader in Maharashtra, Asha Mirje, made bizarre observations on rape when she said that women too should be blamed if they get raped. Mirje demanded why the Delhi Gangrape victim was out on the night she was brutally raped in December 2012. The NCP politician also wanted to know why the photojournalist, gang-raped at the Shakti Mills complex in Mumbai last year.

"Did Nirbhaya really have go for a movie at 11 in the night with her friend? Take the Shakti Mills case. Why did she go to such a secluded place at 6 pm?" she said. "Rapes take place also because of a woman's clothes, her behaviour and her being at inappropriate places."

9.40 am:

US urges Ukrainian president to defuse crisis

US Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday "strongly encouraged" Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to work with the opposition to find compromises critical to ending the country's current political crisis.

In a telephone talk between the two leaders, Biden welcomed the progress made Tuesday and urged Yanukovych to immediately sign the repeal of anti-protest laws, Xinhua quoted White House in a statement.

Earlier, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov tendered his resignation Tuesday, aiming to "create an additional possibility" for a political compromise to peacefully resolve the conflict in Ukraine. Yanukovych accepted the resignation, and the government was subsequently dissolved.

Protests in Ukraine turned violent about 10 days ago, when radical activists attacked riot police with fireworks and petrol bombs.

The mass rallies started in Ukraine last November, following a government decision to put on hold an association agreement with the European Union and opt for closer relations with Russia.

9.00 am:

Nigerian gunmen attack toll reaches 85

The number of people killed in the Sunday's gunmen attack in Nigerian state of Borno reached 85, after more bodies were found, an official said on Tuesday. However, 16 people remain missing in the incident. Rescuers found more bodies while combing the area for casualties Tuesday, Xinhua quoted a government official as saying.

Ali Kaka Yale, scribe of Konduga local government area of the restive northern state, said 16 people were still missing after rescue operators had counted up to 85 dead bodies which littered the area after the tragic incident. The incident occurred when Kawuri district came under serious attack Sunday evening despite a state of emergency being in place for last one year.

More dead bodies might be found as search and rescue mission continued, Yale said, while receiving Governor Kashim Shettima, who went to sympathise with the community over the carnage. Some 50 people who sustained injuries during the attack were assisted to local hospitals where they are being treated, he said.

Local residents said scores of gunmen, who wielded AK 47 rifles and shot indiscriminately, set hundreds of houses ablaze with improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The unidentified gunmen fled into Sambisa Games Forest, which has recently served as a place of refuge for fleeing Boko Haram fighters.

8.30 am:

Obama vows to flex presidential powers in speech

Seeking to energize his sluggish second term, President Barack Obama vowed on Tuesday night in his State of the Union address to sidestep Congress "whenever and wherever" necessary to narrow economic disparities between rich and poor. He unveiled an array of executive actions that included increasing the minimum wage for some federal contract workers and making it easier for millions of low-income Americans to save for retirement.

"America does not stand still and neither do I," Obama declared in his annual prime-time address before a joint session of Congress and millions of Americans watching on television.

Draped in presidential grandeur, Obama's prime-time address to a joint session of Congress and millions of Americans watching at home served as the opening salvo in a midterm election fight for control of Congress that will quickly consume Washington's attention. Democrats, seeking to cast Republicans as uncaring about the middle class, have urged Obama to focus on economic mobility and the gap between the wealthy and poor.

For Obama, the address was also aimed at convincing an increasingly skeptical public that he still wields power in Washington even if he can't crack through the divisions in Congress. Burned by a series of legislative failures in 2013, White House aides say they're now redefining success not by what Obama can jam through Congress but by what actions he can take on his own.

Indeed, Obama's proposals for action by lawmakers were slim and largely focused on old ideas that have gained little traction over the past year. He pressed Congress to revive a stalled immigration overhaul and pass an across-the-board increase in the federal minimum wage. His one new legislation proposal calls for expanding an income tax credit for workers without children.

8.00 am:

Seven dead as bus catches fire

Seven passengers lost their lives after a bus was engulfed in flames following a collision with a diesel tanker on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway on early Wednesday. As per reports available, 14 others were seriously wounded in the mishap which occured some 40 minutes after midnight near Manor in Maharashtra.

7.30 am

Court to decide on second FIR in Somnath Bharti midnight raid case

A court on Tuesday reserved its order for Wednesday on a Ugandan woman's plea for direction to lodge a separate FIR on her complaint against "unknown accused" for creating ruckus during a midnight raid led by Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti.

Delhi Police last week told the court there was no need for a separate first information report (FIR) on the wwoman's complaint as it pertains to the same incident in which a case has already been registered.

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