Cong decries 'maligning' of PM on Sri Lankan Tamils issue
Congress today decried "maligning" of the Prime Minister and party-led UPA government by pro-Tamil groups in the state over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and expressed confidence that India would vote in favour of the US-backed resolution against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC.
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) president B S Gnanadesikan, MP, said demands like New Delhi slapping economic sanctions on Colombo would only hurt Tamils and many rehabilitation measures undertaken for them by India, including housing projects, would suffer.
Police questions suspects in Swiss woman gangrape case
A number of suspects are being questioned in connection with the gangrape of a Swiss woman in the Datia district of Madhya Pradesh, police said today while expressing hope of solving the case soon.
The Swiss female tourist, on a cycling trip along with her husband, was allegedly gangraped by seven to eight men at a forest area in Datia district, on the night of March 15.
Over 20 people have been detained on the basis of suspicion and are being questioned in connection with the offence, DIG (Chambal Range) D K Arya told PTI today.
BJP to 'march to Dhaka' to protest attacks on minorities
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plans a "long march to Dhaka" Monday to protest against reported atrocities on religious minorities in Bangladesh and express solidarity with protestors demanding death penalty for those convicted of war crimes.
"Over 700 BJP activists, including women, would participate in the 'long march to Dhaka' to protest atrocities on religious minorities and their installations in Bangladesh. This rally is also to express solidarity with protestors of Ganajagaran Mancha," BJP's Tripura unit president Sudhindra Dasgupta told reporters.
"We know that our protest march would not be allowed to enter Bangladesh, but we cannot remain silent over the series of atrocities on minorities, specially Hindus, in Bangladesh. BJP workers would try to breach the border at the Akhaurah checkpost," he added.
Mother of three becomes first woman coolie in Rajasthan
A 33-year-old widow has chosen the male-dominated profession of a railway coolie, becoming the first woman porter in Rajasthan.
Manju Devi, a mother of three, was earlier a homemaker and decided to become a coolie after the death of her husband Mahadev, who also used to work as a porter.
Devi, who has been working at the Jaipur Railway station here for the last few days, was formally handed over her licence by the railway officials here on Friday.
India-born football fan bashed up in UK in racist attack
A 56-year-old India-born football fan was beaten up badly by seven men and punched in the face and head more than 18 times on a packed tram in UK, as 200 onlookers did nothing to save him from the racist attackers.
Prakash Patel, a bank officer, was travelling home alongwith his 21-year-old daughter Devyani Patel after watching a football match when he was beaten up, leaving him with black eyes and concussion, local media reported today.
"The tram carriage was so full of people that the battered bank worker stayed upright after he was knocked out. Yet only his distraught daughter Devyani tried to push the attackers away from her father," the Mirror reported.
Psy bids 'Gangnam Style' goodbye
South Korean rapper Psy bid goodbye to 'Gangnam Style' in front of over 25,000 partygoers at Future Music Festival Asia at the Sepang International Circuit.
"Look out for my new single on April 13. It's an honour to finish off nine months of Gangnam Style in Malaysia," the Star Online quoted him as saying.
He then treated the crowd to two performances of 'Gangnam Style', which has recorded over 1.39 billion views on Youtube.
Psy, whose original name is Park Jae-sung, said that he had gotten tired of 'Gangnam Style' and urged fans to look forward to his new single next month.
More highlights from Nitish Kumar's speech
People used to look down upon Biharis. Today they are all praise for us.
Our scheme of giving bicycles to girls has ensured a big jump in school attendance rates. We need funds for such innovative schemes and for Green Revolution.
Let the Centre be generous with disbursing funds, and it will see how development picks up in Bihar.
The massive floods in Bihar in 2007 were declared as a national calamity, but Bihar did not get any funds. Other states get help, I don't object to that. But what about Bihar?
Today's rally is just the beginning, there is a big battle ahead.
Either give special status now, or after 2014 you will have to give us special status for sure. Only those will be allowed to rule Delhi who take care of backward areas.
We will win this battle and become a model state for the world.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is addressing a rally at Delhi's Ramlila grounds to demand special status for his state.
Here are some of the highlights from his speech:
This is the first time that the people of Bihar are displaying their strength in Delhi to demand their rights.
Bihar used to be the centre of education. What is the reason today then that the people of Bihar have to migrate to Delhi and other cities for jobs?
Bihar is way below the national average in all development indices, such as roads, power, railways, per capita income.
Should the Centre not give special attention to Bihar. Don't the people of Bihar have the right to a better life, better development.
We will be good Indians if we are good Biharis.
We have of late begun taking strides in development. This is the time for the Centre to give us special status.
The Centre says Bihar does not meet the parameters to get special status. I disagree.
Bihar faces huge land pressure, massive floods and has a population of over 10 crore.
We are a land-locked state and very backward. Across the world, such states get more financial help.
The committee set up by the Prime Minister agrees on one hand that Bihar is backward, but says on the other hand that it does not meet the parameters for special status.
I demand that these parameters be changed. Not just Bihar, all states that are backward should get special status.
We are not beggars. Development is the right of the people of Bihar.
The Finance Minister, in his Budget speech, has hinted that changes will be made in the parameters for giving states special status.
I demand that the parameters should be changed at the earliest to give Bihar special status. Our fight is not only for Bihar, but for all backward states.
The PM talks of inclusive development. That will happen only when all people as well as all regions benefit from development.
The PM has praised the recent growth rate of Bihar. If we get special status, we will contribute more to the country's growth rate. And that day won't be far when India will beat China.
I urge you all to continue this fight for development. Even places in Delhi where migrants from Bihar are staying are backward.
Karunanidhi has written to the PM and Sonia Gandhi on the Lankan resolution. He has said that if India does not make the amendments DMK ministers will be pulled out. He also said that his party's support to the UPA is doubtful.
Italian envoy breached solemn undertaking to SC: Harish Salve
Harish Salve, who quit as Italian government's counsel after it refused to send back two marines accused of killing fishermen, feels the Italian Ambassador breached a solemn undertaking given to Supreme Court which can take action against the envoy including sending him to jail.
"It is said in the law that even an injunction or undertaking to a court which has no jurisdiction, if breached, you are in contempt," the senior Supreme Court lawyer said.
Asked whether Italian Ambassador Daniel Mancini breached the solemn undertaking on ensuring return of the two marines to face trial in India and if he is in contempt of the court, Salve said, "Absolutely".
Targeting India is not in Pakistan's interest
Relations between Indian and Pakistan have touched a nadir due to some unsavoury and nasty activities on the part of the latter in recent times.
The recent attack by militants, suspected to be of Pakistan origin, in Bemina, Srinagar, has caused considerable consternation in India.
The last straw has been the resolution passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan on March, 14, 2013, condemning the hanging of Afzal Guru, and demanding that his body be returned to his family.
Pope Francis seen as ray of hope for India's Vatican dream
The Catholic Church in India expects more representation in Vatican during new Pope Francis' tenure considering the humble background of the first pontiff from Latin America.
The Church is also likely to send an invitation to the new Pope, who was elected last week after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, to visit India.
"Pope Francis, who comes from a humble background in Buenos Aires, might consider giving more emphasis on selecting Asians, Africans and Latin Americans into the Vatican Curia," Anil Couto, Archbishop of Delhi, told PTI.
Pope Francis explains choice of name
The newly elected pope has explained what inspired him to pick the name Francis, which has never been used in papal history before.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, who was elected the 266th Pope, said during an audience with journalists that Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes had told him not to forget the poor when the conclave voted in his favour.
"He (Hummes) hugged me. He kissed me. He said don't forget about the poor. And that's how in my heart came the name Francis of Assi," the Pope said.
He added that St. Francis was "the poor man who wanted a poor church".
The inauguration of the Pope, the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, will be held March 19.
On March 23, Pope Francis will meet his predecessor Benedict XVI, who stepped down Feb 28, at the papal summer retreat of Castel Gandolfo.
Viru, Viv most exciting batsmen I've seen: Archer
Noted British writer Lord Jeffrey Archer is in awe of the way Virender Sehwag bats and considers him as the most exciting batsman ever other than the West Indies legend Sir Viv Richards.
A close follower of Indian cricket, he says it's a treat to watch Sehwag plundering runs and punishing bowlers.
Smartphone application for Delhi metro commuters soon
Reaching out to commuters who use smartphones, Delhi Metro will soon launch a mobile application which will provide information regarding fares and stations including new ones coming up in Phase III.
The application is expected to work offline without Internet/GPRS (one time download) which means that users will incur no running cost on it. Users will also be able to download latest version of application.
Indians likely to spend more on vacations this year: study
Undeterred by high inflationary pressure, Indians are likely to spend more on vacation this year with most of them preferring either a holiday with family or adventure travel, a study has claimed.
Despite high inflationary pressure and an overall economic outlook, which doesn't predict much increase in salaries, about 77 per cent Indians said they were planning to increase their travel spend this year, a biannual study conducted by independent research firm StrategyOne, done on behalf of TripAdvisor, has found.
New leadership will strive to achieve 'Chinese Dream': Xi
China's legislature concluded its annual session today completing the once-in-a-decade long leadership transition with newly elected President Xi Jinping calling on the ruling Communist Party and people to rise up to realise the "Chinese Dream".
"In face of the mighty trend of the times and earnest expectations of the people for a better life, we cannot have the slightest complacency, or get the slightest slack at work," Xi said at the closing meeting of the National People's Congress, China's legislature.
"We must make persistent efforts, press ahead with indomitable will, continue to push forward the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and strive to achieve the Chinese dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," Xi said.
Chidambaram hints at likely vote against Sri Lanka at UN meet
NDTV reports that Finance Minister P Chidambaram has hinted at a possible vote against Sri Lanka at a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) later this month. This is one of the key amendments that Mr Karunanidhi wants India to introduce in the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the upcoming UN meet, failing which he has threatened to pull out of the UPA government.
"I'm confident that if phrases in the UN resolution sought credible independent international probe, India would support it," Mr Chidambaram said.
The minister also sought to assure students who are gearing up to organise massive protests from Monday across Tamil Nadu, demanding action against Colombo at the UN session. "I'm feeding you my confidence and you feed this confidence to our students," Mr Chidambaram said.
Nitish Kumar to address rally in Delhi for special status to Bihar
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will address a rally in New Delhi to press for special status category for Bihar.
The rally will also be addressed by other leaders of his Janata Dal-United (JD-U), an ally of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the National Democratic Alliance.
The rally comes amid demands from sections of the BJP for projecting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Nitish Kumar has opposed the bid to project Modi as prime ministerial candidate.
The JD-U rally comes a day after Modi delivered a speech at the India Today conclave, putting forth his vision for national development.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today said vital clues have been obtained on the recent 'fidayeen' attack in Srinagar in which five CRPF jawans were killed.
"Security personnel have obtained vital clues on the attack and identified the people responsible for it and also those who helped them to carry it out," Shinde, who is in this temple town to offer worship to Lord Venkateswara, told reporters.
Two terrorists, disguised as cricketers, had stormed a CRPF camp near a school at Bemina in Srinagar on March 13, killing five of its personnel in a major suicide attack in the city after a gap of three years in which the militants were suspected to be from Pakistan.
On the February 21 Hyderabad twin blasts, Shinde said security personnel had secured vital clues but declined to elaborate.
Referring to Congress President Sonia Gandhi completing 15 years, he said "in the next Lok Sabha elections, we are again going to come to power. Congress is flourishing under her leadership."
Earlier Shinde, who arrived here, proceeded to Tiruchanur near here where he offered prayers to goddess Padmavathi.