Monday, January 30, 2012

Jr.NTR calls Pawan Kalyan as real life Powerstar

Recently, Powerstar Pawan Kalyan along with his Gabbar Singh movie unit planned a schedule at pollachi (between 6th – 16th february)
At the same time, Jr.NTR was also supposed to shoot at same location to shoot with Boyapati Srinu for his ‘Dammu‘ movie.
Since both units schedules have clashed at same location, Jr.NTR called upon and requested Pawan Kalyan to allow him to shoot first because of release date planned in march.
Pawan accepted his request and called his ‘Gabbar Singh’ producer Ganesh Babu and made him cancel pollachi schedule, though they had to run on schedule and release in april last week.
This made Jr.NTR realise Pawan Kalyan’s real personality offscreen and he has been telling his close associates about this incident and was praising that Pawan is ‘real life powerstar’.
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Mulayam's U-turn on jobs to rape victims

MulayamNew Delhi: It seems that Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yafav has executed a U-turn after raking up controversy when he said earlier that his government, if voted to power, would give jobs to rape victims. The Samajwadi Party chief made this statement during a rally in Siddharthnagar on Sunday.
The SP chief now says his words were misinterpreted. "I was misquoted by media. I never said that we will give jobs to rape victims in UP," he said.
The Congress strongly condemned this statement saying it reflected just how unsafe UP was. The National Commission for Women has also taken up the issue. They've asked the Election Commission to intervene in the matter.
Addressing the crowd, Mulayam had said, "Investigations will be ordered against the murderers and rapists and they will be sent to jail. We will help the rape victims and will give them jobs."
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Emaar case: CBI arrests Andhra Pradesh home secretary


Andhra: CBI arrests senior IAS officer in Emaar caseNEW DELHI: The CBI on Monday arrested senior IAS officer and Andhra Pradesh principal home secretary B P Acharya in a case relating to alleged irregularities in land transfer and sale of villas and apartments in a township in the state.
The township has been jointly developed by state-run Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) and Dubai-based infrastructure firm Emaar.
A 1983 batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, Acharya, who was the then Managing Director of the APIIC, has been named by the agency in the FIR and his residences were searched in August last year.
He was called for questioning at the CBI office in Hyderabad and was later taken into custody, agency sources said here.
Recently, the CBI has arrested Sunil Reddy, said to be a close aide of Kadapa MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, in the case.
The CBI on August 17 registered a case against Acharya and the real estate developer on instructions of the state high court under IPC sections pertaining to cheating, criminal conspiracy and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
The case relates to alleged dilution of APIIC equity from 49 per cent to 26 per cent in the land development project in Manikonda, Hyderabad, which was being developed jointly by the corporation and Emaar.
It has also been alleged that villas and apartments were shown underpriced in the documents causing losses to the exchequer, CBI sources said.
The agency has so far made three arrests including that of Acharya in the case.
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Congress eyes gains in Punjab, Uttarakhand polls


A supporter of Congress party carries billboards of Rahul Gandhi after an election campaign rally ahead of state assembly elections at Moga in Punjab January 19, 2012. REUTERS/Ajay VermaMillions of Indians went to the polls on Monday in Punjab and Uttarakhand where the country's ruling Congress party hopes to regain momentum after a year when its reputation was battered by corruption scandals and a slowing economy.
Congress is aiming to wrest back control of the two states, which are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies, as part of a series of elections in five states that end in early March.
A good showing in all five would be a huge boost for Rahul Gandhi, the scion of India's most powerful political dynasty, who has campaigned actively for Congress.
The son, grandson and great-grandson of former prime ministers, Gandhi is considered likely to take over from the current prime minister, Manmohan Singh, but the timing is not clear.
A positive result may also provide breathing space for Singh's government in New Delhi after a year in which Congress saw policies derailed by opposition protests and its own allies, including a reform to allow majority foreign ownership of supermarkets.
Punjab, especially, is seen as Congress's for the taking. Ruled by an alliance of the local Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) party and the BJP, the state has not returned an incumbent administration to power for decades. Punjab's economic growth has lagged and industrial development has stuttered.
"Congress expects to do well, and it probably will," said political analyst Amulya Ganguli. "And that will give it a big boost at a time when it is very down and out, with the economy slowing down, the government being accused of policy paralysis."
"Nothing succeeds like success," he said.
In both Punjab and Uttarakhand, the Congress party has attacked its opponents on economic performance and on state corruption scandals -- issues that have sapped the ruling party's support at the national level.
Uttar Pradesh, goes to the polls from next week and while Congress's chances there are not clear, it is expected to make gains from the last state election.
In Punjab, people were wrapped in shawls and scarves to ward off the January chill as they voted after weeks of campaigning where parties promised to continue subsidy schemes that have plunged the state into deep debt.
Punjabis were also offered cash and free liquor on the campaign trail, according to several media reports.
"With the state facing a deficit, it is surprising how the political parties are announcing bonanzas, to every section of the people, from bicycles to girl students to sports kits for gyms," the Pioneer newspaper said in a recent editorial.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Punjab was a rare Indian success story. A star of the country's Green Revolution - an extensive farm reform programme credited with ending famine in the country - Punjab drove growth at a time when India was throttled by the "Licence Raj", an all-pervading system of permits and quotas.
But after reforms in 1991 unleashed a boom in Asia's third-largest economy, Punjab was unable to capitalise, its industry hobbled by power shortages and soaring land prices.
"Congress should be able to form the next government as the people are fed up with the Akali-BJP government," said Naseeb Singh, 70, a farmer who voted in Banur, a small town about 25 km from Chandigarh.
A spokesman for the Shiromani Akali Dal party told Reuters last week that Punjab would become India's most investor-friendly state once major power projects bore fruit.
In Uttarakhand, a Himalayan state bordering China and Nepal, Congress sought to capitalise on corruption allegations levelled against the former chief minister, whom the BJP hastily replaced ahead of the election. His successor is B.C. Khanduri.
"The clean image of Khanduri is a positive factor for the BJP ... though the Congress has a slight edge," said A.K. Chandel, a restaurant owner in the state capital, Dehradun.
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Baby Falak critical, may undergo another brain surgery

Two-year-old abandoned and battered baby Falak, who continues to be critical, was put on the ventilator as she developed complications, a doctor said on Monday, adding that she has developed respiratory problems and may have to undergo another brain surgery.
"Her condition is critical. She developed respiratory problems, so we put her back on the ventilator around 10.30 last (Sunday) night," Deepak Agrawal, assistant professor (neurosurgery) at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Trauma Centre, told IANS.
"She might require another surgery in the brain. But as her condition is critical, her chances of survival are slim. Already we have done a brain surgery and have conducted a tracheostomy and she is being fed through a pipe via the nose," Agrwal said.
Falak was taken off the ventilator on Friday.
“We cannot predict how long Falak will have to remain on the ventilator. There is infection in her chest and pain is recurring and she has severe head injuries as well,” a doctor told reporters.
The doctors put Falak's chances of survival at “50-50".
The baby was admitted to AIIMS in Delhi on January 18 with multiple injuries, including a fractured skull, human bite marks on her tiny frame and a clot on the right side of her brain.
She was brought to the hospital by a teenaged girl who claimed to be her mother.
Police have launched a massive hunt for the child's parents and have constituted several teams to locate them as also those who had handed over the baby to the teenaged girl, who is currently in a juvenile home.
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Australian Open final: Novak, Rafa and the six-hour epic

Melbourne: Novak Djokovic tore off his shirt, flexed his sinewy muscles and roared in celebration, but for once the machismo was not misplaced.

After nearly six hours of the most gruelling final in grand slam history, the strutting Serb had shown he was not only supremely fit and talented, but as tough as they come.

The lanky world number one with the soft-spike hair came on court early on Sunday evening, played into the night and finished in the small hours of Monday.

Until the very last shot, blocking his way to the Australian Open title was the ferocious Rafael Nadal, the 10-time grand slam-winner with aggression to burn and a fearless competitive streak.

Djokovic's white shirt lasted just five games before he removed it in disgust on a steamy Melbourne evening and threw his racquet to the floor after being broken.

It was to be just the first act in a long, long night of plot twists and momentum changes which started tamely but slowly built into an epic.

Along the way, Djokovic rolled his right foot, punched the air in triumph and collapsed flat on his back after a punishing, 31-shot rally.

At the other end, Nadal treated the crowd to his full range of fist-pumps and Hispanic snarls as both players went for broke.

Rain fell, workers with towels mopped the court and the stadium roof was closed.

At the end of it all, around 1:40 am, it was Djokovic embracing his coach in triumph while Nadal was left to reflect on his most valiant defeat. Even the great Rod Laver watching from the stands had seen nothing like it.

The players won 369 points between them, made 140 unforced errors, played 55 games plus a tiebreak, and hit 101 winners. It lasted 5hr 53min, the longest grand slam final and a record for the Australian Open.

So it was no surprise that during the official speeches, chairs were brought out for the players, their eyes stark and staring from the adrenaline.

Afterwards, Nadal wished the crowd "good morning", and he was asked if he would watch footage of the match. "Too long. Highlights only," he said.

"You watch, you look around and you see the clock, three hours, four hours, five hours, finally five hours, 30 (minutes). Seems like it's never gonna finish, no?"

Djokovic said he had been through every type of pain for his fifth grand slam title, which he described as the best win of his career.

"You know, you are in pain, you are suffering, you know that you're trying to activate your legs, you're trying to push yourself another point, just one more point, one more game," he said.

"You're going through so much suffering your toes are bleeding. Everything is just outrageous, you know, but you're still enjoying that pain."
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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Will Leander Paes repeat his magic today?

, day after Leander Paes picked up his first Australian Open men's doubles crown, with Czech mate Radek Stepanek, he has a shot at the the mixed doubles title as he partners Russian Elena Vesnina to take on Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Horia Tecau.
At 38, there's nothing old about the fist-pumping, body-slamming champion that is Paes. While most of his contemporaries have either retired or ventured into other businesses, he keeps on winning.
Saturday at Melbourne Park was no different. Paes picked up his first Australian Open men's doubles crown, with Czech mate Radek Stepanek. But his seventh Grand Slam was extra special — it completed his career slam.
The score line read 7-6, 6-2 at the end of 84 minutes. Amazing, considering the unseeded pair was up against the top-ranked American twins, Bob and Mike Bryan — just a match away from a record 12th Grand Slam.
"They're going to be tough this year. They will be a top four team and we'll probably be playing them a lot," said Bob Bryan.
Going into Saturday's game, Paes was a three-time Australian Open finalist — losing twice to the Bryan brothers.
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CPM dumps third front dream, moves to ‘Left, democratic’ front

FPThe CPM has finally bid farewell to its third front dream, two years after its experiment failed, leading to an intense internal churning. The focus will now be on forging a “Left and democratic” front, but interestingly that long-term goal would not stop the party from cooperating with regional parties on specific policy and other issues, and entering into state-level electoral understandings.
The ambitious idea of forging a third front — the party prefers to call it a third alternative — has been a feature of its political line for many years. The setback in the 2009 general elections, however, came as an eye-opener. The CPM had in the past also talked about a Left and democratic alternative but its attention was on forging a third front which has now been officially dumped.
The draft political resolution — to be adopted at the CPM’s 20th Party Congress in April — says the party should “develop and maintain relations” with regional parties which are not with the Congress and the BJP, cooperate with them on an issue-to-issue basis, launch joint actions and forge “electoral understandings” with them as and when required. 
But the “only real alternative to the bourgeois-landlord order” which is in place after two decades of economic liberalisation is the Left and democratic programme for which it has identified 12 “policies and demands”. CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said the party would take the initiative to draw Left-minded groups to a broader Left platform. Besides, it would strive to bring about a greater Left unity.
The third alternative fiasco in 2009 elections had triggered a churning within the CPM, with its main architect Karat coming under fire.
Many see the party’s decision to bid farewell to the third alternative goal as a setback for Karat. While releasing the draft, the CPM general secretary, however, justified the third alternative strategy of 2009, saying it was “an immediate requirement to meet an immediate situation”.
The draft resolution once again laments the fact that the party has failed to make any “substantial advance” outside Bengal and Kerala. In this context, it talks of strengthening the CPM’s independent role. Significantly, even while talking about Left unity, the CPM differed with CPI on many issues including the latter’s assessment of the reasons that led to the defeat in Bengal and Kerala.
Karat felt CPI’s conclusion that factionalism in CPM led to defeat in Kerala “misses the mark”. On Bengal, he said there must be a balanced understanding. While the CPM as the main constituent was prepared to take the blame for the defeat, it should be remembered that the Left Front led by the same CPM won seven consecutive elections.
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I haven't made any decision on retirement: Dravid

Adelaide: Embattled Rahul Dravid, on Saturday, made it clear that he has not taken any decision on retirement from international cricket but admitted that his glorious career is "definitely nearer the end than the beginning".
One of modern cricket's greatest batsmen, Dravid scored just 194 runs at an average of 24.25 in India's 0-4 drubbing in Australia, their second successive on foreign shores after an identical result in England, thus fuelling speculation in the media over a possible retirement.
 I am definitely nearer the end than the beginning, there is no doubt about that.
"I haven't made any decision and there is no need to make any decisions now, we're not playing another Test match for seven to eight months so we'll see how it pans out."
"At my stage in my career it's always about taking it a series at a time and not looking too far ahead, so we'll see what happens," Dravid was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
The No 1 Test side in the not-too-distant past, India relinquished the status after the drubbing in England, and a similar outing Down Under has only made matter worse.Australia thrashed India by 298 runs to complete a series whitewash at the Adelaide
But Dravid emphasised the importance of India being a strong and passionate Test nation for the benefit of world cricket.
"We haven't done so well abroad over the last couple of series but I'm hopeful that some of the young kids will come through, it might take a bit of time but we'll build up a strong base."
India needs to be a strong Test-playing nation, there are not too many countries playing cricket and if India is competitive in Test cricket it does make a difference. There are areas we need to improve, especially in these challenging times, but I am hopeful," Dravid said.
With the exception of Virat Kohli, most of the batsmen in the Indian line-up have endured a dreadful series.

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UN nuclear team arrives in Iran hoping for progress on probing alleged arms program


TEHRAN, Iran — A U.N. nuclear team arrived in Tehran early Sunday for a mission expected to focus on Iran’s alleged attempt to develop nuclear weapons.
The U.N. nuclear agency delega
tion includes two senior weapons experts — Jacques Baute of France and Neville Whiting of South Africa — suggesting that Iran may be prepared to address some issues related to the allegations.
The delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency is led by Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts, who is in charge of the Iran nuclear file. Also on the team is Rafael Grossi, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano’s right-hand man.
In unusually blunt comments ahead of his arrival in Tehran, Nackaerts urged Iran to work with his mission on probing the allegations about Iran’s alleged attempts to develop nuclear weapons, reflecting the importance the IAEA is attaching to the issue.
Tehran has refused to discuss the alleged weapons experiments for three years, saying they are based on “fabricated documents” provided by a “few arrogant countries” — a phrase authorities in Iran often use to refer to the United States and its allies.
Ahead of his departure, Nackaerts told reporters at Vienna airport he hopes Iran “will engage with us on all concerns.”
“So we’re looking forward to the start of a dialogue,” he said: “A dialogue that is overdue since very long.”
In a sign of the difficulties the team faces and the tensions that surround Iran’s disputed nuclear program, a dozen Iranian hard-liners carrying photos of slain nuclear expert Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan were waiting at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport early Sunday to challenge the team upon arrival.
That prompted security officials to whisk the IAEA team away from the tarmac to avoid any confrontation with the hard-liners.
Iran’s official IRNA news agency confirmed the team’s arrival and said the IAEA experts are likely to visit the underground Fordo uranium enrichment site near the holy city of Qom, 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of the capital, Tehran.
During their three-day visit, the IAEA team will be looking for permission to talk to key Iranian scientists suspected of working on a weapons program, inspect documents related to such suspected work and secure commitments from Iranian authorities to allow future visits to sites linked to such allegations. But even a decision to enter a discussion over the allegations would be a major departure from Iran’s frequent simple refusal to talk about them.
The United States and its allies want Iran to halt its enrichment of uranium, which they worry could eventually lead to weapons-grade material and the production of nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes, such as generating electricity and producing medical radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.
Iran has accused the IAEA in the past of security leaks that expose its scientists and their families to the threat of assassination by the U.S. and Israel.
Iranian state media say Roshan, a chemistry expert and director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran, was interviewed by IAEA inspectors before being killed in a brazen bomb attack in Tehran earlier this month.
Iranian media have urged the government to be vigil, saying some IAEA inspectors are “spies,” reflecting the deep suspicion many in Iran have for the U.N. experts sent to inspect Iran’s nuclear sites.
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Baby Falak fights on, main suspect's family traced in Mumbai

New Delhi:  Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, who are taking care of Baby Falak - a bruised and battered child brought to the hospital by a teen girl, who claimed to be her mother - are now focusing on bringing the

two-year-old out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and into regular care. While Baby Falak's condition remains stable but critical, her health has not deteriorated in the past couple of days. Her eyes have shown some movement and doctors are trying to control her high heartbeat.

The 15-year-old girl who brought Baby Falak to the hospital, had allegedly told the doctors that she was her mother and that the baby's injuries were the result of a fall from her bed. The doctors at the hospital had informed the police as the claims made by her did not match with the injuries seen on the child's body.

The Delhi Police believes that the teen's boyfriend - now the key suspect in the case - got the baby from a woman he knew who in turn had been entrusted with Falak by a woman who works as a domestic helper and is possibly her biological mother. The man involved reportedly left the city for Mumbai.

Police say they are close to making a breakthrough in the case. Even though the man involved remains at large, a Delhi Police team sent to Mumbai to find him has located his family.

Police teams have also been sent to Bihar to track down the others with whom Baby Falak had been over the past few months. They are not ruling out the possibility that she was brought from outside Delhi.

The two-year-old baby, brought to AIIMS on January 18, has been fighting a lonely battle to survive. Falak - or "the sky" - as she has been christened by her care-givers, was taken off the ventilator on Friday. She was admitted to the hospital with multiple fractures in her arms and severe head injuries possibly caused by being thrown against a wall. The baby also had human bite marks all over her body.

The teenager, who brought Baby Falak to the hospital, has been placed in a juvenile home and has been interviewed at length by members of the Child Welfare Committee. She reportedly told them that a man she had been staying with brought baby Falak a month back to be raised as their child. She has also alleged that she has been sexually abused by that man and that she had eloped with him last year. Medical tests to determine the teenager's condition will be reported on the 31st of this month. Doctors say her abuse may have traumatised the teen into battering the baby she was looking after. The teenager's father will also be questioned by the police today as the girl has alleged that she left her home because of ill-treatment by her father.

Baby Falak's story has struck at the very heart of the nation with offers of help pouring in from across India and abroad.

"There are some NGOs which have approached us and we are in talks with them," said Dr Mishra. But the authorities the AIIMS Trauma Centre insist that as long as the baby is in their care they will bear all the expenses.

Moved by the case, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has also promised long-term assistance and supervision and all possible help to the girl.
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Social-network update: Facebook up; Twitter slow?

An image displayed on the Reporters Without Borders Web site.
Turns out it's pretty much business as usual today in social-network-land, despite earlier claims hackers would take down Facebook and an ongoing boycott of Twitter by users accusing the company of censorship.
Twitter did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the impact of the boycott, but the pace of tweets seems to have slowed, from this user's perspective anyway. It being Saturday, however, the news feeds we follow tend to slow down naturally, so it's hard to tell for sure. We'll update this post if we get any feedback today from Twitter.
The Twitter boycott is in response to an announcement made by Twitter on Thursday about a change in its police for withholding tweets when they violate a country's local laws. Until now, when a tweet had to be taken down, Twitter would have to remove the content entirely from the site. Under the new plan, it can be taken down on a country-by-country basis. Under the new policy, Twitter will also report taken down tweets to Chilling Effects, a Web site that maintains a database of cease and desist notices sent to Internet users and providers.
Twitter tried to assure users in a blog yesterday that the new plan is intended to promote freedom of expression, transparency, and accountability. But users took it a different way--accusing the company of local level censorship.
 Reporters Without Borders Director Olivier Basille called the policy a violation of international speech standards and the boycott movement took off. Users took to Twitter hashtags like #TwitterBlackout and #TwitterCensored to air concerns about Twitter, the self-proclaimed champion of free expression, cooperating with local governments. They also tweeted fears that this could be setting the stage for Twitter to enter countries like China, where the service is now blocked and where Internet companies have to work with authorities to filter information deemed illegal.
However, Alex Macgillivray, Twitter's general counsel, told The Wall Street Journal late Friday night that this is no "policy change," and Twitter "philosophy is still the same" about protecting free speech on the Web. He added that this has "nothing to do with China" and further clarified that the company doesn't filter content before it is posted. Rather, it responds to requests after users have posted them.
And it should be noted that not all free speech activists are upset about Twitter's policy. Take the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Jillian York, who wrote: "This is censorship. There's no way around that. But alas, Twitter is not above the law. Just about every company hosting user-generated content has, at one point or another, gotten an order or government request to take down content."
Zeynep Tufekci, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, adds, "In my opinion, with this policy, Twitter is fighting to protect free speech on Twitter as best it possibly can."
Still, the Twitter blackout has no doubt gained traction around the Web. A Google search this afternoon of "Twitter blackout" brought up more than 95 million results.
Meanwhile, the Twitter boycott (or perhaps distractions from the movement against the SOPA-like ACTA) may have interfered with earlier reported plans of Anonymous-related hackers to target Facebook today with a distributed denial-of-service attack.
Facebook did not immediately respond to CNET's inquiry about whether it was targeted today, but there have been no reports of the site going down. Facebook earlier clarified that it's always prepared for the threat of an Anonymous attack.
"Due to our size, we face the same threats as seen everywhere else on the Web, but we have developed partnerships, backend systems, and protocols to confront the full range of security challenges we face, a Facebook representative said Monday. We'll update if we get any feedback today from Facebook.
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7 killed as 82% vote in Manipur

A woman with her child casts her vote at a polling station in Thoubal constituency on the outskirts of Imphal, India, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
A woman with her child casts her vote at a polling station in Thoubal constituency on the outskirts of Imphal, India, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012.

Imphal:In estimated 82% of the electorate on Saturday exercised their franchise in Manipur assembly elections which was marred by militant violence that claimed seven lives, including that of a CRPF jawan and an ultra.
According to reports, armed Naga rebels opened indiscriminate fire at a polling station in the hill district of Chandel after their attempt of capturing a booth was thwarted by the police and CRPF personnel.
“A CRPF jawan, one underground militant, one woman (believed to be a voter) and four polling officials were killed,” official sources said adding six persons were killed on the spot. The seventh (polling official) succumbed to injuries on being airlifted to state capital Imphal.
Besides this, polling was by and large peaceful. Seven major militant groups had jointly called for boycott of Congress in the polls.
Bombs suspected to have been planted by militants were seized and defused before the start of polling in Khurai Chingangbam area, Sawombung High School, Khomidok in Imphal East district and Naoremthong High School area in Imphal West district, official sources said.
Voting took place at 2,357 polling stations — 875 of them were termed hyper-sensitive. Around 350 companies of security personnel besides state police were deployed. There were also reports from six other places in the state where mobs damaged EVMs and in another incident miscreants snatched an EVM.
State’s chief electoral officer PC Lawmkunga said the voting percentage could go up as details from some districts were awaited.
Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, who cast his vote early, was optimistic about a good show by Congress. “It’s in the hands of voters. We hope we’ll win,” he said.
Altogether 279 candidates, including 14 females, were in the fray. Prominent among them were NCP state chief and former CM Radhabinod Koijam, firebrand Congress minister Y Erabot Singh, Manipur Peoples Party (MPP) president Nimaichand Luwang, MPP leader O Joy and the lone minister from CPI Pheiroijam Parijat.
The Congress has fielded candidates in all 60 seats followed by Trinamool Congress - 47, Manipur State Congress Party - 34, CPI - 24, NCP - 22, BJP - 19, Manipur Peoples Party - 14, Naga People’s Front - 12, JD (U) - 5, CPI (M) - 2 and Independent - 18.
Two new features of this poll in Manipur were allowing voting through postal ballots to 197 members of insurgent groups lodged in camps under the Suspension of Operations (SOO) agreements and taking photographs of all voters exercising their franchise.
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Homecoming for Amarinder at Rampura Phul


Parkash Singh Badal RAMPURA PHUL: It was an emotional homecoming for a confident-looking Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee head Amarinder Singh, who ended his poll campaign at his birth place here on Saturday evening.
"I deliberately decided to end my campaign here. I always loved this place and its people. I have a lot of respect for you and it is an overwhelming feeling while I stand before my brothers and sisters," said Amarinder, who was born at Mehraj village here, while addressing the gathering on Saturday evening.
All of Patiala mandi (Rampura Phul) wore Congress colours, when Amarinder reached at around 4.40pm. Supporters had to wait long for him as they had arrived at noon.
"We want Amarinder Singh to be the next chief minister as he belongs to our village. We have no hopes from Badal family. We know that if he (Amarinder) comes to power all problems of Rampura Phul would vanish," said Jarnail Singh, who retired from Indian Air Force and is a resident of this town.
Lakhwinder Kaur, a housewife here, said, "Despite of his royal upbringing he has no airs. He always comes to us and listens to our grievances. You cannot expect this from Parkash Singh Badal or from his son, even in a dream."
Amarinder is contesting assembly elections from Patiala, while Rampura Phul falls in Bathinda district.
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Basant Panchami celebrated peacefully in Dhar


The Bhojshala at Dhar in Madhya Pradesh. File photo: A.M. Faruqui
The Bhojshala at Dhar in Madhya Pradesh

INDORE: Amid tension at 'Bhojshala,' Basant Panchami festival celebrations passed off peacefully in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday. Civil and police administration heaved a sigh of relief after the procession was taken out from Lal Bagh to Bhojshala without any untoward incident. However, Cops claimed to have arrested 12 youth while they were taking out procession raising slogans. In all, more than 60 activists of the samiti have b

een arrested in last couple of days, while their president Naval Kishore Sharma is on fast at the MY Hospital in Indore. Earlier, he was forcibly lifted from Dhar while he was on fast in support of palki yatra and bringing back the statue of Wagdevi from UK museum.
Though the district administration allowed the traditional Basant Panchamim procession in which the Janata party President Subramanian Swamy participated, the proposed 'palki yatra' by Saraswati Janmotsav Samiti was not allowed keeping in mind the law and order situation.
Addressing the gathering at Bhojshala, he assured people that he would make all possible efforts to bring back the statute of Wagdevi and place it in the temple.
"I will move the court against the UK government," he said adding that before doing so he would make all possible efforts to hold fruitful talks with the UK government representatives on bringing back the statue of Wagdevi. He said that he would also hold talks with the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and procure permission before leaving for the UK sometime in April.
Meanwhile, the district administration and police said that they were leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the peace in the area was not disturbed.
"Heavy security force has been deployed in the sensitive areas in Dhar," Superintendent of Police S Saxena said adding that the district administration has also sought help from Rapid Action Force (RAF) in maintaining law and order.
"The traditional procession was taken out peacefully by the devotees," pointed out the SP. Proposed palki yatra was not be allowed as the district administration had already denied permission for proposed Kanyabhoj on January 29. The decision has been taken to maintain peace in the city.
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UP Muslims will not be misled by 'communal' Bukhari: Digvijaya

UP Muslims will not be misled by Bahraich: Calling the Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid a "communal person", Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Saturday said that Muslims of Uttar Pradesh will not be misled by his appeal, in which has urged them to vote for Samajwadi Party candidates.
"Bukhari was a communal person, who at one time supported Osama Bin Laden and in 2004 issued fatwa in favour of BJP," Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said.
"Bukhari's worth can be estimated from the fact that his opponent has won from the area he lives in. Muslims of UP will not get misled by his appeal," Digvijaya said while talking to the reporters.

Holding Congress responsible for the poor state of Muslims, Maulana Ahmad Bukhari on Saturday appealed to Muslims to vote for SP candidates in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly election.
In a joint press conference here with Mulayam Singh Yadav, he said "During several rounds of meetings with me, the SP chief has promised me that he will ensure justice to Muslims.
"I appeal to the community and those with the secular mindset to ensure victory of SP nominees in the state assembly election," Bukhari said.
On demolition of Babri mosque, Digvijaya said that the then Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao made a mistake by relying on the affidavit of Kalyan Singh.
He alleged that Mulayam shook hands with Kalyan and gave a ministerial berth to his son.
The Congress leader said that Azam Khan and Kalyan's son were ministers in the same cabinet.
Referring to NRHM scam, the Congress leader said that Rs 8,500 crore was given to the state to improve condition of health department, but from this Rs 5,000 crore could not be traced.
He alleged that five murders were executed so that big names involved in the scam could be concealed.
Meanwhile, speaking in Lucknow Digvijaya said, "We oppose communal Muslims as much as we oppose communal Hindus... Congress has always taken along liberal Hindus and Muslims".
He claimed that SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had earlier advised the Imam to practice religion instead of politics (imamat karey siyasat na karein).
The Imam has also issued a fatwa in favour of the BJP in 2004, this goes on to prove how much these people are in favour of communal amity, he said.
On the issue of Batla house encounter case, Digvijaya said that as the high court and Supreme Court both have rejected judicial inquiry, renewing the demand for it was irrelevant.
"Now the National Investigating Agency should probe all cases, fast track courts be set up for speedy trial so that the guitly get punishment and the innocents could be released", he said.
Criticising BJP for its promise to do away with minority reservation, he said that it was nothing new and under the 4.5 per cent quota about 85 to 90 per cent share would be that of Muslims.
On the occasion, renowned film maker Muzaffar Ali and retired bureaucrat Parveen Talha joined the party.
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Clarification on Congress ad praising Narendra Modi sought

Narendra ModiThe All India Congress Committee, the highest decision making body in the Congress, has sought a clarification from the state unit of the Congress over advertisements praising chief minister Narendra Modi.
Sources said AICC had taken the matter very seriously and sought clarification from Gujarat Congress leaders.
A pull-out by the Congress, distributed with newspapers on Republic Day in some parts of the state, featured Modi’s photograph, and described him as ‘a master organiser and astute election strategist’.
The two-page pullout also listed various major achievements of Modi. “He has been trying very hard to convert Gujarat into a vibrant state. He has established a separate department for biotechnology, and has also been able to raise the height of Narmada dam from 111.64 metre to 121.92 metre,” it said.
The advertisement also mentioned Vibrant Gujarat investor’s summit organised by Modi government every two years. It also took note of Krishi Mohatsav, Navratri Mohatsav, kite festival, Rannostav, all initiatives of the Modi government.
State Congress leaders Arjun Modhwadia, Shaktisinh Gohil and Shankarsinh Vaghela could not be contacted, but sources close to GPCC chief Modhwadia denied AICC seeking clarification.
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Sena men ransack media office

DAILY'S OFFICE TARGETED: Shiv Sena activists ransacked the loby of the Times of India building in Mumbai on Saturday in protest against a report in the Maharashtra Times, a Marathi daily which belongs to the ToI group. The page one report said a Sena MP was on his way to joining the NCP. The picture shows the vandalised foyer. Photo: PTI
DAILY'S OFFICE TARGETED: Shiv Sena activists ransacked the loby of the Times of India building in Mumbai on Saturday in protest against a report in the Maharashtra Times, a Marathi daily which belongs to the ToI group. The page one report said a Sena MP was on his way to joining the NCP. The picture shows the vandalised foyer.
More than 100 Shiv sainiks vandalised the reception lobby of the Times of India building near CST on Saturday afternoon. The mob was protesting against an article in Maharashtra Times which claimed that Shiv Sena MP from Amravati, Anandrao Adsul, was defecting to the NCP.
The incident took place at around 1.30pm. The Sena activists carrying the party flag and shouting slogans barged into the office after allegedl
y manhandling the security staff. In a fit of anger, they broke the flower pots in the corridor and ransacked the reception table and the computer on it. They remained in the corridor for about 15 minutes till police arrived.
A team of police from the Azad Maidan police station rushed to the spot. The police managed to arrest at least 29 activists, including Chandrakant Bobade, general secretary of the Co-operative Bank Employees’ Union, on the charge of rioting. A police officer said that the arrested people will be produced before the holiday court on Sunday. Meanwhile, Adsul said he would sue the newspaper for Rs100 crore for claiming that he was defecting to the NCP. He said that such a report, which was published on January 28, had caused immense damage to his reputation, coming as it did at a critical juncture when elections are due. “I have been with the Sena for 40 years and such stories hurt my reputation,” he added.
Incidentally, just last week, Shiv Sena MP from Kalyan-Dombivli, Anand Parajpe, turned up at an NCP press conference being addressed by NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Though Paranjpe has not officially quit the Sena, there is little doubt that Paranjpe will be with the NCP in time for the 2014 elections.
Meanwhile, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has strongly condemned the attack on the newspaper office and directed the police to take strict action against those responsible.
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Arab League suspends Syria mission as violence rages


Demonstrators gather during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and against Russia in Kafranbel near Idlib January 27, 2012.  REUTERS-Handout
Demonstrators gather during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and against Russia in Kafranbel near Idlib January 27, 2012.
The Arab League suspended its monitoring mission in Syria because of worsening violence, a move Damascus said was an attempt to encourage foreign intervention as it struggles to quell a 10-month revolt against President Bashar
The Arab League took the decision Saturday days after calling on Assad to step down and make way for a government of national unity. It will take an Arab peace plan to the U.N. Security Council next week.
Instability is increasing inside Syria. Saturday, the army launched an offensive against rebels who seized three Damascus suburbs this week. Activists said at least 12 people had been killed and 30 injured, mostly by anti-aircraft fire and mortar rounds. The report could not be independently verified.
"Given the critical deterioration of the situation in Syria and the continued use of violence ... it has been decided to immediately stop the work of the Arab League's mission to Syria..." Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said in a statement.
Arab League foreign ministers are expected to discuss early next month the possibility of withdrawing monitors completely, a League official said.
Syria TV cited a government official as saying Syria was surprised by the decision, which would "put pressure on (Security Council) deliberations with the aim of calling for foreign intervention and encouraging armed groups to increase violence."
France, however, which has been leading calls for stronger international action on Syria, said the Arab League decision highlighted the need to act.
"France vigorously condemns the dramatic escalation of violence in Syria, which has led the Arab League to suspend its observers' mission in Syria," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
"Dozens of Syrian civilians have been killed in the past days by the savage repression taken by the Syrian regime, notably by massive military operations against opponents' neighborhoods in several cities. Those responsible for these barbarous acts must answer to their crimes."

The Arab League mission was sent to observe Syria's implementation of a League peace plan, which failed to end the fighting. The mission was further undermined when Gulf states withdrew their monitors last week, saying the team could not stop the violence - which Assad blames on foreign-backed militants.
In the three rebel-held suburbs of Damascus, activists said they believed the army was trying to prevent insurgents from building a stronghold close to the center of government.
The Damascus insurgents were emboldened by a string of reports of army desertions, and activists said one group of deserters had brought with them their three tanks.
Activists told Reuters by telephone that rebels who control the towns of Saqba, Kafr Batna and Jisreen were exchanging fire with soldiers who were shooting back from tanks and had used anti-aircraft guns and mortars.
A video uploaded by activists, purported to be from a rebel-held Damascus suburb, showed smoke rising from behind a mosque and heavy gunfire erupting in the background as residents shouted "Allahu Akbar (God is greatest)."
It was not possible to verify the video or many of the details from activists, as media access to such locations is restricted in Syria.
The rebel FSA agreed a truce last week for government forces to withdraw from rebel-held Zabadani, 30 minutes' drive from Damascus. It said the army had had to pull back because of the large number of desertions from its ranks.
Elsewhere, activists said they were still recovering bodies from the killings of Sunni Muslims in a neighborhood of the flashpoint city Homs, which they blamed on pro-Assad militiamen belonging to the president's minority Alawite sect.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death count had risen to 47.
The United Nations said in December that more than 5,000 people had been killed in the wave of protests. Syria says more than 2,000 security force members have been killed by militants.
Friday, the Security Council discussed a European-Arab draft U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at halting the bloodshed in Syria. Britain and France said they hoped to put the draft resolution to a vote next week.
Russia joined China in vetoing a previous Western draft resolution in October, and has said it wants a Syrian-led political process, not "an Arab League-imposed outcome of a political process that has not yet taken place" or Libyan-style "regime change."

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Fire kills 27 at drug rehabilitation centre in Peru

Peru fire rehabilitation centre
Police officers stand guard after a fire occurred inside a rehabilitation centre in Lima. At least 27 patients of a rehabilitation centre for alcoholics and drug addicts were killed
A fire swept through a two-storey private rehabilitation centre for addicts in a poor part of Peru's capital on Saturday, killing 27 people and critically injuring five as firefighters punched holes through walls to rescue residents locked inside.
The Christ is Love centre for drug and alcohol addicts was unlicensed and overcrowded and its residents were apparently kept inside "like prisoners," Health Minister Alberto Tejada said.
Authorities said 26 people died at the scene, and prosecutors spokesman Raul Sanchez said Saturday night that one of six men hospitalised in critical condition died later.
Peru's fire chief, Antonio Zavala, said most of the victims died of asphyxiation. All the victims appeared to be male.
The local police chief, Clever Zegarra, said the cause of the 9am fire was under investigation.
"There has been talk of the burning of an object, of a mattress, but also of a fight that resulted in a fire. All of this is speculation," he said.
"I've been here at the scene from morning to evening but for the moment the exact cause of the fire is not known."
One resident of the centre on a narrow dead-end street in Lima's teeming San Juan de Lurigancho district said he was eating breakfast on the second floor of the centre when he saw flames coming from the first floor, where the blaze apparently began.
Gianfranco Huerta told local RPP news radio station that he leaped from a window to safety.
"The doors were locked; there was no way to get out," he told the station.
By early afternoon, all the dead had been removed from the centre.
"This rehabilitation centre wasn't authorised. It was a house that they had taken over ... for patients with addictions and they had the habit of leaving people locked up with no medical supervision," Tejada, the health minister, said.
Authorities said they did not know how many people were inside the centre at the time of the fire. They said they were looking for the centre's owners and staff, some of whom apparently fled the scene.
The local police chief, Zegarra, identified the owner as Raul Garcia.
Zoila Chea, an aunt of one victim, said families paid Garcia $37 to treat an addicted relative and $15 a week thereafter.
She said that neighbours had constantly complained about the centre and that it had been closed twice by authorities.
Chea, 45, said relatives were prohibited from seeing interned patients during the first three months of treatment, which she added consisted mainly of reading the Bible.
Her nephew, Luis Chea, was at the centre for a month, she said.
Zavala, the national fire chief, said the blaze was of "Dantesque proportions." Firefighters had to punch a hole through a wall with an adjoining building to help people trapped inside.
"We've had to use electric saws to cut through the metal bars of the doors to be able to work," Zavala said.
Relatives of residents gathered near the building weeping and seeking word of their loved ones. As the day wore on, nearby sidewalks filled with relatives mourning and trying to console one another.
One of them was Maria Benitez, aunt of 18-year-old Carlos Benitez, who she said was being treated at the centre.
"I want to know if he is OK or not," she told ATV television.
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Woman's body found in wrecked Italy cruise ship

Lawsuit filed in deadly cruise crash
Rome (CNN) -- A woman's body was found Saturday in the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship, Italian officials said, taking the number of people confirmed dead to 17.
Rescuers have been searching the site since the massive liner struck rocks and rolled onto its side in shallow waters off an island on Italy's Tuscan coast on January 13, leading to a panicked overnight evacuation. Fifteen people remain missing.
Efforts to remove 2,400 tons of fuel from the liner's tanks have been postponed until at least Tuesday because of bad weather conditions, Italy's civil protection agency said. The operation had been expected to begin Saturday or Sunday.
Concordia captain admits 'mistake'
Francesca Maffini, a spokeswoman for the civil protection agency, said Saturday that 15 of the bodies found had been identified. The latest woman to be found was wearing a uniform, she said, suggesting she may have been a member of the ship's 1,000-strong crew.
The discovery of the 17th body came a day after a handful of surviving passengers of the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship filed a lawsuit against the cruise line.

Training for maritime disasters

Earlier, Costa had announced it was offering each of about 3,200 passengers who'd been aboard the vessel a lump sum of 11,000 euros ($14,400), in compensation for their loss of property and emotional distress, as well as a refund of costs associated with the cruise.
Separate agreements will be reached with those passengers who were injured and needed treatment at the scene and with the families of those who died, Costa said.
The offer was announced following a meeting between Costa Cruises and consumer groups.
Couple filmed chaos on cruise ship
The lawsuit filed Friday asked for a jury trial and sought retribution from Costa Cruises, its parent company Carnival Cruise Lines and two "John Does." The suit was filed in a court in southern Florida, where Carnival is headquartered.
It faults the cruise ship operators on several counts, including "maritime negligence," "gross negligence," "intentional infliction of emotional distress" and "negligent retention."
Marc Bern, a senior partner with the New York-based law firm Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik that is among those behind the complaint, told CNN that his firm represents "hundreds" of passengers who were aboard the ship. He suggested that many of them could soon join his lawsuit's six named plaintiffs.
The lawsuit filed Friday states the plaintiffs first contacted Italian consumer law group Codacons, which led to the creation of "an international legal collaboration ... to vigorously advocate for passengers' rights."
The lawsuit requests "economic and compensatory damages in excess of $10 million for the six named plaintiffs (and) punitive damages, in an amount of at least $450 million."
This is not the only legal action in this case, including in the United States.
Peruvian crew member Gary Lobaton filed a lawsuit, for one, on Thursday in an Illinois court, his lawyer Monica Kelly of Ribbeck Law told CNN by e-mail. Stating that she's never met those behind Friday's lawsuit, Kelly said "we will add more (plaintiffs) in the coming week."
Bern, the New York lawyer tied to the lawsuit filed in Florida, called the compensation offer "an insult."
Jesus Garcia Heredia, who was on the cruise with his wife, told CNN Friday that he would not accept the payout.
"If we can reach an agreement, I am willing to agree not to sue, no problem," he said. "But not for 11,000 euros. I don't accept this."
Heredia said he had not yet been contacted by anyone in the company to talk about compensation.
"There was a lot of loss that day," he said, referring to personal belongings and the emotional toll of the disaster. "We had it really bad there."
Another passenger, Mark Plath, said he also wants to be compensated for the $6,000 worth of possessions he still has on the ship. He would like further compensation because he and his wife, Sarah, swam to shore.
"Also, I helped people quite a bit, to calm down on the boat, as well as leading them to shore and to cars awaiting above, quite a while later. My wife assisted a lady with blood all over her face (my wife is a nurse)," Plath wrote in an e-mail to CNN.
"I am not a fan of class-action lawsuits, but I think that Costa needs to take individual experiences and actions into account."
Meanwhile, the captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, is under house arrest and faces possible charges of manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning ship.
Schettino has admitted to prosecutors, defense attorneys and a judge that he made a "mistake" in colliding with the rocks off shore. But he has brushed aside suggestions that he was going too fast, as prosecutors allege.
Schettino said he ran the ship aground off Giglio island to keep it from sinking and limit the tilting.
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Murdoch staff arrested, office searched in UK probe

News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch speaks outside the hotel where he met the familly of murdered teenager Milly Dowler in central London in a July 15, 2011 file photo. The British newspaper arm of Murdoch's News Corp looks set to settle at great expense a string of legal claims after admitting wide-scale phone hacking that was both known about and concealed by senior management.British detectives on Saturday searched the offices of Rupert Murdoch's The Sun and arrested four journalists and a policeman in a widening probe into the bribing of police for information. The development finally drags Britain's biggest-selling newspaper into the turmoil at Murdoch's empire, after its stablemate the News of the World was shut down in disgrace in July amid a scandal over phone hacking.
Police said they made the arrests after information was provided to police by Murdoch's US-based News Corporation -- in what commentators said was a clear effort by the company to detoxify the brand.
The BBC and a newspaper named the arrested Sun journalists as former deputy editor Fergus Shanahan, former managing editor Graham Dudman, current crime editor Mike Sullivan and current head of news Chris Pharo.
In an email to staff, Tom Mockridge, the chief executive of Murdoch's British subsidiary News International, said Saturday the company had provided legal support to the arrested men.
"Despite this very difficult news, we are determined that News International will emerge a stronger and more trusted organisation," Mockridge wrote in the email, a copy of which was obtained by The Guardian.
"We must all support Dominic (Mohan, the editor of The Sun) who will be leading his staff to deliver, as always, a great paper for Monday and going forward."
Scotland Yard said it had arrested two men aged 49 and 57 in dawn raids at their homes in Essex, east of London, and a man aged 48 at his home in the capital.
A 42-year-old man was later arrested after reporting at a police station.
They were held on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to both these offences.
A 29-year-old from the force's Territorial Policing command was arrested at the London police station where he works on suspicion of corruption, misconduct in a public office and conspiracy.
All five were granted bail late on Saturday.
A police statement released earlier said: "The home addresses of those arrested are currently being searched and officers are also carrying out a number of searches at the offices of News International in Wapping, East London.
"Today's operation is the result of information provided to police by News Corporation's Management and Standards Committee.
"It relates to suspected payments to police officers and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately."
News Corp. confirmed that four of the men arrested either worked or used to work at The Sun.
It said it had set up the committee after the phone-hacking scandal "to undertake a review of all News International titles, regardless of cost, and to proactively cooperate with law enforcement and other authorities if potentially relevant information arose at those titles."
"As a result of that review, which is ongoing, the (committee) provided information to the Elveden investigation which led to today's arrests."
Thirteen people have now been arrested under Operation Elveden, the police investigation into allegations that journalists paid officers for information.
It was sparked by concerns about the working practices of the British press after the News of the World scandal and runs alongside Operation Weeting, the probe into phone hacking under which 17 arrests have so far been made.
The scandal at the News of the World erupted in July when it emerged journalists had listened to the voicemails not just of celebrities and politicians but also a murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler.
Amid public outrage, Murdoch closed down the 168-year-old weekly.
The scandal also prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to order a wide-ranging inquiry into the practices and ethics of the press, which began hearings last year.
The Sun has daily sales of more than 2.5 million. It is known for its racy celebrity-driven content and colourful headlines, but also for self-proclaimed influence with the electorate.
Sun editor Mohan told the phone-hacking inquiry earlier this month that he had no knowledge of phone-hacking at the paper and added that the daily could be a "powerful force for good."
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Sebi eases norms for MFs, insurers’ pref allotments

Mumbai: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has relaxed investment norms by waiving the six-month lock-in period for insurance companies and mutual funds participating in preferential allotment of shares. Securities and Exchange Board of India Chairman U.K. Sinha arrives for a SEBI board meeting in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Kamal Narang“It has been decided to exempt insurance companies and mutual funds which are broad-based investment vehicles representing the interests of the public at large from the provisions of Sebi (ICDR) Regulations relating to sale and lock-in of their pre-preferential shareholding in the issuer company,” said a Sebi release on Saturday.
The decision was taken at a board meeting — the second in this month — held at New Delhi today.
This would come as a huge relief, as under the current Sebi Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements (ICDR) regulations, an insurance company or a mutual fund cannot participate in preferential allotment transactions before the six-month cooling off period.
Also, allottees are required to lock in their entire holdings for six months under the present norms.
The regulator has, however, maintained the post-allotment requirement of a lock-in of six months. In other words, shares allotted during a preferential allotment can be sold only after six months.
Interestingly, the recent past has seen the regulator relaxing certain norms for making it easier for companies to raise funds at a time when capital raising has turned extremely difficult. Even the government has found it impossible to proceed with its proposed R40,000-crore divestment programme.
Earlier this month, Sebi introduced the concept of Institutional Placement Programme (IPP), by which promoters could dilute their existing holding by way of fresh issue or offer for sale aimed only at the qualified institutional buyers (QIBs).
Meanwhile, Sebi has also decided to increase the minimum investment amount per client from R5 lakh to R25 lakh in a PMS — portfolio management scheme — while ensuring segregation of holdings in individual demat accounts in respect of unlisted securities also.
On the issue of reservation to convertible debt holders in rights/bonus issues, Sebi has decided that reservation will be available only to compulsorily convertible debt holders, since conversion in such cases is not at the option of the holders of these instruments.
Sebi has also amended the investment valuation norms for mutual funds to provide a fair treatment to existing investors and also to those that seek to purchase or redeem units at any point of time.
“In case debt and money market securities are not traded on a particular valuation day, then valuation through amortisation basis shall be restricted to securities having residual maturity of up to 60 days (currently 91 days), provided such valuation shall be reflective of the realisable value/fair value of the securities,”
said Sebi.
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Wkly Tech Analysis: Markets likely to turn choppy

The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark on Friday rose for the fourth straight session on sustained buying by funds and retail investors in bluechips. File photoThe markets are on a dream run so far this year. After having slumped nearly 25 per cent in 2011, the BSE and the NSE benchmark indices have gained nearly 12 per cent this year. In absolute terms, these have recovered around one-thir
d of the losses in the previous year.
The Sensex ended higher for the fourth straight week this year, up three per cent at 17,234. The most positive aspect of the holiday-shortened week was the index climbed higher peaks through the week.
 Among the index stocks, Maruti and Tata Motors were the major gainers, up 10 per cent each. Bharti Airtel, Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra & Mahindra, SBI, Sterlite Industries, ICICI Bank, Infosys and Tata Steel were the other major gainers. On the other hand, Hero MotoCorp plunged 6.5 per cent. Bajaj Auto, DLF, Jindal Steel, HDFC Bank and Coal India were the other notable losers.
The Fibonacci charts indicate the Sensex has now given a buy signal on the quarterly charts. So the trend is likely to remain up as long as it is able to sustain above 16,500 on a quarterly basis (March-end).
The next hurdle is at 17,560 (R1 - first resistance) on the yearly charts. According to these, the bias will remain positive as long as the index sustains above 16,700 and get stronger once it sustains above 17,560.
The above two indicators summarise the markets are in an uptrend and on dips the Sensex is likely to find considerable support in the 16,500-16,700 range. However, once it trades below 16,500, one should start exercising caution as that could signal an end to the current uptrend.
The NSE Nifty moved in a range of nearly 200 points and ended with a gain of over three per cent at 5,205.
The Nifty has closed bang on its 200-day daily moving average (DMA). The index has not been able to close above its 200-day DMA since early May 2011. Given the positive momentum indicators, it seems set to cross this psychological level for now.
However, going ahead, the index is likely to face considerable resistance around 5,250 - which is the 50-WMA (weekly moving average). Above which, this uptrend could face another major resistance around 5,370, the higher end of the Bollinger Band on the weekly charts.
In the near term, the markets may now turn choppy, given the near overhead resistance (5,250) and overbought conditions on the daily charts (RSI is above 75 per cent). The wide consolidation range for the Nifty could be 5,250-4,950.
Next week, the index could face resistance around 5,280-5,325, while seeking support around 5,130-5,080.
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JK Bank Q3 net up 27 pc at `213 cr

Vijaya Bank Q3 net profit down 18% at Rs 124 crSrinagar: J&K Bank has posted a net profit of Rs 213 crore for the third quarter ended December 2011, which is up by 27 percent from net profit of Rs.168 crore earned during the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year.
 The net profit of the bank for the nine months ended December 31, 2011 also witnessed an increase of 25 per cent as it jumped to Rs.595 crore from Rs 477 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year.
 The total business turnover of the Bank as on Dec 31, 2011 is around Rs 79, 000 crore which has witnessed an increase of Rs 3,000 crore in the quarter. Business turnover was Rs 66000 crore as on 31st December 2010.
 Commenting on the results, Chairman and CEO Mushtaq Ahmad said, “In the 12-month period from January 1st, 2011, the Bank’s overall business has grown up by around Rs. 13,000 crore, which means more than Rs 1,000 crore on average per month.”
 “We do feel happy to see our balance sheet further firmed up. Such performance puts our growth trajectory on a sound basis while heading towards the proposed target of Rs 85,000 crore of business and Rs 800 crore of profit by the end of current financial year, besides affirming the efficacy of major policy decisions the Bank has taken in this direction.”
 The Chairman appreciated the efforts of colleagues whose efforts have generated the results, the bank in a statement said.
 “However, we do not feel complacent in the face of challenges posed by the concerns about the sluggish economic scenario and growing competition at home,” he added.  
 He said, “We will consolidate the business growth through up-gradation of procedural systems, better risk-management practices, and optimization of techno-based services and development of requisite human resource.”
 During the quarter ended December 31, 2011, the bank's total income rose by 33 per cent to Rs 1,340.16 crore as against Rs 1012.22 crore in the year-ago period. The interest earned by the bank in the third quarter increased by over 35 per cent to Rs 1266 crore from Rs 934 crore in the year ago period.
 The asset quality of the bank has further improved, as the gross NPAs (Non Performing Assets) of the Bank have declined to 1.80 per cent in the third quarter of this fiscal, from 1.95 per cent in the same period of the previous year.
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Race hots up for top job at CIL

, An Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officer R. P. S. Kahlon, the serving Environment Secretary to the West Bengal Government, has joined the race for the post of the chairman-cum-managing director of Coal India Ltd (CIL), the world's single largest coal mining company.
A 1984-batch IAS officer from the West Bengal cadre, he holds a post-graduate degree in English. At least three other IAS officers are also believed to have applied to the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) which conducts the interviews for the post which has been lying vacant without any steady incumbent, since the retirement of P. S. Bhattacharyya in February 2011.
However, sources in the West Bengal Government described the bid by Mr. Kahlon, as an unprecedented move, and one which enjoyed the tacit support of the State government to gain control over the city-based Maharatna PSU over whose policies, it had vented its ire on a number of occasions. At times over its holding back supplies to the state power utilities for non-payment of dues and at times over hike in prices.
Besides the four IAS officers, at least four chairmen and directors of top public sector units, including NMDC and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd, and the CMDs of nearly all the coal-producing subsidiaries of CIL, barring South Eastern Coalfields Ltd, are in the race.
Nirmal Chandra Jha, the present acting CMD, retires on January 31, after which additional secretary Zohra Chatterjee will hold charge till a new incumbent is selected. The interviews are slated for mid-February. It may be mentioned that in 2011, the two candidates at the top of the list could not take the hot seat at the CIL chairman's office as they got mired in regulatory approvals.
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Ranbir, Vidya named best actors at Apsara Awards

Mumbai: Bollywood stars Ranbir Kapoor and Vidya Balan picked the best actors` trophies at the star-studded seventh edition of Apsara Awards here Wednesday night for their performance in ‘Rockstar’ and ‘The Dirty Picture’ respectively.Ranbir, Vidya named best actors at Apsara AwardsThe best film award went to " Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara", and Zoya Akhtar won the best director for the movie. Her actor-filmmaker brother Farhan took home the best supporting actor award for the movie too.

The best supporting actress award went to Priyanka Chopra's cousin Parineeti, for her portrayal of a bubbly, rich, spoilt Delhi girl in "Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl". The act also bagged the best debutant (female) award for her.
The best debutant (male) honour went to southern actor Rana Daggubati for his first Bollywood project "Dum Maro Dum".
The best choreography trophy was picked by Bosco-Caesar for the peppy title track of "Desi Boyz".
Irshad Kamil picked the best lyrics award for "Naadaan parindey" from the film "Rockstar", while the best music award went to Oscar winning composer A.R.Rahman for the same film.
Mohit Chauhan, who became the voice of Ranbir's character in "Rockstar" walked away with the best singer (male) award for the cult song "Sadda haq". Among the females, Shreya Ghoshal took the honour for her rendition of romantic number "Teri meri" from the movie "Bodyguard".
A special award was bestowed upon megastar Amitabh Bachchan for the last season of "Kaun Banega Crorepati", which proved to be a worthy platform for the common man.
The Apsara Awards, organised by the Film and Television Producers Guild of India in association with Wizcraft International Entertainment and channel Colors, was hosted by witty filmmakers Farah Khan and Karan Johar. It had a line-up of entertaining acts.
A highlight was the kickstarting of the celebrations of 100 years of Indian cinema . As a special segment of the celebrations, the awards night hosted a special tribute dedicated to the cinema legends and their glorious years in Bollywood. Veteran stars like Rajesh Khanna, Zeenat Aman and Jaya Bachchan came upon the stage for it.
Other performances were a hit too.
"Band Baaja Baaraat" actress Anushka Sharma took to the stage to groove with popular telly actors Nandish Sandhu, Sushant Singh Rajput and Shabbir Ahluwalia on songs like "Dum dum", "Thag le" and "Jazba" respectively.
Soon-to-be married couple Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D'Souza also set the stage on fire with their crackling chemistry as they brought their real-life love story alive on stage while performing at the award function at the Yash Raj Studios. They emulated the story of their eight-year-old romantic journey.
Kareena Kapoor staged a sizzling performance, wherein she took a cue from sirens of the southern film industry and performed on a medley of south Indian hits such as "Nakka mukka", recently heard in the Hindi film "The Dirty Picture". She also grooved to "Ringa ringa" from the film "Arya 2", as well as the chartbuster "Kolaveri di".
Actress Ameesha Patel also entertained the audience by dancing to recent hit item numbers like "Chikni chameli", "Ooh la la" and " Madhubala" from Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.
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