Zardari opts out of another meeting with Manmohan Singh

Islamabad, June 19: In a sudden development, President Asif Ali Zardari has decided not to attend the NAM Summit in Egypt next month, apparently to avoid another meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh whose blunt public comments appear to have annoyed Pakistan.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani will lead the Pakistani delegation to the Summit at Sharm-el Shaikh on July 15, the Foreign Office announced, a day after Singh had told reporters that he and Zardari would be meeting on the sidelines of the Summit.

Tihar authorities invite feedback from prisoners

New Delhi, June 18: Prisoners on the verge of completing their term in Tihar jail will get an opportunity to give their feedback on their stay in the high security prison here.

The prisoners can give their feedback in writing or verbally to the concerned jail authorities regarding improvements needed in the jail, Tihar law officer and spokesperson Sunil Gupta said about the initiative started two months ago.

He said though there was a grievance cell, not many come forward as they fear being harmed during their stay.

West Bengal rushes security forces to Lalgarh

Kolkata, June 18:The West Bengal government Thursday rushed reinforcement of security forces to its troubled Lalgarh region in West Midnapore district even as the Maoist rebels called for a two-day shutdown in five states beginning Monday to protest the security operations.

Official said police and paramilitary forces had been asked to move to West Midnapore district, about 200 km from here, to conduct a joint operation to flush out Maoist guerrillas who have been active in organising a tribal movement alongside a group called the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA).

Curfew in Meerut

Lucknow, June 18: Curfew has been clamped in parts of Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh after two groups clashed and indulged in arson and vandalism, leaving nearly 20 people injured, the police said on Wednesday.

A verbal dispute between shopkeepers and a group of protesters snowballed into a violent clash late on Tuesday night in the Lisari Gate area of Meerut.

“We have arrested six people in this connection. Some shopkeepers allegedly manhandled the driver of a tractor-trolley carrying the protesters.

Tendulkar and Zaheer rested for West Indies tour

Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan have been rested from India’s four-ODI to the Caribbean starting on June 26, and Suresh Raina has missed out due to a hairline fracture on his thumb.

Fast bowler Ashish Nehra makes a comeback after his impressive performances for the Delhi Daredevils in this year’s IPL, while the big-hitting Mumbai allrounder Abhishek Nayar gets his maiden call-up to the national squad.

Backers of Iran’s Mousavi plan more protests

Tehran, June 17: Supporters of Iran’s defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi aim to keep pressure up with new protests on Wednesday over a disputed poll which has led to the biggest upheaval since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Despite the authorities’ readiness for a partial recount, Mousavi’s backers plan a fifth day of demonstrations since Friday’s poll in which hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was officially declared to have won a resounding victory.

Cong demands apology from Mayawati

Lucknow, June 17: Protesting “derogatory remarks” by Chief Minister Mayawati against Mahatma Gandhi, Congress on Wednesday took out a march in the city and handed over a memorandum to Governor T V Rajeswar demanding an apology from the BSP chief or dismissal of her government.

“Chief Minister in her statement issued recently had termed Mahatma Gandhi as ‘natakbaz’, which is derogatory and we protest it,” Congress General Secretary Rajiv Bakshi, who led the march, said.

Manmohan promises justice to Shopian rape victims

New Delhi, June 17: Days after the alleged rape of two women in Shopian town of Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said.

The government will take effective action against the perpetrators and offered to hold talks with all groups, including those outside the political mainstream, to bring peace and stability to the state.

“It’s a very unfortunate development. If there were human rights violations, then we will take effective ation,” Manmohan Singh said in a mid-air press conference while returning from Russia.

Shiney has been crying for two days: police

Mumbai, June 17: Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja, who is in police custody on the charge of raping his teenaged housemaid, looks haggard since he has been crying for the past two days and hasn’t slept much, a police official in Mumbai said on Wednesday.

Lodged in a small cell inside the lock-up of Andheri police station, Shiney has virtually collapsed under the strain of the charges against him.

“Since the past two days, he has been crying and weeping. He looks weary and tired, and is not getting proper sleep,” said the official, who did not wish to be named.

Delhi students bag top 2 positions in law entrance

New Delhi, June 17: Two Delhi students Nidhi Modani and Rajat Gangwar have secured the first and second position, respectively, in the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2009, the results of which were declared on Monday.

Conducted by the Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad, the exam saw 12,282 candidates competing for 1,150 seats across 11 universities in the country. Siddhartha Basu of Lucknow has secured the third position.

Over 6,000 queue up for 2,000 vacancies

Mumbai, June 17: Over 6,000 people queued up outside the employment and self employment bureau at Nariman Point on Tuesday with the hope of landing a job with one of the 13 participating firms.

With companies looking to fill up nearly 2,000 vacancies, candidates, aged between 18 and 38, didn’t mind sweating it in the sun out while waiting for their turn in the serpentine queue.

While some of the job seekers were BSc, there were some who had not even cleared their SSC exam.

Police go to Raigad to seek girl’s school certificate

Mumbai, June 17: The Ahujas’ house was sealed by the police later. It will be returned to the Ahuja family after the forensic tests have been completed.

A police team has also left for the victim’s native place, Roha in Raigad district, to access her school certificate to ascertain her age. The victim studied till Std VII. It is not yet known if she is below 18.

The victim is a resident of Virar and stays with an aunt who introduced her to the Ahuja family.

–Agencies

Trainee molested by senior at Juhu hotel

Mumbai, June 17: An 18-year-old trainee at a five-star hotel on Juhu Tara Road was molested by her senior on Sunday afternoon. The accused, Akram Mandal (27), has been arrested by the Santa Cruz police.

The victim, a hospitality management student at a Malad college, joined the Juhu hotel last month as part of her course.

The incident occurred on Sunday, when the housekeeping manager instructed her to clean room 202 on the second floor along with Mandal at 3.45 pm.

“After the duo entered the room, Mandal closed the door and started touching the girl.

Mother, girl run over by train

Mumbai, June 17: A 25-year-old woman and her younger daughter, who was in her arms, died on the tracks near Koparkhairne on Tuesday morning while she was trying to save her elder daughter from going under the wheels of the train that ultimately ran over her.

Government Railway Police officials in Navi Mumbai said the accident occurred around 10.30 am on Tuesday, when Chandradevi Singh and her two daughters aged one and two-and-a-half years were crossing the tracks between Koparkhairne and Turbhe stations on the Harbour Line.

After Chand-Fiza reunion, the ruckus

Chandigarh, June 16: ‘‘My mother asked me to forgive him, but I am yet to take a decision.’’ These were the words of Fiza on Monday, keeping the suspense over her love story after the dramatic return of husband Chand Mohammed.

On his part, Chand brushed aside allegations that he was kidnapped by Fiza. ‘‘It is my decision to stay with her and I am trying to seek her forgiveness,’’ he told reporters.

India tightens swine flu advice

New Delhi, June 16: The Indian government is urging people not to travel abroad until swine flu in the country is under control, after seven more people tested positive.

The new cases come from the Indian city of Jalandhar where a group of students had recently returned from a trip to the US space agency, Nasa.

The total number of those infected by swine flu throughout India now stands at 30.

Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global flu pandemic.

The swine flu (H1N1) virus first emerged in Mexico in April and has since spread to at least 74 countries.

Obama welcomes Netanyahu speech

Washington, June 16: US President Barack Obama has welcomed as “positive movement” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s backing of a demilitarised Palestinian state.

The US leader played down Arab anger over the terms Mr Netanyahu laid out in a major policy speech on Sunday.

But Mr Obama again demanded an end to Israeli settlement activity, over which he and Mr Netanyahu have locked horns.

The Palestinian Authority PM described the speech as “a new blow to efforts to salvage the peace process”.

Iran Reports 7 Deaths in Mass Protest Against Vote Result

Tehran, June 16: As Iran’s embattled president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, arrived in Russia Tuesday, Iranian state radio reported that seven people were killed in clashes overnight, ramping up tensions after days of unprecedented demonstrations which have forced a formal review of elections results.

As dawn broke over this tense and divided nation, anticipation grew over what would come next, whether calls for a nationwide general strike and more protests would play out across the country, or if emotions would begin to cool.

Mixed response to VHP bandh call in Surat

Ahmedabad, june 16: The “Surat Bandh” call given by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in protest against the alleged gang rape of a minor school girl, received mixed reactions from the people on Monday.

No untoward incident was reported from the art silk and diamond city.

Minister of State for Home Amit Shah, camping in the city for the last two days to keep a watch on the situation, said the bandh was a “flop,” but the VHP claimed that the call received “overwhelming support.”

Ahmadinejad arrives in Russia

Moscow, June 16: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has arrived in Russia to attend a regional security summit.

Mr. Ahmadinejad had been expected to arrive Monday and meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The Iranian leader postponed the trip for one day amid street protests in Iran following his re-election in a bitterly disputed vote. No reason was given for the postponement.

Mr. Ahmadinejad attended Tuesday’s session of the regional security summit in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg.

Shiney Ahuja arrested on rape charges; to be produced in court

Mumbai, June 15: Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja was arrested early on Monday on rape charges after preliminary tests conducted on his domestic help confirmed sexual assault, a senior police official said.

Ahuja, who was detained for questioning on Sunday night, is likely to be produced before a magistrate’s court later in the day.

The domestic help, who has been working at Ahuja’s residence in suburban Oshiwara, alleged that the actor had raped her on Sunday afternoon, the official said.

India captain MS Dhoni blamed for World Twenty20 exit

New Delhi, June 15: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the India captain, bore the brunt of fan and media anger back home after the defending champions were unceremoniously dumped out of the World Twenty20 on Sunday.

Security was increased around Dhoni’s home in the eastern city of Ranchi on Monday after scores of fans burnt his effigy, shouted slogans and accused the captain of underestimating England in a must-win situation.

“Deepika’s personality grounds mine”: Saif

Mumbai, June 11: Saif Ali Khan is just five minutes away before he addresses the Indian media on his maiden venture into production for his film Love Aaj Kal in which he stars opposite the beautiful leggy Deepika Padukone.

But inside the PVR theatre, the room temperature is high and our mind is on overdrive. He has it all. A successful career and a blissful relationship with Kareena Kapoor.

Media keeps waiting for more than an hour but they don’t complaint because the man in question is a ‘nawab’.

26/11: 10-year-old girl identifies Ajmal ‘Kasab’

Mumbai, June 11: A child who was badly injured in the Mumbai terror attacks deposed before the Special Sessions Court on Wednesday.

Ten-year-old Devika Rotawar entered the witness box on crutches. She told the court that she was shot in her right leg and that she had seen the attackers.

She identified the lone surviving gunman Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’ in court.

The little girl said that on November 26, 2008, she was waiting at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) with her father and brother. The trio was waiting to board a train to Pune.