Jagan to take part in membership drive

Hyderabad, September 30: Jagan Mohan Reddy is understood to have decided to take a plunge headlong into active politics and hand over his business activities to his family members, regardless of how long the party would take to decide on who should be the Chief Minister of the State.

According to sources close to Jagan, the young MP has made up his mind to follow the `footsteps’ of his father late Rajasekhara Reddy.

As part of it, he will start spending his time on political activities and not to involve in his regular business.

CS term extended by three months

Hyderabad, September 30: The State Government has decided to extend the term of Chief Secretary P Ramakanth Reddy for three more months.

A decision to this effect was taken today and the orders are expected to be issued in a day or two.

Ramakanth Reddy was to retire tomorrow on attaining superannuation.

But the Government has decided to extend his service for three more months till December end.

As there was no need to take permission from the Centre to extend the term for three months, the Government has decided to go ahead with its decision.

Andhra Congress rift deepens

Hyderabad, September 30: The infighting in the ruling Congress party in Andhra Pradesh took a bitter turn as loyalists of the late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Wednesday hit back at a senior leader for terming as “bogus” the subsequent reported deaths of 600 people.

A day after Rajya Sabha member V. Hanumantha Rao said the reported shock deaths following the demise of YSR in a helicopter crash in August were a publicity stunt, some ministers and legislators challenged him to prove this.

CPI (Maoist) denounces arrest of Ghandy

Hyderabad, September 30: Denouncing the arrest of CPI (Maoist) politburo member Kobad Ghandy in Delhi, the party Tuesday said that it was a part of a brutal offensive unleashed against the revolutionary party by the Sonia- Manmohan-Chidambaram fascist clique at the Centre.

I’m not bothered about threatening calls: VHR

Hyderabad, September 30: Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member V Hanumantha Rao Tuesday said that he was not bothered about the threatening calls he has been receiving for the last few days.

Speaking to reporters here today, Hanumantha Rao said that he had already lodged a complaint with the police on the issue.

Sharapova, Jankovic reach Pan Pacific Open quarters

Tokyo, September 30: Crowd-favourite Maria Sharapova stormed into the quarter-finals by beating fellow Russian Alisa Kleybanova in the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament today.

The former world number one, the champion here in 2005, fired an array of lightning service return winners for a come-from-behind 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over her 29th-ranked compatriot.

Sharapova, now ranked 25th, double-faulted on a break point to lose the opening game and failed to recover the deficit as she hit a backhand shot that landed in the net on Kleybanova’s first set point.

ATF prices slashed by 2.1%; effective midnight

New Delhi, September 30: For the second time this month, the state-owned oil firms on Wednesday slashed jet fuel prices by 2.1% in line with softening international rates. The Aviation Turbine Fuel or ATF price in Delhi has been cut by Rs 812.33 per kilolitre to Rs 37,084.50 per kl, with effect from midnight tonight, an official of the Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation’s largest fuel retailer, said.

One of the world’s largest diamonds found at South African mine

Johannesburg, September 30: Petra Diamonds Ltd. says a diamond the size of a chicken egg has been found at South Africa’s Cullinan mine.

The diamond may be among the world’s top 20 high-quality gems. It was discovered Thursday at the mine northeast of Pretoria, South Africa.

Johan Dippenaar, the company’s chief executive said in a statement Tuesday that the 507.55-carat gem was of “exceptional color and clarity.”

No value has been give yet for the diamond, which weighs just over 100 grams.

ICICI Bank sells 4.41% stake in 3i Infotech for Rs 46 crore

Mumbai, September 30: Private sector lender ICICI Bank on Wednesday sold 4.41% stake in software services provider 3i Infotech for Rs 46.17 crore in open market transactions at both the major bourses in the country. ICICI Bank, a promoter group firm of 3i Infotech, on Wednesday sold 28.42 lakh equity shares of the IT firm at a price of Rs 79.79 per piece aggregating to Rs 22.67 crore, according to bulk deal data available on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

‘Paranoid’ China ramps up net firewall

China, September 30: Press rights group Reporters Without Borders says a “paranoid” China has blocked tens of thousands of websites ahead of the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic.

The Paris-based group said that Chinese authorities had targeted Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and other ways that residents, including foreign reporters, used to circumvent controls on the internet.

The group said that “government security paranoia” in the run-up to tomorrow’s anniversary was “turning into a major headache for internet users and reporters”.

Bin Laden gets camp fashion makeover

Washington, September 30: Travellers on the metro in the US capital risk coming facing to face with al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, smiling and wearing an "I Love Guantanamo" T-shirt.

The irreverent billboard image of America’s No.1 enemy, just a short distance from the White House, is part of an activist campaign aimed at highlighting that al-Qaeda uses the US detention centre as a recruiting tool.

US census worker found hanging from tree

Washington, September 30: US police today continued to probe the death of a 51-year-old census worker and teacher who was found hanging from a tree in a Kentucky forest with “Fed” written across his chest.

“We’re continuing our investigation into the death of William Sparkman to determine whether it was accidental, suicide or homicide,” Kentucky state police Captain Lisa Rudzinski said.

“The preliminary cause of death was asphyxia and we are awaiting the final autopsy results which include toxicology,” she said.

Billionaire accused of assaulting woman

Hong Kong, September 30: Billionaire entrepreneur David Ho has been charged with assaulting a woman he met online and confining her at his swank Vancouver home on Canada’s Pacific Coast, police said overnight.

The Hong Kong expatriate and founder of now-defunct Harmony Airways was arrested yesterday following a year-long investigation into an incident at his home in December 2008.

Mr Ho, 57, had arranged to meet the woman he first made contact with via an online chat room, picked her up and together they returned to his mansion.

Royal family must survive on $15m a year

London, September 30: Spain;s royal household will have to rein in its spending next year as its annual budget will be frozen amid the country’s worst recession in decades.’

The freeze was included in the socialist government’s 2010 budget presented to parliament on Tuesday.

It said King Juan Carlos and his family will have to live on the same 8.96 million euros ($15 million) as this year.

The move comes as the country is battling its first recession in 15 years and amid soaring unemployment.

Rosaiah asks centre to release its share of fund

Hyderabad, September 30: Chief Minister K Rosaiah urged Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to release the Central share of indemnity to be paid to Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AICI) and see that the crop insurance of the farmers be disbursed as early as possible.

In a letter to Mukherjee Tuesday, the Chief Minister said that the disbursement of the claims was held up as the Centre had not paid its share.

World’s biggest recorded earthquakes

Australia, September 30: The biggest earthquakes to have ever been recorded and the damage they have caused.

Chile, May 22, 1960. Measured 9.5 on the Richter scale. Killed 1655 in Chile. Subsequent tsunami killed 68 in Hawaii, 138 in Japan and 32 in the Philippines.

Alaska, March 28, 1964. Measured 9.2 on the Richter scale. Killed 15. Subsequent tsunami killed 113.

Indonesia, December 26, 2004. Measured 9.1 on the Richter scale. Tsunami killed almost 230,000 around the world.

Hawaii, November 4, 1952. Measured 9.0 on the Richter scale. No deaths.

Afghan girl killed by RAF leaflet drop

Taliban, September 30: A YOUNG Afghan girl died after a box of public information leaflets, dropped by a Royal Air Force plane over Afghanistan, landed on her, a newspaper said Wednesday.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence said it was investigating the accident which it described as “highly regrettable,” The Times said.

The drop occurred over a rural area of Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province on June 23 as part of an information campaign, the newspaper said.

Mercedes-Benz green claims ‘misleading’

London, September 30: Mercedes-Benz adverts for its new E class saloon series which said “CO2 emissions for the range are down to 139g/km” whave been banned after the advertising watchdog ruled the ads were misleading.

The Advertising Standards Authority noted only two out of the 24 possible permutations in the Mercedes range had a 139g/km figure, the exact CO2 emissions figure per vehicle being dependent on a number of possible variations.

Those variations included the choice between petrol and diesel, manual and automatic gearbox, and were also affected by various alloy wheel size.

23 dead as church collapses

Nepal, September 30: At least 23 people are dead and dozens injured after a church building collapsed during a Christian convention in eastern Nepal.
Around 1500 Christians had gathered in the town of Dharan for the meeting when a makeshift three-storey structure built to accommodate participants fell apart at about midnight after hours of heavy rainfall, police officers said.

“The participants were preparing to sleep when the wall collapsed. Most of the victims were on the ground floor of the building,” police inspector Mohan Bikram Dahal told AFP.

Ketsana kills 49 in Vietnam, Cambodia

Typhoon, September 30: Ketsana left a trail of destruction across Southeast Asia, killing at least 49 people in Vietnam and Cambodia and churning towards Laos, officials said.

Tens of thousands of people had fled their homes to escape flooding caused by Ketsana, which had already killed 246 when it struck the Philippines over the weekend as a weaker tropical storm.

Floodwaters hit swathes of Vietnam including ancient UN World Heritage sites, and aid workers across the region were trying to evacuate stranded people and get supplies to other survivors.

Rallies banned after Guinea bloodbath

Guinea, September 30: has banned “subversive” gatherings as it announced two days of national mourning after troops killed at least 157 people in a brutal crackdown on an opposition rally.

The country’s military ruler said he was sorry for the violence, but a human rights group alleged junta soldiers killed three more people outside the capital Conakry yesterday – a day after the crackdown – and kidnapped victims of the crackdown from hospitals.

“I declare a national mourning on Wednesday and Thursday,” junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara said on television.

Australia to send aid and medical personnel to Samoa

Australia, September 30: will airlift humanitarian supplies and medical personnel today Samoa, which has been struck by a massive South Pacific earthquake and tsunami.

A chartered aircraft is scheduled to take off from Brisbane for the Pacific island at 2am (AEST) with doctors and nurses from Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.

Australian Government personnel from AusAID, Emergency Management Australia, the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will also be on the flight.

21 dead as major quake hits Indonesia

Indonesia, September 30: At least 21 people have been killed and thousands are trapped underneath rubble after a major earthquake hit Indonesia’s Sumatra island last night, officials said.

Large buildings, including hospitals and hotels, caved in while fires raged in the coastal city of Padang, home to nearly a million people, as communications and power remained cut hours after the 7.6-magnitude quake.

HIV spreading faster than treatment

Washington, September 30: New HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa are growing twice as quickly as anti-retroviral drugs are rolled out, despite a 39 percent hike in treatment access, UNAIDS.

The number of people receiving AIDS treatments in the region, where two-thirds of the world’s HIV positive people live – rose from 2.1 million in 2007 to 2.9 million last year.

Boss under fire over telco staff suicides

France, September 30: France Telecom’s chief executive faced calls to stand down today as a 24th suicide at the firm sparked demands for an inquiry into working conditions blamed for pushing staff over the edge.

A France Telecom worker jumped to his death from a highway overpass on Monday leaving a note blaming pressures at work. The 51-year-old father of two had recently been posted to a call centre in Annecy in the Alps.