Man with knife arrested on New Year eve in Mumbai

Mumbai, December 31: While the city is set for celebrations on New Year eve, a 33-year-old man was today arrested for allegedly possessing a knife and moving about suspiciously at Churchgate area in south Mumbai, police said.

The accused identified as Vasant Parmar was caught by patrolling police, after he was found behaving suspiciously near Eros cinema, police said.

When Parmar was frisked, a knife was recovered from him, police said adding, “He was unable to tell us why he was carrying the sharp weapon.”

Convict dies at Alipore correctional home

Kolkata, December 31: A convict today died at Alipore Central correctional Home here with his family members suspecting foul play.

Bablu Sheikh (42), a resident of Kalna in Burdwan district, was serving a five-year term for trafficking of women in the correctional home, a jail official said.

The official claimed that Sheikh, who was also a drug addict, died of heart attack and his body has been sent for post mortem.

The news of his death triggered tension as his family members alleged foul play.

Sheikh was brought from Burdwan to Alipore in May 2008.


Andhra government reshuffles IAS officers

Hyderabad, December 31: Pankaj Dwivedi, a 1975 batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service, has been appointed as the new Chief Commissioner of Land Administration as part of a bureaucratic reshuffle undertaken by the Andhra Pradesh government today.

He succeeds S V Prasad who has been elevated as the state Chief Secretary.

Special Chief Secretary A K Goel has been posted as Agriculture Production Commissioner. Sutirtha Bhattacharya will be the new principal secretary (Energy), while Ajay Jain has been made the chairman and managing director of AP Power Transmission Corporation.

Agitation for separate Vidarbha on January 3

Nagpur, December 31: Former Union Minister and local Congress MP Vilas Muttemwar will hold a ‘dharna’ on January 3 here in support of demand for statehood for Vidarbha.

He said just because Telangana was witnessing violent protests and people of Vidarbha were following peaceful ways to press for demand, the Government should not ignore the demand for separate Vidarbha.

A day-long sit in agitation will be held on January 3 near Gandhi statue at Variety Square to be led by Muttemwar himself.

Leader of group behind Briton’s kidnap on transfer list

Baghdad, December 31: The leader of the group behind the 2007 kidnap of a British computer expert is among detainees held by the US military being transferred to Iraqi custody, a US military spokesman said on Thursday.

The confirmation of Qais al-Khazaali’s handover to Iraq comes a day after the release of Peter Moore, a 36-year-old IT consultant who was held by Khazaali’s League of the Righteous for two and a half years, amid speculation of a deal for Moore’s release.

US sharply steps up military, economic aid to Yemen

Washington, December 31: The United States is sharply increasing military and economic aid to Yemen, as it has been doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to fight a growing threat from Al-Qaeda, officials said Wednesday.

The threat has been highlighted by the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man who reportedly confessed to being trained by an Al-Qaeda bomb maker in Yemen for his alleged mission to blow up a US-bound jet over Detroit.

Divided Iran enters 2010 after year of deadly protests

Tehran, December 31: A divided Iran enters 2010 after a year marked by recurring deadly protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — some of the worst demonstrations since the shah’s fall — and tensions with the West over its nuclear drive.

The protests, which erupted after Ahmadinejad’s re-election, shook the pillars of the 30-year-old Islamic regime, split its clerical elite and prompted supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to publicly support the president.

Dubai crisis halt Gulf stocks rebound in 2009

Kuwait City, December 31: Most Gulf stock markets on Thursday ended 2009 higher following massive losses in the previous year because of the global economic downturn, but their rebound was halted by the Dubai debt crisis.

After slumping to a year low in the first three months, five of the seven markets made a strong comeback in the third quarter that continued into the fourth with the Saudi, Dubai and Abu Dhabi bourses each adding more than 30 percent.

Four years on, Sharon’s legacy wanes in Israel

Tel Aviv, December 31: On Monday, former prime minister Ariel Sharon will have been in a coma for four years. With peace hopes bogged down, Israel today is a far cry from what it was when he suffered a massive stroke.

A steely general nicknamed “the bulldozer,” the now 81-year-old left a leadership vacuum that many feel has yet to be filled when he slipped into unconsciousness on January 4, 2006.

International protesters beaten in Cairo

Cairo, December 31: Police punched and kicked international activists during scuffles in the Egyptian capital on Thursday which left one person with broken ribs, protest organisers said.

“Members of the Gaza Freedom March are being forcibly detained in hotels around (Cairo) as well as violently forced into pens in Tahrir Square by Egyptian police and additional security forces,” a statement from the organisers said.

No flip-flop on Telangana, says Chidambaram

New Delhi, December 31: Asserting that the government had done “no flip-flop” over separate statehood to Telangana, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said the January 5 meeting of eight political parties from Andhra Pradesh had been called to devise a “mechanism” and “lay a road map” on resolving the controversial issue.

“There is no flip-flop on part of the government over Telangana,” said Chidambaram.

CBI gets nod for new case against Sajjan Kumar in 1984 riots

New Delhi, December 31: Home Ministry granted permission to start a fresh case against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, according to the media reports on Thursday.

Earlier The Central Bureau of Investigation has sought permission to prosecute Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, accused in the 1984 riots.

“While in four cases, the CBI has sought permission under Section 196 CrPC from the Competent Authority to prosecute the accused persons, in one case the closure has been filed and accepted by the court,” P Chidambaram said.

Bips and Celina ring in New Year for Bollywood

Mumbai, December 31: If you are a Bollywood junkie then you could ring in the New Year with Bipasha Basu, Celina Jaitley or Ameesha Patel. But sadly that’s all that’s in store this New Year’s eve with most of the usual starlets giving the December 31 night performance a miss.

Bipasha is reportedly charging Rs 13.3 lakh per minute for a 12-minute performance on New Year’s eve at Hotel Sahara Star in Mumbai – that totals to over Rs 1.5 crore for the entire act and here’s what you can expect from the hottie.

US, UK warn citizens against visiting India

New Delhi, December 31: Four major industrialised countries – the United States, the UK, Australia and Canada – believe that India is high on the hit-list of terror groups and ahead of New Year they have issued travel advisories warning their citizens of more attacks in India.

The US advisory says that terror groups may be planning attacks on targets frequented by foreigners in India.

“We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in India at this time because of the high risk of terrorist activity by militant groups,” teh advisory by US government said.

Indian boxing team in Pakistan for championship

Karachi, December 31: India sent its first sports team to Pakistan in more than a year on Thursday as a seven-member boxing team flew into Karachi to compete in an international tournament.

The boxers are the first Indian sports team to cross the border since India stalled sporting links with Pakistan after the November 2008 attacks on Mumbai, which New Delhi blamed on militants based in Pakistan.

India refused to allow its cricket team to tour Pakistan late last year, citing security fears.

Sri Lankan captain Sangakkara upset with Kotla

Colombo, December 31: Breaking his silence on the Ferozeshah Kotla pitch fiasco, Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said the track did not look “normal” soon after the first five overs and was too dangerous to continue playing.

“Even after 6-10 overs, we could feel that the pitch was not normal. But the Match Referee (Alan Hurst) said ‘I cannot do anything. It was a call for the on-field umpires to take’.

New Zealand welcomes New Year 2010

Wellington, December 31: New Year 2010 party began on Thursday as New Zealand revellers crowded the manin city squares and marked the end of 2009 with loud partying.

Though consumption of alcohol is banned to make the new year celebrations a family affair, thousands were seen having a good time with loud music and fireworks at Auckland’s downtown, Civic Square in Wellington and Cathedral Square in Christchurch.

Girl dies of alleged drug overdose at Goa

Panaji, December 31: A girl died of drug overdose at the Sunburn Music Festival in Goa on Wednesday. The 23-year-old girl, Meha Bahuguna, had come from Bangalore to attend the festival.

She was rushed to a private hospital in Panaji after she collapsed at the party venue on Tuesday evening.

She had reportedly consumed a hallucinatory drug called PCP.

A post-mortem has been ordered in the case and Goa Police are awaiting the results of a post-mortem. Unconfirmed reports say two more girls who had gone for the party were also taken ill.

Asaram Bapu served notice for land encroachment

Gujarat, December 31: The Gujarat officials on Thursday issued a fresh notice to the spiritual guru Asaram Bapu for illegal encroachment of the land on which Chikhli Ashram has been built.

District Collector of Navsari has issued the notice and has given two-day time to the spiritual guru and the Ashram members to vacate the encroached land.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Sabarkantha district authorities had issued notice to Asaram Bapu’s son Narayan Sai to vacate over 70 hectares of land encroached in three villages of Himmatnagar taluka, district official said.

Ruchika’s brother files suicide complaint against Rathore

Chandigarh, December 31: Noose around disgraced former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore tightened on Thursday as Ruchika Girhotra’s brother surfaced before the media and police and registered fresh complaint of abetment of suicide against her sister’s molester.

Ashoo Girhotra, Ruchika’s brother, was tortured by SPS Rathore which allegedly led his sister to commit suicide in 1993. Fake cases of car theft were also registered against him to evidently force his sister to withdraw complaint against Rathore.

Maoists deny role in train sabotage attempt

Kolkata, December 31: Maoists today denied responsibility for removing clips from railway track near Gidni station in West Bengal early yesterday which might have led to a major train disaster had the sabotage not been detected by alert railwaymen.

“Yesterday there was a huge gathering in all three districts to protest against torture of people by joint forces and if some people did the mischief, how can we be held responsible for this,” top Maoist leader Kishenji said.

Speaking from an undisclosed location, Kishenji claimed the ultras were in no way involved in the removal of clips.

Govt mulls making molestation non-bailable offence

New Delhi, December 31: Taking a lesson from the Ruchika case, the Government is considering making molestation a non-bailable, cognisable offence in which the accused can be arrested based on a complaint.

According to the draft of the proposed Sexual Crimes (Special Courts) Bill, 2010, the Law Ministry has proposed making molestation a cognisable, non-bailable offence.

So far, a person accused of molestation under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code could be granted bail as the maximum punishment stipulated is less than three years.

Deepender demands Rohtak-Hansi rail line

Chandigarh, December 31: Member Parliament from Rohtak, Deepender Singh Hooda today stressed for construction of Rohtak-Hansi Railway line via Meham and expressed satisfaction over the electrification of Delhi-Rohtak railway line.

Deepender, who had a meeting with General Manager, Northern Railway, Vivek Sahay in Delhi last evening urged senior officers of Indian Railway to construct Rohtak-Hansi railway line via Meham.

He pointed that the 60 kilometres long railway line will benefit not only the people of the area, but would also benefit those from Rohtak, Bhiwani, Hisar and Jind.

2009 brings bulls back to Dalal Street

Mumbai/New Delhi, December 31: Year 2009 turned out awesome for Dalal Street as punters saw wealth doubling to over Rs 60,00,000 crore as foreign investors parked their faith as well as money in the world’s second fastest growing economy.

It ended the year at 17,464.81 points, up 7,817.50 points (81 per cent) from the year ago level. It was up 120.99 points over yesterday’s close, mainly driven by market leader Reliance Industries and IT major Infosys.

REC eyes 26 pc stake in coal mines, merchant power plants

New Delhi, December 31: The state-run Rural Electrification Corporation, which finances rural power projects in the country, is keen to pick up 26 per cent stake in coal mines and merchant power plants.

However, the company wants an option to sell the stake with a premium after five years in any such equity purchase.