Ravishankar may not have been the target: HM

New Delhi, May 31: Home Minister P Chidambaram today said spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar “may not” have been the target of firing at his convoy last night and the incident could be the result of a dispute between two of his disciples.

“Our reports says that the incident took place after Sri Sri Ravishankar left the place in his car and, therefore, it may not be correct, I underline, may not be correct to say that the firing was aimed at him,” Chidambaram said during his press conference here.

Vivek Sahai takes over as new Chairman of Railway Board

New Delhi, May 31: Vivek Sahai, a senior railway official who earned accolades for deftly handling the suburban train operation in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, today took over as the new Chairman Railway Board (CRB).

Sahai, an Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer, who was the Railway Board (Member) Traffic, has taken up the top job from S S Khurana upon his superannuation.

He takes over as CRB at a time when railways are passing through several challenges on different fronts, the foremost of which is tackling the Maoist threat to rail properties.

TDB commissioner asked to appear in HC tomorrow

Kochi,May31: The Kerala High court today expressed displeasure over the conduct of a top official of the TDB, administering temples in the state, in staying certain transfers overriding a court order, and said his action “exceeded the authority”.

The court’s attention was drawn to media reports that Travancore Devaswom Board chief Devaswom Commissioner K Jayakumar, who is also additional chief secretary, had stayed certain transfers overriding its order and initiated suo motu proceedings based on the reports.

Demo outside KNP director’s office

Kaziranga, May 31: Villagers staged protests at Kaziranga National Park (KNP) director’s office against the alleged killing of a local, who authorities claimed was a poacher.

People of Amtenga village of Assam’s Golaghat district staged the dharna claiming that the man, identified as Rahul Kutum, was not a poacher but was negotiating with dealers for supplying wood when he was killed in the Park, official sources said.

The demonstrators also filed an FIR that the man was killed by forest guards as he was pointed out as a poacher by a local informer.

Naxals could be behind Jnaneswari attack: PC

New Delhi, May 31: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today said Maoists or its front groups could be behind the attack on Jnaneswari Express, a theory contrary to Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s claim that it was a conspiracy of the West Bengal government.

Chidambaram said the Railways favoured a CBI probe into the incident which claimed 148 lives but the state government’s view on it has not been received yet.

“The needle of suspicion points to Maoists or frontal organisations of CPI Maoists,” Chidambaram said during his monthly media briefing.

Ravi Shankar denies firing was due to internal rivalry

Bangalore, May 31: Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar today dismissed suggestions that the firing at his ashram could be due to some internal rivalry and said police cannot absolve itself of its responsibility by taking it lightly and should investigate properly.

“Let us not speculate on this. It cannot be brushed off as some personal enmity. I am very hurt at such reports,” he told reporters here when asked about reports on some police personnel indicating that the firing might have been due to internal rivalry among devotees.

Sex racket busted in Jaipur, Uzbek girl among 7 held

Jaipur, May 31 (PTI) Police today claimed to have busted a sex racket by arresting seven girls, including an Uzbek, from Mansarovar locality here.

“Following a tip off, police raided a house in SFS area and arrested seven girls and a man from there,” Superintendent of Police (Jaipur-East) Hawa Singh Ghumaria said.

One of the girls was Shekarova, who hails from Uzbekistan and had arrived here three days back from New Delhi, he said, adding the other six belong to Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Police also arrested Ranjan Kumar from the house.

Rs 17 lakh stolen from trader’s car

Fatehgarh Sahib (Punjab), May 31: Some unidentified persons allegedly stole Rs 17 lakh from a trader’s car here today, police said.

Mandi Gobindgarh-based trader Satnam Singh was on way to his shop when his driver stopped the car near a confectionery shop on Amloh road to replace a packet of biscuits.

In the meantime, an unidentified person approached Singh and told him that there was a leakage of oil from the car.

Singh, who immediately called his driver and inspected the vehicle, later found that there was no leakage but the cash bag was missing.

Landlord “best judge of his need”, says SC

New Delhi, May 31: In a blow to tenants, the Supreme Court has ruled that landlord is the “best judge of his need” and entitled to take possession of his premises for bonafide personal reasons though not as a ploy to evict them.

The apex court said that merely because the tenant is living for several years, it does not mean that the landlord can be compelled to manage his own requirements in a smaller accommodation.

“The landlord is the best judge of his need, however, it should be real, genuine and the need may not be a pretext to evict the tenant only for increasing the rent.

Nine killed in separate mishaps in Andhra Pradesh

Hyderabad, May 31: Nine persons, including four pilgrims, were killed and seven others injured in two separate road accidents in Kurnool and Prakasam districts today, police said.

A child was among five persons killed when the bus in which they were travelling collided head-on with a lorry near Krishnaraopet village under Pamulapadu mandal of Kurnool district early this morning, they said.

“The deceased include four occupants of the bus and the lorry driver,” police said.

Players’ contract discussion with AIFF tomorrow

New Delhi, May 31: The AIFF will meet with the players tomorrow to discuss the tricky contract issue and set the ball rolling for its ambitious ‘Goal 2011’ project for the preparations of the Asian Cup next January.

A select 30 players will be given contract by the AIFF with 15 per cent hike in their existing salary with their clubs on pro-rata basis for eight months. They will train under national coach Bob Houghton exclusively for January 7-29 Asian Cup in Doha.

NDA appears all set to win 5 Council seats in Bihar

Patna, May 31: Five NDA candidates appeared all set to get elected to the Bihar Legislative Council in the June 11 biennial elections to seven seats as the last date for filing of nominations ended today.

The two other seats are being contested by RJD candidates Gulam Gaus and Ram Chandra Prasad, who had filed their nominations on Friday.

Three JD(U) candidates – Rudal Rai, Uday Kant Chaudhari and Vijay Kumar Verma and two BJP nominees – Harendra Pratap and Kiran Ghai filed their papers today, Additional Returning Officer Md Zainul said.

Officials: 4 killed in separate Iraq attacks

Baghdad, May 31: Four people were killed and several others wounded in separate attacks in Iraq, police and hospital officials said Monday.

Among the dead was a prominent local leader of anti-insurgent Sunni forces known as Awakening Councils who was shot by two gunmen armed with silenced pistols. The attackers fled the scene after attacking Nael al-Azami near a popular cafe in Baghdad’s northern Azamiyah district Monday morning.

Stay on environment nod to mining project in South Goa

New Delhi, May 31: Following an order by an appellate authority, the Environment Ministry today stayed the clearance granted to a mining project at village Pirla in South Goa three years ago.

On May 13, the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) had stayed the nod given by the ministry to private firm Careamol Iron Ore Ltd after it was found that it allegedly made a “wrong” declaration in its Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report in violation of ecological norms.

Illegal arms factory unearthed in MP; one held

Chhatarpur (MP), May 31: An illegal arms manufacturing factory near here was unearthed today and one person arrested in this connection, police said.

Sanjay Yadav, hailing from Mahoba in Uttar Pradesh, has been arrested for allegedly making arms at his relative’s place at Ghedawara village, Superintendent of Police Sameer Yadav said.

“Following information that Sanjay, along with his local relative Pappu, was running the weapons factory, police raided the village,” he said.

German President quits after military action row

Berlin, May 31: German President Horst Koehler unexpectedly resigned Monday due to a storm over comments he made about military action abroad in a move that could cause conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel a headache.


The shock resignation comes at a time when Merkel is already battling a euro zone debt crisis, sinking popularity and an increasingly awkward coalition partner.

Now she will have to find a new and successful candidate for president. Her conservatives had backed Koehler for re-election by a special assembly last year.

Three BP fuel oil traders in U.S. quit

Singapore, May 31: Resignations from BP Plc’s (BP.L) fuel oil team have extended globally, with the departure of three traders from its U.S. office, including the team leader, and the head trader in London, three industry sources said on Monday.

These take the total number of departures from the unit to 14 worldwide, after Reuters reported that five fuel oil traders in Singapore and four support staff quit last Wednesday, following the resignation of global fuel oil head Quek Chin Thean a week before that.

Bernanke, Trichet see key emerging economies role

Seoul, May 31: The heads of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank on Monday both singled out emerging economies as key to global financial stability.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the world economy depends ever more on emerging markets to maintain strong domestic growth and economic and financial stability.

“Improvements in emerging market policies and policy frameworks … have ramifications beyond the emerging market economies themselves,” he said in videotaped remarks prepared for delivery to a conference sponsored by the Bank of Korea.

U.S. seeks to balance India’s Afghanistan stake

Washington, May 31: The Obama administration is grappling with how to balance India’s role in Afghanistan as arch-rival Pakistan also jostles for influence there ahead of Washington’s planned troop withdrawal to start in mid-2011.

U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is set to be included on the agenda in U.S.-India talks this week in Washington — with Delhi seeking clarity over rival Pakistan’s role, particularly in reconciliation plans with the Taliban.

Pakistan lifts Facebook ban but restrictions remain

Islamabad, May 31: A Pakistani court on Monday lifted a ban on social networking website Facebook which had carried a competition to draw the Prophet Mohammad, but access to any “blasphemous” material will remain blocked, officials said.


Any representation of the Prophet Mohammad is deemed un-Islamic and blasphemous by Muslims, which constitute the overwhelming majority in Pakistan, and Facebook was blocked two weeks ago because of the online caricature contest.

Four militants killed in gun-battle in Baramulla

Srinagar, May 31: Four militants were killed and an army jawan was injured in a gun-battle that broke out between ultras and security forces in Baramulla district of north Kashmir today, a defence spokesman said. Acting on specific information, troops of One Para, 32 Rashtriya Rifles and 40 Rashtriya Rifles launched an operation in the dense Hamam-Nardagan Forest in Rafiabad, 65 kms from here.

Thai PM under fire over deadly crackdown

Bangkok, May 31: Thailand’s Prime Minister faced accusations on Monday of violating human rights by ordering a deadly Army crackdown on opposition protesters, during a heated no-confidence debate in Parliament.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva survived more than two months of street protests by the anti-government “Red Shirts” but is now facing questions about his administration’s handling of the unrest, which left 88 people dead.

Naval ‘spy’ sent to 14 days judicial custody

New Delhi, May 31: A Delhi Court on Monday remanded a Navy mechanic who was arrested on charges of spying for Pakistan to 14 days judicial custody.

Chand Kumar Prasad was produced after five-day custodial interrogation before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja. He was sent to judicial custody till June 13.

The accused, who was posted in the Navy’s Aircraft Maintenance Unit in Mumbai, was arrested by Delhi Police’s Special Cell from New Delhi Railway Station on May 26.

India sets record of playing most number of ODIs

Bulawayo, May 31: India surpassed Australia in playing the most number of one-day Internationals when they crushed Sri Lanka in the tri-nation cricket series here in their 742nd match.

The record-breaking match turned out to be a memorable one as India overhauled the target of 243 with 6.3 overs to spare at the Queens Sports Club yesterday.

Australia have played 741 ODIs so far to hold the second position, while Pakistan are in third place with 715 ODIs. Fourth in the list are the West Indies (636), followed by Sri Lanka (599) and New Zealand (584).

Child helpline soon to monitor RTE

New Delhi, May 31: An online mechanism and toll-free helpline could soon be put in place to help children register their complaints with regard to violation of their education rights as guaranteed under the Right To Education Act.

According to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which has been mandated to monitor the implementation of the historic law, may set up a child helpline to register complaints regarding violation of their rights.