Official killed in militant ambush in Tripura

Agartala, January 31: A central government official from Andhra Pradesh was killed and his driver critically injured when separatist tribal guerrillas fired at their car from across the India-Bangladesh border in northern Tripura Monday, police said.

“National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) official G.N. Mani, 51, was gunned down and his car driver was injured when outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) militants fired on them at Chayapara village on the border,” Tripura Police spokesman Tushar Kanti Das told reporters.

Decision on Telangana in next meet: PC

New Delhi, January 31: A decision on the next meeting of political parties on the Telangana issue to hear their final views will be taken in the next few days, Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Monday.

The much-awaited meeting of eight political parties of Andhra Pradesh could not be held so far due to his various engagements in last one month, including a visit to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum meeting and the Republic Day, he said.

“I intend to consult my senior colleagues and fix a date. We will fix a date in the next few days,” he said at a press conference here.

Chinese sent to judicial custody

Bahraich (UP), January 31: A local court today remanded the three Chinese nationals, arrested on charges of taking photographs of vital installations, to judicial custody till February 11.

Amid tight security, the three were produced before Chief Judicial Magistrate Satya Prakash Dwivedi who remanded them to judicial custody till February 11.

The police remand of the three Chinese, one of them a woman, expired today.

On January 28, the court had fixed February four for hearing their bail pleas.

Five arrested with cache of explosives

Lucknow, January 31: Five persons were arrested today with a huge cache of explosives in Mirzapur district, police said.

“24 packets containing 5160 gelatin rods and 29 detonators were recovered from them in Kanchanpur Haraura village,” Special Director General of Police Brij Lal told reporters here.

The arrested were identified as Umesh Shukla, Gyanesh Pandey, Deependra Mishra, Prem Singh and Ramesh Chandra Shukla, he said.

Israel rallying support for Mubarak

Israel, January 31: Senior officials in Tel Aviv say the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a directive to about a dozen of its embassies, including those in the US, Russia, China, Canada and several European countries.

The directive asked the ambassadors to stress the importance of the stability of Egypt’s ruling system to their host countries as soon as possible, Ha’aretz reported on Monday.

The directive called on Israel’s allies to curb criticisms against Mubarak.

The measure came following statements by Western countries implying that the US and EU support Mubarak’s ouster.

Thackeray defends Savarkar over Digvijay’s statement

Mumbai, January 31: Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Monday defended freedom fighter Veer Savarkar against Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh’s statement that Savarkar was the first to moot the two-nation theory that led to partition.

“Singh is distorting the history to attract Muslim votes. Savarkar was a supporter of the united India till the end and against creation of Pakistan,” Thackeray said in an editorial in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.

Patriots termed terrorists in country: Bhagwat

Meerut, January 31: In an apparent reference to Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s “Sanghi terror” comment and prevention of BJP leaders from hoisting the tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Republic Day, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat today said patriots are termed as “terrorists” in the country.

“Prohibition to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk is a clear sign of separatist appeasement policy…whereas patriots are termed as terrorists without any proof in the country,” he said on the concluding day of the three-day ‘Nav-Chetan Camp’ here.

Panel discussed Palmolein case against CVC: Chidambaram

New Delhi, January 31: The Selection Committee meeting to choose Central Vigilance Commissioner in September last year did discuss the issue of Palmolein case against PJ Thomas, Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Monday but parried a question whether a “charge sheeted” person should have been appointed.

Addressing a press conference, he was happy to agree with the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj that the Committee discussed the issue of a pending case against Thomas before he was named the CVC.

2G scam: CBI seeks details of telcos’ bank transactions

New Delhi, January 31: Carrying forward its probe into the 2G spectrum scam, the CBI has asked the DoT to provide on “top priority” information about the financial transactions and tripartite agreements between various banks and the 122 telecom companies allotted licences in 2008.

Fog envelopes IGI, affects schedule of about 200 flights

New Delhi, January 31: After a gap of three weeks, dense fog returned at the IGI airport today bringing air operations to virtual standstill and disrupting schedules of nearly 200 domestic and international flights, causing inconvenience to the passengers.

Key accused in Mulund blast case gets bail

Mumbai, January 31: The special POTA court here today granted bail to Saquib Nachan, a key accused in the 2003 Mulund train blast case.

The court is trying three cases together: Mulund blast case, Vile Parle blast case, and Mumbai Central blast case, as police contended that the three explosions were a part of the same conspiracy.

Altogether 11 persons were killed when a powerful explosion ripped through a compartment of a local train at Mulund railway station in Mumbai on March 13, 2003.

Karat criticises UPA for failure to control price rise

Guwahati, January 31: CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat today accused the Central government of serving the interest of big business houses and the corporate sector leading to price rise.

Karat told reporters here that non-universalisation of the public distribution system (PDS) and the government’s failure to ban forward trading was leading to spiralling prices of food items.

With the prices of petrol being deregulated, the cost of petrol had been hiked seven times in as many months, the CPI(M) leader said.

Former army official working for ISI nabbed

Shimla, January 31: Himachal Pradesh Police have arrested a former Indian Army official who was allegedly working for Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency and providing information about vital installations of the Indian armed forces, a police official said here Monday.

The accused, hailing from Palampur town in Kangra district, is a retired honorary captain, police said.

“Acting on a tip off, S.S. Guleria was arrested from the Chandimadir area Sunday night,” Additional Director General of Police I.D. Bhandari told reporters.

Revenue official killed over property dispute

Lucknow, January 31: A revenue department official was allegedly killed over property dispute and his body dumped in a canal in Unnao district, police said today.

Rupchand Kushwaha, who was posted as Lekhpal, went missing from his house in Methi Tukur village on January 22 after which a report was lodged by his family, they said.

According to police, Kushawaha’s body was recovered from a canal in Ajgai area late last night and on the basis of a complaint a named FIR was lodged against two persons Ramesh and Nafees.

Outlook opposes Tata petition on Radia tapes

New Delhi, January 31: Tata Chief Ratan Tata’s plea for stopping further publication of his conversation with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia has been opposed in the Supreme Court by the newsmagazine ‘Outlook’ which contended that making them public will expose the “baneful influence” of corporate sector in governance.

US-led soldier killed in Afghanistan

Kabul, January 31: “An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service member died following an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan today,” an ISAF statement said on Monday without giving more details, dpa reported.

The military did not release the deceased’s nationality or the exact location of the attack.

Earlier on Sunday, four German soldiers lost their lives when a roadside bomb struck their military vehicle in the northern part of the Asian country.

TDP leaders demand fresh probe into MLA killing

New Delhi, January 31: A delegation of TDP leaders today met CBI Director A P Singh here today and demanded re-investigation into the sensational killing of its MLA Paritala Ravi in 2005.

The delegation led by TDP MP Nama Nageswara Rao urged the agency to investigate all angles in the murder, including the possibility of involvement of political leaders.

“The CBI Director said he will look into the case,” Rao said outside the agency headquarters here.

Ravi was killed on January 24, 2005 creating ripples in the state politics.

Antony extends invitation to Chiranjeevi to meet Sonia

Hyderabad, January 31: Defence Minister A K Antony met Praja Rajyam Party president K Chiranjeevi at the latter’s residence here this evening to invite him for a meeting with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

“The Defence Minister met our party president Chiranjeevi on behalf of the Congress party to extend an invitation to visit New Delhi to meet AICC president Sonia Gandhi to further strengthen the relationship (between the two parties) and work together to sub-serve the interests of the nation and Andhra Pradesh in particular,” PRP Political Affairs Committee member C Ramachandraiah said.

TDP asks CBI to reopen Paritala Ravi murder case

Hyderabad, January 31: Andhra Pradesh’s main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Monday urged the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to reopen the case relating to the murder of its leader and former minister Paritala Ravi in view of recent “revelations” by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.

A delegation of TDP leaders met CBI Deputy Inspector General (DIG) V.V. Lakshminarayana to demand that the agency question Kiran Kumar Reddy for stating that he had “shielded” former Congress MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy in the murder case.

Muslim Brotherhood Calls for Unity Govt

Cairo, January 31: With the protests in the street stubbornly continuing in the face of threats and crackdowns, many of Egypt’s opposition factions are looking forward and planning for an Egypt without Hosni Mubarak.

The Muslim Brotherhood, a banned religious opposition faction with considerable support amongst the nation’s poor, isn’t looking to seize power exclusively, the way many in the West have feared. Rather, they are calling for a unity government.

Egypt protest intensifies, Mubarak turns to army

Cairo, January 31: Protesters intensified their campaign on Monday to force Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak to quit as world leaders struggled to find a solution to a crisis that has torn up the Middle East political map.

Crowds flocked in the morning to Tahrir Square, which has become the focus of the uprising over poverty, corruption and unemployment, to join protesters who had camped out overnight in defiance of a curfew imposed by Mubarak.

Soldiers checked IDs but the crowd steadily grew, chanting “Down, down, Mubarak.”

Somali pirates taken to Mumbai for interrogation

New Delhi, January 31: The 15 Somali pirates who were apprehended by the Indian Navy following a gunbattle off the coast of Lakshadweep Islands were being taken to Mumbai for interrogation.

“They (pirates) are being brought to Mumbai and their interrogation would take place there on Monday,” said Commander PVS Satish, the naval spokesperson.

The pirates were caught after the Thailand-registered ‘Prantalay’ which was being used by them was intercepted by Navy’s Fast Attack Craft (FAC) INS Canskaro on Friday in the Arabian Sea.

Mubarak Clings to Power, But for How Long?

Cairo, January 31: Mass censorship, mass arrests, over 150 people dead and several thousand wounded. Egypt is in full-on revolt right now, and tens of thousands of protesters continue to insist on the ouster of dictator Hosni Mubarak.

The Obama Administration, which is still holding on to hopes that Mubarak can crush the protests and retain power, is now starting to come to grips with the reality that it might not happen, and preparing the mass evacuation of US citizens from the nation in chartered planes. Officials say it will likely take several days to do so.

Top BJP leaders to address rally in Hyderabad

Hyderabad, January 31: Senior BJP leader L K Advani, party president Nitin Gadkari and others would address a “massive” rally here on February 17.

A massive public meeting christened “War against corrupt Congress” would be organised by the party, state BJP president G Kishan Reddy told reporters today.

Criticising the Congress-led UPA government for a series of scams, Reddy said the image of the country has been hit following revelation of scams one after another.

Prime accused in Sonawane murder case dead

Mumbai, January 31: Popat Shinde, the prime accused in the case where Additional District Collector Yashwant Sonawane was burnt alive, today succumbed to burn injuries sustained during the attack on the official a week ago.

Shinde died at a state-run hospital while undergoing treatment for burn injuries, hospital authorities said.

“Shinde died this afternoon. After conducting post mortem, the body would be handed over to police investigating Sonawane”s murder case,” P P Lahane, Dean at J J hospital told PTI.