Iran asks ICRC to probe intl. abductions

Tehran, February 28: Iran’s Foreign Minister calls on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to investigate the abduction of four Iranian diplomats by Israel and a Lebanese figure by Libya.

Ali Akbar Salehi made the remarks in a meeting with ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger in Geneva on Monday according to a statement released by the foreign ministry.

‘Israel paralyzed by Iranian warships’

Syria, February 28: Syrian Defense Minister Ali Habib Mahmoud says the presence of Iranian warships in the Mediterranean Sea has “paralyzed” Israel.

“The presence of Iranian warships in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time since the Islamic Revolutions 32 years ago is a great move,” Lieutenant general Habib Mahmoud said at a meeting with Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari who is on a visit to Syria.

‘Iran, exemplar of human rights’

Tehran, February 28: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the Islamic Republic of Iran has established the “best example for asserting human rights in the world.”

In a Monday message to the first National Human Rights Conference, Ahmadinejad said the Iranian constitution places emphasis on various aspects of citizens and human rights.

Nations, particularly Muslim ones, have pinned their hopes on the Iranian nation and the major achievements of the Islamic Revolution to guide them on their path, IRNA quoted him as saying.

Bolivia landslide leaves 300 homeless

Bolivian, February 28: Over three hundred homes have been destroyed by a massive landslide caused by weeks of heavy rains in the Bolivian capital, La Paz.
Troops were mobilized to help evacuate the people from the Kupini II area on Saturday night when signs of cracks began to appear on roads and bridges.

“My neighbors were running around and told me to get out,” the state-run BBC quoted a local resident as saying.

“I looked out the window and there were no more homes to the left or the right of mine.”

US mulls military attack on Libya

Tripoli, February 28: The US has reportedly planned to deploy thousands of its naval and aerial forces near Libya as it mulls over military intervention in the North African country.

The US military announced on Monday that it will deploy naval and aerial forces near Libya, the media reported.

A Pentagon spokesman said various contingency plans have been taken into consideration in order to provide options and flexibility once decisions are made.

One option on the table is using NATO air power to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya. This measure, however, requires UN approval.

Massive anti-US rally held in Pakistan

Lahore, February 28: More people in Pakistan are joining protests against a CIA contractor charged with the murder of two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore.

University students, human rights and political activists as well as lawyers have called for punishing Raymond Davis.

On Monday, a fresh protest was held against US efforts to secure Davis’ release without punishment.

Washington says Davis has diplomatic immunity and has stepped up pressure on Islamabad to free him.

People across Pakistan have repeatedly taken to the streets to push for his prosecution.

Lindsay Lohan signs $3.3 mn book deal

London, February 28: Troubled actress Lindsay Lohan has reportedly signed a $3.3 million deal to front an explicit photographic book alongside actor James Franco.

The actress who completed a court-ordered 90-day rehab stint last month and is currently awaiting trial over the alleged theft of a $2,500 necklace – is reportedly “struggling” to find work after her recent troubles.

American photographer Terry Richardson has persuaded the 24-year-old star to appear in the publication, which will feature “full frontal nudity” and “graphic” shots.

Firth wears eco-friendly clothes at Oscars

London, February 28: Oscar winner Colin Firth and his wife Livia wore environment-friendly outfits at the Academy Awards Sunday in a bid to raise awareness of recycled clothing.

The star’s partner founded Fairtrade boutique Eco Age and she donned a paneled gown recycled from old dresses for the red carpet, reports

“It defies what you normally see on the red carpet. It’s really beautiful – it’s pretty but also has a message,” said Livia.

Dictators use US weapons to kill people

Tehran, February 28: Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says dictators in the Middle East and North Africa are using US-made weapons to target civilians in their countries.

“Today, the region’s dictators are using weapons they purchased from the US and its allies to kill their people,” he was quoted as saying by media on Monday.

“Today, those who founded dictatorship in the world, instead of answering claim to be advocates of democracy and the people,” Ahmadinejad added.

Woman hacked to death

Ramanathapuram (TN),February 28:A 26-year-old woman was hacked to death by a three-member gang in front of her house at Pokkarendal in this district today, police said.

The woman Poomayil,wife of a non-resident Indian,was alone at home when the three-member gang, who came on a motor cycle attacked her, police said.

Police said she lost her fingers and suffered deep injuries on the head and shoulders and died on the spot.

The gang did not rob her jewels.

No arrests have been made.


Lankan refugee held

Rameswaram (TN), February 28:A Sri Lankan Tamil refugee was arrested here today for allegedly cheating fellow refugees to the tune of several thousands of rupees.

Police said Satheesh alias Kumar, hailing from Mannar in Sri Lanka, had collected money from the refugees in various camps by promising to send them to other states and also for arranging for their medical treatment.

He was arrested early this morning at the Mandapam refugee camp near here and remanded to judicial custody for 15 days, police said.


Nine year old boy found murdered at Jaipur

Jaipur, February 28:A 9-year-old boy was found murdered, hours after he went missing from his home near Bindayaka locality here, police said.

Mutilated body of the victim Rahul Singh was found in a school building at around midnight Rahul had gone missing last evening after he went out
of his home to play. When he did not reach home by night, his father Ram Singh, a property dealer, and other family members searched for him and found the body, they said.

Mobile phones to cost more from Apr1: FM Mukherjee

New Delhi, February 28: Mobile handset prices will become more expensive as Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today announced one percent hike in the Central Excise duty for 130 items, including phones.

Come April 1 and central excise duty on mobile phones will be raised from the current four per cent to five per cent.

“The increase in central excise duty is detrimental as it will make mobile phones more expensive and provide impetus to the grey/un-branded market,” Nokia India VP and MD D Shivakumar said.

8th class student commits suicide

New Delhi, February 28:A Class VIII studet allegedly committed suicide at his east Delhi residence today apparently upset over being scolded for not concentrating on studies.

Gulshan Thakur (13) was found hanging in his residence in New Ashok Nagar this afternoon. He was rushed to Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital where he was declared brought dead.

His mother Meera Thakur told police that she scolded him for not concentrating on studies.

No suicide note was recovered.

Gulshan was studying in a government school.


Mini-trucks mow down two women, drivers flee

Ghaziabad, February 28:In separate hit-and-run road accidents, a B Tech student and a 65-year-old woman were killed here today, police said.

Both were mowed down by mini-trucks while crossing the road, they said.

B Tech student Shivani, aged 22, was killed when a mini-truck hit her near Hapur crossing, the police said adding she died instantly.

The truck driver fled the scene immediately leaving the vehicle behind.

In another accident, a vehicle hit 65-year-old Zarina and her daughter Shaina (12) while they were crossing the road near Kotwali.

Youth killed in Delhi

New Delhi, February 28:A 25-year-old youth was crushed to death and his friend injured when a vehicle hit their motorcycle in outer Delhi, police said today.

The incident took place in Rohini at around 10 pm yesterday and the deceased has been identified as Aditya, resident of Begumpur village in North Delhi.

A case in this regard has been registered and further investigations are on.

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Woman raped

Bikaner(Rajasthan), February 28:A woman has been allegedly raped by two persons in Ridi village of the district, police said today.

The woman in her complaint has alleged that two persons Indra Ram Jaat and Omprakash Jaat abducted her while she was returning home from farm on February 24 and took her to a room where they raped her,” police said.

A case has been registered and hunt for the accused is on, they added.


Chargesheet submitted

Kozhikode, february 28:The Vigilance today submittedchargesheet against five persons including the former Kerala food minister Adoor Prakash for anomalies with regard to the sanctioning of Ration Wholesale Depot at Omasseri, in Kozhikode, in the Kozhikode Vigilance court here.

The case, which had happened in 2005 was that Prakash had demanded bribe for sanctioning the depot. Prakash’s personal secretary Raju, former District supply officer O Subramaniyan,former taluk supply officer P R
Sahadevan and T P Samir Nawaz of malappuram are the other co-accused in the chargesheet.

Oil above USD 98 as Libya’s oil industry in chaos

New York, February 28:Oil prices rose above USD 98 abarrel today as Libya’s violent power struggle continued to disrupt crude output in the OPEC nation. Violent protests in Oman also raised fears political upheaval could affect other crude exporters.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for April delivery was up 33 cents to USD 98.21 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The contract rose 60 cents to settle at USD 97.88 on Friday. In London, Brent crude for April delivery was up 46 cents to USD 112.60 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

No refuge or UK visa for Gaddafi

London, February 28:Britain, which has already revoked Muammar Gaddafi’s diplomatic immunity today ruled out giving refuge to the Libyan dictator who is “responsible for deaths of hundreds of civilians.”

UK has already frozen assets of the leader and his family. “This means that Colonel Gaddafi and those forming part of his household will not be able to enter the UK,” a Foreign Office official said.

Growth-oriented budget: Dikshit

New Delhi, February 28:Hailing the Union Budget as growth oriented, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today thanked Centre for approving the third phase expansion of the metro network in the city and allocating Rs 1,351 crore as budgetary support for it.

Dikshit also welcomed the decision to raise the income tax exemption limit for general tax payers to Rs 1.80 lakh per annum from Rs 1.60 lakh which will leave at least Rs 2,000 more in the hands of tax payers across the board.

Four minors detained

New Delhi, February 28:Four minor students were apprehended in connection with the alleged beating to death of a 14-year-old boy, police said today.

Prashant, a Class VIII student of a government school, was beaten to death allegedly by four students alleging that he passed lewd comments at the sister of one of them.

The incident took place in Bindapur on Saturday evening.

Ex-RAW woman official who bared herself normal: docs

New Delhi, February 28:A panel of doctors today told the Delhi High Court that a former RAW woman official, who had partially stripped inside the courtroom, was not suffering from any serious psychitraic ailments.

Nisha Priya Bhatia, during her stay at the Institute of Human Behaviours and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) here, showed normal behaviour and no evidence was found that she suffered from any serious mental problem.

The doctors, in the report, however, said she was suffering from “Litigious Paranoia”, a form of paranoia in which one is inclined to initiate lawsuits.

US double-standard on war crimes

Tripoli, February 28: The US has been pushing for a measure that would keep its agents from being prosecuted for war crimes committed during the bloody massacre of pro-democracy protesters in Libya.

The hypocritical move came on Sunday as the US called for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the killing of Libyan demonstrators, while insisting on excluding a large number of foreign mercenaries.

FM pushes for affordable homes; full tax rebate to builders

New Delhi, February 28:Giving a thrust to affordable homes, the government today proposed full tax rebate on developing such projects under a notified scheme and raised the ceiling of one per cent interest subsidy on home loans
upto Rs 15 lakh from the current Rs 10 lakh.

In the Budget for 2011-12, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee proposed 100 per cent tax deductions on capital expenditure to develop affordable houses under government scheme, thus promoting builders to focus more on such homes.