Provident fund scam accused judges get bail

Ghaziabad, March 31: A CBI court here granted bail to six judges accused in the provident fund (PF) scam case and adjourned the hearing to April 13.

The CBI lawyer opposed the bail but the protest was set aside. Agreeing with the defence lawyers’ plea the court of Special CBI judge Additional District Judge A.K. Singh granted bail to the accused judges.

YRF launches new youth film studio Y-Films

Mumbai, March 31: Yash Raj Films Thursday launched a new youth film studio Y-Films, which would showcase a fresh crop of directors and stars.

“Y-Films promises to deliver kick ass films of the youth, by the youth, for the youth and be the platform for new talent, both on screen and behind the scenes, who will challenge, change, break and set new rules of story telling,” Ashish Patil, head of Y-Films said at the launch.

Y-Films is ready with three films – “Luv Ka The End” and “Virus Diwan” directed by Bumpy and “Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge” directed by Nupur Asthana”.

Emergency-like situation in Tamil Nadu: Karunanidhi

Erode (Tamil Nadu), March 31: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK chief M. Karunanidhi Thursday came down heavily on the Election Commission (EC), saying that an emergency-like situation was prevailing in the state and wondered whether there was any rule of law.

“I wonder whether there is rule of law in the state. The police catches even a person carrying Rs.10 and questions him whether he is carrying cash to bribe voters,” he said while addressing a huge election rally in Erode, around 340 km from Chennai, without naming the poll panel.

Price rise due to corruption: Advani

Dibrugarh (Assam), March 31: BJP leader L K Advani today said “large-scale corruption” in the UPA government at the Centre has led to unprecedented price rise which has hit the common man hard.

“Remember price rise is not due to economic mismanagement but corruption,” Advani said addressing an election rally here.

Asserting that he has never seen a government “as corrupt as the present one at the Centre”, Advani who is on campaign trail in the state, said, “If Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is not corrupt then why he is leading a corrupt government”.

’40 civilians killed in Tripoli strikes’

Tripoli, March 31: The top Vatican official in Libya says at least 40 civilians have been killed following airstrikes launched by US and its allies on the capital Tripoli.

“The so-called humanitarian raids have killed dozens of civilian victims in some neighborhoods of Tripoli,” Reuters quoted the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, as saying on Thursday.

Wait till next World Cup to see if power shift is real: Jayawardene

Mumbai, March 31: Sri Lanka vice captain Mahela Jayawardene wants the sub-continental teams to wait till the next edition of the World Cup before claiming that there is a power shift in cricket.

He said India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka may have dominated the 2011 World Cup by entering the semifinals, but it is too early to think their dominance is real.

Jayawardene said if the teams can repeat their performance in the next World Cup in Australia-New Zealand, they can then say the sub-continent teams have truly taken a quantum leap.

Blast leaves 13 dead in NW Pakistan

Karachi, March 31: At least 13 people have been killed and over 40 others injured after a bomb attack targeted an Islamic party chief in northwestern Pakistan.

The bomber detonated his explosives-laden belt close to the convoy of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) party, in Charsadda town on Thursday,

The terrorist attack left 13 people, including four policemen, dead. Forty-two others were also wounded in the bombing.

Israel hit with Japan-linked radiation

Palestine, March 31: Israel has reportedly detected unthreatening radioactivity in its environment that it claims to have resulted from Japan’s nuclear blast earlier in the month.

Israel’s Soreq Nuclear Research Center said it had detected the radioactive material in the air,

The substances are alleged to have reached Israel in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in central Japan, the center added.

698 politicians among 13,215 civilians killed in JK

Jammu, March 31: Jammu and Kashmir government today said that 13,215 civilians, including 698 politicians, were killed in terrorist attacks in the state since 1990.

13,215 civilians, including 698 politicians and political leaders and workers, were killed by terrorists since 1990 in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said in a written reply in Legislative Council here today.

Giving a break up, he said that 12,517 civilians and 698 politicians and political leaders and workers were killed between 1990 to February 25, 2011.

Radiation still leaks into Japan sea

Tokyo, March 31: Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has confirmed the possibility that radiation is still leaking into the sea from the quake-hit Fukushima power plant.

On Thursday Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said radioactive iodine-131 at a concentration of 4,385 times the maximum legal level has been detected in seawater near the plant.

The level of iodine-131 concentration has increased compared to Tuesday’s sample taken from the same area, which was 3,355 times the maximum legal limit, indicating that radiation is still leaking from the reactor.

Dutch Indophile back in India after 35 years

New Delhi, March 31: Indologist and heritage crusader Johan Frederik ‘Frits’ Staal, a driving force behind the preservation of the world’s oldest surviving Vedic ritual Athirathram, will return to Kerala’s Panjal village after 35 years on April 4 to witness the Athirathram festival.

Raja, three others in judicial custody till April 2

New Delhi, March 31: A Delhi court Thursday extended the judicial custody of former telecom minister A. Raja and three of his aides by two days till April 2 for their alleged role in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini passed the order.

Raja, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s former personal secretary R.K. Chandolia and Swan telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa appeared before the court through video conferencing.

Action taken against 6 cops for Anantnag firing: Omar

Jammu, March 31: The Jammu and Kashmir government has initiated disciplinary action against six policemen, including an SSP, over the Anantnag firing incident of last year, Omar Abdullah said in the Assembly today.

The chief minister said action is being taken against the-then Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Showkat Ahmed Malik along with 4 other policemen, adding that an explanation had been sought from Mallik who was transferred 2 weeks after the incident.

Three people died and several were injured after police fired on protesting youth in South Kashmir on June 29 last year.

Rupee up by 15 paise against dollar on heavy FII inflow

Mumbai, March 31: The rupee today rallied for the third straight session to end higher by 15 paise at nearly a four-and-a-half month high of 44.59/60 against the US currency on frantic buying by foreign funds in booming domestic equities amid a weak dollar overseas.

Dealers said that sustained sale of dollars by exporters and some banks on the last day of the financial year 2010-11 also aided the rupee rise.

AP engineer has assets worth over Rs 1.1 crore

Hyderabad, March 31: A Deputy Executive Engineer in Andhra Pradesh has been found in possession of assets worth over Rs 1.1 crore, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) said today.

A case of disproportionate assets has been registered against A Mohan after searches unearthed movable and immovable assets worth over Rs 1.1 crore possessed by him, an ACB release said.

The ACB sleuths conducted simultaneous searches at his office and residences at Guntur and Hyderabad.

AP’s population growth rate down, sex ratio increases

Hyderabad, March 31: The total population of Andhra Pradesh has been pegged at 8,46,65,533 comprising 4,25,09,881 males and 4,21,55,652 females, as per the Census of India-2011 report released today.

The total population saw an increase of 84,55,526 people over the 2001 Census with a decadal growth rate of 11.10 as against 14.59 recorded in the 2001 census, Y V Anuradha, Director of Census Operation in Andhra Pradesh, told reporters here.

The decadal growth rate has come down by 3.49 during the 2001-2011, she said. Decadal growth rate is growth rate in terms of percentages.

ED approaches SC for Hasan Ali remand extension

New Delhi, March 31: The Enforcement Directorate (ED), Thursday, approached the Supreme Court seeking the extension of Hasan Ali’s remand by two more days to interrogate him further.

Yesterday, the sessions court in Mumbai had granted ED the permission to take Hasan Ali to its office for questioning.

Ali was to be brought to ED office in south Mumbai every day between 10.30 am to 5.30 pm till April 1 but the ED seems to be wanting more time to question him, hence the plea in the SC.

Vaas, Randiv to cover for Muralitharan, Mathews

Mumbai, March 31: Sri Lanka were hit by injuries ahead of Saturday’s World Cup final against India here and have roped in seasoned seamer Chaminda Vaas and all-rounder Suraj Randiv as covers for the injured duo of Muttiah Muralitharan and Angelo Mathews.

Muralitharan, the world’s highest wicket-taker in Tests and ODIs, has defied a series of injuries to his hamstring, groin and knee, besides an old side strain to play through the World Cup.

No Koffee for Salman Khan with Karan Johar!

Mumbai, March 31: After a string of “should I” and “shouldn’t I”, Karan Johar has finally made up his mind. The filmmaker, who was planning to invite Salman Khan on his chat show ‘Koffee with Karan’ has decided to end this season of the show without the ‘Dabangg’ star.

Reportedly, KJo wanted the magnanimous star to join him for a chat to end this season of his show. But the actor quoted a price as compensation, which discomforted the director.

Meeting Hrithik Roshan was freeze-frame moment: Ragini Khanna

Mumbai, March 31: Actress Ragini Khanna, who plays a bubbly bahu Suhana in popular show `Sasural Genda Phool`, says she was on seventh heaven to get a chance to shake a leg with Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan during an award show.

Ragini was not only handed over a trophy but also got a chance to match steps with Hrithik during the Star Parivaar Awards in Macau recently. The actor is making his small screen debut with Star Plus show `Just Dance`.

Lata to be honoured in Thane

Thane, March 31: Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar will be felicitated at a function here for her contribution to the music world on April 24, her father`s 69th death anniversary.

Addressing a press conference here, local MLA Pratap Sarnaik said the Deenanath Mangeshkar was a exceptional Hindustani classical vocalist and Marathi theatre actor.

He said the city will observe his death anniversary with the members of the Mangeshkar family in Thane in a grand function.

Gaddafi forces sow landmines in east Libya

Benghazi, March 31: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces have sown landmines in areas around the city of Ajdabiyah, adding a dangerous new element to the war on the eastern front, human rights and mine experts said on Thursday.

The mines include Brazilian-made anti-personnel mines and Egyptian-made anti-tank mines.

Two minefields were discovered by monitors in the days following last Saturday’s retreat from Ajdabiyah by Gaddafi’s troops and appear to be have been laid during their 10-day occupation of the crossroads town 150 km (90 miles) south of the rebel capital Benghazi.

NATO takes sole control of Libya air operations

Brussels, March 31: NATO’s chief said on Thursday the alliance doesn’t support US and British suggestions that the UN mandate for the international military operation in Libya allows arming rebels who are fighting Muammar Gaddafi’s troops.

NATO assumed command of all air operations over Libya early Thursday, taking over from the US, which had been eager to be rid of that responsibility. NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters in Stockholm that NATO’s position is that “we are there to protect the Libyan people, not to arm the people”.

My book doesn’t say Gandhi was homosexual: Author

New Delhi, March 31: Pulitzer prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld has opposed the ban on his controversial book on Mahatma Gandhi, describing the move as ‘shameful’.

“In a country (India) that calls itself a democracy, it is shameful to ban a book that no one has read, including the people who are imposing the ban,” Lelyveld said.

He was reacting to the ban imposed by the Gujarat government on his book, which reportedly talks about the sexual preferences of Mahatma Gandhi. The Maharashtra government is also mulling a proposal to ban the book in the state.