Peace talks an attempt to divert attention: BJP

Shimla, March 31: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national vice president Kalraj Mishra Thursday said peace talks with Pakistan during the World Cup semifinal in Mohali was the Congress’ attempt to divert attention of the public from national issues.

“An unusual hype was created by the Congress. For witnessing a match, they (Congress leaders) are holding talks,” Mishra said to reporters here.

The Rajya Sabha member said the Congress was at the receiving end from the Supreme Court on the issue of black money stashed in foreign banks.

Former cricketers place India as firm favourites

Mumbai, March 31: A day after India vanquished Pakistan in an emotionally-charged World Cup semifinal, top yesteryear cricketers exuded confidence that the Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men would end the 28-year-old jinx to lift the coveted trophy on April 2 here.

Disciplined bowling and a fortune-tinged 85 by Sachin Tendulkar saw India beat Pakistan by 29 runs at the Punjab Cricket Association (PAC) stadium in Mohali last night to set-up a summit clash against co-hosts Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium here.

67.3 mn watched Indo-Pak match: Rating agency

New Delhi, March 31: The India-Pakistan World Cup semifinal got the maximum viewership rating with 67.3 million people staying glued to their television sets in the country to enjoy the showdown, a rating agency said Thursday.

The match got ratings of 11.74, which is exceptionally high for a 100 overs match, Audience Measurement and Analytics Ltd. (aMap) said.

The average time spent by viewers was 160 minutes per person, which is also the highest for any match in the 2011 World Cup.

The viewership went up to 20.02 in the closing stages as India wrapped up the match by 29 runs.

Poor World Cup for African nations

Mumbai, March 31: It is a World Cup dominated by sub-continental teams and not an African Safari, as many believed seeing the all-round strength of the South African team.

For the first time in 15 years, the African challenge unexpectedly ended in the quarterfinals, with South Africa choking to a 49-run defeat by New Zealand in Dhaka.

30 people injured in Pakistan due to stray gun shots

Karachi, March 31: Around 30 people including children were injured in firing incidents in the city during the World Cup semi-final between Pakistan and India. Police reported that the people were injured due to stray gun shot wounds which resulted because of celebratory firing indulged in different areas.

“People resorted to aerial firing to celebrate an Indian wicket or to cheer a boundary in the Pakistan innings but stray bullets hit people around them including children who were taken to hospitals for treatment,” police official Khan Bahadur said.

Judiciary should not target actors blatantly: Arshad

Mumbai, March 31: The judiciary should not target actors “blatantly”, says Arshad Warsi, one of the very few in Bollywood to react to a court convicting Shiney Ahuja for raping his maid and sentencing him to seven years in jail.

Shiney was held guilty of raping his maid in 2009 by a fast track court on Wednesday. “Murderers, terrorist n corrupt politicians r walking free n Shiney Ahuja gets 7yrs… Judiciary should stop targeting Actors so blatantly (sic),” Arshad posted on his Twitter account.

Microsoft co-founder slams Bill Gates in new book

Washington, March 31: Bill Gates plotted to grab Microsoft shares from his cancer-stricken business partner Paul Allen, the software firm’s co-founder has claimed in a new memoir.

Painting a unfavorable view of Gates and his rise to the pinnacle of global business, Allen details Gates’ 1982 scheme “to rip me off,” just as Microsoft was becoming a computing powerhouse with its MS-DOS operating system.

Big B wishes Team India all the best for final

Mumbai, March 31: Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has congratulated Team India on its winning the World Cup semifinal against Pakistan and wished them luck for Saturday’s final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai.

“INDIA beats Pakistan in the World Cup and goes to the finals! What a day and what a culmination of events! At last India breathes normally. Well played India. Each player contributed tonight in its final victory. And well played Pakistan for a closely fought competition. This was the big one!” he wrote on his blog

Lara Dutta underused as an actor: Vinay Pathak

Mumbai, March 31: Actor Vinay Pathak, who has gained appreciable success with his offbeat films, is upset that his “Chalo Dilli” co-star Lara Dutta’s potential has not been fully utilised by the industry.

“I am not a commercial celebrity. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to work with Lara. She is a fabulous actor, very underused in our industry. She has done some wonderful roles, but she is yet to be exploited,” Vinay told IANS.

Vodafone to buy out Essar’s stake in Indian subsidiary for $5 bn

New Delhi, March 31: Britain-based Vodafone Group Thursday said it would buy out its Indian joint venture partner Essar Group’s stake in India’s leading telecom company Vodafone Essar Limited for $5 billion.

Essar Group holds a 33 percent stake in Vodafone Essar Limited. After this deal, the global telecom giant will have a 75-percent stake in the Indian mobile operator.

“The Essar Group has exercised its under-written put option over 22 percent of Vodafone Essar Limited (VEL),” said Vodafone Group in a statement.

9 die in second attack on Fazlur Rehman after WikiLeaks expose

Islamabad, March 31: Nine people were killed Thursday in a bombing that targetted Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, exposed last week by WikiLeaks for his offer to the US to mediate with the Taliban. It was the second attack on him in two days.

At least nine people were killed and 16 others were injured Thursday in the powerful bombing that took place in Charsadda district of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when Rehman was passing through a busy street in a motor convoy.

Kashi Vishwanath temple security to be beefed up

Lucknow, March 31: Security in and around the historic Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi would be beefed up.

A decision to this effect was taken after an on-the-spot review carried out by Additional Director General of Police K.L. Meena Thursday.

According to Varanasi Deputy Inspector General of Police Lalji Shukla, “Five watch-towers will be erected around the temple complex and 20 close-circuit televisions will be installed at strategic points in and around the premises as a part of the exercise.”

Two injured by bomb at Swiss nuclear industry office

Geneva, March 31: A letter bomb has exploded at an office of the Swiss nuclear power industry in the northern city of Olten, injuring two people, police said on Thursday.

The explosion happened shortly after 8 am (0600GMT) as staff were opening the morning’s post in the fourth-floor office of Swissnuclear, said police spokeswoman Thalia Schweizer.

Swissnuclear is a lobby group representing national power companies Axpo, Alpiq and BKW.

Schweizer said the two staff members had been taken to a hospital but their injuries appeared to be superficial.

Bihar MLAs salaries, allowances hiked

Patna, March 31: The Bihar government has effected over three times hike in the salary of legislators and increased their allowances with effect from April 1.

The decision, taken yesterday at a cabinet meeting presided by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, would entail an additional burden of Rs 34 crore on the state exchequer, principal secretary in the Cabinet and Coordination Department Ravikant told reporters here.

India or Sri Lanka? Legends stand divided on WC champions

Mumbai, March 31: A day after India vanquished Pakistan in an emotionally-charged World Cup semifinal, former World Cup winning captains stand divided on predicting the favourites to lift the coveted trophy on April 2 at the Wankhede Stadium.

The elite club of World Cup winning captains with the likes of Kapil Dev, Allan Border, Clive Llyod and Imran Khan discussed the outcome of the finale at a promotional event on Thursday.

JUI chief escapes another attack

Islamabad, March 31: For the second straight day, Pakistan’s hardline JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday had a narrow escape when a suicide bomber targeted his motorcade in northwest Pakistan killing at least eight people and injuring 29 others.

The bomber struck just after 57-year-old Rehman’s motorcade entered Charsadda town in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, where he was to address a gathering at Darul Uloom Islamia seminary.

The powerful blast occurred near a government office and a private school, witnesses said.

India’s population rises to 1.2 billion, says Census report

New Delhi, March 31: India’s population rose to 1.21 billion people over the last 10 years — an increase by 181 million, according to the new census released today, but significantly the growth is slower for the first time in nine decades.

The population, which accounts for world’s 17.5 per cent population, comprises 623.7 million males and 586.5 million females, said a provisional 2011 Census report. China is the most populous nation acounting for 19.4 per cent of the global population.

Berlusconi cracks a joke on `bunga bunga’

London, March 31: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has cracked a joke on the “bunga bunga” sex scandal, it was reported here Thursday.

The Sun reported that the prime minister cracked the joke on Mediterranean holiday island Lampedusa.

“According to a survey, when asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30 per cent of women said ‘Yes’ while the other 70 per cent replied ‘What, again?’,” he was quoted as saying.

Prosecutors have claimed that Berlusconi paid Moroccan belly dancer Karima El Mahroug nicknamed ‘Ruby the Heart Stealer’ for sex when she was just 16.

Census 2011: Population Increased by 181 Million

New Delhi, March 31: India’s population is now pegged at 1.21 billion, an increase of more than 181 million in the last 10 years, according to the provisional 2011 Census report released today.

The population comprising 623.7 million males and 586.5 million females is almost equal to the combined population of the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan put together.

The population has increased by more than 181 million during the decade 2001-2011, the report said. The growth rate in 2011 is 17.64 per cent in comparison to 21.15 per cent in 2001.

The parent-child relationship in Islam

Islam’s general approach to children may be summarized in a few principles. First, it is a divine injunction that no child may become the cause of harm to the parents.
The child’s rights: The parent’s duties

Gandhi Book Ban Shameful: Author

London, March 31: Pulitzer prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld has opposed a 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 doing the banning,” Lelyveld said.

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

Cong, TDP Did Match-Fixing to Target Me: Jagan

Hyderabad, March 31: Former Congress MP, Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy today said that the decision of the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh to appoint a House Committee to probe the alleged irregularities in land allotments was an attempt to corner him.

TDP had stalled the Assembly proceedings for several days seeking Joint Legislature Committee to probe land allotments since 2004.

The ruling Congress and opposition Telugu Desam did “match-fixing” to take on him, he claimed in an open letter.

Marginalizing Muslims In Gujarat

Ahmedabad, March 31: History of Muslims in Gujarat is older than the idea of Gujarat itself, then how is it that Muslims now find themselves at the edge (both figuratively and literally) of the present day Gujarati society?

Lyngdoh enthralls teachers and students at Urdu university

Hyderabad, March 31: In today’s world, democracy in its true spirit is not easy to find. The complexities that have set into the Indian political system have made the right selection of candidates a difficult process. Mr. J.M. Lyngdoh former Chief Election Commissioner of India expressed these views yesterday at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University while interacting with the staff and students on the theme of Democracy and Elections.

Prof. Mohammad Miyan, Vice Chancellor MANUU presided over and initiated the interaction.