Rs.33 lakh looted from bank van

At least six car-borne robbers Saturday looted Rs.33 lakh from a cash van of Axis Bank when its employees were about to load money into an ATM machine in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut city, police said.

Around noon, the robbers forced the van to stop by blocking its path with their car on Garh Road near Anand Hospital.

After the van came to a halt, six armed assailants attacked bank employee Ashish Kumar and looted sacks containing cash and sped away. The van driver and another bank employee, Monu, who was in the vehicle were not attacked.

‘Allot entire 2,000 MW Kudankulam power to TN’

Days after giving nod to the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in the state, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Saturday demanded all power that will be generated from it be supplied to the state.

The AIADMK supremo made the demand in a letter shot off to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday.

Jayalalithaa’s letter states that Tamil Nadu is facing severe shortage of power so entire power generated from Kudankulam nuclear plant should be allotted to state.

Anti-Assad Revolt Over: Syria

Syria said that the year-long revolt to topple President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, that left thousands of people dead, is now over.

“The battle to topple the state is over,” Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad al-Makdissi told Syria TV late on Friday, March 31, Reuters reported.

“Our goal now is to ensure stability and create a perspective for reform and development in Syria while preventing others from sabotaging the path of reform.”

His assertion follows army victories over rebel strongholds in the cities of Hama, Homs and Idlib.

Nadal pulls out of semifinal with knee injury

Rafa Nadal has been forced to pull out of his semi-final against Andy Murray at the Sony Ericsson Open due to a knee injury, the world number two said on Friday.

Nadal, who has had problems with his knees before on the American hardcourts, apologized for withdrawing from the Masters series event, but said he had to.

“I am not ready to compete today. I am very sorry for the fans. I’m very sorry for the tournament. I’m very sorry for everybody who were ready to watch the match on the television,” Nadal told a news conference.

Hitler parents’ tombstone removed to deter neo-Nazis

The tombstone marking the grave of Adolf Hitler’s parents was removed from an Austrian cemetery this week to deter neo-Nazi commemorations of the German dictator.

The owner of the grave in Leonding – an unidentified woman that Austrian media said appeared to be a distant relative of Hitler’s father, Alois – asked to have the stone removed, the town’s mayor, Walter Brunner, said on Friday.

“The site was not constantly being visited but things happened now and then, the last time late last autumn,” he said, referring to “various actions by die-hards.”

UN says India should scrap ‘excessive’ security law in Kashmir

India should scrap a controversial law which gives security forces battling militancy in the troubled regions of Kashmir and the northeast sweeping powers to search, arrest or shoot people, the United Nations said on Friday.

Human rights groups say the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is a draconian law which the military arbitrarily uses to violate civilians’ rights.

Progress of Makkah in focus

Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal will today chair the 12th meeting of the executive committee of the project to promote the undeveloped districts in the region.

The meeting will be held at the Jeddah Governorate, the department of studies and public relations of the Makkah Governorate announced yesterday in a press release.

It said the meeting would discuss the minutes of the 11th meeting of the committee as well as the outcome of the social, security, technical and Shariah committees.

Saudi youth enrich India experience

The Saudi youth delegation, on a perception-changing visit to India, began the third and final leg of its 10-day tour with a meeting with Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot here on Thursday.

The 40-member team, which began its tour on March 22, is visiting three cities in India to promote interactions in the field of science and technology and to gain a firsthand account of the progress made by Indian institutions and universities

CBI charge sheets Jagan, 12 others

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Saturday filed a charge sheet against YSR Congress party leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy and 12 others in an illegal assets case.

The investigating agency submitted the charge sheet to special CBI court at Nampally Criminal Court complex.

The accused have been charged with cheating, criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust, the CBI sources said.

While Jaganmohan Reddy, an MP and son of late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, is the number one accused, Vijay Sai Reddy, who was arrested by the CBI on Jan 2, is the second accused.

Chidambaram to decide on US historian’s visa Monday

Home Minister P. Chidambaram ordered a review of the decision on cancellation of the visa of US historian Peter Heehs, living in Puducherry, and said he will take a decision on it Monday.

‘This (decision to cancel the visa) was noticed by me this morning and I understand that the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) Puducherry passed the order,’ Chidambaram told reporters Saturday, after presenting the monthly report of his ministry.

‘I have asked for a suo motu review and am told that the file would be submitted to me on Monday and I will take a decision on Monday,’ he said.

Yemen’s Child Marriages a tribal tradition, not Islam

Yemenis are marrying off their daughters at a very early age, a practice seen by Muslim imams as rooted in tribal traditions, rather than in Islamic teachings.

“Much of child marriages are rooted in tribal tradition and not in Islam,” Sheikh Mohamed al- Iryani, an Imam in Aden, told

He blamed poverty and fear of stigma for the common practice in the Arab Peninsula country.

“Poor families see raising daughters as a heavy burden which they are happy to unload on someone else at the first opportunity,” he said.

Youngsters of today should get opportunities I got: NASA astronaut

Jon McBride, the NASA astronaut who is in the city, visited Science City on Thursday. He was the guest speaker at a science lecture.

McBride spoke about his visit to India and interacted with the children present there. He said, “My focus is on education as it is my passion. I want the youth of today to avail of the opportunity which I had availed of.”

During the interaction, McBride spoke on different phases of his life-his selection in NASA, his role models and experiences during his tenure in NASA, among others.

IB given no time-frame to finish probe on VK Singh’s letter, says Chidu

New Delhi, March 31: Government today said the Intelligence Bureau has been asked to quickly complete its inquiry into the leak of a letter written by Army Chief Gen VK Singh to the Prime Minister highlighting various shortcomings in the Army but no time has been fixed for it.

“I don’t think there is a time-frame. The Ministry of Defence has asked the IB to look into the matter and I know that the IB is looking into the matter. There is no time-frame. But obviously it has to be done quickly,” Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here.

US assassination drone raids kill 9 in Pakistan, Yemen

A drone attack in Yemen targeted a car traveling in the country’s southern province of Shabwa on Friday, killing the five people on board. Another drone attack in Yemen hit a vacant building, according to witnesses.

In a separate incident early Friday, an airstrike by a US unmanned aerial vehicle in Pakistan killed four people and wounded three others. The attack targeted a house in a market area of Miranshah, the main town in the country’s northwestern North Waziristan tribal region.

US military base in Afghanistan comes under rocket attack

The incident occurred at a US-run base in Mehtar Lam, the provincial capital, on Friday. Four Afghans including three translators were also wounded in the attack.

According to the local officials, 12 people have been arrested in connection with the attack.

The incident is the latest in a series of deadly attacks on US-led troops in the troubled region.

The increasing number of military casualties in Afghanistan has caused widespread anger in the US and other NATO member states, undermining public support for the Afghan war.

10 militants killed in military operations in NW Pakistan

The military bombardment of four hideouts belonging to the militants by the Pakistani military gunships led to the killing of the ten militants and wounding of several others.

The Pakistani army started its military operations in the country’s tribal area of Orakzai Agency roughly two years ago, in a bid to fight armed pro-Taliban militant groups in the northwest tribal regions.

Pakistani officials claim that hundreds of pro-Taliban militants have been killed and dozens of their hideouts have been destroyed by the military forces in their anti-militant operations.

Jt operations against Maoists in Jharkhand-WB border

The Jharkhand and West Bengal police launched a combing operation on Saturday in East Singhbhum district on the border between two states on information that a Maoist squad was in the area.

“We have launched a massive combing operation jointly with the CRPF at Amdapahari under naxal-hit Patamda police station bordering West Bengal for the Maoist squad,” Senior Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Kumar Jha said.

The Jharkhand police was engaged in the operation in the state and the West Bengal police was combing in the bordering area of Bandwan in Purulia district.

All support to UP on central-aided projects: Jairam Ramesh

Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Saturday assured Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav that no central-aided projects in the state would be left hanging at the central level.

“We may be political adversaries but I have assured the chief minister that there would be no roadblocks and he would get all support from the central government,” Ramesh told waiting reporters outside the 5, Kalidas Marg residence of the chief minister.

It’s official: Fast food is linked to depression

Eating commercial baked goods like fairy cakes, croissants, doughnuts, and fast food like hamburgers, hotdogs and pizza is linked to depression, a new study has revealed.

According to the recent study headed by scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada, the results reveal that consumers of fast food, compared to those who eat little or none, are 51 percent more likely to develop depression.

Uninor plea should make Kapil ‘Zero-loss’ Sibal, Raja happy

Uninor’s 2G review petition in the Supreme Court, which has rediscovered five documents that have already been in the public domain for several months now, is likely to be a source of major embarrassment for both the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Home Minister P Chidambaram, who was finance minister when Andimuthu Raja allotted telecom licences in 2008.

‘Four Parties Yet to Express Views on Telangana’

The Centre today said it will convene a meeting of political parties of Andhra Pradesh to discuss Telangana issue only when it gets the views from all of them and appealed to youngsters not to take their own lives for the cause.

Home Minister P Chidambaram said four political parties in Andhra Pradesh – Congress, TDP, MIM and YSR Congress – are yet to make up their mind about their stand on Telangana.

Defence exposition, a serious carnival

It is not a carnival in the truest sense, but the four-day defence exposition in progress at the Pragati Maidan, India’s major trade exhibition venue, is attracting both young and old, with love for all things military.

The biennial exposition, said to be the largest in Asia, is in only in its seventh edition, and it mainly focuses on land and naval military systems, be it the hard, rugged weapons and vehicles, to the soft and trendier electronics and communications equipment.

Nudity, Fight: Starlets dirty funda to be famous

Starlets like Noopur Mehta, Poonam Pandey and Veena Malik have proved that there is nothing like a controversy to get instant fame. From fighting to stripping to romantic linkups, their much talked about acts have been grabbing headlines.

We lists some names that have hogged the limelight for all the wrong reasons:

Poonam Pandey: The 19-year-old aspiring model created a frenzy last year after offering to go nude in the green room before Team India if they won the Cricket World Cup.