Mamata flays critics of SRK felicitation

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday flayed opposition Left Front for indulging in “unnecessary criticism” to score political brownie points over the felicitation programme organised by her government for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Infosys has trained 100,000 graduates at Mysore campus

IT bellwether Infosys has trained about 100,000 graduates in writing software codes and formulating algorithms at its global education centre in Mysore campus during the past decade, the company said Thursday.

“As part of our foundation programme, we have trained about one lakh (100,000) engineering graduates since 2002 beginning with a modest 50 trainees, one trainer, one classroom and a vision to develop a world-class training facility and build intellectual capital,” the global software major said in a statement here.

Fasih Mehmood not in India’s custody: Chidambaram

The central government Thursday denied media reports that Fasih Mehmood, an Indian engineer working in Saudi Arabia, was in its custody.

“The media reports are wrong… he is not in the custody of Indian intelligence agencies… the police of Delhi and Karnataka want the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to approach the Interpol to locate him,” Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters here.

He said Mehmood could be in Saudi Arabia.

Government to call all-party meet on J&K panel report

The government Thursday said it plans to call an all-party meet on the report of the Group of Interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir and urged the political parties to have an informed debate on the issue.

“We plan to have an all-party meet after a few workshops across the country are conducted by the interlocutors… we want an informed debate on the report before the government takes a view,” Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters here.

This pinch may really pinch him hard

A 43-year-old Briton who allegedly pinched a young woman’s deriere in a Dubai bar may have to spend up to 15 years in jail.

Steven Sherriff, 43, insists he was mistaken for the groper. A 23-year-old redhead claimed someone squeezed her left hip and also sexually assaulted her in a bar in February, The Sun reported.

She said her boyfriend punched Sherriff, a married businessman, and knocked him out.

Both men were arrested and later withdrew complaints against each other. But Dubai police charged Steven with being drunk and making sexual assault.

High court rejects Nupur Talwar’s bail plea

The Allahabad High Court Thursday rejected the bail plea of Nupur Talwar who along with her husband has been charged by the CBI with murders of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj in Noida in 2008.

A single-judge bench of Justice Arvind Kumar Tripathi refused to grant bail to Nupur Talwar, a prime accused in the double murder case. She is currently lodged in Ghaziabad’s Dasna jail. Her husband Rajesh Talwar, the other prime accused, is out on bail.

India’s GDP growth dips to 9-year low of 5.3 percent

India’s economic growth slumped to 5.3 percent in January-March quarter, the slowest in nine years, due to poor performance of manufacturing and farm sectors, official data showed Thursday.

For the whole of 2011-12 financial year, the gross domestic product (GDP) growth slumped to 6.5 percent. This is the slowest pace of expansion in the country’s economy since 2002-03, when it had registered a growth of just 4 percent.

Doon Express derails, 4 dead 50 injured

Five persons were on Thursday killed and 50 others injured when seven bogies–five sleeper and two general coaches–of Howrah-Dehradun Doon Express derailed near Mahrawa station in jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh.

“Five persons have been killed and 50 injured in the accident,” Superintendent of Police (SP), Jaunpur, Akash Kulhari told.

The accident took place near Mahrawa under the Lucknow Division of Northern Railway at 1.13pm when five sleeper (S4 to S8) and two general coaches derailed, Railway Ministry spokesman Anil Saxena said in Delhi.

BJP MLAs suspended on disrupting assembly

The nation-wide bandh called by Opposition against petrol price hike had its echo in Delhi Assembly on Thursday as BJP MLAs created ruckus saying the House cannot function on such a day, prompting Speaker to order their removal and their suspension for three days.

As soon as the House assembled, BJP MLAs wearing robes with anti-government slogans were on their feet shouting slogans “Delhi Bandh is on, Assembly should not function”.

The opposition MLAs also demanded immediate withdrawal of the budget proposal of five per cent VAT on CNG.

Another MLA quits Congress, 2 more call on Jagan’s mother

Jailed Member of Parliament Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy received a shot in the arm Thursday with another legislator resigning from the ruling Congress party and two more showing solidarity with him.

A day after Krishna Ranga Rao resigned from the Congress party to join YSR Congress, another legislator Alla Nani announced that he too was quitting the ruling party.

Nani, who represents Eluru constituency, made the announcement after he called on Jagan in Chanchalguda Central Jail. He said he would actively campaign for YSR Party from Friday in the by-elections.

Britain opens deputy High Commission office in Hyderabad ‎

To further deepen its ties with India, Britain on Thursday opened its deputy High Commission office here.

“British diplomacy is engaged in a significant shift towards the power of Asia, with India as a centerpiece. A new office in Hyderabad was top priority. Partnership with Andhra Pradesh offers immense opportunity to expand trade and investment between the UK and this important part of India,” Simon Fraser, permanent under-secretary and head of British Diplomatic Services, told reporters after inaugurating the office here.

Opposition playing politics over petrol price hike: Soni

The government Thursday accused opposition parties of playing politics over the recent petrol price hike and said they should instead work with it to protect the common man from the challenges being faced by the Indian economy.

“The opposition is making a political issue out of the petrol price hike… it should instead work with the government to protect the common man from the challenges being faced by the Indian economy and the price rise,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters.

Iran not to pursue n-bomb production

Affirming that Iran was not after nuclear weapons, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said enriching uranium to 20 percent was his country’s right.

Ahmadinejad said related countries should explain why Tehran is not allowed to enrich uranium to 20 percent and how they will reciprocate if Iran stops uranium enrichment to that purity, Xinhua reported citing IRNA news agency.

Speaking during an interview with France 24 television, Ahmadinejad said enriching uranium to 20 percent is Iran’s right and Tehran is not after nuclear weapons.

HC rejects Nupur Talwar’s bail plea

The Allahabad High Court on Thursday rejected the bail plea of Nupur Talwar, who along with her husband Rajesh Talwar, is facing trial for the murder of her daughter Aarushi Talwar and domestic help Hemraj.

She is currently lodged in Dasna Jail in Ghaziabad. Nupur had earlier approached the Supreme Court seeking bail but her plea was rejected.

Last week, the trial court had framed charges against the Talwar couple in the Aarushi-Hemraj double murder case.

CBI Court reserves order on Jagan’s bail plea

The Principal Special CBI Court today reserved its judgement till tomorrow on the bail petition filed by YSR Congress Party President Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy in the disproportionate assets case against him.

Jagan, who was arrested by the CBI on May 27, was sent to judicial remand till June 11 by the court next day. He filed a bail petition in the court on May 29 following which the Court issued notices to the CBI to file its counter by today.

Virgin Galactic cleared for rocket-powered test flights

Virgin Galactic is to make its first rocket-powered test flights for its commercials passenger spaceship later this year after being granted clearance.

Virgin Galactic is to make its first rocket-powered test flights for its commercials passenger 7:17AM BST 31 May 2012Comment Scaled Composites, Virgin Galactic’s spaceship design partner, was granted an experimental permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – a move that will allow it to proceed with powered flights.

SpaceX Dragon capsule heading back to Earth

Space Exploration Technologies’ Dragon spaceship began its journey back to Earth on Thursday after the first test flight by a private company to the International Space Station.

Dragon became the first privately owned vehicle to reach the $100 billion research complex, a project of 15 countries, on Friday when astronauts used the station’s robot arm to pluck it from orbit and latch it onto a berthing port as the spacecraft sailed about 250 miles above the planet.

Chagas disease: `New AIDS of the Americas`

A little-known disease caused by parasites transmitted to humans by blood-sucking insects has been labelled by experts as the “new AIDS of the Americas”.

In a report, published in journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, the authors claimed that the illness, called Chagas Disease, has similarities to the early spread of HIV.
Like HIV, it is also difficult to detect and can take years for symptoms to emerge, the authors said.

Farah Khan wants ‘good friend’ SRK to kick the butt

Choreographer-turned-filmmaker Farah Khan, who recently patched up with old friend Shah Rukh Khan, says she wants him to quit smoking.

“I think everyday should be anti-tobacco day so that at least my brother (Sajid Khan) and even for that matter Shah Rukh would stop smoking,” Farah told a press conference Wednesday on the eve of ‘World Anti-tobacco Day’.

When asked if she wants the superstar to stub it out, the ‘Om Shanti Om’ director said, “I think whoever you love… You would want them to quit smoking”.

Moves afoot to make cancer a notifiable disease

“We are working on possibilities of making cancer a notifiable disease and an expert group is already looking into this,” Health Secretary P K Pradhan told PTI.

He, however, said before doing so, steps to improve infrastructure for cancer treatment and detection have to be strengthened across the country.

Meanwhile, leading oncologist Vinod Raina said that in India’s context, statistics related to tobacco — a major cause of cancer — are shocking as one in every five male deaths and one in every 20 female deaths are caused by smoking and other forms of tobacco use.

Women-centric films reflect changing society: Vidya Balan

Bollywood star Vidya Balan Wednesday said women-centric films reflected the fact that women were taking centre-stage in various walks of life.

“I think women are taking centre-stage in various walks of life all over the country and cinema is just a reflection of that. I’m happy to be part of the film that is celebrating the new role of women,” she told reporters.

Vidya Balan, who has won accolades for her roles in The Dirty Picture and Kahaani, was here to receive the Prabha Khaitan Puraskar 2012 from the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce.

Interpol Red Corner Notice Against Fasih Mehmood

An Interpol Red Corner notice was today issued against Fasih Mehmood, an engineer hailing from Bihar, for his alleged involvement in criminal conspiracy behind Chinnaswamy blasts in Bangalore and Jamia Masjid explosion here.

Interpol issued the Red Corner notice against 28-year-old Mehmood on a request from the CBI for offences of terrorism and crimes involving the use of weapons and explosives, the official website of the international police said.

People Disappointed With BJP: Advani

BJP leader L K Advani today admitted that people were “disappointed” with the party and appeared to be hitting out at party chief Nitin Gadkari as he said the campaign against corruption had been hurt due to induction of an ousted BSP leader facing graft charges.

He said the BJP had not risen to the occasion at a time when there was anger against the UPA government over various scams.

Protestors Block Roads, Deflate Bus Tyres in AP

Road blockades, dharnas and deflated tyres of state-owned RTC buses marked the bandh called by NDA and Left parties to protest the steep hike in petrol prices in Andhra Pradesh today.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the main opposition in the state, also extended support to the bandh.

In the state capital here, BJP and Left parties participated in dharnas and took out a rally protesting the hike in petrol prices.

CM’s promise to revamp Nizamia Tibbi College unfulfilled

Nizamia Tibbi hospital which is located opposite to the historical Makkah Masjid is in very precarious condition. A grand function was held at the foot of the building on the occasion of stone laying ceremony on June 5, 2011 in which chief minister Mr. N Kiran Kumar Reddy himself had laid the foundation stone. He had sanctioned 3.5 crore rupees for the repair and renovation of the building. Besides this he had assured that the work would begin immediately.