Saudi Arabia frees detained Indian terror suspect

Saudi Arabian police have released Indian doctor Usman Ghani from 20-day detention after their investigation revealed he had no terror links as suspected earlier.

“I am grateful to the Saudi police for releasing my son Sunday and clearing him of charges that he had links with terror elements when he was in India four years ago,” Ghani’s mother Fathima Khan told IANS Wednesday.

Ghani, 36, who works at a military hospital in Riyadh, was picked up by the Saudi police from his home at the behest of the Indian government on the advice of Karnataka Police, Fahima alleged.

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CISF probes ‘Ram Ram Dupatta’ episode at Taj Mahal

The CISF is investigating complaints that its men forced some women entering the Taj Mahal to take off their stoles bearing the words ‘Ram Ram’.

Commandant A.P. Singh of the Central Industrial Security Force said an inquiry was on and the guards posted at the Taj that day would be punished if found guilty.

Both Singh and the Archaeological Survey of India’s N.K. Pathak also told IANS that the matter had been sorted out.

They said a “consensus” had been reached at a meeting also attended by Agra’s district magistrate and the CISF inspector general last week.

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Chinese military to recruit more college graduates

China will encourage fresh college graduates to join the military by giving them “preferential treatment”, the defence ministry said Wednesday.

College students will receive education loans if they plan to join the military, as well help in obtaining employment after leaving the forces, a defence ministry official said.

The Chinese military started recruiting college graduates in 2001. More than 130,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army were college graduates by the end of 2009.

The military will begin its recruitment Nov 1 this year, Xinhua reported.

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Afghan presidential elections in 2014

Afghanistan will hold presidential elections April 5, 2014, the election commission announced Wednesday.

It will be the country’s third presidential elections since the Taliban were routed in 2001, Xinhua reported.

The list of the polling stations will be announced next year, election commission chief Fazal Ahmad Manawi said.

The NATO-led forces are scheduled to withdraw from the country by the end of 2014.

President Hamid Karzai had earlier said that he will not seek re-election as the constitution barred him for a third term.

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Ladakh sets world record in simultaneous tree-planting

Ladakh Wednesday entered the Guinness World Records as a destination for most trees planted simultaneously with volunteers planting 99,103 Ladakhi willow saplings near the Hemis monastery.

In less than an hour, 9,814 volunteers planted the saplings at the Buddhist monastery near the city of Leh.

Kimberly Dennis from Guinness World Records from Britain adjudicated the attempt and made the announcement confirming the success of the attempt.

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ISI ‘linking’ to Maoists; Security agencies worried

(IANS) Pakistan’s covert operations agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has forged deadly links with Maoists through overground radicals and the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists not just in West Bengal but the rest of India too, according to Indian security agencies.

This information was shared among police and civilian officials from nine Maoist-infested states who met in the national capital earlier this month to review the anti-Maoist security operations and progress of development works in backward areas of their respective states.

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Have to assess whether Yuvraj Singh can field for two days: MS Dhoni

Yuvraj Singh’s brilliant form in domestic matches has made him a serious contender for a slot in the Test team but Indian captain MS Dhoni is still not sure whether the talented left-hander is ready to face the vigours of five-day cricket.

“It is very difficult for me to comment on his fitness sitting over here. We have to understand that five-day format has its own uncertainties unlike ODIs or T20s. In ODIs, you know that you have to field for 50 overs only, while in Test cricket there may be a situation that a team might bat for one-and-a-half to two days.

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Cancel KG basin allotment to Reliance: Kejriwal

Jaipal Reddy was removed as petroleum minister for refusing a proposal of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries to hike the charges of the gas it was supplying to state-owned power plants, India Against Corruption member Arvind Kejriwal charged Wednesday, demanding that the Krishna Godavari basin allotted to the company be cancelled.

“Mukesh Ambani is running the country it seems… Jaipal Reddy was removed as he refused to hike the charges being levied by Reliance Industries to supply gas to NTPC,” Kejriwal said at a press conference.

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Nilam hits Tamilnadu, heavy rains in Andhra

Cyclone Nilam on Wednesday evening made landfall between Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Pondicherry. The landfall will last for two hours. Chennai has already experienced strong winds at the speed of 40-65 km/hour.

The meteorological department had earlier issued a red alert about a cyclone warning for North Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and coastal parts of southern Andhra Pradesh.

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Raju promises to carry forward Sibal’s good work

New HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju on Wednesday said he would reach out to “everybody” to build a consensus on passage of pending bills on higher education in Parliament, and promised to consolidate “good work” initiated by his predecessor like in the case of IITs.

At the same time, Raju underlined on introducing chapters on moral values in course curriculum to help the present generation imbibe good values passed through generations.

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Gujarat polls: Will celebrate bigger Diwali on Dec 20, says Narendra Modi

Confident of a big win in the forthcoming state Assembly elections, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said his party will celebrate a bigger Diwali on December 20, the day when poll results will be out.

“This time we will celebrate Diwali twice, one the traditional Diwali and second to celebrate the victory of democracy. On December 20, we will celebrate Diwali in such a grand way that nobody would have celebrated before in the state,” Modi claimed here today.

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Hurricane Sandy is year’s No 2 topic on Facebook

Even as Hurricane Sandy knocked out power from millions of American homes, social media enthusiasts kept at it to make the ‘Frankenstorm’ the year’s second most-talked-about topic on Facebook.

Using laptops, tablets and smartphones and juicing up their battery powered devices wherever they could, people are turning to Facebook to let their family and friends know that they survived the storm.

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`Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro` very relevant today: Naseeruddin Shah

Naseeruddin Shah, who played a common man in the 1983 cult classic ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’, believes the re-release of the movie couldn`t be better timed, considering the country`s current state.

“I think it is extremely relevant (to release it now) and probably will always stay relevant because I don`t think that this monsoon of corruption will ever go away, no matter how hard we try,” the 62-year-old said here Tuesday at a special screening of the film.

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Deepika Padukone admires Rajinikanth`s passion for work

Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone teamed up with southern superstar Rajinikanth in Tamil movie ‘Kochadaiyaan’ and says he inspired her a lot with his dedication and passion while shooting for the film, which experiments with performance-capturing technique.

“Working with him in `Kochadaiyaan` was very inspiring for the kind of energy he brings to the sets even after working for so many years… he has that passion one can easily see in his eyes. After his illness, I saw the same passion,” Deepika said.

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I`m not eager to push my son into films, says Irrfan Khan

Actor Irrfan Khan`s seven-year-old son Ayan has taken his first step into the spotlight, making a cameo appearance in the Hollywood film `Life Of Pi`, but his father insists he is not eager to push him into films.

The actor, who stars alsong side Tabu in the Ang Lee-directed 3D film, says this is not the age for his son to act.

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Ayaan, Amaan to bring out another album together

Sarod playing brothers Ayaan and Amaan Ali Khan are planning to bring out another music album following the success of their previous album on Sufi music.

Ayaan says their next album will be refreshingly different from the Sufi one and hopes it will be as popular as the previous one.

“Our last album `Rang – Colors of Sufism` proved to be quite a hit. Now we wish to give something new, may be with a Persian flavour this time,” Ayaan told reporters here.

The young sarod prodigy, said he considered it a blessing to grow under the tutelage of `abba`, Ustaad Amjad Ali Khan.

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Tapasya back in `Uttaran`?

Mean and manipulative Tapasya, who made Ichcha`s life hell in TV show ‘Uttaran’, is ready to make a comeback in the popular show that will complete 1,000 episodes Wednesday.

The show that went on air December 2008 on Colors has taken two generation-leaps. It started as a story of two girls – slum kid Ichcha and Tapasya, who`s born with a silver spoon. It traced the ups and downs their friendship goes through while they grow up together.

The storyline took a 10-year leap forward in 2009 and actors Tina Dutta and Rashmi Desai were introduced as Ichcha and Tapasya, respectively.

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Salman refuses to get intimate with Mrs Kareena Kapoor Khan?

He is called ‘Bhai’ for a reason. Superstar Salman Khan will soon be sharing screen space with the newly married Kareena Kapoor in a supposed raunchy item song called ‘Fevicol’ for Salman’s home production, ‘Dabangg 2’. But the actor doesn’t want to share any physical intimacy with Kareena.

Kareena is supposed to start shooting for the song from November 5 with Salman and the actor has apparently instructed choreographer Farah Khan to tone down the raunchiness of the song.

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HC seeks Centre’s report on fighting dengue

The Centre was asked on WEdnesday by the Delhi High Court to submit to it a report on implementation of the government’s long-term action plan to control the outbreak of dangerous diseases like dengue in the city.

A division bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw sought the report within three weeks from the Union Ministry of Health and posted the matter for December 12.

Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Rajeev Mehra said, “The officials are doing something on the issue (of implementing the action plan). Let me file a report on it.”

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Kiran’s criticism of Sharmila immature: YSRCP

Asserting that neither Congress nor TDP would come to power in the next assembly elections, the YSR Congress party on Wednesday warned the leaders of both parties not to indulge in unnecessary criticism of Sharmila’s Maro Praja prasthanam.

Taking umbrage to the criticism of Sharmila’s Padayatra by Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, YSRCP MLC and spokesman Jupudi Prabhakara Rao told media persons here the CM has no understanding of the issues.

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HC grants bail to Gali in cash-for-bail scam

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday granted bail to mining baron and former Karnataka Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy in the cash-for-bail scam case.

Gali’s bail plea in the cash-for-bail case was earlier rejected by the Anti-Corruption Court. Subsequently, he approached the High Court and secured bail on Wednesday. However, Gali will continue to be lodged in the Chanchalguda Jail as he was accused in the illegal mining cases of Obulapuram Mining Company and AMC.

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MLAs should remain loyal to their parties: PVR

Congress MLC P Venkat Rao on Wednesday criticised the MLAs who are shifting loyalties to other political parties.
Talking to reporters here, Venkat Rao said that the MLAs should remain loyal to the political parties on whose ticket they got elected. He said a party selects a person as its candidate hoping that he/she would serve his constituency for a period of five years on the party’s manifesto.

However, he said by shifting loyalties before the end of their five-year term, the MLAs were not only cheating the parties, but the people who voted for them in the last elections.

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Police arrest OUJAC students at Secretariat

Nearly 20 students affiliated with the Osmania University Joint Action Committee were taken into custody on Wednesday when they staged dharna before the State Secretariat demanding boycott of Andhra Pradesh Formation Day celebrations.
Holdings banners of OUJAC, the students tried to barge into the Secretariat while shouting pro-Telangana slogans. However, the security personnel foiled their attempt and took them into custody.

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The Bookwallah: A unique train journey for Australian and Indian authors

“The Bookwallah, the first roving writers’ festival in India, is an exciting initiative which will see Australian and Indian authors travel 2000 km across west and south India by train” said Mr Peter Varghese, Australian High Commissioner to India.

“Literature builds strong cross cultural understanding between people from different backgrounds,” added Mr Varghese.

“As they travel across a wide swath of India, these five talented writers will engage with different audiences, from students to writers, learning about each other and the audiences they interact with” said Mr Varghese.

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