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Serena Williams overpowered world number one Caroline Wozniacki to reach the final of the US Open

NEW YORK: Three-time champion Serena Williams overpowered world number one Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4 on Saturday to reach the final of the US Open.

Williams, a 13-time Grand Slam champion, who lived up to her billing as the most dangerous 28th seed in the history of the US Open, sent Wozniacki tumbling out of yet another major, blasting 34 winners, including 11 aces, past the Dane, who couldn't find an answer even with the aid of the American's 34 unforced errors.

Despite her world number one ranking, Wozniacki's best Grand Slam performance remains her 2009 runner-up finish to Kim Clijsters at Flushing Meadows in 2009.

Williams, meanwhile, will take on ninth-seeded Australian Samantha Stosur on Sunday for a 14th Grand Slam crown, and her first since Wimbledon 2010.

That victory was followed by a litany of health problems for Williams, starting with a cut foot that required surgery and including life-threatening blood clots in her lungs.

The drop in her ranking caused by her 11-month layoff led to her lowly seeding here.

Although she had shown she was ready to challenge with two hardcourt titles in the build-up to the US Open, Williams' joy was evident in her spinning leap of celebration.

"It has been such an arduous long road and I can't believe it, I really can't," Williams said.

Signs that Wozniacki's consistency and determination -- cited by Williams as her rival's greatest attributes -- wouldn't be enough came in the fourth game, when she fended off a triple break point then fought through three more deuces, but still couldn't prevent Williams from claiming the break for a 3-1 lead.

Two aces in the next game helped Williams consolidate the break, her forehand winner on game point bringing out a passionate "C'mon" from the American.

With the momentum on her side, Williams took a medical time out to have the tape on her right foot adjusted, then returned and broke again to lead 5-1.

Wozniacki recovered a break in the seventh game, but she was quickly down 0-40 in the next, finally surrendering the set on Williams' third set point.

With the pressure on in the second, Wozniacki was broken to love to trail 3-1, double-faulting on break point.

But in characteristic fashion, she didn't go down without a fight. She broke back as Williams served for the match in the ninth game -- aided by two sloppy forehands and two double faults from Williams -- only to drop her serve one last time.

Popular milk brand Mother Dairy has hiked prices of milk

New Delhi: Popular milk brand Mother Dairy has hiked prices of milk supplied by it by up to Rs.2 a litre, effective from on Sunday, an official said today.

"There is a need to increase the consumer price to compensate for the increased procurement prices," a National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) official said.

While the full cream milk of Mother Dairy will now cost Rs.37 a litre against Rs.35 a litre, toned milk would cost Rs.29 against Rs.27 a litre, the official said.

Prices of toned bulk milk vended (token milk), double toned (poly pack) and skimmed variety have been hiked by Re.1 a litre.

The hike by Mother Dairy, which sells 30 lakh litres of milk per day here, follows a similar increase by Amul, which had raised rates by up to Rs.2 per litre in August.

Mother Dairy had last hiked prices of all varieties of milk supplied by it by Rs.2 per litre in May citing higher procurement costs.
Tags : India News, Popular milk brand Mother Dairy, Mother Dairy

India will launch a dedicated satellite to study climatic and atmospheric changes

Bangalore: India will launch on Oct 12 a dedicated satellite to study climatic and atmospheric changes in the tropical regions in collaboration with the French space agency, a top space agency official said on Saturday.

"All going well, we will launch the satellite - Megha-Tropiques -- Oct 12 to an orbit of 870 km with an inclination of 20 degrees to the equatorial region to study the life cycle of convective systems and their role in the energy and moisture budget of the atmosphere in tropical regions," state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Radhakrishnan told reporters here.

The 1,000 kg satellite will be launched on a 230-tonne core rocket (polar satellite launch vehicle) from the space agency's spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh off the Bay of the Bengal, about 80 km north-east of Chennai.

"The satellite will carry four instruments -- an imaging radiometer microwave analysis and detection of rain and atmospheric structures (MADRAS), a six channel humidity sounder (SAPHIR), a four channel scanner for radiation budget measurement (SCARAB) and GPS Radio Occultation System (GPS-ROS)," Radhakrishanan said.

India will the second nation in the world to launch such a unique space mission after the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), a joint space mission between the US National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) designed to monitor and study tropical rainfall, launched Nov 27, 1997.

"The TRMM spacecraft in a similar low orbit is positioned at an inclination of 35 degrees to the equatorial region, while Megha-Tropiques will orbit at a low inclination of 10-20 degrees to north-south of the equator to enhance observational capability of the rapidly developing tropical systems and will enable monitoring of weather and climate over the entire tropical world," Radhakrishanan told IANS later.

Being a joint project between India and France, ISRO will bear the launch cost of Rs.90 crore. For the cost of the satellite payload, including the instruments, ISRO has spent Rs.80 crore and the state-run French space agency -- Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) Rs.300 crore (47 million euros).

Of the four instruments (sensors) in the satellite, MADRAS has been built jointly by ISRO and CNES, while other three (SAPHIR, SCARAB & GPS-ROS) have been built by the latter.

"About 30 minutes after lift-off, the space agency's telemetry, tracking and command network (ISTRAC) will take control of the satellite and the three instruments onboard will be switched on within in the following three weeks," Radhakrishnan said.

The scientific data will be collected by the space agency's deep space network at Bylalu, about 40 km from Bangalore, and the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana on the equatorial Pacific area.

The satellite, with a five-year lifespan, will be made operational after three months of characterisation and validation by 21 principal investigators

The spacecraft will primarily cover the Indian Ocean, Africa and Brazil in South America and contribute to the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPMM) the US and Japan are planning to launch jointly in 2012.

As one of the most advanced and complex tropical weather and climate monitoring satellites, Megha-Tropiques will investigate the tropical regions as they receive maximum energy from the sun than they radiate back into space.

"The excess energy received in the tropical region is utilised as a thermal engine and provides circulation in the atmosphere and oceans. This has substantial influence and is linked to hydrological cycle, which influences tropical convective systems," ISRO's space applications centre director R.R. Navalgund said.

The complex processes between solar radiation, water vapour, clouds, precipitation and atmospheric motion determine the life cycle of convective systems and influence Indian monsoon in the tropical region.

"The dedicated satellite will study cloud systems, radiation budget, water vapour profiles and temperature and humidity profiles in our troposphere on a more frequent basis. It will also provide reliable parameters to understand global tropical weather and climate," Navalgund noted.

As a five frequency nine channel passive microwave radiometer, MADRAS will provide estimation of rainfall, water vapour, liquid water, ice and surface wind speed in these systems.

The second sensor (SCARAB) is a cross track scanning radiometer providing data on the radiative budget of tropical convective systems, while the third, Sondeur Atmospherique du Profil d'humidite Intertropicale par Radiometrie (SAPHIR) is a multi-channel cross track millimeter wave humidity sounder for atmospheric profiling in the inter-tropical region.

As the fourth payload in the spacecraft, GPS-ROS will measure water vapour and temperature profiles in the tropics.

"In addition, the mission will carry three nano-satellites - a 3kg remote sensing satellite 'Jugnu' of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Kanpur), a 10kg SRMSAT of the SRM University in Chennai, and a 30kg VesselSat of Luxumbourg," Radhakrishnan pointed out.

The VesselSat carries an automatic identification of ships instrument (AIS) of Luxspace, a Luxumbourg-based company.

Communal violence bill impinges on the autonomy of states:Naveen Patnaik

New Delhi: The proposed communal violence bill impinges on the autonomy of states and goes against the spirit of co-operative federalism, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Saturday.

Participating in the meeting of the National Integration Council (NIC) here, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Patnaik expressed reservation on the bill in his address.

"In its present form, it impinges upon the states' autonomy and goes against the spirit of co-operative federalism," Patnaik said.

The chief minister also stressed that whenever the situation demands, the central government should provide central forces and other logistics to a state based on merits and independent of political considerations.

Barring the unfortunate communal violence in Kandhamal district in 2008, the over all law and order situation in Orissa has been comfortable, he said.

The state government has taken firm action to punish those found guilty in Kandhamal riots, apart from providing adequate compensation to the victims, the statement added.
Tags : India News, Proposed Communal Violence Bill, National Integration Council (NIC), co-operative federalism,Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

All people to stand against terrorism:UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on all people to stand against terrorism, in a special message on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack.

"To truly honour the memory of those who died -- and the sacrifice of the brave responders who rushed to the scenes of the attacks -- all people must stand against terrorism," Xinhua quoted Ban as saying in a statement.

The UN chief said the attacks targeted more than one single country -- they were an assault on humanity itself, and on the universal values of peace and dignity the UN was created to promote and defend.

"That is why the UN stood in solidarity with the US and with all affected people and countries. The Security Council and General Assembly joined their voices in a chorus that spoke for all countries in condemning the attacks and demanding justice," he said.

Ban said the entire UN system had been proceeding fast to intensify an already wide-ranging and long-standing campaign against terrorism since that fateful day.

The world body adopted, for instance, a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in 2006, the first strategic approach to terror threats ever to be endorsed by the entire UN membership.

"At the same time, we continue our long-standing work for peace, efforts that encompass preventive diplomacy, supporting democracy and working to keep failing states from descending into chaos," Ban said.

Recalling the terrorist attack on the UN building in Nigeria recently, Ban said the UN has also been a target of terrorism like so many other people and institutions around the world.

"No cause or grievance can ever justify such wanton killing and destruction," he said.

"This challenge affects the entire world. The UN is determined to honour the memory of those who died 10 years ago by galvanising all countries in this fight to seek justice, promote peace and build a better and more secure future for generations to come."
Tags : India News, UN Secretary-General , UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack

Samsung Electronics plans a turnover growth of 40 percent for 2011 to clock $5 billion in India

Kolkata: Digital technology major Samsung Electronics plans a turnover growth of 40 percent for 2011 to clock $5 billion in India this year, a top company executive said today.

"Our plan for growth is 40 percent across segments for this year... Last year our turnover was $3.5 billion and this year we plan to achieve $5 billion," Samsung India (Home Appliances) vice president K. Mahesh said.

"We have clocked about 80 percent growth in LED TV sets," he said.

Asked which region is giving the maximum growth to the company, he said: "A lot of expansion is happening in Tier I, II and III towns. We see a lot of growth coming from the smaller towns."

On investment plans, Mahesh said the company has just completed an investment of about Rs.350 crore in its Chennai plant to upgrade capacity.

The company normally invests another Rs.100 crore to Rs.110 crore every year, he said.

He said the company has hired an Italian designer to design its premium segment refrigerators.

"We hired Italian designer Nathimo Zucci. He basically designs watches and jewellery. We got him to design our refrigerators. This is for the premium segment. The refrigerators are already available in the market. This is the first of its kind," he said.
Tags : India Business News, Samsung Electronics, Samsung, Samsung Growth, Samsung India

Reliance Communications launched a special festival scheme for its 3G customers

New Delhi: Telecom services provider Reliance Communications today launched a special festival scheme for its 3G customers, offering triple data download for the cost of a single plan.

Under the scheme, pre-paid customers can download 75 MB of data for Rs.20 (valid for a day) or 1.5 GB for Rs.408 (valid for a month), said a company release.

Post-paid customers can download 300 MB for Rs.100 or 1.5 GB for Rs.399 (both valid for a month).

The offer is available in all the 333 towns of the 13 3G circles of the company. Customers can subscribe to it through R World, retail outlets, or SMS.

"To let people enjoy the festive season, we have decided to offer the triple 'dhamaka' to our customers," Reliance Communications Delhi and NCR hub head Khurshed Ahmed said.
Tags : India News, Telecom services provider Reliance Communications, festival scheme, Post-paid customers

India's foreign exchange (forex) reserves rose by $1.61 billion

Mumbai: India's foreign exchange (forex) reserves rose by $1.61 billion to hit an all-time high of $320.78 billion for the week ended on Sep 2 on the back of nearly $3 billion jump in the value of gold reserves, official data showed.

The forex reserves kitty has risen for the third consecutive week. The reserves had increased by $955 million in the previous week.

The value of gold reserves soared by $2.97 billion to $28.32 billion, according to the weekly statistical supplement of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Gold prices have risen sharply in recent month, leading to a sharp jump in the value of gold reserves. Gold price surged to an all-time high of $1,921.15 an ounce early this week.

The increase is also an indication that the RBI has increased gold holding to hedge against the currency risk in view of the volatility in global economy and fragile nature of the major currencies, especially US dollar and euro.

However, all other components of the forex reserves kitty declined during the week under review.

Foreign currency assets, the biggest component of the forex reserves kitty, declined by $1.32 billion to $284.87 billion during the week ended on Sep 2. The foreign currency assets rose by $944 million in the previous week.

The foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the pound sterling, euro and yen held in reserve.

The value of special drawing rights (SDRs) declined by $24 million to $4.61 billion and reserves with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $16 million to $2.97 billion.
Tags : India Business News, India's Foreign Exchange Reserves, India's Forex Reserves, India's Gold Reserves

India will display aggressive hockey when they face arch-rivals Pakistan in the final

Ordos (China): India will display aggressive hockey when they face arch-rivals Pakistan in the final of the first edition of the men's hockey Asian Champions Trophy here on Sunday.

India, with a blend of experience and youth in the team, have surprised everybody in the tournament and in their last group tie came back from 0-2 to draw the match against Pakistan.

Indian forwards performed well in the tournament and that was reflected in the +7 goal difference that the team enjoys.

India's newly-appointed coach Michael Nobbs said his team would play an attacking game in the final against Pakistan.

"This team has handled pressure like pros. They needed an incentive and now the team has got it by playing a final. Whatever the result, we will throw everything into the match," Nobbs was quoted as saying by

But what worries the Australian is India's failure to convert penalty corners.

"The problem is not about conversion, it's about the rusher coming directly at the flicker. It's a FIH directive that the rusher should not run directly to the flicker. So what happens is that Pakistan is running straight to the flicker. I will probably have a talk with the umpires and it is clear they are not reviewing the matches. But when our rusher ran straight, the umpire hauled him up. There needs to be a clear consistent line in umpiring," he said.

India captain Rajpal Singh, along with Gurbaz Singh, is the only player with the most experience of playing against Pakistan.

"We haven't lost a match in the tournament. We would play our natural game and attack to get goals," Rajpal was quoted as saying by the website.

Pakistan captain Muhammad Imran said he feels the pressure of an India-Pakistan final.

"The public wants both the countries to win. Unfortunately, only one nation can win and that adds to the pressure. But we will go all out and ensure that good and attacking hockey in the true Asian style is played," he said.

Pakistan team manager Khwaja Junaid is satisfied with the results in the tournament.

"We have performed better here. It will be a tough match in the final but I am satisfied by the way the team performed. We played as per the plan but we will have to be mindful in the final," he said.
Tags : India News, India will display aggressive hockey , Asian Champions Trophy

Mohammed Azharuddin's son Mohammed Ayazuddin critically injured in a road accident

Hyderabad: Former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin's son Mohammed Ayazuddin was critically injured in a road accident here in Andhra Pradesh today, police said.

The accident took place on Outer Ring Road on the city outskirts when the upcoming cricketer was riding his two-wheeler.

Ayazuddin, 19, sustained head injuries and was taken to Apollo Hospital, sources told the media.

Ayazuddin's relative, identified as Afzal, also sustained severe injuries.

Ayazuddin is the second of Azharuddin's two sons from his former wife Noureen, whom he divorced to marry former actress Sangeeta Bijlani.

Azharuddin is now a Congress MP from Moradabad.

In Hollywood films I always loved Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn: Priyanka Chopra

Kolkata: Bollywood diva Priyanka Chopra today said she idolizes yesteryear Hollywood icons Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn when it comes to fashion and style.

"In Hindi films I always used to like Mumtaz and in Hollywood films I always loved Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. I really liked them a lot," said Priyanka while addressing a programme of 'Blender's Pride Fashion Tour 2011'.

Priyanka, however, had a word of advice for young clothes, as far as dressing was concerned.

"I always want to tell the young girls that they should find out the dress that they are comfortable and that suits their personality. They should not look at what big stars are wearing always try to find the dress in which you are comfortable," said Priyanka.
Tags : India News, Entertainment News, Bollywood diva Priyanka Chopra, Hollywood icons Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn

Nasser Hussain's controversial "donkey" remarks should not be taken at face value: Shah Rukh Khan

MUMBAI: Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan on Friday played down former England skipper Nasser Hussain's controversial "donkey" remarks against some Indian players, saying they should not be taken at face value.

"Some of the expressions in English language are different. They should not be taken at face value," said the actor at a media conference relating to Nokia Champions T20 League here today.

Hussain's comments on TV during the course of the ongoing ODI series in England, terming some of the Indian players as "donkeys" in fielding, had enraged a lot of former cricketers and the BCCI.

"We are one of the finest teams in the world. One does not turn into a donkey from a tiger just because some one says so," he added.

The Bollywood star also condemned Wednesday's bomb blast outside the Delhi High Court, which killed 12 people and injured over 70.

"Any act of terrorism is an act of cowardice. We need to condemn it. I pray for all those (victims)," he added.

Pakistan is warning that the Taliban are plotting to secure the freedom of Osama bin Laden's wives

KARACHI: Pakistan is warning that the Taliban are plotting to secure the freedom of Osama bin Laden's wives and children by kidnapping a high-ranking government official and then offering to exchange him or her for the slain terror chief's family.

US Navy Seals killed bin Laden in a May helicopter-borne raid on his house in northwestern Pakistan. They took the corpse with them, but left at least two of his wives and several children in the house. They were detained by Pakistani authorities.

Pakistan's interior ministry warned of the kidnap purported plot in a letter that was sent to top security officials on Aug 23 - just three days before gunmen seized Shahbaz Taseer, the son of a wealthy provincial governor who was killed by an Islamist militant earlier this year.

Interior minister Rehman Malik said there was no evidence that the group that had seized Taseer was hoping to exchange him for bin Laden's family members. It said the information that led to warning was reliable. It doesn't say which Pakistani official the Taliban plan to kidnap, but said the most likely location was one of the country's four provincial capitals.

Dehi blast:Compensation list is ready said Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram

New Delhi: Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday said officials have compiled a list of the kin of the deceased and immediate family members of the injured in the Delhi High Court blast in order to disburse compensation. He said the first step was to provide them medical attention, to save their lives, followed by monetary compensation. "Monetary compensation is not enough in a case where a life has been lost. The next step to help them is under consideration. As soon as decisions are taken, I will share it with you," Chidambaram told reporters.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced a compensation of Rs.2 lakh each to the family of those killed and Rs.1 lakh each for the injured.

The Delhi government too has announced a compensation of Rs.4 lakh to the next of the kin of those killed in the blast while those permanently incapacitated will get Rs.2 lakh.

Those seriously injured in the blast will get Rs.1 lakh while in case of any death of minor, the family will get Rs.1.5 lakh. People who received minor injuries in the blast will be given Rs.10,000.

The bombing on Wednesday killed 13 people and injured around 90.

No Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under Right to Information (RTI) :Madras High Court

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition challenging the central government's notification exempting Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from the ambit of Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The PIL was filed by Vijayalakshmi Shanmugham an advocate.

"The court held that CBI is an intelligence and security agency handling many sensitivv cases," Manikandan Vathan Chettiar, the petitioner's counsel told the media.

Dismissing the petition the court said collection of intelligence, investigation and trial are intertwined and several sensitive cases are registered on the basis of intelligence received.

The court held that disclosure of information would jeopardize the CBI's functioning in the future.

The CBI had submitted that being subject to RTI Act would deter its officers from recording their views in an independent manner.

According to CBI, the issue of exempting the agency from RTI Act was considered by the Committee of Secretaries and later notification exempting the agency was issued.

The court held that the notification was not ultra vires the RTI Act or violates the provisions of the Constitution.

Delhi Blast:2 men from Jammu and Kashmir were detained in Rajasthan

Jaipur: Two men from Jammu and Kashmir were detained in Rajasthan on the basis of their resemblance to the sketches of suspects released in connection with the Delhi High Court blast, police here said today.

The two were detained on Friday in Alwar district. They belong to Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, a police officer said.

The duo was searching for an accommodation in the inns of Kishangarh Bas area of Alwar, some 140 km from this state capital city.

"They were behaving in a very suspicious manner. A police team spotted them and found them resembling with the sketches," the officer told the media on condition of anonymity.

The police quizzed the duo throughout the night in relation to Wednesday's blast outside Gate 5 of the Delhi High Court complex, that has claimed 13 lives and left around 90 injured.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing the blast, is rushing a team to Alwar to take their custody, the officer added.

The Jaipur-Delhi National Highway passing through Alwar is on high alert.

Manmohan Singh stressed on the need to beef up intelligence gathering mechanism to tackle terror

New Delhi: Stating that the country needed to combat divisive forces and radicalisation of youth, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today stressed on the need to beef up intelligence gathering mechanism to tackle terror.

Addressing the 15th meeting of the National Integration Council (NIC), the prime minister said: "The Delhi blast shows that there can be no let up in intelligence. Security methods have been internally reviewed. We need to combat divisive forces and the radicalisation of youth."

"No civilised society can bear the loss of loved ones," he said, referring to the blast outside the Delhi High Court on Wednesday that left 13 people dead.

The NIC meet will discuss measures to promote communal harmony, eliminate discrimination especially against minorities and scheduled tribes and ways in which the state and police should handle civil disturbances.

The last meeting of the NIC was held here on Oct 13, 2008.

Manmohan Singh indirectly hailed social activist Anna Hazare's anti-graft movement

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today indirectly hailed social activist Anna Hazare's anti-graft movement, saying the "active interest" of the people in the national debate against corruption augurs well for the country.

Addressing the National Integration Council (NIC) meet here, Singh said Indian democracy had struck deeper roots in recent years with the strengthening of local governance institutions and a more informed and active citizenry.

"The active interest displayed recently by the people in the national debate on corruption augurs well for the future of our country," he said, but did not name Hazare or his movement directly.

"Our democracy has struck deeper roots in the recent years with the strengthening of local governance institutions and a more informed and active citizenry," he added.

His remarks come against the backdrop of a 13-day fast by Hazare at Ramlila Maidan here seeking a stronger Lokpal bill in parliament.

Samsung Electronics plans a turnover growth of 40 percent for 2011

Kolkata: Digital technology major Samsung Electronics plans a turnover growth of 40 percent for 2011 to clock $5 billion in India this year, a top company executive said today.

"Our plan for growth is 40 percent across segments for this year... Last year our turnover was $3.5 billion and this year we plan to achieve $5 billion," Samsung India (Home Appliances) vice president K. Mahesh said.

"We have clocked about 80 percent growth in LED TV sets," he said.

Asked which region is giving the maximum growth to the company, he said: "A lot of expansion is happening in Tier I, II and III towns. We see a lot of growth coming from the smaller towns."

On investment plans, Mahesh said the company has just completed an investment of about Rs.350 crore in its Chennai plant to upgrade capacity.

The company normally invests another Rs.100 crore to Rs.110 crore every year, he said.

He said the company has hired an Italian designer to design its premium segment refrigerators.

"We hired Italian designer Nathimo Zucci. He basically designs watches and jewellery. We got him to design our refrigerators. This is for the premium segment. The refrigerators are already available in the market. This is the first of its kind," he said.

Hearing on the bail petition of Gali Janardhana Reddy on Monday

Hyderabad: A special court today adjourned to Monday the hearing on the bail petition of former Karnataka minister Gali Janardhana Reddy and his brother-in-law Srinivasa Reddy.

The petition of of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking their custody in an illegal mining case will also be be heard the same day.

After hearing the arguments of both sides till late in the evening, the special court for CBI cases adjourned the case to Monday.

India will face Pakistan in the final of the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament

Ordos (China): India will face arch rivals Pakistan in the final of the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament after the two teams drew 2-2 in their last group encounter here today.

India, the only unbeaten team in the tournament, staged a remarkable fightback to hold the Asian Games champion in an absorbing affair.

Striker Mohd. Waqas and Mohd. Irfan scored for Pakistan in the 40th and 43rd minute while Rupinder Pal Singh reduced the margin from an indirect penalty corner in the 46th minute before Danish Mujtaba found the equaliser in the 53rd minute.

India dominated the first half but conceded two goals after the break. However, they fought back gallantly with forwards Gurvinder Chandi, skipper Rajpal Singh, SV Sunil and diminutive Yuvraj Walmiki successful in getting four penalty corners alternately executed by Rupinder Pal Singh and Raghunath.

Mujtaba drew parity in the 53rd minute when he picked up a full blooded shot from defender Manjit Kullu in the Pakistan striking circle and deflected home with his back to the goal.

The goal was disallowed initially by the neutral umpire from New Zealand but he awarded it in India's favour after his consultation with the other umpire from South Korea.

Pakistan were through to the Sunday final with the drawn result but India had to wait for the outcome of the remaining two matches to know their fate.

South Korea made their exit when they were held 1-1 by bottom-placed China, while India heaved a huge sigh of relief when Malaysia came back from a two-goal deficit to pip Japan 3-2.

Korea will play China for the fifth and sixth positions Sunday while Malaysia will clash with Japan for the bronze medal, to be followed by the India-Pakistan grand finale.

Cricket:England scraped to a three-wicket victory over India

London: England scraped to a three-wicket victory over India in the third One-day International (ODI) and took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the NatWest Series here.

It was a close finish for the hosts on Friday after Indian spinners--Ravichandran Ashwin (3-40) and Ravindra Jadeja (2-42) -- made them wobble by extracting spin and bounce from the track. But a sixth-wicket 60-run between Ravi Bopara (40) and Tim Bresnan revived England from a precarious 133 for five and put them close to their revised target of 218 from 43 overs following a one hour rain break.

Graeme Swann (9 not out) along with Stuart Broad took his side home. Swann hit a boundary to level the scores and followed it by a single to complete his side's victory under the Duckworth-Lewis method.

England triumphed 4-0 in the test series, won the sole Twenty20 match and now lead 2-0 with two one-dayers left.

The hosts, choosing to field, quickly reduced India to 58/5 before skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Jadeja steered their side to a fighting 234 for seven after James Anderson ripped through the visitors' top-order.

India lost half their side for 58 but Dhoni (69) and Jadeja (78) forged a 112-run stand for the sixth wicket to save the embarrassment for a team looking for its first win on the tour. Ashwin smashed 36 off 19 balls towards the end as India collected 60 runs from the last five overs.

Anderson thrives when the ball is swinging and the green-looking Oval pitch, combined with overcast conditions, provided him the opportunity of testing the makeshift opening pair of Parthiv Patel (3) and Ajinkya Rahane (0).

Both had been amongst the runs in the previous games but were found wanting against the swinging ball.

Rahane departed in the first over of the match as he edged an away going Anderson delivery to first slip where Jonathan Trott did the rest. The four-ball duck was Rahane's first failure on the tour.

A Rahul Dravid (2) run out in the fifth over did not help the cause and the dismissals of Patel and Virat Kohli (7) soon after, left India reeling at 25 for four in 10.2 overs.

Suresh Raina (21) was out to a bad shot and the Indian batting collapse looked very much on the cards with score being 58 for five in 19 overs.

But Jadeja and Dhoni steadied the ship and batted for the next 25 overs to give India a chance in the match.

Jadeja, playing his first match of the tour, struck 10 fours in his 89-ball knock while Dhoni hit five boundaries in what was a very patient innings.

Amitabh Bachchan has no plans to do more Hollywood films yet

Mumbai: Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" is Big B's foray into the West but he is not really looking at it as a gateway to Hollywood.

The film to be directed by Luhrmann is in 3D. Amitabh Bachchan will essay the role of Meyer Wolfsheim, "an iconic character", patterned on Arnold Rothstein - a "very impressive and well-known person of the New York underworld mafia".

"Yes, the film is in 3D and is perhaps a first for many reasons, primarily because it's the first time that a mainstream drama from Hollywood is being done in 3D as opposed to the usual fantasy films like 'Avatar'...," says Bachchan.

Big B has no plans to do more Hollywood films yet.

"No other offers have come my way from Hollywood before and since Baz was very keen I do this, I went ahead. It's nothing big, just a small appearance," he says.

"Earlier, Mira Nair had come across with 'Shantaram', finalized dates and shared the script etc. But then she withdrew... I do not think you should look at this as a step into Hollywood. It's just a gesture of friendship," Bachchan says.

In fact, according to a source close to him, Big B is doing the film free of cost for Luhrmann who's a great fan of his and of Bollywood.

Reluctant to talk about the project, Big B says: "Contractual obligations prevent me from talking to the media, which is why I have not divulged anything. If the studio Warner Bros. gives something out, that is all that I can disclose."

Bachchan does divulge that he and Luhrmann hit it off from the start.

"Baz Luhrmann, last year, was on a private visit to India and dropped by at my office to meet me and presented me some wonderful paintings done by an artist he was accompanied by. It was merely an informal casual meet," Bachchan says.

Then in August this year Luhrmann called him and wondered if he would do a role in "The Great Gatsby".

"He (Luhrmann) asked me, would I do a small part in his film? It's just a small scene with Leonardo Dicaprio and Tobey Macguire," Bachchan says.

"I have agreed to do this just as a friendly appearance and went across to Sydney late last month for rehearsals and hair make-up and costume tests. The reading workshop requires the entire cast to assemble and get familiar with the script and do a read through," Bachchan signs off.

Salman Khan is presently the number one box office star:Aamir Khan

Mumbai: In Bollywood, every actor tries his best to reach the top of the ladder and become number one, but according to Aamir Khan, who himself is credited with blockbuster hits like "Ghajini" and "3 Idiots", Salman Khan is presently the number one box office star.

"According to me Salman is ahead of me. In the manner in which his film 'Bodyguard' has got an opening, it has broken all records and today according to me, if there is anyone who is the number one box office star, then that is Salman," said Aamir.

"He has proved with this film that he is ahead of all of us. I am very happy that his film is doing well. My good wishes are with him," Aamir told reporters here at the music launch of the film "Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster"," he added.

"Few days back I even had a chat with him on phone because he is in America. I'm glad that his health is also much better now. Infact I was the one who gave him the good news of the massive opening box collections of 'Bodyguard'," said Amir.

"I had texted his sister Alvira and I had told her that when Salman comes out of his surgery then show him my text first. I wanted to be the first one to give him this great news," he added.

When asked from the 46-year-old actor that since he shares such a great camaraderie with Salman, would he like to work with him again in a film, Aamir responded with a yes.

"I would love to work with Salman. We have a great tuning so if we work together, it will be great fun. But till the time we don't get a good script, a script that excites both of us, we can't work together," said Aamir, who has shared screen space with Salman in the past in the film "Andaz Apna Apna".

Voices of Suresh Wadkar,Rekha Bhardwaj wooed everyone at the 58th National Film Awards

New Delhi: The soulful voices of Suresh Wadkar and Rekha Bhardwaj wooed everyone at the 58th National Film Awards ceremony here today, as they sang "Hey bhaskara kshitijavari" and "Badi dheere jali" - the songs for which they have won the national award.

Dressed in a bright yellow kurta with a little embroidery on the neckline, the 57-year-old singer enthralled the audience with the soft number "Hey bhaskara kshitijavari ya" from Marathi movie "Mee Sindhutai Sapkal", a bio-pic inspired by the true story of Sindhutai Sapkal, a social activist.

And Bhardwaj, dressed in a maroon sari with a golden border enchanted everyone with her golden voice as she rendered "Badi dheere jali" from "Ishiqya".

For Wadkar, who has to his credit songs like "Meri kismat mein tu nahi shayad" ("Prem Rog"), "Aur Is Dil Mein" ("Imaandar"), "Chappa chappa charkha chaley" ("Maachis"), this is his first National Award.

For Bhardwaj, this is her second National Award, having previously won it for "Genda Phool" from "Delhi-6".


Shoaib Mansoor's "Khuda Kay Liye" "Fahrenheit 9/11" earned maximum appreciation

New Delhi: It's been a decade since the attack on New York's World Trade Centre took the world by storm. Since then filmmakers and documentary-drama makers have churned out about 40 works. Of them, Pakistani filmmaker Shoaib Mansoor's "Khuda Kay Liye" and the documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" seem to have earned maximum appreciation.

A multi-layered film, Mansoor's "Khuda Kay Liye" highlighted the clash between moderate Muslims and the fundamentalists in Pakistan. It also showed how Muslims are viewed with increasing suspicion in the West after 9/11. The well-made film, with a superb performance by Shaan was released in 2007 and critics appreciated it by describing it as a thought-provoking movie.

Hollywood, too, kept drawing references from the tragedy and showcased it in various documentaries including "Fahrenheit 9/11" (2004) and "Inside 9/11" (2005) as well as movies like "World Trade Center" (2006), "United 93" (2006) and "Reign Over Me" (2007).

While "World Trade Center" and "United 93" failed to attract audiences at the box-office, American filmmaker and political commentator Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" became the highest grossing documentary of all time.

Moore's work takes a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush, the war on terror and how it was covered by the media. Shown in over 42 countries, after its release in the US and Canada, "Fahrenheit 9/11" reportedly earned over $220 million worldwide in one year.

The Hindi film industry, one of the most prolific in the world, wasn't far behind in tapping the subject.

In 2007, one of the most talented and respected actors, Naseeruddin Shah, made his directorial debut with "Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota" that focussed on the terrorist attacks on the US.

Two years later, Kabir Khan dwelt on the post-9/11 consequences through his film "New York", which starred John Abraham, Katrina Kaif and Neil Nitin Mukesh. The film was appreciated wherever it was screened.

Saif Ali Khan-Kareena Kapoor-starrer "Kurbaan" of 2009 had the consequences of 9/11 as the main plot.

Even Shah Rukh Khan's "My Name Is Khan" (2010) touched upon the aftermath of 9/11 and it did splendid business in the overseas market.

Apart from this, in 2004, US-based Indian filmmaker Haider Bilgrami made "Bandhak" which was about a professional who is killed by a racist following the World Trade Center attack.

There were other docu-dramas and TV series that captured various situations and events leading up to 9/11.

"Stairwell: Trapped in the World Trade Center" (2002) dealt with a group of people trapped in a sub-basement of the Twin Towers after it collapsed, while docu-drama "The Flight That Fought Back" (2005) reconstructed the events that led to the crash of United Airlines Flight 93.

A year later came "The Path to 9/11" (2006), a mini-series capturing the events leading up to the 9/11 attack. In the same year, TV film "Flight 93" chronicled the events that happened on Flight 93.

Another documentary, "The Heart of Steel" about a group of ordinary citizens who were determined to volunteer after the attack, was released in 2006.

Even after 10 years, filmmakers haven't had enough of the subject - the stories related to relationships, loss and sorrow revolving around 9/11 still inspire them.

"The Love We Make" is an upcoming film that outlines singer Paul McCartney's experiences in New York following the attack. Another film in progress is "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close". Starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, it deals with a son mourning a father lost in the attack.

New York Film Academy will launch its first branch in Delhi

New Delhi: Want to learn the art of filmmaking at the New York Film Academy? You don't have to go for that to New York as the academy, lured by India's booming film industry, will launch its first branch in here that will be operational from 2012.

The academy is is collaborating with The AMR Group for their India venture and its first campus will be located in Greater Noida.

It is open to have Bollywood celebrities as guest lecturers, but they seem to be acting pricey and are demanding big money.

"Just like we invite guests from Hollywood, we would definitely like to invite guest lecturers from Bollywood because it's quite inspiring for the students," Kitty Koo, president marketing and business development, said.

"We approached some of the Bollywood actors, but unfortunately their philosophy is all about money. We follow a philosophy which is giving back and sharing with students. Hollywood celebrities enjoy teaching, they want to share what they have," she added.

The fee that Bollywood celebs asked was shocking, said KOO.

"Our philosophy is to share and give back and we will follow that, although Bollywood celebs are most welcome but not with a price," she said.

The academy boasts of guest lecturers like filmmaker Steven Speilberg and Kevin Spacey, and Koo says she hopes to fly them down to India for a lecture at their campus here.

"We have different guest lecturers in our campuses like Steven Speilberg and Kevin Spacey and hopefully when the Delhi school is started we would happily arrange for their visit based on their itinerary because sometimes they are not easy to get," said Koo.

Imran Khan and Suniel Shetty's daughter Athaiya have studied at the academy in New York.

"The reason we thought we should bring the school to India so the students get more opportunity. The students want to explore and learn new things and techniques, learn how Americans make movies and comeback and share. We hope to create new generation of filmmakers," said Koo.

The New York Film Academy started in 1992 in Robert DeNiro's Tribecca Film Center offering innovative curriculum and intensive hands on filmmaking programs. Later it expanded to Manhattan, Soho, and Los Angeles.

It also has its campuses in Abu Dhabi, Brisbane and New South Wales.

Koo says the academy will not have any Indian in-house faculty.

"The faculty will be from the US because there are lots of other schools that teach filmmaking with Indian instructors. We would teach in different way. Our instructors come from different backgrounds. If anyone want to learn it in the Indian way, then that individual has lots of other Indian schools to go to," she said.

"The curriculum is exactly the same as it is taught in other campuses where we have acting program, screenplay program, cinematography, videography among others. But our philosophy is different. The school will be more towards providing practical knowledge to the students.

"Indian films are all about singing and dancing and we would definitely have tailor-made courses integrating all this. We will definitely try to integrate the particulars of Bollywood style in our courses," she added.

IGNOU will soon be setting up a centre for 'Diasporic Studies'

New Delhi: The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) will soon be setting up a centre for 'Diasporic Studies' at its campus here.

"The university is in the process of setting up a diasporic centre in its campus," IGNOU Vice Chancellor V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai said today.

He was speaking at the conclusion of a two-day conference on diaspora and development, attended by experts from more than 25 countries.

The centre will address the socio-economic, political, cultural and gender issues to help understand the linkages between diaspora and development, according to IGNOU.

Secretary in the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs A. Didar Singh said that connotations of the term 'diaspora' had gone far beyond forced exile and desire for homeland.

"Diaspora today has become a generic concept of a trans-national population, and India represents this concept in a major way," Singh said.

Al-Qaida network is nearing total defeat:US President Barack Obama

PARIS: US President Barack Obama declared that the al-Qaida network is nearing total defeat, having failed to destroy the United States' "unique" leadership role in the world.

In an op-ed for the French daily Le Figaro penned to mark the tenth anniversary of the Islamist extremist group's September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, Obama thanked America's allies and vowed to cooperate with them closely.

"Those who attacked us on 9/11 wanted to drive a wedge between the United States and the world. They failed. On this 10th anniversary, we are united with our friends and partners in remembering all those we have lost in this struggle," he said.

"Working together, we have disrupted al-Qaida plots, eliminated Osama bin Laden and much of his leadership and put al-Qaida on the path to defeat," he said, welcoming the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

"Meanwhile, people across the Middle East and North Africa are showing that the surest path to justice and dignity is the moral force of nonviolence, not mindless terrorism and violence," Obama added.

"It is clear that violent extremists are being left behind and that the future belongs to those who want to build, not destroy."

Obama also sought to reassure the United States' friends that his country's economic problems will not cause it to turn in on itself.

"To nations and people seeking a future of peace and prosperity, you have a partner in the United States. For even as we confront economic challenges at home, the United States will continue to play a unique leadership role in the world."

The piece in Le Figaro was separate from an earlier op-ed published in the US daily USA Today, in which he said the September 11 attackers were "no match for our resilience."

The 2001 assault, in which four airliners were hijacked and crashed by suicide attackers from Saudi-born extremist Bin Laden's al-Qaida network, left more than 3,000 dead and led the United States to invade Afghanistan.

US President Barack Obama laid out a $447 billion jobs package

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama laid out a $447 billion jobs package of tax cuts and government spending on Thursday that will be critical to his re-election chances but he faces an uphill fight with Republicans.

With his poll numbers at new lows amid voter frustration with 9.1 percent unemployment, Obama said in a high-stakes address to Congress the United States was facing a "national crisis" and called for urgent action on sweeping proposals to revive the stalled economy and avert another recession.

"Those of us here tonight can't solve all of our nation's woes," Obama, speaking in a solemn tone, said in a televised prime-time speech. "But we can help. We can make a difference. There are steps we can take right now to improve people's lives."

Taking aim at Republicans who have consistently opposed his initiatives, Obama said it was time to "stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy."

Obama, who pushed through an $800 billion economic stimulus package in 2009, said his jobs plan would cut taxes for workers and businesses and put more construction workers and teachers on the job through infrastructure projects.

"It will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business," he said.

Obama is seeking to seize the initiative in his bitter ideological battle with Republicans, ease mounting doubts about his economic leadership and turn around his presidency just 14 months before voters decide whether to give him a second term.

Focus on 2012 election

Obama wants Congress to pass his "American Jobs Act" -- which administration officials said would cost $447 billion -- by the end of this year and offset the cost with deficit reductions.

But a deal may be hard to achieve with politicians already focusing on the presidential and congressional elections in November 2012.

If Obama can push through his plan, it might provide an economic boost quickly enough for him to reap political benefits. If it stalls in a divided Congress, his strategy will be to blame Republicans for obstructing the economic recovery.

Obama said his proposed plan would "provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled and give companies confidence that if they invest and hire there will be customers for their products and services."

"You should pass this jobs plan right away," he said in a speech interrupted by applause from his fellow Democrats while Republicans sat mostly in silence.

Obama is making payroll tax relief for workers and their employers the centerpiece of his package. He is also proposing further jobless benefits and new investment to rebuild roads, bridges and other crumbling infrastructure plus help states to prevent further layoffs.

How much of the jobs package is viable remains in question. Almost all of it ultimately depends on winning support from Republicans who control the House of Representatives.

Bipartisan cooperation could be hard to come by in Washington's climate of political dysfunction where a bruising debt feud this summer brought the country to the brink of default and led to an unprecedented US credit downgrade.

Obama insisted that "everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans -- including many who sit here tonight -- and everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything."

Delhi Blast:Police is hopeful of tracing the suspect soon

JAMMU: A day after picking up five persons for questioning, police have prepared a sketch of the suspected email sender from Kishtwar district and launched operations today to track him down.

As per the description provided by the detained persons including the cyber cafe owner, the sender is a 17-18 year old boy, and the police is hopeful of tracing the suspect soon.

"We are hopeful of catching the suspect soon", Director General of Police (DGP), Kuldeep Khoda, said.

Police said the sketch of the suspect has been prepared on the basis of information provided by five detained persons including cyber cafe owner Masood Aziz during day-long interrogation in Kishtwar district by a team led by Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Kishtwar-Doda-Ramban range, Muneesh Sinha.

The sketch is likely to be released by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has been tasked with probing the Delhi blast in which 12 persons were killed on Wednesday.

Investigators had traced the HuJI email claiming responsibility for the blast outside the Delhi High Court to a cyber cafe in Kishtwar.

Besides the cafe owner, the other detained persons have been identified as the shop owner's brother Majid and their servant Ashwani besides Imran and Ashiq Hussain.

Imran and Ashiq were using computer terminals in two other cabins at the time when the email was sent from another terminal adjacent to them, police said.

A team of NIA and experts from Hyderabad are in Kishtwar to probe the email link with the Delhi blast.

Police will be conducting raids at several places in the state today to track down the suspected email sender.

The cafe has been sealed and policemen in plainclothes have been deputed outside the shop in Kishtwar town.

Huji had on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the blast outside the Delhi high court which killed 13 people.

"We own responsibility of the blast at the High Court, Delhi. Our demand is that Afzal Guru's death sentence should be repealed immediately as we would target major High Courts and the Supreme Court of India," the HuJI email had said.

Delhi Police has in the past arrested several HuJI militants from the national capital.

Kishtwar was once the hub of the Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami (HUJI), but in the past some years there has been no activity of the outfit in the area.

The decision to buy new aircraft had to be taken at the earliest :Praful Patel

New Delhi: Former civil aviation minister Praful Patel defended the acquisition of 111 aircraft for Air India in 2005-06 after a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in parliament on Thursday slammed the government for the purchases."Most of the aircraft with Air India and Indian Airlines in 2004 were 20 years old and there was no way the airline could have withstood competition or survived with these planes," Patel told reporters here.Patel headed the ministry in the first tenure of United Progressive Alliance (UPA-I) and then from 2009 2011 in UPA-II. He is now the minister of heavy industries and public enterprises.

According to Patel, the decision to buy new aircraft had to be taken at the earliest due to the aging fleet of the airline and to make the flag carrier commercially viable.

"We had to decide on the new planes otherwise the airline would have closed down due to old planes," he said.

Patel further said that step was taken keeping in mind the long-term demand and the need to make the airline a more commercially viable entity.

"The government in its wisdom took the decision to make the airline commercially viable," Patel said adding that it took 17 months of finalising the aircraft acquisition in which various departments were involved like the Planning Commission and the Public Investment Board (PIB).

Patel also called the CAG report as "full of contradictions" and said that the civil aviation ministry would give adequate reply to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which will look into the report.

The CAG said that the entire acquisition (for both Air India and Indian Airlines) was to be funded through debt (to be repaid through revenue generation), except for a relatively small equity infusion of Rs.325 crore for Indian Airlines.

The CAG report slammed the decisions made by the government to buy new aircraft, which was driven by the aviation ministry, and the dismal management practices had led to the downfall of Air India.

Reviewing the decision to buy 68 Boeing aircraft for Air India and 43 Airbus planes for Indian Airlines, the report termed the acquisition process ill-timed and driven from the top, resulting in the airline accumulating a massive debt of Rs.38,423 crore as on March 31, 2010.

Delhi High Court Blast:Two people were detained in Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow: Two people were detained in Uttar Pradesh today in connection with the Delhi High Court blast two days ago which claimed 13 lives, police said here."One person was detained in Varanasi and another in Bela village on the outskirts of Balrampur district, essentially on account of their resemblance with the sketch of suspects released by Delhi Police," said a top police officer.The man detained at the Shivpur police station in Varanasi was identified as Lekhma Ram, a resident of Ajmer.

The one picked up in Balrampur was identified as Shehzad, a permanent resident of Bela village who had come home from Pune, he added.

"However, nothing incriminating has come out during the course of their questioning so far," he said.

Five people were arrested in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday over the e-mail reportedly sent by the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), taking responsibility for the blast which also injured 96 people on Wednesday.

Government intended to pass bills,but could not do so: Pawan Kumar Bansal

New Delhi: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal today expressed concern over the loss of time for business in parliament due to disruptions and said the government intended to pass several bills to tackle the menace of corruption.

Talking to reporters here at the conclusion of the monsoon session, Bansal said he was "sorry to point out" that time was lost due to disruptions from the start of the session.

He said that question hour could not be taken up in Lok Sabha on 16 of the 26 days sittings were held and the house lost 61 hours due to disruptions.

He said the government intended to pass bills relating to the human resource ministry in the Rajya Sabha Wednesday but could not do so, adding it had led to a situation where a large number of students of a top institute will not get their degrees they had been waiting for.

"The ministry may have to think of an ordinance," Bansal said.

He said of the bills intended to be passed by the government at the start of the session, "17 bills could not be taken up for consideration and passing because of the situation in the house".

The government always wants parliament to funciton as it was answerable to people through the two houses, Bansal noted.

The minister said the Lok Sabha spent about 24 hours in discussing legislation while the Rajya Sabha spent about 16 hours.

Discussions held in the two houses were mainly on the issue of corruption and the government was taking several initiatives to tackle the problem, he said.

Listing out legislative measures to tackle corruption, the minister said apart from the Lokpal bill, the government was working on public procurement bill, benami transactions bill, land acquisition bill, judicial accountability bill and amendments relating to cooperatives.

Noting that the scheme for generating unique identity numbers for all Indians will help tackle irregularities in government schemes, Bansal also said steps had been taken to check dicretionary powers of ministers and expand opportunities in higher education.

The minister said 12 bills (11 in Lok Sabha and 3 in Rajya Sabha) were introduced during the session that began on Aug 1. The Lok Sabha passed 13 bills and the Rajya Sabha nine.

Delhi High court Blast:J&K Police detained another man for questioning

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police today detained another man for questioning in connection with the Delhi High Court blast.

A senior police officer said Farooq Ahmad was detained immediately after his arrival in Srinagar on a GoAir flight from Delhi.

"He was detained for questioning as he had visited the Delhi High Court yesterday (Wednesday). Farooq, who is a resident of Qamarwari area, was detained at the airport after he got down from the flight," the officer said.

Earlier today, police in Kishtwar town of Jammu region had detained two cyber cafe owners, one of their employees and two customers over the e-mail sent by the Harkatul Jihad Islami (HUJI), taking responsibility for the blasts. All the five were later arrested and are being questioned

The toll in the blast went up to 13 today, while 96 were injured.

3,000 people were evacuated from the low-lying areas of Orissa ,after fears of floods

Bhubaneswar: About 3,000 people were evacuated from the low-lying areas of Orissa after a huge discharge of water from the Hirakud Dam triggered fears of floods in 11 of the state's 30 districts, an official said today.

According to reports, at least 1,600 people were moved from low-lying areas to safer places in Boudh district, an official of the state flood control room here told the media.

About 500 people in Jharsuguda and 300 people in Subarnapur were evacuated from the low-lying areas of these districts. Some were evacuated on Thursday night, others early today, he said.

Due to heavy rains in the upper catchment areas in the past several days, including in Chhattisgarh, a huge quantity of water is entering the Hirakud reservoir on the river Mahanadi in Sambalpur district, about 350 km from here.

As a result, the dam authorities had to release the excess water by opening 53 of its 64 sluice gates on Thursday.

With two more gates opened yoday, the number of total gates opened increased to 55, so far, the official said. The released water is likely to reach several downstream areas by evening.

The inflow of water to the Hirakud Dam was 1,015,093 cusecs and outflow was 888,031 cusecs early today, he said.

The state government has asked the collectors of all 11 districts located along the Mahanadi river and its tributaries to remain alert and evacuate more people from the low-lying areas if necessary, special relief commissioner P.K. Mohapatra said.

Mercedes-Benz India unveiled its new CLS 350 BE four-door coupe

Mumbai: Mercedes-Benz India today unveiled its new CLS 350 BE four-door coupe priced at Rs.67.67 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai).

"The new CLS 350 is a new benchmark in the premium coupe segment, both in terms of design and sophistication as well as practicality and performance," Mercedes-Benz India's director (Sales and Marketing) Debashis Mitra said.

The car comes with a multi-function steering wheel, fused with the gear shift paddles.

It is also equipped with 'Airmatic Suspension', where the driver will be able to alter the vehicle's characteristic in a broad range, extending from comfortable to sporty handling.

Leander Paes pulled out of his mixed doubles semifinal with Elena Vesnina

New York: India's chances in Davis Cup World Group play-off received a setback after Leander Paes' back spasms during his US Open Tennis Championships men's doubles quarterfinal made him a doubtful starter for the tie. He also pulled out of his mixed doubles semifinal with Elena Vesnina.

Third-seeded Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, the runners-up here in 1999, lost 4-6, 6-7 (7/4) to sixth-seeded Polish duo Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski here on Thursday.

India are scheduled to play Japan in Tokyo from Sep 16-18 for a place in the World Group next season. The partnership of Paes and Bhupathi for the doubles rubber is key to India's chances in the tie.

"Rough day for Leander, back spasms during the doubles. Out of mixed and now in doubt for Davis cup too," Bhupathi wrote on his Twitter account.

The loss of the "Indian Express" pairing of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi leaves Rohan Bopanna as the only Indian in the men's draw.

Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, the runners-up here last year, were leading 7-5, 2-6, 6-5 against the English pair Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins when play was stopped due to rain.

"Well, had to stop at 6-5 (15-30), Aisam serving in the final set due to the drizzle. But surprisingly they cancelled us for the night," Bopanna tweeted.

The fifth-seeded India-Pakistan pair will now finish their match at court 17 after the boys' singles match. If they win, they will face Fyrstenberg and Matkowski.

Kannada film actor Darshan arrested for allegedly assaulting his wife Vijayalakshmi

Bangalore: Kannada film actor Darshan was arrested here early today for allegedly assaulting his wife Vijayalakshmi, police sources said.

Darshan also allegedly threatened his child, said the sources.

The actor went to the house of Vijayalakshmi's friend Vidya with whom she was staying. He demanded that his wife return to his residence in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar here.

Vijayalakshmi, now in a hospital, is responding well to treatment, a doctor treating her told the media.

Shahid Kapoor instigated Pankaj Kapoor to make "Mausam" directorial venture

Mumbai: Eminent actor Pankaj Kapoor, who made his directorial debut with "Mausam", revealed that it was his son actor Shahid Kapoor who instigated him to make this directorial venture and they shared a very professional relationship all through the making of the film.

"He (Shahid) who asked me to direct the film that how the projected started. So at a certain point when we started off to write the script we were in continuous discussion on whether he likes the script and whether he wants to be the part of it. So it was a very professional relationship we shared from day one," Pankaj told reporters at the music success party of "Mausam" here at JW Marriot on Thursday.

Pankaj was all praise for his son's dedication towards the film.

"When he showed his desire to be part of the film we started sharing a very director-actor relationship. I must say he has grown up as an actor, has built an identical personality. He has done some wonderful work in last eight years but when he set up to work with me he completely submitted him to me and gave me the full liberty to mould him the way I want. It itself speaks a huge about him," said the National Award winning actor.

"Mausam" is a love story, which shows how a couple forced to estrange by socio-political situations around. It captures the crest and trough they go through a span of 10 years until they reunite and make a happy ending.

Some of his personal experiences influenced the story of "Mausam", revealed the 57-year-old.

"Whatever story one develops it's either he has experienced in his life, has seen others experiencing it or read it somewhere or it's the mixture of all of them. Then you think that how to generalise the story so that a common man can relate to it.

"I think the strong point of 'Mausam' is either you want to be part of it, or you have already been through such situation or you would wish to experience something like that," he said.

Actress Sonam Kapoor is playing the lead opposite Shahid in the film.

"Mausam" is set to hit theatres on Sep 16.

"Mausam" is a love story ,it's beyond romance:Pankaj Kapoor

Mumbai: Eminent actor Pankaj Kapoor, who made his directorial debut with "Mausam", has quashed all presumptions that the film is on rebirth and divulged that it's a love story where the couple estrange due to undue socio-political situations, but finally make a happy ending.

'Mausam' is a love story and as the tag line says it's beyond romance. The film shows a span of 10 years. It's a story of two people and their journey. I put the speculation to rest that it's not a story of rebirth.

"It shows how some socio-political incidence makes them to move to different cities. They keep meeting each other in different situations and eventually reunites," Pankaj told reporters at the music success party of the film at JW Marriot here on Thursday.

He has paired his actor son Shahid Kapoor opposite actress Sonam Kapoor who played the female lead in the film.

Pankaj also nullifies the reports that he has also given music to the film.

"There was some news that I have composed some music, which I have not. Yes, as a director of the film it's my job to guide my music director for what I want and get out of my music director, Pritam. He has done a incredible job," said the 57-year-old.

"Mausam" is set to hit theatres on Sep 16.


Bollywood actress Dia Mirza has fallen in love with Sahil Sangha !

Mumbai: Bollywood actress Dia Mirza has fallen in love with Sahil Sangha, co-producer and director of her upcoming film "Love, Breakups Zindagi", but she maintains that marriage is not on the cards yet.

"Every woman has to marry someday and I would love to marry as well. I am blessed that I have found a person who I can trust and depend on. When the time is right, we would get married," Dia told reporters here at an event to launch the music of the film.

According to reports, Dia and Sahil started dating during the making of the film that they have jointly produced along with actor Zayed Khan under their banner, Born Free Entertainment Pvt Ltd.

Although the couple is very serious about their relationship, they are not ready to be hitched yet.

"At the moment the only think that is consuming our energies and we are focused on is our film. After the film releases, we will decided something," said Sahil.

Adding to that, Dia said: "I have not done the planning. The reports about my marriage in 2012 are incorrect. When I was asked whether I would like to marry Sahil I had said I would, as that is the intention of our relationship, but when are we marrying has not been finalised at any level".

Passenger plane carrying a Russian ice hockey team crashed after takeoff ,43 people feared dead

MOSCOW: A passenger plane carrying a Russian ice hockey team to a season-opening match crashed after takeoff from a provincial airport on Wednesday, leaving 43 people feared dead.

The crash of the Yak-42 aircraft, whose passengers included players and coaches of a team that includes foreign stars, plunged Russia's sports world into grief and marred a showcase political forum featuring President Dmitry Medvedev.

The plane was carrying 37 passengers and eight crew to Minsk in Belarus when it crashed a few kilometers (miles) from the airport at Tunoshna outside Yaroslavl, 250 km (150 miles) north of Moscow, the Emergencies Ministry said.
Citing preliminary information, the ministry said two people survived and were taken to hospital.

The plane was carrying members of Lokomotiv -- a leading Continental Hockey League (KHL) hockey team based in Yaroslavl -- to a match in Minsk, KHL president Alexander Medvedev said in televised comments.

"There has been a terrible tragedy," Medvedev said after the opening match of the league's season in the city of Ufa was interrupted by news of the crash, stunning spectators and sports officials. He announced a minute's silence and postponed the match.

There was no immediate word on the identity of the victims. Lokomotiv's roster includes European and NHL stars, among them Czech national side players Karel Ranuchek, Jan Marek and Josef Vasicek, Slovakia's legend Pavol Demitra and Swedish goalkeeper Liv Stefan, according to the KHL.

Its head coach is Canadian former Detroit Red Wings assistant Brad McCrimmon, according to the KHL. At the scene, a broken piece of the plane's light-blue fuselage lay half-submerged in a river on the edge of Tunoshna, a village near the airport, which has the same name.

A police boat plied the waters and emergency workers waded in the shallows near a fire engine on shore. A few modest wooden houses stood just metres (yards) from the crash site. The Interfax news agency cited a security official as saying the plane caught fire after the crash. Citing an official at the state aviation agency Rosaviatsia, Interfax reported that the plane had trouble gaining altitude and hit an antenna beyond the runway.

The crash occurred while Russia was hosting an international political forum in Yaroslavl that Medvedev, who has said he may run for a second term as president in March, was expected to address on Thursday. Medvedev's spokeswoman, Natalya Timakova, said he expressed his condolences and would alter his plans for the forum and visit the site of the crash, which came less than three months after a jet crash in northern Russia killed 45 people.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered Transport Minister Igor Levitin to travel to the crash site on Wednesday and Medvedev sent his first deputy chief of staff, Vladislav Surkov.

The crash was Russia's deadliest since June, when a Tupolev Tu-134 jet slammed into a roadside while trying to land in fog in the northern Russian city of Petrozavodsk, killing 45 people. In April 2010, Polish President Lech Kaczynski's Russian-built plane crashed near the western city of Smolensk in a thick fog, killing him and all 95 others on board.

Delhi high court blast :Ghulam Nabi Azad faced the ire of angry relatives

NEW DELHI: Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad faced the ire of angry relatives who alleged that there was delay in the handing over of bodies of those killed in the Delhi high court blast.

The relatives surrounded Azad at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and complained to him that despite a ten-hour wait, they were not handed over the bodies of the victims.

N K Gupta, relative of Nalini Aggarwal (55), alleged that the family got a confirmation of her death at 12 noon but the post mortem was not conducted till late night.

Azad told the angry relatives that no one expected such an emergency. He told them that the authorities were doing whatever they could do.

"We are taking every step to ensure that such things don't repeat next time," Azad said.

Microsoft Corp executive will show off a new version of Windows on a tablet computer

SEATTLE: Next week a high-ranking Microsoft Corp executive will stand on stage and show off a new version of Windows on a tablet computer.

It won't be the first time. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer did it last year. Co-founder Bill Gates did it 10 years ago.

This time, when Windows chief Steven Sinofsky shows off an early version of its next touch-enabled, tablet-friendly operating system -- code-named Windows 8 -- to independent developers at their annual conference in Anaheim next, there is a sense that it really matters.

"It's a big deal," said Todd Lowenstein, portfolio manager at HighMark Capital Management, which holds Microsoft shares.

"Investors are hungry to see how they are going to join where the market's going. They've been lagging and they need to catch up and surpass what's going on, to demonstrate they truly are an innovative company."

Despite foretelling the tablet revolution a decade ago, Microsoft is last off the blocks with a salable device. The tablet PC Gates unveiled at the Comdex tech show in November 2001 was too clunky to catch on. The slick-looking Hewlett-Packard prototype slate brandished by Ballmer at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2010 did not even make it onto the shelves.

The first generation of touch-enabled tablets running Windows 8 are expected on the market in about 12 months.

That gives Apple Inc two and a half years head start with its iPad, which has already sold 29 million units. Tablets running Google Inc's Android software will also have gained ground, likely boosted by an expected device.

The shift away from desk-based PCs -- which mostly run on Microsoft software -- toward tablets and smartphones is happening quicker than expected. The future of Microsoft, and its moribund stock, may hinge on how well Sinofsky can sell the latest combination of tablets and Windows.

"Windows 8 might actually matter if they can do the touch-screen innovation," said Michael Yoshikami, Chief Executive of fund manager YCMNET Advisors. "Otherwise Windows 8 is just Windows 7 with one more number."

Hearts and minds
First, Microsoft needs to get itself back in tune with developers and entrepreneurs who are flocking from Microsoft-centric programing platforms to the more exciting realms of Apple and Android.

The shift to a Apple-based culture is noticeable among innovators and entrepreneurs, said Matt McIlwain, managing director at Seattle-based venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group.

"Five years ago I would have said 80 percent of the startups or ventures who came to pitch us pulled out their laptop and started showing us their PowerPoint presentation," said McIlwain. "Now 80 percent pull out their Mac. If I were Steve Ballmer, that would be concerning to me."

The enthusiasm of independent software developers is key for the health of what Microsoft calls its Windows "ecosystem". It has stirred excitement with its new motion-controlled Kinect system for the Xbox game console, but is lagging in the exploding market for mobile apps.

Apple iPhone and iPad users can download 425,000 apps, while Android users have a choice of 250,000. There are only 30,000 apps for Windows Phones, although that is expected to grow when Microsoft launches its own app store with Windows 8.

Microsoft finds itself playing only a background role in many tech-savvy startups, such as fashion site StyleCaster, which uses Apple computers, Google email, Linux web systems and Inc for its data storage.

"In the last four or five years, ever since the iPhone platform came out, you have even more developers who have moved over onto Apple systems, and that's created more and more tools," said Drew Butler, StyleCaster's vice president of technology.

Not everyone is so downbeat. Wes Greene, lead mobile developer at Seattle-based Groundspeak, which makes a leading app for geocaching -- basically GPS-enabled treasure hunting -- for Windows, Apple and Android phones, expects Microsoft's deal with Nokia to bring it into the mobile mainstream.

He likes what he has read so far about Windows 8.

"It's kind of cool to see it's not like three separate companies any more, it's all falling into line."

Wall Street restive
Microsoft also needs to connect with Wall Street and investors, who are nonplused with a share price that hasn't budged in the past decade.

Next Wednesday, Ballmer and his top lieutenants are set to make their annual presentations to analysts, in the midst of the developer conference, to explain their strategy.

Analysts will likely focus on the perennial issues -- how long Microsoft should persevere with its massively money-losing Bing search business, and what it should do with its $53 billion cash pile.

Ballmer may also need to address a rising tide of protest from unhappy shareholders, including influential hedge fund manager David Einhorn, who has called for Ballmer's removal and demanded the sale of the online services unit -- including Bing -- which has lost more than $6 billion in the last three years.

In addition, a letter from an anonymous investor to Microsoft's lead independent director was widely circulated over the summer, calling for the company to issue $40 billion of debt to fund a massive share buyback and to direct all its domestic cash flow toward paying dividends, which might increase the share price by more than 50 percent.

Some are hoping for a repeat of Microsoft's special dividend in 2004 which handed back more than $30 billion to shareholders. At the very least, most investors are looking for an increase in Microsoft's dividend later this month, from the 2.5 per cent dividend yield it sits at now.

Whether through innovation or financial engineering, investors are looking for Microsoft to show it has more value than its $26 share price -- nine times expected earnings -- indicates.

"The stock is reflecting a no-growth, or ex-growth kind of multiple," said Lowenstein. "Their hurdle is to convince investors this is not the case."

Sonia Gandhi returned home after undergoing surgery in the US

NEW DELHI: Sonia Gandhi, the Congress party chief, returned home on Thursday after undergoing surgery in the United States five weeks ago for an undisclosed condition.

"Sonia Gandhi arrived early this morning, she is doing fine," Congress spokesman Janardan Dwivedi told media without giving further details.

Party officials announced on August 4 that Gandhi, 64, had been operated on in the United States, though they have since declined to release any information about her health or where she was admitted to hospital.

Italian-born Gandhi is widely thought to be preparing the ground for her only son Rahul to become prime minister at some stage after Singh, 78, steps down.

Rahul, 41, who sits in the lower house of Parliament, has had joint charge of the Congress party while his mother has been away, but he adopted a low profile during a difficult period for the government.

It struggled to react to a nationwide civil protest movement that sprung up in support of anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare, who went on a 13-day hunger strike at a public venue in the capital New Delhi.

Authorities were heavily criticised for making several blunders in dealing with the hugely popular Hazare after they briefly arrested him and prime minister Singh denounced him in Parliament.

Hazare's campaign claimed victory after lawmakers agreed to consider some of his demands over the strengthening of anti-corruption legislation being drawn up.

The government, which most observers say is guided on many strategic and daily matters by Sonia Gandhi, is also under pressure over security failures after a bomb outside the New Delhi court on Wednesday killed 12 people.

India has been hit by a series of bomb attacks in recent years, many of which remain unsolved.


Cyber cafe in J&K was raided to trace the details of the email sent by Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami (HuJI)

Jammu: A cyber cafe in Jammu and Kashmir was raided today morning by police to trace the details of the email sent by Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami (HuJI) that claimed responsibility for the Delhi High Court blast, sources said.The National Investigation Agency zeroed in on Global Internet Cafe at Malik Market in Kishtwar from where the email was sent.

The Pakistan-based HuJI had sent the email to two television channels demanding that the hanging of 2001 parliament attack convict Afzal Guru be immediately repealed.

The owners of the cafe, Khawja Mehmood Aziz and his brother Khalid Aziz, are being questioned, according to police sources.

The records of mails and details of all those who sent it are being scanned, they added.

At least 11 people were killed and 91 injured when a powerful bomb concealed in a briefcase exploded at a gate of the high court in New Delhi on Wednesday morning.

No casualties or damage in the earthquake that rocked Delhi overnight

New Delh: There were no casualties or damage in the earthquake that rocked Delhi overnight, officials said today.

The 4.2 Richter scale quake shook Delhi and neighbouring areas at 11.28 p.m. "No damage or death was reported," a fire department official said.

Many panicked residents rushed outside of their homes after the tremors.

"We could not sleep for the rest of the night fearing another tremor. Thank god nothing happened," said Shweta Sharma, a resident of east Delhi.

The epicentre of the quake was in Sonepat in Haryana, about 90 km from Delhi. The quake was also felt in Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

Delhi falls in Zone 4 of earthquake intensity zones and is designated a high damage risk zone.

India's food inflation dipped marginally to 9.55 percent

New Delhi: India's food inflation dipped marginally to 9.55 percent for the week ended Aug 27 year-on-year, coming down from the double-digit levels registered the previous week, according to official data released today.

In the week under review, prices of essential food items were still reigning on the higher side. Onions were 42 percent costlier, vegetable prices rose 22.42 percent, while fruits became dearer by 16.57 percent.

Food inflation had crept to 10.05 percent for the week ended Aug 20.

The primary articles index, which has a 20.12 percent weight in the wholesale price index, rose by 13.34 percent in the week under review as compared to 12.93 percent in the previous week, according to data released by the commerce and industry ministry.

The index for non-food articles rose 19.88 percent for the week ended Aug 20, while the indices for fuel and power increased 12.55 percent.

As high inflation continues to plague the country, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to hike interest rates once again. It has already done so 11 times since January 2010.

The headline inflation is still close to double digits, registered at 9.22 percent in August.

The following are the yearly rise and fall in prices under review of some main commodities that form the sub-index for food articles:

Onions: 42.03 percent

Vegetables: 22.42 percent

Fruits: 16.57 percent

Potatoes: 13.38 percent

Eggs, meat, fish: 7.26 percent

Cereals: 5.45 percent

Rice: 4.65 percent

Wheat: (-) 1.04 percent

Pulses: (-) 1.56 percent

Delhi High Court Bomb attack:US expressed its sympathy and solidarity with India

Washington: Condemning the "cowardly" bombing attack outside Delhi High Court, the United States has expressed its sympathy and solidarity with India and offered any and all assistance to Indian authorities.

US Deputy Secretary of State William J Burns conveyed Washington's sympathies to the new Indian ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, when she came to the State Department on Wednesday to present her credentials.

Rao would be formally presenting her credentials to President Barack Obama later, but with Burns accepting her credentials at the State Department, she can start functioning as India's new face in Washington.

During the meeting, Burns was also able to express US sympathy and solidarity on the terrorist attack outside the Delhi High Court, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters on Wednesday.

Asked if the US had received any request for assistance from India, Nuland said: "This just happened in Delhi just a few hours ago, so I think the Indian government is still at the stage of evaluating what it might need.

"But we have made clear that we stand ready to help if there is a formal request."

Earlier in a press statement condemning "in the strongest terms this morning's deadly bombing outside the New Delhi High Court" Nuland said:

"Terrorism is a scourge that affects us all and the United States stands with India in confronting this global challenge."

Extending US' "deepest condolences to those affected by these cowardly attacks," she said: "The people of India have once again demonstrated remarkable resiliency and courage in the face of horrific violence."

Meanwhile, Texas governor Rick Perry, who is a leading Republican presidential aspirant, condemned the attack saying on Wednesday's "bombing in India and the tragic loss of life are graphic reminders that Al Qaeda and similar groups remain committed to murder, terror and attacking freedom across the globe."

Another lawmaker Pete Sessions expressed the hope that "those responsible for this unspeakable violence may be quickly identified to ensure that they are held accountable for their horrific actions."

Rajya Sabha was adjourned over the cash-for-vote scam

New Delhi: The question hour could not be taken up in the Rajya Sabha on the last day of the monsoon session today as the house was adjourned till 12.30 p.m. over the cash-for-vote scam.

As soon as the house met, opposition members were on their feet demanding suspension of question hour to discuss the arrest of two former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs -- Fagan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Singh Bhagora -- in the case.

Repeated pleas from Chairman Hamid Ansari to let the question hour proceed were not heeded to.

Ministers of State for Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasamy and Rajiv Shukla were on their feet urging the opposition to let the proceedings go on.

"Let the parliament proceed, every day you are disturbing," Narayanasamy shouted.

As the MPs continued to press with the demand for suspending the question hour, the house was adjourned till 12.30 p.m.

Rajya Sabha member and former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and the two former BJP MPs were on Tuesday arrested for alleged involvement in the cash-for-votes scandal arising from the July 2008 parliament trust vote.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has condemned the bomb attack at the Delhi High Court

New Delhi: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has condemned "in the strongest terms" the bomb attack at the Delhi High Court that left 12 people dead.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said: "We stand in solidarity with the government and people of India.

"We will continue to be an active partner in working towards combating violent extremism and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and safeguarding the security of the peace loving people of our region.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were wounded and with the victims and their families."

Home Minister P. Chidambaram held a security review meeting

New Delhi: Home Minister P. Chidambaram held a security review meeting with the intelligence and investigating agencies' officials here today, a day after a powerful bomb blast killed 12 people outside the Delhi High Court.

The meeting was attended by heads and officials of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon also attended the high-level meeting to take stock of the security situation in the country.

The NIA is leading the probe to identify the perpetrators of the terror attack. But investigators appeared clueless so far because the probe initiated soon after the blast had not made any major headway.

An email attributed to the Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami (HuJI) terror outfit claimed the responsibility for the bomb blast. The email has been tracked to have been sent from a cyber cafe in Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar district.

The state police have detained the owner of the Global Internet Cafe and he is being questioned.

Threatening to carry out more such attacks, the email to two television channels in Delhi demanded that the hanging of 2001 parliament attack convict Afzal Guru be repealed immediately.

On Wednesday's blast at Gate No. 5 of the high court complex has left 91 people injured.

All India Bar Association (AIBA),Indian Council of Jurists called off their goodwill visit to Pakistan

New Delhi: The All India Bar Association (AIBA) and the Indian Council of Jurists today called off their goodwill visit to Pakistan following the Delhi High Court bombing that has claimed 12 lives, said an official.

The 25-member delegation of lawyers invited by Pakistan's Supreme Court Bar Association was to leave for Pakistan today, said AIBA president Adish Aggarwala.

Two lawyers were among those killed in Wednesday's explosion.

The delegation was to interact with leaders and judges of the Pakistani Bar Association.

The team was to undertake the visit to Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore.

The visit was called off after the government felt that it was not appropriate to undertake a goodwill mission to Pakistan at this moment, sources said.

The blast at Gate No.5 of the high court complex has left 91 people injured.

Philips launched its Xenium range of dual-SIM mobile handsets

New Delhi: Philips today launched its Xenium range of dual-SIM mobile handsets in India priced sub-Rs.10,000.

The phones' power management technology reduces battry consumption, the company said.

"These highly energy efficient phones are targeted at heavy users, primarily the dynamic business professionals, frequent travelers and anyone who desires to be always connected," the company said in a statement.

At Rs.8,280, Xenium X806 is a 3.0 inch touchscreen device with 5 megapixel autofocus camera with flash and expandable memory up to 8 GB. It offers eight hours of talktime and one month of standby time.

At the economy range, the company offers Xenium X116 and Xenium X121 models for Rs.2,760 and Rs.1,776 respectively.

Earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter Scale shook the Indian capital

New Delhi: An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter Scale shook the Indian capital for 5-6 seconds at around 11.30 p.m. on Wednesday, the Met department said, scaling down its intensity from the initial 6.6. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage to property.

The epicentre of the quake was in Sonepat in Haryana, about 90 km from Delhi, and its aftershocks were also felt in northern states like Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

"It is not 6.6 intensity, it is 4.2 on the Richter," an IMD official told the media.

The IMD website described the quake as "slight" and the timing as 23:28:18 hours.

Fire officials and Delhi Police said they had not received any report of damage or building collapse.

The temblor was particularly felt in east Delhi where thousands of people left their homes and came out on the streets.

"All the furniture in my house started shaking just as we finished dinner," said Vinod Kapoor, a resident of east Delhi.

In other parts of the capital too, people ran out of their homes in fright when their furniture started rattling alarmingly and cupboards and fans started swaying.

"A lot of panic here... my network is gone. People came out of their homes. Children started crying and everyone was on the roads," said a media correspondent who lives in a women's hostel in south Delhi.

Throughout the city, people called up relatives and friends, and asked after their well-being.

"At first I heard a muffled sound - like a subdued explosion in a tin - and then felt the quake for about 10 seconds," said Gurgaon resident Gulshan Luthra.

The quake had residents in Faridabad running out of their homes too.

Boxing team left for the Isle of Man to participate in the Commonwealth Youth Games

New Delhi: A six-member boxing team, part of the 31 member Indian contingent, left on Wednesday for the Isle of Man to participate in the Commonwealth Youth Games.

The competition, to be held Sep 7-13, will see 64 Commonwealth nations and territories participating.

The boxing event kicks off at the Royal Hall in the Villa Marina today and will witness 77 pugilists from 30 countries vying for top honours. The six-member Indian team, comprising four boxers and two coaches, exuded confidence ahead of the event.

"We have four boxers participating this time around and I believe all four are medal contenders. They performed well at the (recently concluded) Cuban Youth Olympics and I am confident of a good showing in this competition as well," coach-in-charge G. Manoharan said.

Sumit Sangwan (81 kg), a silver medallist at the 2010 Asian Boxing Championships, will lead the Indian charge at the Games. Sangwan has also featured in the senior section at the 34th National Games, where he claimed top honours.

"It is a big opportunity to be representing our country at the Youth Commonwealth Games and I am sure I am going to do well," the 18-year-old said.

Rahul Poonia (49kg), who won a gold at the Cuba Youth Olympics, is looking on build his international experience via the Games.

"This is my second international event and I want to absorb as much as possible and gradually build my confidence as well as enhance my skills in the ring," the reigning youth national champion said.

The 4th Youth Commonwealth Games will feature seven disciplines: athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, rugby 7's and swimming.

The 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games were held in India and home pugilists won three golds, one silver and three bronze.

The squad: Rahul Poonia (49kg), Balakrishna Vankala (52kg), Surender Singh (75kg) Sumit Sangwan (81 kg).

Support Staff: G Manoharan (coach), Lalit Prasad (coach).

Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann collaborating with Amitabh Bachchan for "The Great Gatsby"

New Delhi: Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann says he is "honoured" to be collaborating with Amitabh Bachchan for "The Great Gatsby" and adds that he has been influenced by the actor's work, especially "Sholay", which introduced him to Indian cinema.

"I am personally thrilled that one of the world's great screen legends, Amitabh Bachchan, is joining the cast. Over the years, Amitabh's films have made a tremendous impression on my life and work. His film 'Sholay' was my introduction to Indian cinema," Luhrmann said over email.

Lurhmann, 48, used Indian influences in his famous 2001 musical "Moulin Rouge", which featured the popular Hindi song "Chamma Chamma" from the film "China Gate".

He met Amitabh on his last visit to Mumbai in 2010.

"I was lucky enough to meet Amitabh at his home in Mumbai last year when I was doing a charity art project with painter Vincent Fantauzzo, which led to inclusion of a portrait in the Sovereign Art Prize stand at the 2010 Hong Kong Art Fair. We spoke at that time of working together and finding a project in the very near future," added Luhrmann.

This is Amitabh's first international project in his over four decade-long film career, which has seen him play iconic roles like Vijay Dinanath Chauhan in "Agneepath", Jai of "Sholay", Vijay Verma of "Deewaar", and Narayan Shankar of "Mohabbatein".

In "The Great Gatsby", which is a $125 million 3D adaptation of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, Amitabh has been assigned to play the role of Meyer Wolfsheim, gambler. "Titanic" star Leonardo DiCaprio will be seen in the lead role.

Other cast members for the second screen adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" -- the first one in 1974 starred Robert Redford and Mia Farrow -- include Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher and Carey Mulligan. The film also features newcomer Elizabeth Debicki.

"With the pivotal role of Wolfsheim, we (Amitabh and I) have found the collaboration. I couldn't be happier. I know that Amitabh is doing this from the point of the quality of Fitzgerald's text, the tremendous cast, and, most importantly, as a gesture of good will and friendship. I'm honoured to have him on board." said the director.

Luhrmann has also helmed films like "Strictly Ballroom" (1992), "William Shakespeare's "Romeo + Juliet" (1996) and "Australia".

The filmmaker is good friends with Oscar winning Indian composer A.R. Rahman, who composed free-of-cost background music for a video on Luhrmann's Indian sojourn. Given their friendship and Rahman's overseas success with projects like "Slumdog Millionaire", "Couples Retreat" and "127 Hours", one wonders if the two would seal a deal for "The Great Gatsby".

The principal photography of the movie began this week in Sydney. It will be distributed in 3D and 2D by Warner Bros Pictures and in certain territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.