12 January 2014

2100 HRS.
11th January, 2014

  • External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid says there is no stand off between India and United States over the issue of Devyani Khobragade.
  • Washington regrets expulsion of American diplomat from India after Khobragade was asked leave the US.
  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kerjriwal says next public hearing will be held at bigger venue with better arrangements after chaos at today's meet.
  • Congress urges Election Commission to ensure effective regulation of social media to make polls smooth and fair.
  • National Investigation Agency attaches property of Indian Mujahideen fugitive Tehseen Akhtar in connection with Bodh Gaya blasts case.
  • Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has died.
  • India plays New Zealand in a must win match in the Hockey World League finals.
  • Rohan Bopanna and his partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi finish runners up in Sydney International Tennis tournament.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today said, New Delhi will remain in conversation with Washington over Devyani Khobragade issue. Mr Khurshid said, there are certain issues of domestic laws and India's understanding of the Vienna Convention on consular rights will remain. Talking to reporters in New Delhi, Mr Khurshid added there is no stand off between India and the United States over the issue.
We will remain in conversation if we do all our friends and then there are issues still need to be worried on, we will work on the issues but there is no reason now, to feel any immediate concern about any outcomes that might be adverse of particularly of any disturbing nature. So now is normal course and due course, we will take up issues one be one and sought them out.
Meanwhile, The United States has regretted that India felt it necessary to expel an American diplomat after senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade was asked to leave the country following her indictment in a visa fraud case. The State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said in Washington yesterday that this has clearly been a challenging time in the US-India relationship. She said Washington hopes that this will now come to closure and the India will now take significant steps with the US to improve our relationship and return it to a more constructive phase.
Earlier in the day yesterday, India expelled a senior American diplomat within hours of Devyani being asked to leave the US.
Khobragade, who was indicted for visa fraud and making false statements by a grand jury in the US returned New Delhi last night.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kerjriwal has rejected criticism of his 'janta durbar'. Addressing a press conference Kejriwal said though today's exercise had turned chaotic due to "mismanagement", they have learnt their lesson and the next public hearing will be at a bigger venue with better arrangements.
The Chief Minister had to leave the venue of the public hearing midway as hundreds jostled with each other to register their grievances. Mr. Kejriwal said that he had left the venue to avoid a stampede-like situation.
A large number of people wanted to meet me, and to avoid a stampede like situation, I had to leave the venue. There is a need to improve the arrangements. I appeal everyone to come in a proper queue."
The Chief Minister said that 90 per cent of the crowd at today's hearing comprised contractual workers. The Chief Minister said he would be writing to every department asking them why contractual workers could not be made permanent.
Congress has termed the holding of janta darbar by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal outside the Secretariat as an impractical move. Talking to reporters in New Delhi, party spokesperson Meem Afzal said that Kejriwal should engage his party workers to collect the grievances of the people and then send same to the Chief Minister. He said that Delhi government should make proper arrangements before the programme.
We should think and analyse before starting anything. We should also understand the practicalities of it to see if it is possible or not.
Meanwhile, BJP has criticized the idea to hold public meeting outside the Secretariat. Delhi BJP President Vijay Goel, said, the AAP is seeking attention of public but are not concerned about solving their problems. He also alleged that Janata Darbar was called with an eye on the next election, not for people's welfare.
The existing system needs to be upgraded and has to be made corruption free. Otherwise the public will continue to face problems in the same manner they faced in today's Janta Durbar.
Former Police officer and team Anna Member Kiran Bedi also criticized Delhi government for holding a Janata Darbar. On the social networking site twitter, Bedi said secretariats are not run from rooftops.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi held consultations with young achievers, intellectuals and opinion leaders in Bangalore today as part of his efforts to gether inputs for preparation of party manifesto for 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Briefing media persons later, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari informed that the interaction in Bangalore was 3rd of its kind by Rahul Gandhi. He said Congress is the only party that has embarked upon ambitious exercise of preparing manifesto based on the aspirations and priorities of people. He added that in the last 10 years UPA government has given people the right to information, right to employment, right to education, right to identity and food security.
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, while describing NCP chief Sharad Pawar as his political guru, has said he would be happy to see him become the Prime minister. Interacting with editors of Marathi newspapers at Sholapur today, Shinde said he entered politics because of Pawar.
Congress has urged Election Commission to ensure effective regulation of social media. The party said that several individuals and groups misuse the Internet to malign their political opponents and such acts interfered in the fair and smooth conduct of polls.
In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath, AICC's Legal Department Secretary K C Mittal, requested that guidelines should be issued to regulate objectionable content on social media. He said these contents are not permissible under law and violate the Model Code of Conduct.
Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan today met Congress President Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi to discuss the issue of alliance in Bihar for the next General elections. Talking to reporters after the meeting, Paswan said Congress is his natural ally and he has requested the party to take the lead in firming up a secular alliance in the state. Our correspondent reports that both LJP and RJD are aiming to ally with the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The property of fugitive Indian Mujahideen operative Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu was attached today after the deadline for his surrender lapsed on January nine. Maniyarpur police station in-charge Asgar Imam said that a joint team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Bihar police reached Tehseen’s house in Maniyarpur village in Samastipur district and attached the property in the presence of fugitive's father Wasim Akhtar and other family members. Tahseen is accused in Patna and Bodhya Gaya serial blasts. The NIA also announced a reward of rupees 10 Lakhs on him.
The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered two cases against the then officials of the Indian Military Academy and Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun for alleged cheating, corruption and irregularities in the recruitment process. These officers have been accused of issuing fake experience certificates to candidates in recruitment of 59 Group 'C' and 227 Group 'D' category employees in 2011-2012.
President Pranab Mukherjee has stressed the need for developing tourism in Andaman and Nicobar islands. Addressing the civic reception hosted by the Port Blair Municipal Council this afternoon, the President said the islands have the potential to be a spring board for India's engagement with South East Asia and the Pacific region. He emphasised that the islands' rich tourism potential needs to be harnessed in eco-friendly manner to preserve their extraordinary beauty.
The principal of unity in diversity, its unique and cohesive multicultural, multilinguistics society sets an example to the rest of the country. Immense beauty and splendour of these islands. Its rich forest and marine wealth, coastal flora and fauna alongwith the beaches of extraordinary beauty are a great natural marvel.
The President visited the national memorial cellular jail and placed wreath at the Martyrs’ column.
Earlier today, Mr. Mukherjee presented the Sunil Gangopadhyay Memorial Award (2012 and 2013) to two eminent Bengali poets Nirendranath Chakraborty and Sankha Ghosh at a function at Raj Bhawan in Kolkata. Speaking on the occasion the President said the historical awareness coupled with minutest historical detail make Sunil Gangopadhyay’s innumerable writings unique.
Road Transport and Highways Ministry is observing National Road Safety Week across the country from today to create awareness among the people. The theme of this year’s Road Safety week is "When on road, always say Pehle Aap". The Ministry has also planned a Road Safety Walk at India Gate in the national capital tomorrow to raise awareness about it.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has died at the age of 85 after spending eight years in a coma following a stroke. He was being treated at the Sheba Medical Center outside Tel Aviv. Sharon was revered by many in his country for his contributions in all the major wars since Israel's independence but courted controversy throughout his long career.
India is playing against New Zealand their must win second Group-A match of the Men's Hockey World League Final at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi. New Zealand were leading by three goals when reports last came in. India had earlier lost their opener to England, 0-2 yesterday.
Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani team-mate Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi today ended as runners up in the Sydney International Tennis tournament. In the finals, the third seeded Indo-Pak pair lost to the Canadian-Serbian combination of Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic, 6-7, 6-7. The Indo-Pak pair were chasing their fifth team title.

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