- Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, found dead in a Delhi hotel.
- 2-day BJP National Council meet begins in New Delhi today.
- AAP government demands that Delhi Police should be brought under its control.
- At least 17 people killed in a stampede at Malabar hill in Mumbai.
- President Obama orders curbs on collection of intelligence data about leaders of US allies.
- And in Sports,
- New Zealand to clash with Netherlands for the Men's Hockey World League Final title today; India stuns Germany in classification stage.
<><><>Sunanda Pushkar, wife of the Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, was found dead in a hotel room in Delhi last night. Police said, the body of 52-year-old Pushkar, an entrepreneur who married Tharoor in 2010, was found in the room in suspicious circumstances. The Minister's private secretary said that Tharoor and Pushkar were staying in the hotel since Thursday as some painting work was on at their home. He said, when Mr. Tharoor returned from the AICC meet, he found Sunanda dead. In a Twitter post last evening, Union Minister Shashi Tharoor said he would not be able to attend the Jaipur Literary Festival due to illness of his wife. Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said inquest proceedings have been initiated by the sub-divisional magistrate of the area. Any death within seven years of marriage is legally required to be investigated by the sub-divisional magistrate. Pushkar and Tharoor were at the centre of a raging controversy in the last two days, when reports emerged that she was upset over reported text and tweet messages between her husband and a Pakistani journalist. A joint statement from the couple, however, said that they were happily married but distressed by some unauthorised tweets. The President, the Prime Minister, political leaders and celebrities have also condoled the death of Sunanda Pushkar.
<><><>The 2-day BJP National Council meeting begins in New Delhi today. The party's resolutions on the political and economic situation in the country, which were given final touches at the National Executive yesterday, will be passed during the meet. This being the last conclave before the general elections, the party will also set its roadmap for the battle ahead. State units will present reports on their state of preparedness for the elections and formation of booth level committees.
<><><>Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has criticized the BJP saying it believed in fanning communal passions and turning people against one another. Addressing the All India Congress Committee, AICC meeting in New Delhi last evening, without naming the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, Mr. Gandhi said the structures of democracy will not be handed over to one person. At the end of the session, Congress passed a resolution on secularism, corruption, security, price rise economy, employment and women.
<><><>The Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has asked Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to suspend four police officials for allegedly not conducting a raid without warrant ordered by Law Minister Somnath Bharti. Mr. Kejriwal has now set a deadline and has said if no action is being taken against the said personnel till Monday, all Aam Aami Party ministers will sit on a 'dharna' outside the Home Ministry. He demanded that the Delhi Police should be brought under its control. Later, Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi, who also met Mr Shinde, said that the Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has ordered an inquiry into the matter of suspension of officials and he will be able to take action only after the report comes.
"An inquiry will be setup on the issue and what ever will be the out come of the inquiry, action will be taken accordingly. The impartial investigation is a matter of pleasure and it will make the things clear."
<><><>The Delhi Police has arrested two more people in connection with the gang rape of a 51-year old Danish woman. One accused was arrested from Jamuna Bazar and the other from Paharganj area in the national capital yesterday. A juvenile has also been apprehended by the Police. Those arrested were among the eight vagabonds who had allegedly robbed and gangraped the victim. The police had, earlier, arrested three other accused involved in the case.
<><><>In Maharashtra, at least 17 people were killed and 58 injured in a stampede at Malabar hills in Mumbai in the wee hours today. The incident took place when thousands of people had gathered to pay their last respects to the departed spiritual leader of Dawoodi Bohra community, Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin. The 102 year old leader passed away yesterday after suffering a heart attack at his South Mumbai residence.
<><><>In Assam, at least 5 persons were killed in Kokrajhar district last night after suspected National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Sangbijit group) attacked passengers of a public bus.
"Three injured persons were undergoing treatment at nearby hospital. Police said dead are yet to be identified .The incident occurred at Athiabari Tiniali under Serfanguri police station. According to police, a group of armed militants instructed some passengers to get down from the bus and opened fire indiscremently. Official sources suspected that the incident could be retaliation by the Sangbijit faction of killing a cadre at Mainaguri. The new DGP of Assam Khagen Sarma has already said that militant outfits are planning to carry out subversive activities before Republic day. MANAS PRATIM SARMA/AIR NEWS/Guwahati."
<><><>The US has assured its allies that it will not eavesdrop on their private communication unless there is a compelling security case, for doing so. Talking to reports in Washington, President Barak Obama said such data had prevented terror attacks at home and abroad, but that in tackling threats the government risked over-reaching itself. He ordered curbs on the collection of bulk data from hundred of millions of phone users by American intelligence agencies at home and abroad.
<><><>In Afganistan, at least 16 people were killed and several others injured in a suicide attack at a restaurant in high security diplomatic area of Kabul last night. Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. More from our correspondent:
"This is the third and the deadliest attack in Afghan capital Kabul this year. Two Afghan policemen were killed and 20 others wounded last Sunday when a suicide bomber detonated his bicycle in the eastern part of the city. Earlier this month, a NATO convoy was also attacked in central Kabul, but there was no casualty. The incidents of suicide attacks and bomb blasts are not a new thing for Afghanistan, but their occurrence ahead of the completion of security transition as well as political transition this year, is a matter of grave concern for the future of the country. Rajendra Upadhyay, AIR News KABUL."
<><><>The 121 Indian fishermen, who have been freed by the Sri Lankan courts in the last two days, will be repatriated within a couple of days. Talking to reporters after returning home from India, Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senarathna said, rest of the Indian fishermen and all their fishing boats under Sri Lankan custody will also be released next week. Our correspondent has filed this report:
"The released fishermen are expected to be repatriated within a few days. An understanding has been reached between India and Sri Lanka to find lasting solutions to the basic problems of the fishermen that drives them into each other’s waters for their livelihood. A series of meetings are expected to take place over the next few weeks between officials and representatives of fishermen. The two countries have decided to promote alternate methods of fishing that will end dubious practices like bottom trawling and violations of international maritime boundary line.Abhishek Dayal AIR NEWS Colombo."
<><><>In Jammu and Kashmir, a Brigade Commanders' level Flag Meeting was held between India and Pakistan at Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point along the LoC in Poonch district yesterday. Our correspondent has the details:
"During the meeting Army lodged a strong protest with its Pakistani counterparts over the ceasefire violations along the line of Control in Poonch; particularly the one that took place on Monday this week. Sources said that Indian officials warned Pakistani officials that troops guarding the border will give befitting reply in case of any violation. Various issues related to ceasefire agreement and improvement of responsiveness of adjusting channels were discussed. The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere. Yogesh Sharma, AIR News, Jammu."
<><><>Delhiites today woke up to a more chilly morning as light to moderate rainfall lashed most parts of the national capital last night. According to the Met department the city received four milimetre rainfall till 5.30 a.m. A report:
"Cold conditions have further intensified in the national capital due to the rains which lashed last night. However, Delhiites got some respite from the dense fog in the morning. The general visibility remained more than 700 metres. Airport officials said the flight operations at the Indira Gandhi International Airport remained almost normal. However, around 20 long-route Delhi bound trains are reported running late due to the bad weather in other parts of the region. The weatherman has predicted generally cloudy sky in the national capital as well as its adjoining areas during the day. The maximum and minimum temperature are likely to remain at 15 and 10 degree celsius respectively. With Anand Kumar, this is V. RAVI KUMAR_ for AIR news."
In Himachal Pradesh, Shimla received 15 centimetres of snowfall last night. Snowfall was continuing when reports last came in.
New Zealand will take on the Netherlands in the finals of the Men's Hockey World League Final at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi today. The match will be played at 8 in the evening. Meanwhile, India will take on Belgium in the fifth-sixth position match at 3:30 PM today. The Sardar-Singh led Indian team yesterday defeated Germany, 5-4, in the cross over match of the fifth to eighth place classification stage.
<><><>Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, with their team-mates, today progressed into the pre-quarterfinals of the Australian Open Tennis tournament in Melbourne. Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek is currently playing their Men's Doubles second round match. Mahesh Bhupathi and his partner will play later in the day.
<><><>Sunanda Pushkar found dead in her room at a Delhi hotel is front page news in almost every paper. "After twitter spat, a shocking tragedy" is the Pioneer headline. The Hindustan Times writes that cops are looking at the suicide angle too'. 'Rahul leads anti Modi charge at AICC session' is the Hindu headline. 'Rahul dons a combative cap, enthuses Congress cadre' says the Business Standard. 'At AICC meeting, Rahul says BJP and AAP are good at marketing' writes the Tribune.
Confrontation between the AAP members and Delhi police is covered adequately by the press. 'Kejriwal to centre - suspend 4 cops by Monday 10am or we go on dharna - LG orders independent probe into allegations', writes the Indian Express. 'AAP goes on the warpath' says Mail Today.
'Finally a 3 BHK house on Tilak Lane for Kejriwal' informs the Times of India. The passing away of legendary actress Suchitra Sen is reported by most dailies, with tributes by Lata Mangeshkar, Gulzar and other celebrities. 'Bengal bids adieu to its golden queen' writes Mail Today.
'Delhi recorded its coldest day of the season yesterday', writes the Hindu. Mail Today writes that though the temperatures ranged between 8 and 12.9'c, it felt like 4 degrees due to wind chill.'Google develops contact lens to monitor' blood sugar levels in tears' reports the Business line of the Hindu which will be a boon for diabetes. A headband to control your dreams? Strange, but true. The Times of India writes that this can measure brain waves and eye movement activity to allow a sleeping person to take control of their dreams.