- Delhi Chief Minister asks Union Home Ministry to withdraw its 2002 order directing the state government to take prior approval before passage of any bill in the assembly.
- President Pranab Mukherjee expresses concern over more than 31 million cases pending in courts and asks judiciary to clear the backlog quickly.
- Heavy snowfall disrupts normal life in tribal districts of Himachal Pradesh and in many parts of the world including Afghanistan and Japan.
- At least 15 people killed and 130 injured in a fire in the Saudi holy city of Medina.
- Shikhar Dhawan's century help India put up a valiant fight against New Zealand to win Auckland test.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has asked the Home Ministry to withdraw its 2002 order directing the city government to take prior approval before passage of any bill in the Assembly. Talking to a news agency, Mr Kejriwal said the city government cannot follow these rules. On the Jan Lokpal Bill, the Chief Minister threatened to go to any extent over the anti-graft legislation. He alleged that both Congress and BJP will never allow passage of the bill as both the parties are apprehensive of action against their leaders in corruption cases.
Delhi Government also clarified that it has sought opinion of legal experts only on the validity of rules relating to Assembly's powers and not on the Jan Lokpal Bill. In a press release it said that it was nowhere mentioned in the Chief Minister's letter to the Lt. Governor that the government had sought the opinion on Jan Lokpal bill from experts.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kejriwal met Anna Hazare in New Delhi last night shortly after the Gandhian had a jibe at him saying some people take bungalows despite having promised not to do so. The meeting between Mr Kejriwal and Mr Hazare, lasted for around 20 minutes. AAP leaders described it as a courtesy call but said a number of issues came up at the meeting without specifying them. Mr Hazare praised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her simplicity.
President Pranab Mukherjee has expressed concern over more than 31 million cases pending in courts and asked the judiciary to clear the backlog quickly. Speaking in Mumbai after inaugurating the 150th Anniversary celebrations of the Advocates’ Association of Western India, he said the lawyers have a duty to ensure that none is denied justice and they should act as the common man’s soldiers and fight for the rights of citizens. He said the lawyers have to continuously strive to uphold the supremacy of the constitution and this can only be achieved if the judiciary remains transparent and impartial.
Mr Mukherjee will inaugurate the National Agriculture Fair-cum-Exhibition ‘Krishi Vasant’ near Nagpur in Maharashtra today.
The five-day event which also coincides with the birth centenary celebrations of former Chief Minister Late Vasantrao Naik who steered agricultural development in Maharashtra during Green Revolution Campaign, is being organized at Central Institute of Cotton Research premises. While around three lakh farmers are expected to visit the expo, millions of farmers and others would also be reached out through web-cast at District or Block level and telecast of the event in regional languages. The unique features of the event also include more than 300 live demonstrations of different crops, animals, birds & fish and intensive interactions between farmers & scientists in regional languages. Sunil Dabir reporting from Nagpur.
Heavy snowfall has hit normal life in upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh and in many parts of the world including Afghanistan and Japan.
The heavy snowfall in most parts of tribal districts of Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti and Pangi and Bharmour in Chamba districts of Himachal Pradesh have led to closing of most of the interior roads and disrupting the communication network. Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner J.M.Pathania said that snow cutters have been deployed to clear the roads. The met department has predicted dry weather during next few days.
Now the clear weather would create more problems for local people of tribal districts Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti as Snow Avalanche Study Centre Manali had warned of more avalanches in coming days. People have been advised to stay in their homes and restrain to go out. The Disaster Management teams have also been kept on full alert in these tribal areas. Most of the areas are under cover of 4 to 5 feet of snow and the mercury is keeping in minus. Shishu Sharma Shantal, AIR News, Shimla.
In Afghanistan, at least 16 people have been killed during heavy snow fall and severe cold in various provinces. Reports quoting provincial officials in northern Farah province said four people including children died in Gulistan district and 12 people lost their lives in Darzab and Qoshtepa districts of Jowzjan province. According to the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority several mud houses have been destroyed due to heavy snow fall and people also lost their livestock due to several cold.
In Japan, the capital city of Tokyo and other areas are having the heaviest snowfall in two decades leaving five dead and over 600 injured. More than 740 flights were grounded as the weather agency issued a severe storm warning and more than 40,000 households went without power. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, up to 27 centimeters of snow has been recorded in Tokyo, making it the heaviest snowfall since February 1994.
Civilian casualties in the ongoing armed conflict in Afghanistan went up by 14 per cent in 2013 in comparison to the casualties in the previous year. Releasing its annual report on protection of civilians in Afghanistan in Kabul yesterday, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy and Chief of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Jan Kubis regretted the reversal in the declining trend of civilian casualties in the past few years. According to the report 8,615 civilian casualties were documented by the UNAMA in 2013 which included 2,959 deaths and 5,656 injuries.
In Saudi Arabia, 15 persons were killed while more than 130 others were injured in a fire that broke out in a Hotel in the holy city of Medina yesterday. Most of those who perished in the fire were pilgrims of Egyptian and Turkish nationality.
A massive fire broke out at Ishraq Al-Madinah hotel around 2.30 p.m yesterday which could be extinguished only by 5 p.m. 18 fire engines were pressed into service . Authorities evacuated the guests and closed off the street leading to the hotel, located on Sitteen Street. The hotel had 700 guests at the time of the fire. Helicopters were pressed into service to evacuate the trapped people. Some pilgrims who were trapped inside the hotel climbed to the roof of the building for safety. Most pilgrims died of suffocation. An inquiry to ascertain the cause of fire has been launched. Preliminary reports suggest that the fire occurred as a result of a short circuit during maintenance work. Atul K Tiwary, AIR News, Dubai.
Shikhar Dhawan's century help India put up a valiant fight against New Zealand to win Auckland test. Chasing a victory target of 407 runs, India were 270 for 5 in the second innings against New Zealand at tea on the fourth day of play in the first cricket Test at Eden Park, Auckland . Shikhar Dhawn was out for 115. Virat Kohli made valuable 67 runs. Rohit Sharma with 19 and skipper Dhoni at 2 were on the crease.
India still needs 137 runs with 5 wickets in hand to win the match in the two-match series.
India's Shiva Keshavan clocked 53.905 seconds in the first heat of the men's singles luge event at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia yesterday. The 32-year-old Indian was ranked 35th after starting at 38th place. Keshavan was 1.735 seconds behind Russia's Albert Demchenko, who clocked 52.17 to top the the first heat at the Sanki Sliding Center.
Keshavan had won gold in Asia Cup 2011 at Nagano in Japan. In 2012, he retained the Asian title by winning the Gold Medal at the Asia Cup in Nagano and setting a new Asian track record at 49.590 seconds.
- In what the Hindustan Times calls a 'Day of Marathon Rallies', referring to Narendra Modi's at Manipur and Assam, and Rahul Gandhi's at Gujarat, most papers report of the two leaders taking jibes at each other. 'On NaMo's turf, Rahul joins chaiwala debate' writes the Hindustan Times. The Pioneer says 'Gujarat Chief Minister raps Congress for leaving North-East in the lurch'.
- The rape of a 14 year old Manipuri girl in Delhi makes front page news in most papers. The Asian Age and Mail Today show protestors outside the Vasant Vihar police station in Delhi, raising the issue of sexual assault and racial discrimination against people from the North East.
- Kejriwal firm on passing the Jan Lok Pal Bill figures in all dailies. 'Will go to any extent, warns Kejriwal' is the Indian Express headline. 'Kejriwal gets Soli backing in Lokpal push' writes the Asian Age, referring to eminent lawyer Soli Sorabjee.
- 'New bill to strengthen definition of disabilities - amendments to be incorporated in older draft' writes the Hindu. This would benefit 2.68 crore disabled people in the country.
- Both the leading dailies, the Hindustan Times and the Times of India report on the bleak job scenario in the country on their front page. "Between 2000 and 2012, jobs grew by a mere 2 percent per year' states the Times of India.
- In a picture captioned 'Cricket's new boss', the Hindu shows N. Srinivasan, who was elected head of the ICC board. "Indian board rules world cricket, Srini to be king' is how the Times of India puts it.
- Have you gone to the Auto Expo 2014 as yet? Looking at the 3 page spread of photographs and reports in Mail Today, seems like it should be well worth a visit! The paper adds that this could be a year of motorcycles, as Harley Davidson and Suzuki have launched India specific mobikes.