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Aishwarya didn't marry me because I am a Bachchan: Abhishek Bachchan - 2/16/2014

Indian Express Abhishek and Aishwarya tied the knot in 2007.

Abhishek Bachchan says that his actress wife Aishwarya did not marry him because he is a film star or the son of megastar Amitabh Bachchan.

In an upcoming episode of ‘Koffee with Karan’, when asked by the host Karan Johar about the ‘insecurity’ coming from being married to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, “the most beautiful woman on the face of earth”, Abhishek said there was none.

“I believe she is and to me she is the most beautiful thing on earth. I see myself in the mirror every day and it is a horrific sight. So I am not competing, I can’t. The reason why we got together wasn’t cosmetic,” Abhishek said.

“She is one of the most down to earth…. normal people you will ever meet. She hasn’t married me because I am a film star or I am a Bachchan and I haven’t married her because she is the most beautiful woman on earth or one of the biggest stars on earth, so that never comes in the equation,” he said.

Abhishek and Aishwarya tied the knot in 2007. They have a daughter named Aaradhya.

AAP announces first list of candidates for Lok Sabha elections - 2/16/2014

TOI NEW DELHI: AAP on Sunday announced its first list of 20 candidates for Lok Sabha elections. Prominent among them are social activist Medha Patkar, Anjali Damania, Yogendra Yadav and Kumar Vishwas.

The Aam Aadmi Party has decided to field former journalist Ashutosh against Union minister Kapil Sibal from the Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi. Mukul Tripathi will be contesting against external affairs minister Salman Khurshid from Farukkhabad in Uttar Pradesh, and Kumar Vishwas will be pitted against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi constituency, also in Uttar Pradesh.

Other prominent people include Anjali Damania, convener of Maharashtra unit of Aam Aadmi Party, who would contest from Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nitin Gadkari's stronghold Nagpur, Yogendra Yadav from Gurgaon, lawyer H S Phoolka from Ludhiana, the constituency of information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari, and Subhash Ware who will fight against Suresh Kalmadi in Pune.

Medha Patkar will contest the polls from northeast Mumbai, while Meera Sanyal will contest from South Mumbai against Milind Deora.

"Today we have announced the names of 20 candidates. The selection of all these candidates has been done on the basis of their work for the society," AAP leader Manish Sisodia said at a press conference.

"While choosing the candidates, we have tried to prevent corrupt and people with criminal charges from entering politics," Sisodia added.

The decision was taken after a meeting of the party's political affairs committee held earlier on Sunday.

Sonia regrets failure to pass Women's Reservation Bill - 2/15/2014


UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Saturday regretted that the Women's Reservation Bill has not been able to be passed in the Lok Sabha for lack of consensus.

"With the Lok Sabha elections looming large, my greatest regret is that the Women Reservation Bill has not been able to be passed in the Lok Sabha for lack of consensus though it has been approved by the Rajya Sabha", she said here.

Gandhi made the observation while launching the "Nirbhaya Kerala Surakshita Kerala" --Fearless Kerala, Secure Kerala-- programme, a Government-civil society initiative to tackle crimes against women and children.

"It is a matter of deep anguish for all of us that harassment against women continues in many parts of the country. I do not have to remind you of the shameful happenings in Delhi and Mumbai.It is a matter of concern that such happenings are repeated," Gandhi said.

She, however, added that her party would continue its struggle for the legislation which seeks to reserve 33 per cent of seats in Parliament and legislatures for women.

Noting that the UPA Government had initiated several schemes for welfare of women, she said the government schemes alone would not ensure safety of women. It required awareness campaigns and training young minds from the school level to respect women in all fields.

"It is a matter of concern that atrocities against women and children are increasing. Government schemes are, of course, essential and are of great importance. What is required is a change in the society's attitude towards women," Gandhi said.

Pointing that Kerala had been a model for women empowerment, she said social reform movement initiated by Sree Narayana Guru had played a vital role in this area.

Referring to the new scheme, Gandhi said, "I am relieved that Kerala is doing something tangible which could be replicated in other states."

Increased surveillance and creation of public awareness which form the part of the programme would certainly instill greater confidence in women, she added.

Lauding the UDF Government's proposal to start six new all-woman police stations, Gandhi wanted it to raise the presence of women in the state police force from the present five per cent to 25 per cent in the coming years.

State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said the scheme would be implemented with the cooperation of various government departments, NGOs and neighbourhood groups like Kudumbasree and Janashree.

As part of the scheme, 12,000 women volunteers would make a house-to-house visit across the state to know about the problems faced by women.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Union ministers Vayalar Ravi and K V Thomas, state ministers K M Mani, P K Kunhalikutty, M K Muneer and K Babu were present on the occasion.

Why you must have health insurance - 2/15/2014


Only 5 per cent Indians are insured while medical inflation is around 20 per cent. This is mainly because of rising cost of treatments and medicines in our country. If you haven't seen hospital bills recently, you may very well be in for a shock. Ignoring medical cover can easily set one back by Rs. 8 to10 lakh. When your near and dear ones are in need of the best medical services, the last thing you want to worry about is how to incur the medical expenses.

"It was unacceptable that almost 80% of the expenditure on healthcare by people was met by personal, out of pocket, payment. I am shocked to note that as many as 4 crore people of our country plunge into poverty each year due to expenses on medical treatment," President Pranab Mukherjee had said, while addressing 40th convocation function of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.

Whether one runs his/ her own business or is a salaried employee, he/ she still needs the right medical cover protection.

Here are the top three reasons why you must have personal health cover:

1.    Health cover by company is basic and inadequate:
Most of the employees get very basic cover during employment and zero protection when they are out of job. Any medical emergency would be financially catastrophic.

2.    Retirement Phase:
Companies do not provide health cover when one needs it the most which is the post retirement period. The insurance premiums are very high at an senior age.

3.    Parents protection:
Companies have started to provide health cover either to one's children & spouse or parents, not both.

Besides, one can also claim tax benefit under section 80D. There are many types of health insurance plans available in the market. One should research well and speak to an expert before picking one for the family.

Arvind Kejriwal's resignation letter - 2/15/2014

Indian Express

From the Aam Aadmi Party’s Delhi headquarters at 41, Hanuman Road, Arvind Kejriwal announced his resignation as Delhi Chief Minister this Friday bringing his participatory politics to an end after 48 days of the formation of AAP government.

Here is a copy of the resignation letter that Kejriwal has sent to L-G Najeeb Jung:


'India's Got Talent' sensation on Ellen show - 2/15/2014


Akshat Singh, an eight-year-old prodigy who is a semi-finalist on India's Got Talent 5, has been invited to shoot a special episode of internationally popular talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show in the US, said a source from the channel.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which had guests like Hollywood actresses Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, will feature Akshat as the first non-celebrity Indian, said the source.

Kolkata-based Akshat has impressed India's Got Talent 5 judges as well as the audience from the moment he shook a leg to Salman Khan's popular song Mera Hi Jalwa.

Actress Malaika Arora Khan, one of the judges on the show, is surprised by the developments in Akshat's life.

This is unbelievable! I am very happy to hear that young Akshat has been invited to be a part of The Ellen DeGeneres Show in Los Angeles, she said.

It is a great feat that he has achieved especially because he has an extremely endearing personality. Watching him perform on the India’s Got Talent stage has been a visual treat because he has a personality which brightens your day and brings a smile to your face, she added.

Malaika also wished the youngster all the luck for his stint on the show.

I am sure he will be able to impress international audiences the way he has managed to floor us. I am very happy for him, she said.

Minor raped inside train in Bengal - 2/14/2014

TOI SILIGURI: A minor girl was allegedly raped by a coach attendant inside a moving train in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district, police said on Friday.

Following a complaint by the 17-year-old girl to the Government Railway Police at New Jalpaiguri, the coach attendant was arrested.

The attendant allegedly assaulted the girl early Friday near Aluabari between Kishanganj and New Jalpaiguri railway stations, police said.

"The girl was spotted hanging by the door in a half-naked condition this morning by some signalmen who informed us. We recovered her near Aluibari and registered her complaint and arrested the coach attendant," said investigating officer Kokil Roy said.

Roy said the girl in her complaint said she was standing near the platform at New Jailpaiguri station when the attendant forcibly made her to board the empty Azamgarh-Kishanganj Garib Nawaz Express which was going towards Kishanganj after maintenance work.

A medical test has been conducted on the victim and its reports are awaited.

Monsoon Memories Book of Renita DSilva launch in India - 2/12/2014

Richard Dsouza - Kenja Bailu / Kallianpur

Udupi, 12th Feb, 2014 : Renita D'Silva's debut novel, 'Monsoon Memories' is out now in all bookstores in India.

The official book launch for Bangalore takes place at Sapna Bookstore, Koramangala on Saturday the 15th of February from 4 to 6 pm.

The book launch in Mumbai is on Wednesday the 19th at NCPA, Mumbai, in the Little Theatre from 6:30 to 8:30pm.

She will also be doing book signings in Delhi on the 21st.

More information is available here:

Mukesh Ambani, Veerappa Moily and Milind Deora named in Reliance gas issue FIR - 2/12/2014

Indian Express Kejriwal had on Tuesday ordered the state government’s Anti-Corruption Branch to register FIRs against Veerappa Moily and Mukesh Ambani.

Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily, RIL Chief Mukesh Ambani, former Union Minister Murli Deora and retired Director General of Hydrocarbons V K Sibal were on Wednesday named in an FIR by Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi government in the Reliance gas issue.

The FIR by the ACB was registered a day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the agency has been told to probe their alleged collusion over hike in prices of natural gas from KG basin.

Names of Moily, Ambani, Deora and Sibal figured in the FIR, sources said.

Kejriwal on Wednesday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, requesting him to keep in abeyance decision to hike gas price from April 1 till the probe in the case is completed.

The Delhi Chief Minister yesterday said ACB was directed to probe the case based on a “common complaint” filed by former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subrmanian, former Navy Chief Admiral R H Tahiliani, eminent lawyer Kamini Jaiswal and former Union Secretary EAS Sarma.

Quoting from the complaint, the Chief Minister had said the impact of the hike in gas price would cost the country a minimum of Rs 54,500 crore every year and allow RIL to make a future windfall profit of Rs 1.2 lakh crore.

On Tuesday, RIL had termed the ordering of FIR against it as shocking and described the complaints that were used to base the action as baseless and devoid of merit or substance. In his letter to Singh, Kejriwal said he has ordered the probe after receiving the complaint that few Union ministers have taken a decision to double the gas price from 4.2 dollar to 8 dollar per un it to benefit Reliance Industries Ltd whereas the cost of gas production is less than USD 1.

The Chief Minister said hike in gas price will bring major hardships for the common man as it will result in hike in CNG prices as well as power production cost.

“You are an expert of economics. You can understand that this decision to double gas prices will have a cascading effect on the economy. On the basis of a complaint filed by four eminent people, an FIR has been filed by Anti-Corruption Branch. Through this letter I request you to keep in abeyance the order on gas pricing till the time investigation is not completed in the case,” Kejriwal said.

The Chief Minister also requested Singh to direct all the ministries to cooperate with ACB in the case.

India Olympics ban lifted after new officials elected - 2/11/2014


 ban on India's Olympic Association (IOA) has been lifted, allowing the country to return to the Olympic fold, officials say.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended India for electing officials accused of corruption in 2012, in breach of the Olympic charter.

But on Sunday the IOA conducted fresh elections which were seen as fair.

Indian athletes have been competing at the Sochi Winter Games under the IOC flag but can now do so under their own.

This is the first time a suspension of a national Olympic committee has been lifted during an Olympic Games and it comes into effect immediately.

"The decision means Indian athletes can compete for their national Olympic committee. They can walk behind their national flag at the closing ceremony," IOC spokesman Mark Adams was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

"The Indian flag will be raised in the [Sochi Winter Games] village, at a time to be announced," Mr Adams added.

IOC member Randhir Singh welcomed the decision and said it was "great news for Indian sport".

"It's time everyone understands that the Olympic charter is supreme. It is important that sport is run well and tainted officials are kept out in a country of 1.2 billion in which 40% is youth," he told the Associated Press news agency.

The IOA has elected a new board, led by world squash chief N Ramachandran, which meets international requirements that no person convicted or facing corruption allegations can be included.

The IOC suspended India in December 2012 for holding elections in defiance of the Olympic charter and appointing officials facing corruption charges related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Abhay Singh Chautala was elected unopposed as president and Lalit Bhanot as secretary-general of the IOA in the elections which were declared void by the IOC.

Mr Bhanot spent 11 months in jail in 2011 on corruption charges linked to the event before he was released on bail. Mr Chautala has close links to his predecessor Suresh Kalmadi, who is also on bail on similar charges.

Both Mr Kalmadi and Mr Bhanot deny any wrongdoing.

Three Indian athletes are participating in the Sochi Winter Games and none is expected to win a medal.

In the luge, Shiva Keshavan, India's top winter sports athlete, finished 37th in a 39-man field. During a training session last Friday, he came off his sled but managed to get back on it seamlessly.

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