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Sanjay Dutt's parole extended again by a month - 2/18/2014

TOI PUNE: The parole of actor Sanjay Dutt, convicted in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, has been extended by one more month by the district authorities, sanctioning his request on the ground of his wife Manyata's illness.

Dutt, 53, convicted under the Arms Act for illegal possession of weapons, was supposed to return to Yerawada Jail on February 21 on the expiry of his monthlong parole.

The divisional commissioner's office here granted extension till March 21 to the actor, who is serving remainder of his five year sentence, after receiving a mandatory report from the Mumbai police.

The authorities said that as per the rules, this would be the last parole leave for Dutt this year.

Dutt sought extension of his parole to be able to look after his ailing wife, who recently underwent a surgery in Mumbai.

Last month, the Maharashtra government had extended Dutt's parole by another 30 days on the ground of his wife's illness.

The Bollywood actor was granted a month-long parole on December 6 last year, which triggered protests outside Pune's Yerawada Jail forcing the government to order an inquiry. Prior to it, he had availed of a month-long leave of furlough on medical grounds.

He was convicted by the Supreme Court last year and sentenced to five years in prison for illegal possession of arms in a case related to the 1993 bomb blasts.

He has already served 18 months of his term and is currently undergoing the remaining 42 months of the sentence.

Interim budget 2014: Cars, SUVs, two-wheelers, mobiles, soaps set to be cheaper - 2/17/2014

TOI NEW DELHI: Ahead of the upcoming general election, finance minister P Chidambaram on Monday sought to lighten the burden on the middle class by lowering excise duty on cars, SUVs and two-wheelers and proposed no increase in taxes on other products.

"To give relief to the automobile industry which is registering unprecedented negative growth, I propose to reduce excise duty..," Chidambaram said while presenting the interim budget for 2014-15.

As per his proposal, excise duty on small cars, motorcycles, scooters and commercial vehicles has been cut to 8 per cent from 12 per cent earlier.

Likewise, the sports utility vehicles will attract 24 per cent excise duty, down from 30 per cent earlier, while large cars that used to attract excise of 27 per cent will now be levied only 24 per cent.

Moreover, the excise duty on mid-sized cars will be 20 per cent from 24 per cent earlier.

While giving sops to the automobile sector, Chidambaram said: "I propose to make appropriate reductions in excise duty on chassis and trailers."

Mobile phones manufactured in India could also see price moderation with the finance minister announcing a proposal to boost domestic manufacturing. However, a majority of mobile phones sold in India, even by domestic firms like Micromax, Lava and Karbonn, are imported.

However, Samsung and Nokia have manufacturing facilities in the country and the excise duty rejig may lower their cost of production.

"To encourage domestic production of mobile phones, which has declined, and reduce the dependence on imports, which have increased, I propose to restructure the excise duties for all categories of mobile phones. The rates will be 6 per cent with CENVAT credit or one per cent without CENVAT credit," he said.

Another daily use item, soaps that are manufactured in India can also witness a softening of prices.

Chidambaram rationalized customs duty structure on non-edible grade industrial oil and its fractions, fatty acids and fatty alcohols at 7.5 per cent.

Rice can also be expected to be cheaper with the finance minister exempting service tax on loading, unloading, packing, storage and warehousing of the commodity.

People looking to store umbilical cord blood for future use can now be expected incur lower expense with the service tax of 12 per cent on cord blood banks being withdrawn.

"Ministry of health and family welfare has requested that services provided by cord blood banks are also healthcare services and should be exempt from service tax. I propose to accept the request," Chidambaram said.

Indian teen in Dubai caught cheating in exam, commits suicide - 2/17/2014


A 14-year-old Indian schoolgirl allegedly committed suicide by jumping from a high-rise building  in Dubai after she was caught cheating in an exam, a media report said on Monday.

The body of the girl, who jumped from the 17th floor of Jumeirah Lakes Towers, was found by a cleaner on Friday and he then informed police.

Investigations revealed that on the day of the incident, the girl was caught cheating in an exam. Her teacher warned her that she would be terminated if she was caught cheating again.

A police officer was quoted by Khaleej Times as saying: "Her parents told us that when she returned home, she was distraught and very upset.

"Her father, who came to know about the cheating, also chided her. She went to her room and locked the door, after which the family heard some sound."

The family learnt of her death only after police arrived at the scene.

The family was in a state of shock on seeing her body on the pavement. Her mother became hysterical, police said.

Police recorded the incident as suicide and transferred the body to the forensic department.

President's Rule imposed in Delhi after Arvind Kejriwal's resignation - 2/17/2014

NDTV news
President's Rule imposed in Delhi after Arvind Kejriwal's resignation

New Delhi: Delhi came under a spell of President's Rule today, some 60 hours after Arvind Kejiwal resigned from the chief minister's post after the BJP and the Congress foiled his plans to introduce the anti-graft Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly.

Acting on the advice of the Union Cabinet, President Pranab Mukherjee this morning approved a resolution imposing central rule in the capital.

Mr Kejriwal, in an interview to NDTV, had vowed that he would not continue on his post "for a minute longer" if his government failed to get the Bill passed in the Delhi assembly. He stuck to his promise by tendering his resignation soon after the opposition ganged up to stall his government's plans.

While offering his resignation, Mr Kejriwal had recommended that the assembly be dissolved, and fresh elections be held. In his report to the Centre, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, however, made out a strong case for placing the assembly under a spell of suspended animation.

With Delhi coming under President's rule, the BJP, which is the largest party in the assembly, gets another opportunity to stitch together an alliance, and stake its claim to form the next government. The BJP and its ally Shiromani Akali Dal together have a strength of 32 in the 70-member assembly.

The party, however, has indicated that it would stay away from the government-formation exercise, and has favoured fresh round of polls.

There are 27 AAP lawmakers in the Delhi assembly, while the Congress tally stands at 8.

ISRO capsule set to fly Indians into space - 2/16/2014


India is set to enter an elite list of Russia, USA and China who have successfully flown astronauts into space, with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) unveiling a capsule for this purpose for the very first time.

So, after Mars mission, India aims to put humans into space.

The outer skeleton of an Indian human space capsule has been prepared by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bangalore and it has been handed over to the ISRO.

According to reports, GSLV Mark III is the scheduled launch vehicle, powered by the indigenously developed cryogenic engines. Mark III will be tested in around mid-2014 for the first time from ISRO's testing centre at Sriharikota.

ISRO has sought a funding of Rs.12,500 crore for this project, reports said, adding, an Indian astronaut can be in space in seven years after the government okays this.

The last Indian in space was Rakesh Sharma, who took part in an Indo-Russian mission.

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:


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