Union Cabinet passes ordinance to auction coal blocks

New Delhi, Oct 21 (ANI): The Union Cabinet on Monday passed an ordinance to auction the non-operating coal blocks, which were cancelled by the Supreme Court last month. The ordinance has been sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for his final approval. The cabinet also announced that Coal India's interests will be fully protected and only Indian companies will be allowed to participate in the bidding for the coal blocks. The government also moved to open up its coal industry to commercial mining while protecting the requirements of state-run Coal India, signalling the most serious shift in 42 years toward allowing private players' full participation in coal mining. The mines would also be allotted to public sector units such as the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC), which engages in electricity generation and allied activities. Oct 21, 2014

Nepal foreign minister meets Modi to invite him for SAARC meet

New Delhi, Oct 21 (ANI): Nepal Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to invite him for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit meet in Kathmandu. The two-day SAARC summit will begin on November 26. Nepal will chair the regional grouping meet that has Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as its members. As close neighbours, India and Nepal share a unique relationship of friendship and cooperation characterized by open borders and deep-rooted people-to-people contacts of kinship and culture. Oct 21, 2014

Fire in firecracker factory kills 13 in Andhra Pradesh

Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Oct 21 (ANI): Major fire broke out at a firecracker factory in Kakinada district of Andhra Pradesh ahead of Diwali, killing 13 and injuring several others. The injured were rushed to a hospital. Andhra Pradesh Health Minister, Kamineni Srinivas, said 12 had died on spot and five people suffered 90 percent burn injuries.Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced compensation for families of the deceased and injured workers. Oct 21, 2014

Diwali celebrations: People light 51,000 lamps in Pune's Shaniwar Wada palace

Pune, Oct 21 (ANI): Pune illuminated the famed historic monument, Shaniwar Wada palace built in 1746, the seat of Peshwa rule, with 51,000 oil lamps to mark the beginning of festivities ahead of festival of lights, Diwali. The tradition dates back to the time of Maratha Empire and was stopped by the British during pre-independence period. Shaniwar Wada is a historic monument. Pune's Diwali festival starts from here. This tradition has been in practice since last 14 years but was stopped in 1818 by the British. A laughing club Chaitanya Hasya Yog Mandal (CHYM) in the year 2000 resumed this tradition. This lighting up of these numerous lamps marks the beginning of festivities of Diwali in Pune city. Director of Chaitanya Hasya Club Arun Pathak, said residents of Pune start the festivities with this lighting event of 'Deep Utsav' every year. Oct 21, 2014

India beefs up security along Nepal border region in wake of Burdwan blast

Siliguri, Burdwan, Oct 21 (ANI): Paramilitary, 'Sashastra Seema Bal' (SSB), beefed up security in the areas along the Nepal border in wake of the bomb blast in Burdwan district. The explosion in Burdwan district of West Bengal on October 02 had left two suspected militants dead, while the city court has sent three accused in police custody till October 22. Two women were also arrested in connection with the blast on October 05. The involvement of militant outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami are being suspected in the case as a large number of watch dials, SIM cards, and other tools required to make improvised explosive devices were found in the house. Speaking to mediapersons, Director General of SSB, Ranidanga North Bengal frontier head quarter, BD Sharma, said that many criminal activities were taking place along the border area, which is a threat to India's security. Oct 21, 2014

Rajnath Singh honours martyrs on Police Commemoration Day

New Delhi, Oct 21 (ANI): Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh paid his respects to the police officers who have sacrificed their lives for the nation at the police memorial ground in Chanakyapuri, on the occasion of Police Commemoration Day in New Delhi on Tuesday. October 21 is observed as 'Commemoration Day' every year in all police lines throughout the country to mark the memory of the gallant personnel who were killed in Ladakh and all other police personnel killed on duty in 1959. The Police Commemoration Day Parade is being held at the national level since 2012 at the Police Memorial, Chanakyapuri. Oct 21, 2014

Muslims in Varanasi to gift lamps to Hindus on Diwali

Varanasi, Oct 21 (ANI): A group of Muslim women in the temple city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh is engrossed in making earthen lamps to gift to their Hindu friends on the occasion of the festival of lights, Diwali, with the aim of promoting unity and love between the two communities. By making these lamps, the women are sending across the message of peace and harmony among Hindus and Muslims. A woman making the lamp, Najneen Ansari, said that the lamps will be gifted to their Hindu neighbours to light up their house. Oct 21, 2014

WHO declares Nigeria Ebola-free

Africa's most populous nation Nigeria was on Monday declared officially Ebola free but warned that it remained vulnerable as long as the virus was raging elsewhere in west Africa. Duration: 01:02 Oct 21, 2014

Writer Vargas Llosa slams nationalism

Nobel-prize winning author Mario Vargas Llosa takes a swipe a nationalism, calling it the 'most serious threat to the building of Europe'. Duration: 01:06 Oct 20, 2014

EU's Barroso warns Britain against bloc exit

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso argued Monday that Britain is better in the EU and warned that alienating its allies would be a "historic mistake", as pressure mounts from British eurosceptics before elections. Duration: 00:39 Oct 20, 2014

White lion cubs born in Belgrade Zoo

Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Oct 20, 2014

Traditional farming methods gaining ground in Mali

He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Oct 20, 2014

Sweden pursues search for 'foreign vessel'

A mysterious "foreign vessel" the Swedish military have been searching for off the coast of Stockholm might belong to the Netherlands, a source in the Russian defence ministry was quoted as saying on Monday. Duration: 01:01 Oct 20, 2014