It Happens:Navratri begins with religious fervor in India

New Delhi/J&K,Sept 26 (ANI): Devotees across India thronged the temples on the first day of Navratri when Hindus worship mother goddess Durga in all her manifestations. Navratri, derived from the ancient Sanskrit words 'nine nights', falls this year from September 25 to October 03. People stood in queues early morning on Thursday as they visited temples to seek the blessings of mother goddess Durga. Devotees celebrate the festival with religious fervour as they pray before the idol of the goddess, sing religious songs and perform aarti while observing fast. During one of the biggest Hindu festival celebrated across India in different forms and names, temples are beautifully decorated with flowers, leaves, petals, lights and the priests ornate idols of goddess Durga with new clothes and jewellery. Meanwhile, a priest at a temple in New Delhi said on the first day of the festival the goddess Durga is worshipped in the form of Shailputri or daughter of king of mountains. It is believed that during Navratri, the goddess Durga descends on earth to rid it of demons and bless her devotees with happiness and prosperity. A devotee in Jammu Rajini Sharma, said that she prays for good health and strength from the goddess. Another pilgrim in Bhopal, Manoj Kumar, said they Sep 26, 2014

PM Narendra Modi reaches New York

New York, Sep 26 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday reached New York City on his five-day long maiden visit to the United States. Modi has a tight schedule for his visit which spans 26 September to 1 October. Indian Prime Minister's Air India flight landed on John F. Kennedy International Airport, where a limousine waited in his welcome. Modi was received by Indian Ambassador to the United States, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and other dignitaries. PM Modi is now heading to New York Palace Hotel where itself, he has aligned meetings with dignitaries. Sep 26, 2014

Pak PM Nawaz Sharif raises Kashmir issue with UN Secretary General

New Delhi, Sep 26 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif raised the Kashmir issue in his meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Pakistan Foreign Office statement said that Sharif met the UN Secretary General and "pointed out that Kashmir was one of the long standing conflicts on the agenda of the UN Security Council". Sharif also "asked the Secretary General to take steps for its peaceful settlement in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Pakistani Prime Minister is also expected to raise the Kashmir issue in his address to the UN General Assembly. Pakistan's foreign secretary Ajaz Ahmad Chaudhry had said that there is "no reason" for Sharif not to raise the issue of Kashmir during his address to the annual session of United Nations general assembly. Sep 26, 2014

Apple festival satiates taste buds of tourists in Shimla

Shimla, Sep 26 (ANI): Tourists thronged hill town of Shimla to witness different varieties of apples during two-day apple festival. Over 50 varieties of apples and apple products were put on display during the fest to attract tourists. Organizers believe that this attempt will promote tourism and bring people to apple orchards as well. Varieties like- Royal Delicious, Red Delicious, Gale Gala, Grammy Smith, Scarlet Spur, Super Chief, Golden Delicious, Redlum Gala, Redgold, and Rich a Red were on display at the festival, jointly organized by tourism and horticulture department. Organiser and vice-chairman of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Board, Major Vijay Singh Mankotia, said that they wanted the tourists to reach up to the original apple orchards and make their own choice. Sep 26, 2014

Ravi Shankar Prasad sweeps his office premises taking part in Clean India Mission

New Delhi, Sep 26 (ANI): Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday swept his department premises along with his officers in New Delhi as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi pet project 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' (Clean India Mission). The NDA Government pledges to completely clean India by October 2019, coinciding with 150th birth anniversary of freedom fighter and peace icon Mahatma Gandhi. As a part of its ambitious plan, the Modi government will spend nearly rupees 2000 billion in five years. Prasad said the government was committed to the mission and proposed to clean railway station in Patna on October 02. Clean India Mission aims to create a clean India by 2019 by eliminating the unhealthy practice of open defecation. Sep 26, 2014

Pakistan test fires short range surface-to-surface missile Hatf IX

Pakistan, Sep 26 (ANI): Pakistan on Friday conducted a successful test fire of short range surface to surface missile Hatf IX (NASR). NASR, with a range of 60 kilometres and in-flight manoeuvre capability is a quick response system, with shoot and scoot attributes. It contributes to the full spectrum deterrence against the prevailing threat spectrum. According to press release from the ISPR, the test fire was conducted with successive launches of 4 missiles from a state of the art Multi Tube Launcher with Salvo Mode. Addressing the participants at the launch area, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Rashad Mahmood, congratulated the scientists and engineers on achieving yet another milestone towards Pakistan's deterrence capability. Sep 26, 2014

Australia plans to ship refugees to Cambodia this year

Australia plans to start sending asylum-seekers to Cambodia by the end of the year and will pay the Southeast Asian nation Aus$40 million (US$35 million) to accept them, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:38 Sep 26, 2014

Ahead of assembly polls, Prithviraj Chavan quits as Maharashtra CM

Nagpur/ Mumbai, Sept 26 (ANI): A day after Nationalist Congress Party ended its alliance with Congress reducing the party into minority in Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan resigned as Maharashtra chief minister. Chavan submitted his resignation to Maharashtra governor on Friday. President's Rule is expected to be imposed in the state, where election is scheduled to be held on October 15. While the BJP said that the Congress and NCP cannot run government in Maharashtra, the Congress exuded confidence for the upcoming elections. Sep 26, 2014

Amid talks of Chinese troop withdrawal, BJP says India's safety top priority

New Delhi, Sep 26 (ANI): As talks with China on the standoff at the Himalayan border resolved through bilateral talks, India's ruling BJP stated the government is committed to the safety of the nation. Earlier, India's Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj, said that the standoff at the Himalayan border with China had been resolved through bilateral talks and Chinese troops would start withdrawing soon. However, a leader of India's opposition, Congress party, Manish Tewari, said the nation would have to wait and watch the development at the border. Meanwhile, an Indian Security Expert, Alok Bansal, said that the decision taken by both the countries was in the interest of the nation. Sep 26, 2014

Judges should not accept constitutional posts upon retirement: CJI

New Delhi, Sep 26 (ANI): The 41st Chief Justice of India RM Lodha on Friday in a media conference said no judge should accept any constitutional or government assignment after his or her retirement. He further said that the law should be amended to ensure that at least for 2 years after retirement any judge is not given a constitutional post. According to reports, Justice HL Dattu will be the next Chief Justice of India. Sep 26, 2014