Sonia says Congress committed to Women's Reservation Bill, BJP reacts

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said her party was committed to the women's reservation bill that seeks to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in parliament and the state legislatures. Sonia said though her party was in opposition now, it was committed to the women's reservation bill and would put pressure on the NDA government for its passage in parliament. Reacting over this BJP leader Nalin Kohli said that the Congress only talks and BJP performs. He asked why the Congress put the Women's Reservation Bill in hibernation when they were in power Aug 20, 2014

Rajnath Singh calls for strengthening of civil defence organisation

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, on Wednesday emphasised on the strengthening of civil defence organisation in an effort to avert any natural disaster in future. Singh was speaking at the launch of 'Plan Scheme of Mainstreaming Civil defence in Disaster Risk Reduction'. During the conference, Singh said efforts should be made to make civil defence organisation more efficient. Meanwhile, Singh also assured to fix the problem of scarcity of essential resources. Aug 20, 2014

Pakistan stands committed to improving ties with India: Abdul Basit

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit on Wednesday said that Pakistan stands committed towards improving relations with India. He also said that Pakistan wants to continue the dialogue process, which was to take place between both the nations' Foreign Secretaries. Basit's meeting with Kashmiri Separatist leaders had sparked controversy among politicians after which the Indian government had cancelled the foreign secretaries' meeting. Aug 20, 2014

Reactions flow on PM Modi's PR office inauguration in Varanasi

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): Political reactions flow as Prime Minister and Lok Sabha member from Varanasi, Narendra Modi, has opened up his PR office in order to maintain contact with the people. Congress leader Manish Tewari said that every member tries to maintain contact with public, so if Modi is doing that, he is doing something which everyone does. JD (U) Chief Sharad Yadav said that all members try to keep in touch with their people so Modi is not doing anything new. Meanwhile, BJP leader Sambit Patra said that Modi's step is welcome and it will bring change in Varanasi. Modi's PR office was inaugurated by BJP President Amit Shah during a grand ceremony in the presence of BJP's UP President Laxmikant Bajpai. Aug 20, 2014

Devotees go in trance during religious festival in Assam

Guwahati, Aug 20 (ANI): Devotees from various parts of the country thronged temple of Hindu goddess Kamakhya in Assam to witness three-day Hindu festival, Deodhani dance. The Deodhani dance festival is held to worship Hindu snake goddess Mansa, during which goats and pigeons are sacrificed. It is believed that Hindu goddess possesses a devotee's body during the festival to dance. As per Hindu mythology, one's wishes come true if they wish for something special during the festival. Aug 20, 2014

No LoP post for Congress, Politicos react

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): Political leaders on Wednesday reacted over Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's decision to reject Congress's demand for Leader of Opposition. Mahajan formally rejected the Congress's demand saying that the post can't be given to them as it does not have the required number of seats. Aug 20, 2014

Ranbir Kapoor partners with Saavan as Creative Collaborator

Mumbai, August 20 (ANI): Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor has joined hands with Saavn, a US-based digital music company Saavan for Indian music, as a creative collaborator. The digital music company, which boasts a catalogue of almost two million tracks from both Indian and US record labels, will be rolling out a suite of new consumer-facing products and Partnership over the next couple of months in which Ranbir's inputs and ideation will play a major role. Aug 20, 2014

Floods disrupt livelihood in India

Supaul/ Siddharthnagar, Aug 20 (ANI): Floods in northern and eastern parts of India submerged huts and marooned villagers. Supaul district of Bihar remained on high alert and people were still sheltering in relief camps. About 30,000 villagers were evacuated in Bihar after threat of floods due to a landslide in neighbouring Nepal. The landslide, triggered by heavy rains in Nepal's Sindhupalchowk district, killed at least 33 people and created a mud dam blocking the Sunkoshi river, which flows into India as the Kosi river. A flood-affected villager, Kamla Devi, on Wednesday complained that the government did not provide them with any assistance. People were also affected after water was discharged from overflowing dams in Nepal. A rescue official of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Rakesh Kumar, said there was inadequate number of boats in each village. Aug 20, 2014

Pak accuses India of violating ceasefire 57 times

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): After the recent diplomatic failures between India and Pakistan, post Abdul Basit’s meeting with the Kashmiri separatists, the Pakistan envoy has alleged that Indian troops violated ceasefire 57 times since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power. Basit said this when he was asked about the increasing number of ceasefire violation by Pakistan against India along the Line of Control. Aug 20, 2014

Meeting Kashmiri separatists a long-standing practice: Abdul Basit

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): After the recent diplomatic failures between India and Pakistan, post Abdul Basit’s meeting with the Kashmiri separatists, the Pakistan envoy on Wednesday defended the meet saying that it has been a longstanding practice of engaging with them. Basit said that Kashmiris are legitimate stakeholders in finding a peaceful solution to the issue of Kashmir and Pakistan wants to engage all stakeholders. Aug 20, 2014

Former Haryana MP Avtar Singh Bhadana joins INLD

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): Former Lok Sabha member from Haryana Avtar Singh Bhadana, who had resigned from Congress earlier this week, on Wednesday joined Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). Talking to mediapersons in New Delhi, he expressed unhappiness over the way the party is functioning in the state. He also said that he had informed the party high command of the activities going on in Congress in Haryana. He also criticized Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for his style of functioning. Aug 20, 2014

Tahir ul-Qadri aims for dissolution of assemblies in Pakistan, protesters march on 'red zone'

Islamabad, Aug 20 (ANI): Populist cleric, Tahir ul-Qadri said early on Wednesday (August 20) that he wants to dissolve the assemblies and create a national democratic government in Pakistan. Tens of thousands protesters reached the Islamabad parliament building in the early hours of Wednesday morning in their bid to force the prime minister Nawaz Sharif to resign, but did not immediately go inside. The protesters were wearing hard hats and tough leather gloves using cranes and bolt cutters to move aside barricades of shipping containers and barbed wire. Tahir ul-Qadri said that he wants to do sit-in protest before the parliament building. Cleric Tahir ul-Qadri and opposition politician Imran Khan both want Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign. Aug 20, 2014

World renowned yoga legend BKS Iyengar passes away, BJP offers condolences

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): World-renowned yoga guru and founder of the Iyengar School of Yoga, BKS Iyengar passed away early Wednesday morning following illness. 96-year-old Iyengar had been ailing since some time and was admitted to a private hospital. He was put on dialysis after his condition worsened two days back. He breathed his last at 3.15 AM. Iyengar, honoured with Padma Vibhushan, is survived by a son and daughter. Aug 20, 2014

Gaza war resumes with deadly strikes, rocket fire

Israel-Gaza Border, Aug 20 (ANI): Israeli soldiers and tanks were stationed on Gaza border on Wednesday as fighting in the coastal enclave resumed after the collapse of truce talks a day earlier. Charging Israel had "opened a gateway to hell," Hamas's armed wing vowed to target Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport with rocket fire, possibly to retaliate for what Hamas was quoted by Israeli media as saying was an Israeli attempt to assassinate its top militant leader, Mohammed Deif, in a Gaza City strike. In addition to the deaths, more than 50 people were wounded in the air strikes across Gaza, ordered after rockets were fired at Israel. Hamas initially denied firing any rockets, then claimed responsibility for shooting dozens as far as the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas. The violence shattered a 10-day period of calm since a first truce brokered by Egypt, about a month after the conflict flared on July 8. Aug 20, 2014

BSF initiates plantation drive promoting environmental awareness

North Dinajpur, Aug 20 (ANI): The soldiers of Border Security force (BSF) initiated a plantation drive by sowing saplings across Indo-Bangladesh border in order to promote environmental conversation as a part of ___Green Mission___. The troopers also exchanged plants with the Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) along the India-Bangladesh border as an effort to boost relationship within the two countries. One of the BSF soldiers, K Ganesh appreciated the initiative and said the exchange of friendship trees was organized in a bid to promote mutual cooperation with the counterparts. Aug 20, 2014