Bangladesh journalist expresses discontent over low turnout in elections hit by political turmoil

Dhaka, Jan 31 (ANI): Bangladesh journalist Saleem Samad on Friday expressed discontent over low turnout in the recent violence-plagued elections, which were marred by clashes and strikes as the opposition, Bangladesh Nationalist Party boycotted the polls. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League ended with more than two-thirds of seats in a contest that was shunned by international observers as flawed and derided as a farce by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). With fewer than half the seats contested, the outcome was never in doubt. Talking to a reporter in Dhaka, Samad said the polls were first in the last 42 years which were not only low from voter's point of view but also from the candidates'. Samad said the voter turnout was low due to the fear instilled by the opposition. Jan 31, 2014

The shadowy world of sex trafficking on US shores

AFPTV talks to Shandra Woworuntu, an Indonesian victim of sex trafficking and forced labor in the United States, who today puts her horrific experience to use to try to fight human trafficking. Jan 31, 2014

Experience does not matter to become PM: Digvijay Singh

New Delhi, Jan 31 (ANI): Reacting to Nationalist Congress party (NCP) leader Praful Patel's statement that Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi was less experienced that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Friday said that experience did not matter in the current situation, and that there was a difference between governing a state and governing a nation. Earlier in the day, Patel had said that Rahul Gandhi was less experienced than Modi in context of becoming the prime ministerial candidate of the party. He had also criticized the Congress for delaying clarity on the seat alliance talks with NCP in Maharashtra. Jan 31, 2014

Bappi Lahiri joins BJP

New Delhi, Jan 31(ANI): Bollywood music director Bappi Lahiri on Friday joined the BJP in the presence of party president Rajnath Singh. Along with Lahiri, Bollywood actor Prashant Narayanan and TV actor Gaurav Chopra, author Tuhin Sinha, also joined the BJP. Jan 31, 2014

It happens: Beating Retreat

New Delhi, Jan 31 (ANI): India on Wednesday marked the end Republic Day celebrations with the colourful 'Beating Retreat' ceremony that took place on Vijay Chowk road square in New Delhi, near President's estate. Hundreds of spectators were present to witness military bands playing. The event saw the attendance of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister Arackaparambil Kurien Antony, Delhi's newly appointed chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.The President's arrival was followed by performances by the 14 Trumpeters, 32 Buglers and 14 Echo Buglers, placed strategically along the building of the entire administrative block. As the military bands played India's national anthem, 'Jana Gana Mana', the political leaders and the spectators stood up in order to honour the country. The Indian national flag was lowered to the solemn accompaniment of the military band. The ceremony is held at Vijay Chowk on January 29 every year and marks the culmination of the four-day-long Republic Day celebrations. The Beating Retreat has its origins in the retreat of the armed forces after a day at the battlefront. India became a republic on January 26, 1950, and celebrates the day with military parades, pomp and ceremony in all major cities. Jan 31, 2014

It happens: Tribal Fair

Bhubaneswar, Jan 31 (ANI): The popular tribal fair, which is held every year on India's Republic Day in Bhubaneswar city of eastern Odisha province, gained more popularity this year as visitors from the country as well as abroad thronged it. People visited the annual state level tribal fair, 'Adivasi Mela', and saw the culture of Tribal communities. Visitors were seen taking a look at every stall and were attracted to tribal huts, jewellery, food items, etc. Around 175 stalls have been put up at the fair, which will go on for a fortnight. The fair was a perfect and colourful rendezvous of music and dance performances along with the artefacts displayed by tribal communities. Every year, changes in the fair's designs are made with the aim of making it attractive for the visitors and beneficial for the tribes in terms of profit making. Renowned tribal artists performed traditional dance, song and drama. As many as 125 tribal dance forms will be performed during the festival. Jan 31, 2014

It happens: Holy Dip

Allahabad, Jan 31 (ANI): Thousands of Hindus took a silent dip in the sacred waters of river Ganges in north India on the auspicious 'No Moon day' on Thursday to absolve themselves of their sins and seek salvation.'Mauni Amavasya', is celebrated every year as a spiritual ritual in the month of January or February on 'No Moon day' according to the traditional Hindu calendar. Braving the biting cold, the Hindu devotees thronged to bathe in the river.Hindus believe that the water of the sacred Ganga turns into nectar on Mauni Amavasya. Jan 31, 2014

Jan Lokpal to be passed in special Delhi Assembly session on 16 Feb: AAP

New Delhi, Jan 31 (ANI): After AAP's National Executive meet on Friday, party leader Manish Sisodia said that the party will convene a special session of Delhi Assembly on 16th February to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill at the Indira Gandhi Stadium. Sisodia said that the special session will start the session on 13 and will continue the same till 16th February. Jan 31, 2014

Telangana bill: Constitutional violations by Congress, bill not in shape: TDP

Hyderabad, Jan 31 (ANI): Upset over Telangana bill, Telugu Desam Party President Chandrababu Naidu said that that the Congress violated a lot of Constitutional norms in the process and that the bill is not in shape. Naidu said that he was not allowed to present his views on the bill and that Congress is acting in a scripted manner. He also said that he will approach the President regarding the bill. Jan 31, 2014

Nursery admissions: SC refuses to stay Delhi HC order

New Delhi, Jan 31 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the interim order on the nursery admission process in the national capital but asked the Delhi High Court to expeditiously hear the pleas against the guidelines by advancing the scheduled hearing. The Apex court said that the order of the High Court was in the nature of an interim order, it was not interfering with it and asked the High Court to hear the issues raised as expeditiously as possible in the interest of the schools and welfare of the children. The apex court gave liberty to the petitioners, Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Private Schools, Forum for Promotion of Quality Education for All and some parents to make an application before the single judge of the High Court for advancing the March 11 hearing. Jan 31, 2014

Dense fog engulfs north India, hits road traffic

Amritsar /New Delhi, Jan 31 (ANI): Dense fog engulfed various regions of northern India for second consecutive day dropping visibility below 50 metres and disrupting road traffic on Friday. Meanwhile, cold wave tightened its grip in Punjab and Haryana with minimum temperature dipping below normal at several places. A thick blanket of fog enveloped most parts of Punjab, throwing normal life out of gear. A daily commuter in Amritsar city of Punjab, Satpal Singh, expressed difficulty in travelling amid dense fog. Biting cold wave has forced people to stay indoors within the warmer confines of their houses, while office-goers and schoolchildren are struggling to reach their destinations. Jan 31, 2014

Delhi Govt has no right to function if it cannot provide 24x 7 power: BJP

New Delhi, Jan 31 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday criticized Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for failing to provide uninterrupted power supply, and said the state government has no right to function if it is unable to provide electricity to the people. Jan 31, 2014

Thai northeast vows poll payback to Shinawatra clan

In Bangkok, embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra rarely ventures out in public because of fears for her safety but in much of the vast rural northeast her billionaire family are heroes. Jan 31, 2014

Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna resigns

Dehradun, Jan 31 (ANI): Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has resigned from his post, he submitted his resignation to the state Governor Aziz Qureshi in Dehradun on Friday. Bahuguna, paid the price for the poor relief and rehabilitation work carried out by his government after last year's flash floods.The decision to replace Bahuguna was taken at a meeting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had with senior party leaders on Thursday. Union Minister Harish Rawat is the frontrunner in the race to replace Bahuguna. Jan 31, 2014