BJP to hold parliamentary meet over Land Acquisition Ordinance

New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will hold a parliamentary board meeting for the second time on Tuesday (February 24) over the land acquisition ordinance. The first meeting earlier in the day, before the parliament session began, was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the presence of veteran BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani. Minister of State for parliamentary affairs, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, told media the leaders of BJP and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will meet in the evening to deliberate on the issues on how to make the land acquisition bill more effective for the farmers. Earlier in the day the government introduced in the lower house of the parliament the controversial Land Acquisition Amendment Bill 2015 amid vociferous protests by the opposition. The government said it will hold discussions one more time to bring all parties on board with its plan. Rudy also informed that at the first meeting the ministry of coal and petroleum and oil made their presentations on coal block allocations and direct cash transfer scheme. Feb 24, 2015

France vows stiffer penalties for hate speech

French President Francois Hollande vows to introduce tougher penalties for "racist, anti-semitic or homophobic" remarks following the January attacks in Paris. Duration: 01:22 Feb 24, 2015

Bhagwat says Mother Teresa's aim was conversion, receives flak

New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): Political leaders on Tuesday slammed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for his comment on Mother Teresa. Bhagwat had on Sunday stoked a controversy by saying that the main objective behind Mother Teresa's service to the poor was conversion to Christianity. Congress, JD (U), NCP strongly objected to Bhagwat's objectionable comments on Mother Teresa and seeked an apology from Bhagwat. Feb 24, 2015

Land Acquisition Ordinance: Farmers, Anna Hazare protest at Jantar Mantar

New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): Veteran social activist Anna Hazare on Tuesday continued his protest at Jantar Mantar against the ordinance on Land Acquisition Bill. Hazare began a two-day protest against Modi government's controversial Land Acquisition Ordinance on Monday, the day when Budget Session of the Parliament also commenced. Social activist Medha Patkar, CPI leader Atul Anjan, MDMK leader Vaiko also joined Hazare's protest. Several farmer unions from across the country are also protesting with Anna at Jantar Mantar against the government's land ordinance. Feb 24, 2015

AIADMK celebrates Jayalalithaa's 67th birthday in Chennai with much fanfare

Chennai, Feb 24 (ANI): AIADMK Office in Chennai witnessed grand celebration as the party chief J Jayalalithaa turned 67 on Tuesday. Party workers and members are organising a number of welfare activities to mark their leader's birthday which also includes a free medical camp. While special prayers at religious places were conducted for the former Chief Minister's acquittal in an assets case also, mass marriages and welfare activities marked the day for supporters. The party workers also cut a grand cake shaped as the number '67' and later distributed sweets to the poor. Firecrackers, dance and music marked the day at the party office as people rejoiced on the occasion. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also extended his wishes to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister on her birthday. "Birthday greetings to Jayalalithaa ji. May she be blessed with a long life, filled with good health," he said. Feb 24, 2015

Reactions come in after Hashim Ansari and Mahant Gyan Das seeks out-of-court solution in Ayodhya iss

New Delhi/ Ayodhya/ Lucknow, Feb 24 (ANI): Reactions come in on Tuesday after the oldest litigant in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit case, Hashim Ansari met Mahant Gyan Das of Hanuman Garhi in Ayodhya and expressed his desire for an out-of-court settlement of the dispute. AIBMAC Convenor Zafaryab Jilani said that the community trust Ansari and are with him on the issue. However, he said that the VHP's stand is clear on the issue and that the Muslim community would not compromise over the same. Muslim Cleric Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali said that Ansari should put his view in the Supreme Court as the case is with the apex court. NCP leader Tariq Anwar also welcomed the proposal. Feb 24, 2015

Ordinances cannot bypass Parliament: Jaitley on Land Acquisition

New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said that Ordinances and laws cannot bypass the Parliament adding that the government was well within its rights to take the Ordinance route, amidst an uproar in the Rajya Sabha over the Land Acquisition Bill. Congress leader Anand Sharma, however, shot back saying Jaitley expected the Parliament to rubber stamp the Ordinances. The government is today introducing the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 in the Parliament to replace the Land Acquisition Ordinance. The government had last year in December circulated the ordinance which had brought changes in the previous bill passed in 2013 by the UPA regime. Earlier in the day, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had termed the Land Acquisition Bill as 'anti-farmer' and added that his party will counter it tooth and nail by taking support from all the opposition parties. Trinamool Congress (TMC) legislators also staged a protest against the Land Acquisition Bill outside the Parliament. Feb 24, 2015

Kashmir tourism board organizes adventure camp to woo back tourists

Srinagar, Feb 24 (ANI): The tourism board of Jammu and Kashmir, in collaboration with a private institute, has organised a mountaineering camp in the state to woo back tourists and promote adventure tourism in the Valley. Tourism in the state was badly hit in September last year after the state witnessed its worst ever floods in decades. Hundreds of people were killed and thousands of villages were devastated in the floods. Aru valley in Pahalgam, also known as mini-Switzerland, has been a popular destination among foreign tourists for adventure sports. The authorities are putting special focus to develop this region. Aru valley, replete with exotic flora and fauna, is the starting point for various trekking routes including the one to Kolahoi glacier and Sonmarg. Thrill seekers from across India are participating in this camp and learning a range of activities under the supervision of professional trainers. A participant from New Delhi, Sonia was positive about the camp's success. Feb 24, 2015

Health authorities spread swine flu awareness in JandK

Poonch, Feb 24 (ANI): With a surge in the number of swine flu cases, health department in Jammu and Kashmir has set up isolation wards in government hospitals and is creating awareness on ways to combat the H1N1 virus as the pandemic spreads across country. India has seen a sharp rise in the number of swine flu deaths and reported cases this year, prompting officials to investigate the cause and step up efforts to combat the virus. Students in Poonch district are being educated at schools about the deadly disease and ways to identify it in the early stage itself. Also, hospitals are being extra careful about the spread of the disease among its staff members. Feb 24, 2015

MG Vaidya backs Bhagwat's remarks on Mother Teresa

Nagpur, Feb 24 (ANI): Senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue MG Vaidya on Tuesday backed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's remarks on Mother Teresa. Talking to mediapersons in Nagpur, he said that that missionaries which serve people, undertake the services to convert them to Christianity. Feb 24, 2015

Classical dancers continue to steal the limelight at Khajuraho festival in MP

Khajuraho, Feb 24 (ANI): Classical dancers from across India mesmerised audience at the famed Khajuraho Dance Festival with their elegant moves and subtlety. The week-long world renowned classical dance festival is held in the spectacular backdrop of magnificently lit temples in Madhya Pradesh. It aspires to promote cultural and traditional dances in the culturally-rich country. Dancers portray regional folklores through various classical dance forms such as Bharatanatyam, Odissi, and Kathak. They portray an array of legendary tales including an image of Hindu God Shiva's cosmic dance 'Tandava' and Lord Krishna's Rass Leela with Gopis (female partners). While celebrated performers enthralled the audience with their prowess, budding artistes felt blessed to have performed on the prestigious stage. Feb 24, 2015

LG Najeeb Jung briefs upon goals and aspirations of AAP govt in Delhi to make it a 'world class city

New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Tuesday awhile addressing at the Delhi Assembly briefed upon the goals and aspirations of the AAP government in the national capital to make it a 'world class city'. Jung talked about various objectives of the Kejriwal government which includes women safety, infrastructure development, water and power supply, addressing employment issues, introducing free wi-fi and hotspot services among others. He also said that the government is obliged to work for the people of Delhi in all the ways it can. Feb 24, 2015

LG Najeeb Jung briefs upon goals & aspirations of AAP govt in Delhi to make it a world class city

New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Tuesday awhile addressing at the Delhi Assembly briefed upon the goals and aspirations of the AAP government in the national capital to make it a world class city. Jung talked about various objectives of the Kejriwal government which includes women safety, infrastructure development, water and power supply, addressing employment issues, introducing free wi-fi and hotspot services among others. He also said that the government is obliged to work for the people of Delhi in all the ways it can. Feb 24, 2015