Dinesh Trivedi calls reports of joining BJP rumors, says India should rise above petty politics

New Delhi, Jan 21 (ANI): TMC MP Dinesh Trivedi on Wednesday said that the reports of joining BJP are just rumors. He said that just praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not say that he or anyone will join the BJP. He said that the whole world is looking at India with hope and all should join hands to build a new India. Trivedi said that TMC Chief Mamata Banerjee has definitely done a great job for the state but the life should not just end there. He said that the nation should rise above the petty politics otherwise politics will convert into mafia and that would not be a desirable position. Jan 21, 2015

Three storey building collapses in New Delhi

New Delhi, Jan 21 (ANI): A three-storied building collapsed in Gautampuri locality in New Delhi in wee hours of Wednesday (January 21). However, no casualties have been reported so far. Deputy Commandant of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Asim Ul Haque, said that cracks had started showing in the building due to construction of another building behind it. He also said that clearing operations on the ground floor was underway and no casualties were expected from there as well. Ten fire tenders were rushed to the spot. Lax and poorly enforced construction standards amid booming demand for housing have resulted in frequent and deadly collapses across the country. Jan 21, 2015

Rijiju asks Pakistan to follow US, UK advice over handover of Lakhvi

New Delhi, Jan 21 (ANI): Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju has asked Pakistan to handover 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi to New Delhi, as has also been advised by the United States of America and the United Kingdom to do so. A section of media had reported earlier that the US and the UK have asked Pakistan to either hand over Lakhvi to India to improve bilateral ties or to conduct a credible and independent trial. Rijiju said Pakistan needs to exhibit its intention to fight militancy after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had vowed to crush all militants after the killing of 132 school children and nine members of school staff in Peshawar. Jan 21, 2015

Writers, journalists come out in support of author Perumal Murugan who quits writing

Chennai, Jan 21 (ANI): Tamil writers, publishers and senior journalists held a protest in Chennai in support of author Perumal Murugan after he quit writing as his novel triggered controversy. Murugan's novel 'Madhorubhagan' came under attack by casteist and Hindu outfits for allegedly being offensive to the local dominant caste. His decision to stop writing came through a post from his Facebook page where he said that he is dead and not going to write anymore. 'Madhorubhagan' was first published in 2010 in Tamil and then in English in 2013 under the title 'One Part Woman'. The novel is a fictional story of a poor, childless couple and how the wife, who wants to conceive, takes part in an ancient Hindu chariot festival where, on one night, consensual sex between any man and woman is allowed. Murugan has also asked his publishers not to sell or reprint any of his books and promised to compensate the loss they incurred. Protestors shouted slogans and conducted a signature campaign in support of Murugan. Jan 21, 2015

First International water birds census begins in Kashmir

Srinagar, Jan 21 (ANI): An international water birds census began in all wetlands of Jammu and Kashmir. The wildlife department began counting of water birds, in a bid to attract tourism as well. The census is being organised for the first time in the valley to know the count of migratory birds. Kashmir, which is famous for its natural beauty and water bodies, attract thousands of migratory birds. A team was formed for the work, which used special binoculars and other gadgets. Meanwhile, wildlife warden of Hokersar wetland, Imtiyaz Ahmad Lone, said that the census will be carried out with the help of volunteers. Lone said that this was a chance to popularize the wetlands in the valley and the census would help create interest among people and attract bird lovers to the wetlands. More than 500, 000 migratory birds are in Hokersar wetland. Jan 21, 2015

UP seeks paramilitary forces for Obama's Taj visit

Lucknow/ Agra, Jan 21 (ANI): The northern state of Uttar Pradesh is taking measures to step up vigil ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit to the Taj Mahal later this month. The state has asked for 10 companies of paramilitary forces from the Central government in view of the multi-tier security set up for the high profile visit. The city of Agra is set to become a fortress ahead of Obama's visit on January 27. The Taj Mahal will be closed to visitors on that day. Multi-tier security arrangements are in place for US President's visit. Jan 21, 2015

AAP candidate from Mehrauli alleges corruption after party cancels his ticket

New Delhi, Jan 21 (ANI): AAP has cancelled the ticket of its candidate from Mehrauli, Goverdhan Singh, ahead of polls in Delhi. Singh, on Wednesday, alleged that the party had earlier forced him to contest elections from that seat and now cancelled the ticket to insult his community people. Singh also said that there is prominent corruption in party and tickets are being sold openly for a huge amount of money in the party. He further said that he has been lured by the party to quit his seat with the promise of giving him the post of Chairman once the party wins. Jan 21, 2015

AAP explains ticket cancellation of its two candidates

New Delhi, Jan 21 (ANI): AAP leader Manish Sisodia on Wednesday explained the party's decision to cancel the ticket of two of its candidates prior to polls in Delhi. Sisodia said that the party had unanimously taken the decision of cancelling tickets of its candidates from Mehrauli and Mundka after some hidden information was revealed. Sisodia also appealed to the people that they should not believe any person who claims to be selling tickets on bribe. Jan 21, 2015

Lack of confidence in euro zone has been overcome, says German finance Minister in New Delhi

New Delhi, Jan 21 (ANI): German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble, said the euro zone has overcome a lack of confidence and is working to boost growth, but emerging nations should take the lead in reviving the global economy, in a seminar at New Delhi. Schauble, who is on a two-day India visit, to enhance bilateral economic relations, addressed a seminar entitled "Europe and India in the face of Globalisation" hosted by the Indian business group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) where he reassured India that the euro zone is not about to lurch into a fresh crisis. Asked about the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Schaeuble said whole of Europe has faced a lot of problems with Russia, but the most problems are faced by Russia itself. Europe would "deliver its fair contribution" to global growth, Schauble also said, while calling on emerging economies like India to make a bigger contribution. Later in the day, Schauble held a bilateral meeting with Indian counterpart, Arun Jaitley, in the capital. On Monday (January 19) Schauble also met Indian Prime Minster, Narendra Modi. Jan 21, 2015

Govts banking for all scheme surpasses target: Jaitley

New Delhi, Jan 21 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise to end “financial untouchability” with a scheme to ensure majority of households in the country of nearly 1.3 billion people has a bank account has almost been fulfilled, according to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Jaitley announced that the scheme called Pradhanmantri Jan Dhan Yojna (PJDY) or Prime Minister’s National Mission on Financial Inclusion, has achieved its target well before the deadline. According to the ministry of finance, by January 17, 2015 a record number of 115 million bank accounts have been opened in the country. Jaitley acknowledged the role of bank employees in achieving this ambitious target. Jan 21, 2015

Former Pak Foreign minister roots for peace with India

Amritsar, Jan 21 (ANI): The former foreign minister of Pakistan, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri rooted for peace between his country and India. Tensions have risen between the two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi called off peace talks with Pakistan in 2014 August. Sporadic rounds of heavy shelling have pounded villages along a previously peaceful stretch of border in Kashmir. Kasuri said that a peaceful environment was vital for development of the nuclear-armed nations. Referring to peace talks between India and Pakistan in 2003-04 when he was foreign minister, Kasuri said that resuming harmony between the two nations was not an impossible task. Jan 21, 2015

Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Foreign Minister, Pakistan, Peace, Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Jan 21 (ANI): A court has ordered the government to release blocked funds of Greenpeace India, the environmental group said, months after being accused of running campaigns that were hurting the country’s economy. India's intelligence service in June said Greenpeace and other lobby groups were damaging the country's economy by campaigning against power projects, mining and genetically modified food. While Greenpeace denied the allegations, India asked its central bank to tighten controls on moving funds from abroad into Greenpeace's Indian accounts. Greenpeace said the Indian government had "arbitrarily barred" it from receiving foreign funds from Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation in June 2014. The government's move to restrict the movement of funds had raised concerns that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new government will be tough on foreign-funded activist groups. Jan 21, 2015

Lassana "proud and touched" to become French citizen

The Muslim employee of the kosher supermarket attacked in Paris, Lassana Bathily, said Tuesday night he was "very proud and very touched" to have received French citizenship during a ceremony at the Ministry of the Interior. Duration: 01:00 Jan 21, 2015

Franc surge casts shadow on Geneva luxury watch fair

Geneva's luxury watch show where shop owners search out such brands as Cartier and Piaget opened Monday under a cloud as the franc surged after the Swiss central bank abandoned its bid to hold down its value. Duration: 01:08 Jan 21, 2015