MEA briefs about Indian labourers' dispute in Sri Lanka

New Delhi, Jan 05 (ANI): Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin on Monday briefed about the dispute between Indian labourers and a Sri Lankan company in Colombo. Akbaruddin said that the Indian Foreign Ministry is maintaining continuous contact with the High Commission in Colombo to keep information updated. He added that the Indian authorities have also been giving the labourers allowance. He added that a counselor team has gone to the company and they are working to ensure that the labourers are repatriated at the earliest. Jan 5, 2015

Annual Magh Mela starts in Allahabad amidst tight security

Allahabad, Jan 05 (ANI): With the annual Magh Mela beginning on Monday, police have stepped up security in Allahabad city of Uttar Pradesh. During the Magh Mela, thousands of elated Hindus stream to Allahabad for taking a dip at Sangam, the confluence point, where rivers Ganges and Yamuna meet a third mythical river. Several cultural events such as dramatic portrayals from Hindu Epics with music and dance performances, folk theatre are a part of the grand event. Free food and accommodation is provided to Hindu sages and people attending the fair. Reportedly over 25 lakh pilgrims are expected to turn up on the first day of this month-long event. In order to ensure that no untoward incident takes place, the police are leaving no stone unturned in matters of security. Inspector General (IG), Allahabad zone, Daljeet Chaudhary said that cameras had been installed at all strategic points to keep an eye on every movement. Jan 5, 2015

Politicos react on WB govt after Mamata's nephew Abhishek Banerjee slapped during

New Delhi, Jan 5 (ANI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek was on Sunday slapped during Trinamool Congress youth wing rally. A man climbed on to the elevated platform and jumped ahead to slap Banerjee. The incident took place in East Midnapore in West Bengal where Abhishek Banerjee was addressing a rally. Politicos reacted on the issue. Jan 5, 2015

Politicos react after at least three lost eye-sight during cataract surgery at NGO camp in Mathura

New Delhi, Jan 05 (ANI): Political leaders reacted on Monday after at least three people lost their eye sight during cataract surgery at an eye camp in Mathura. JD (U) leader KC Tyagi said that such surgeries should be conducted under government’s supervision. BJP leader Vijay Bahadur Pathak said that such camps which are meant to provide relief to the general public in turn prove to be dangerous, so proper investigation should be conducted before their set up. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the government should be careful when such camps are conducted. Jan 5, 2015

Asaduddin Owaisi says all born Muslims and should embrace the religion, Politicos condemn

New Delhi, Jan 05 (ANI): Political leaders on Monday condemned Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi after he said that Islam is the 'real home' of all religions in the world and hence the real 'home coming' will be when people of other religions embrace it. Owaisi had said that all are born as Muslim and are later converted to other religions. NCP leader Majid Memon said that Owaisi is making such statements for vote bank and should refrain from the same. JD (U) leader Ali Anwar said that such statements by 'communal forces' harm the nation as a whole. CPI leader Atul Anjan said that people who believe in democracy and such ideologies should not pay heed to communal remarks by Owaisi and others. Jan 5, 2015

Cold wave sweeps northern India, dense fog delays trains

New Delhi/Kanpur, Jan 5 (ANI): As cold wave continues to lash northern India, train traffic remained disrupted in the region on Monday due to thick blanket of fog. As night temperature plunged further at several places in the region, people who work outdoors were seen seeking warmth from bonfires and hot tea from roadside stalls. In the national capital, New Delhi, passengers at the railway stations complained of long delays in the scheduled timings of trains. Dense fog affected the train traffic in northern Kanpur city as well, where light rains added to the woes of the passengers. The sudden dip in temperatures is said to have been caused by snowfall in upper regions of Himalayas and has adversely impacted the upper half of the country. Jan 5, 2015

Evidence suggests 'Pak boat' was not smuggler's vessel but had suspected terrorist link: Manohar Par

New Delhi, Jan 05 (ANI): Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that the men on board the Pakistani boat which blew itself up off Gujarat coast on New Year's eve were suspected to be terrorists. Parrikar said that the evidence till now suggest that the boat was not smuggler's vessel but had suspected terror link. Rejecting the smuggling angle to the incident, he said that the route taken by the boat was not the route taken by smugglers. The defence minister said that the boat was under surveillance for 12 hours and the act that it was stationed at one position does not indicate smuggling. Secondly, he also stated that smugglers won't stay in touch with Pakistani maritime authorities and would not commit suicide. He also commended the Coast Guard, saying they could not have done any better. Jan 5, 2015

Will explore possibility of recommending Saina Nehwal's name for Padma Bhushan: Sarbananda Sonowal

New Delhi, Jan 05 (ANI): Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that he would examine possibility of recommending ace shuttler Saina Nehwal's name for third highest civilian award after the snub. The Badminton Association of India (BAI) had recommended Nehwal's name in August last year to the sports ministry for conferring her with Padma Bhushan. But, the ministry instead sent two-time Olympic medalist wrestler Sushil Kumar's name to the panel. Nehwal on Saturday said she was hurt as her name was not further recommended to a panel for the award. He also praised Nehwal as one of the great players of the country. Jan 5, 2015

Amit Shah to meet party leaders in J-K over govt. formation

New Delhi, Jan 5 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah will be meeting Jammu and Kashmir party leaders on Monday to discuss government formation in the state. According to reports, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav will meet the members one on one and take their feedback. Earlier, the BJP had stated that any attempt to form a government in the Jammu and Kashmir without its inclusion would be a travesty of the mandate given by the people of the state. The J-K elections threw up a hung verdict, with the PDP emerging as the single-largest party in with 28 seats. The BJP won 25 seats, with the National Conference and Congress winning 15 and 12 seats respectively. Jan 5, 2015

Bangladesh police besiege Khaleda Zia ahead of first anniversary of elections

Dhaka, Jan 5 (ANI): Bangladesh is today marking the first anniversary of the controversial 2014 prime ministerial elections that was boycotted by the BNP-led coalition. Earlier on Sunday, police besieged former Bangladesh Prime Minister and chief of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Khaleda Zia, at her office, amid fears of violence as the opposition party planned rallies across the country. The BNP and its allies had boycotted the election that was held in January 05, 2014 which was marred by deadly unrest. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held to her stance that a fresh poll can be called only if her rivals halt violence. The BNP denounced Hasina's scrapping of the practice of having a caretaker government oversee elections. On Sunday, the BNP party workers held a protest in front of the party office to know the reason as to why the police besieged the party chief. Jan 5, 2015

Madhu Kinnar becomes first eunuch to win mayor poll

Chhattisgarh, Jan 5 (ANI): A eunuch, who earned a living by singing in Howrah-Mumbai trains scripted history by winning civic polls in Chhattisgarh, defeating nearest rival from ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Independent candidate Madhu won the mayor election of the Raigarh Municipal Corporation by 4,537 votes against BJP's Mahaveer Guruji. Madhu, 35, belonging to Dalit community, is the first transgender person to get elected as mayor in the state. After winning, Madhu said people had shown faith in her and she will put best efforts to accomplish their dreams. Hundreds of thousands of transgenders in India face discrimination, abuse and often forced into prostitution. Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh wished the winning candidates. Jan 5, 2015

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat pitches for unity among Hindus

Ahmedabad, Jan 05 (ANI): Making a strong pitch for unity among Hindus, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said if every Hindu is brought under one camp, no power on earth would be able to stop the community's progress. Addressing a gathering in Gujarat during a three-day RSS training programme, Bhagwat said if the Hindu society is in danger, the entire country is also in danger. Jan 5, 2015

French mayor denies refusing burial of Roma baby

French officials voiced disgust Sunday after the mayor of a Paris suburb reportedly refused to allow a dead Roma baby to be buried in the municipal cemetery although the mayor himself later denied the claims. Duration: 01:38 Jan 4, 2015

Wakes and prayers held for AirAsia victims

The families of victims of AirAsia Flight 8501 have been preparing funerals as the bodies are identified in Surabaya, where a crisis centre has been set up at a police hospital. So far at least 34 bodies have been recovered. Duration: 00:50 Jan 4, 2015

Former Greek PM launches new party weeks before elections

Former Greek prime minister Georges Papandreou officially launched a new political party. Called the Democrat Socialists Movement, the new party has been founded just weeks before snap elections this month. Duration: 01:08 Jan 4, 2015