New Year begins with marathon in Shimla

Shimla, Jan 01 (ANI): Local administration in Shimla on Thursday (January 01) organized a high altitude half-marathon to propagate federal government's Clean India Mission on New Year day. About 200 participants ran the 2.5- kilometer stretch. Addition Deputy Commissioner (ADC) of Shimla, Unis, who flagged off the marathon, said the importance of the otherwise an annual exercise was to spread awareness about cleanliness. Some of the participants in the marathon vowed to make the run a part of their daily routine. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the nationwide cleanliness mission on October 02 last year to raise awareness at the grassroots level for better sanitation in a bid to create a sense of responsibility among citizens under the banner of 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan' or Clean India Mission. Jan 1, 2015

BJP leaders meet Kashmir governor to discuss govt formation

Jammu, Jan 01 (ANI): A delegation of BJP leaders on Thursday (January 01) met Governor NN Vohra of Jammu and Kashmir as suspense continues over government formation since the elections threw a hung legislature last month. Governor's meeting with BJP leaders comes a day after PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti, met him on Wednesday. President of Kashmir's unit of BJP Jugal Kishore said the party was holding talks with various stakeholders to provide a stable government in the state. BJP leader Avinash Rai, said the formation of a stable government was the party's top priority. The deadline for forming a new government is January 19, post which governor's rule will be imposed in the state. Jan 1, 2015

Lakhvi sent to 14 days' judicial custody in kidnapping case, Lawyer slams govt

Islamabad, Jan 01 (ANI): The 26/11 Mumbai attacks accused Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi has been sent to a 14-day judicial custody by a court in Islamabad. Lakhvi's lawyer slammed the Pakistan government for using its naked power under pressure from Indian counterparts. He added that the FIR filed against Lakhvi is false and baseless. Jan 1, 2015

Centre faces criticism for changing name of Planning Commission to 'Niti Aayog'

New Delhi, Jan 1 (ANI): The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government on Thursday changed the name of the Planning Commission to 'Niti Aayog'. Congress leader Rashid Alvi and JD (U) leader Ali Anwar however, criticized the government for only changing the name of the body, instead of coming out with any new initiatives to take the nation forward economically. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Yogendra Yadav questioned whether changing the name will ensure justice and morality. Jan 1, 2015

NDA is only for namesake, it is BJP govt: Vaiko

Chennai, Jan 01 (ANI): MDMK Chief Vaiko said that the NDA government is only for namesake it is actually ruled and governed completely by the BJP. He also said that there has not been any meeting of the NDA parties since the formation of BJP government at the centre like it used to be earlier. Jan 1, 2015

Congress releases first list of 24 candidates for upcoming Delhi Assembly polls

New Delhi, Jan 1 (ANI): The Congress party on Thursday released its first list of candidates for the upcoming Delhi Assembly polls. Prominent among the 24 names released are that of former Delhi minister Haroon Yusuf , who shall be contesting from Ballimaran; Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, who will contest from Gandhi Nagar; and Chaudhary Mateen Ahmed , who will stand from Seelampur. Dr. A K Walia will contest from Laxmi Nagar, while the Congress candidates from the Matiya Mahal and Uttam Nagar constituencies are Shoaib Iqbal and Mukesh Sharma respectively. Jan 1, 2015

Pakistan lodges protest against ceasefire violation, demands India to investigate

Islamabad, Jan 01 (ANI): Pakistan Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tasneem Aslam on Thursday said that Pakistan had summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner over ceasefire violation. Aslam said that Pak held strong protest over the incident handing over a protest note to India demanding the country to investigate the incident. She also added that Pakistan demands strict punishment for those who are responsible for ambushing Pak soldiers by calling them for white flag meet. Jan 1, 2015

Jitan Ram Manjhi says PK might be made tax-free

Patna, Jan 01 (ANI): Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said on Thursday that as suggested by the former state CM Nitish Kumar, the film 'PK' can be made tax-free in the state. Manjhi also said that the further formalities might take some more time to execute the decision. The Aamir Khan starrer movie has been made tax-free in Uttar Pradesh. Jan 1, 2015

Congress pulls up NDA Government for failing to end ceasefire violations by Pakistan

New Delhi, Jan 01 (ANI): The Congress on Thursday criticized the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA Government for failing to stop the ceasefire violations from across the border, and added that such activities by Pakistan have increased in pace since the new government took charge over seven months ago. Earlier on Wednesday there were reports of fresh ceasefire violations from Pakistani troops in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir which killed one BSF jawan- Constable Sri Ram and another jawan suffered minor injured, besides killing the four Pakistani Rangers in the exchange of firing. Jan 1, 2015

Amit Shah to visit Punjab, reports of SAD-BJP alliance split

New Delhi, Jan 01 (ANI): BJP President Amit Shah will soon be visiting Punjab to hold an anti-drug debacle amid reports of SAD-BJP alliance to be split. Congress leaders Rashid Alvi and PC Chacko said that BJP can never stand an alliance. JD (U) leader Ali Anwar said that BJP has shown signs of being dominant to many of its allies after coming to power, which is why it is not able to sustain any of its partner. Jan 1, 2015

Shiv Sena demands anti-conversion law, Politicos react

New Delhi, Jan 01 (ANI): Amid reports of Shiv Sena demanding for anti-conversion law, political leaders gave mixed reactions on Thursday. Congress leader Rashid Alvi said that a law already exists in the Constitution and there was no need for a new law. Congress leaders PC Chacko and Manish Tewari also condemned the demand. CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat said that the government should stop conversions being held by its supporting organizations like RSS and others. Meanwhile, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that conversions and re-conversions are complimentary. Jan 1, 2015

India greets 2015 with special prayers

Varanasi /Amritsar / Visakhapatnam / Ujjain, Jan 01 (ANI): People on Thursday kick started the New Year celebrations by visiting shrines to offer prayers. Long queues of faithful could be seen outside major Hindu and Sikh shrines across India. The faithful believe visits to temples on the New Year day bring prosperity, good health and peace in the family. The northern temple town of Varanasi, nestled on the banks of the holy river Ganga, woke up to holy chants by priests. Foreign tourists, who regularly visit this temple town for solace, were spellbound by the elaborate rituals. In Amritsar, devotees were seen thronging the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of the Sikhs, since early morning. Many took a holy dip before taking part in the prayers. Jan 1, 2015

Dalai Lama greets people on New Year

Surat, Jan 01 (ANI): Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Thursday (January 01) called upon people to utilise their day for something new as he extended New Year greetings. The Dalai Lama fled to India after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. He has lived in India since then. A government of exiled Tibetans and tens of thousands of refugees are also based in Dharamsala. Jan 1, 2015

Rajnath Singh launches women safety mobile app in New Delhi

New Delhi, Jan 01 (ANI): Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh launched a mobile-phone based application for safety of women in New Delhi on Thursday (January 01), and also distributed pepper sprays to group of women. The app 'Himmat' was launched in collaboration with the Delhi police. Singh congratulated the Delhi police for running several self-defence classes for women and motivated them to become a role model for the police forces across the country. He also highlighted the fact that there is a need to make the force technologically empowered. Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi and Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung were also present at the event. Jan 1, 2015

Kashmir's famed Dal lake freezes as temperature dips

Srinagar, Jan 01 (ANI): Kashmir continues to reel under extreme weather conditions leading to freezing of several water bodies, including the famed Dal Lake. The dip in temperatures is due to snowfall in the Himalayas and has adversely impacted the upper half of the country. The cold wave has also forced people to stay indoors. People in Srinagar city, who work outdoors, were seen sitting around bonfire to fight the chill on Thursday (January 01). Local boatmen also found it difficult to row their boats through the frozen Dal Lake. The Valley is witnessing the 40-day harshest winter period, known as Chillai-Kalan, which began on December 21. But the state has not received much snowfall as compared to last year even though temperatures continue to remain below freezing point in the valley. Locals say the delay in snowfall has led to spread of diseases.Located in the tropics, most of India witnesses a very hot summer and a largely temperate winter. Jan 1, 2015