As winter sets in, Kashmir gorges on winter snacks

Srinagar, Dec 20 (ANI): Its winter season once again in northern India and as temperatures dip to sub-zero level in Kashmir, people throng markets in the valley to relish some of their favourite winter snacks. The traditional snacks of Jammu and Kashmir known as Nadir Mounji or Mounji Goul are selling like hot cakes in the winter season. These traditional snacks have different varieties including Nadir Monji, Gaer Gouji. Made from lotus stem, chestnuts and other ingredients, these snacks have a great demand this season. These snacks are an essential part of daily lives of people in Kashmir during winters. A seller, Mohammad Azad, said on Friday that people come from far flung areas to get a taste of their favourite snacks. Not only are these snacks delectable but also help people bear the cold and the change in weather. Dec 20, 2014

MEA strips Devyani Khobragade of her charge, puts her on 'compulsory wait'

New Delhi, Dec 20 (ANI): In yet another trouble for Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, the External Affairs Ministry has stripped her of her duties as Director in the Development Partnership Division of the MEA for making unauthorized statements in the media. She has been placed under a 'compulsory wait'. MEA Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that the action taken against Khobragade is related to an ongoing inquiry against her in a vigilance case. The vigilance case against Khobragade is underway on charges that she had failed to disclose that her husband is a US citizen and that she has got US passports for her two children. The government action means Khobragade remains in service but has no job for now. She could also face further administrative action. Dec 20, 2014

PM Modi urges for large voter turnout in Jharkhand, JandK

New Delhi, Dec 20 (ANI): As the voting kick started on Saturday for the fourth phase of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the people to cast their vote in large numbers. "I urge all those voting in the 5th and final phase of J-K and Jharkhand Assembly polls to turnout in record numbers and vote," tweeted Prime Minister Modi. In Jammu and Kashmir, voting is taking place for 20 Assembly seats in border district of Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri. Five ministers of Omar Abdullah government along with 213 other candidates, and a number of former MPs and MLAs are in the fray. In Jharkhand, polling is underway for 16 constituencies spread over 6 districts of Dumka, Godda, Sahebganj, Jamtara, Deoghar and Pakud in Santhal Pargana region. Elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure free and fair polling. Dec 20, 2014

Polling begins in Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir, Dec 20 (ANI): Voting for the fifth and final leg of assembly polls on 20 seats of Jammu and Kashmir has begun. Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place in the state to ensure free and fair polling. In Jammu and Kashmir, several high-profile candidates, including Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, will try their luck in 20 seats spread over three districts - Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri. As many as 18,28,904 eligible voters, comprising 9,59,011 men and 8,69,891 women, are expected to exercise their franchise at 2,366 polling stations. Dec 20, 2014

Final phase polling begins in Jharkhand

Jharkhand, Dec 20 (ANI): The fifth and final phase of voting for 16 Assembly seats spread across six districts has begun in Jharkhand amid high security. Among the heavyweights, Hemant Soren, the JMM leader, is contesting from Dumka, apart from Barhait constituency, where he is facing challenge from former Morcha leader and BJP candidate Hemlal Murmu. Sixteen of the 81 assembly constituencies will vote in this phase. In all 36,90,069 voters, including 17,84,486 women, are eligible to exercise their franchise to choose among 208 candidates, 16 of them women. Voting would end at 3 pm in all the seats. Dec 20, 2014

Students express their angst against Peshawar massacre through painting

Moradabad, Dec 19 (ANI): Students in Moradabad took to paintings to express their anger to a terror attack on Pakistan's Peshawar city early this week, in which 132 children were killed. The paintings depict terror, death and blood and sketches are mainly in black and red. The Taliban, waging war against Pakistan in order to topple the government and set up an Islamic state, immediately claimed responsibility. After the attack, the Taliban declared that all of those children deserved to die because they were part of the military establishment. So far the Taliban have targeted mainly security forces, military bases and airports, but attacks on civilian targets with no logistical significance are relatively rare. Dec 19, 2014

Visiting Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid meets Modi

New Delhi, Dec 19 (ANI): Bangladesh President, Abdul Hamid, met Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on Friday. Hamid is on a six-day visit to India to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries. He is visiting India on an invitation by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, who visited Bangladesh in March 2013. President Hamid is scheduled to meet Indian leadership including Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari. Earlier in the day he also met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.Hamid's visit to India is the first by a ceremonial head of state of Bangladesh since 1972. He will also be visiting places of historical and cultural importance both in and outside Delhi. Dec 19, 2014

Kota BJP MLA accused of threatening CMHO on phone suspended, Politicos react

New Delhi/Jaipur, Dec 19 (ANI): Politicos reacted on Friday after BJP MLA Prahlad Gunjal who had allegedly threatened chief medical and health officer (CMHO) Dr RN Yadav with dire consequences was suspended from the party. BJP leader Nalin Kohli said that the Rajasthan government took the right step. National Commission for SC Chairman PL Punia welcomed the suspension of MP. However, Congress leader Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said that BJP had to suspend the MLA because of public pressure and that the BJP leaders have always used abusive language. Leaders from other political parties also expressed similar sentiments. Dec 19, 2014

Saradha scam case: Madan Mitra sent to judicial custody

Kolkata, Dec 19 (ANI): TMC leader and West Bengal Transport and Sports Minister Madan Mitra arrested in the Saradha scam was on Friday yet again denied bail and sent to judicial custody till Jan 2 by a court in Kolkata. Dec 19, 2014

Rajasthan govt's Bhamashah Yojana to empower women financially

New Delhi, Dec 19 (ANI): Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje says that the influence of women is increasing day by day in all fields of society. Her government has launched the Bhamashah Yojana for the financial empowerment of women and it will benefit nearly 1.5 crore women in the entire country. The program is effectively co-ordinated with the 'Jan-Dhan Yojana' initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Recently in an award ceremony organized by 'The Sunday Standard', Raje, who was the Chief Guest, presented awards to the Sunday Standard Devis. Twenty women were honoured for their exceptional contribution in the fields of law, art, health, business, fashion, adventure, hospitality, policing, architecture and music among others. Raje said that Rajasthan is no longer a state of women wearing long veils and occupied with household chores all day, instead they are representing the society individually. Apart from easy loans for poor women, Raje has also introduced scholarships for girl children and pension for the benefit of old women. Dec 19, 2014

Govt tables GST Bill in Lok Sabha, Jaitley says bill may increase taxation

New Delhi, Dec 19 (ANI): The Central government on Friday tabled the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in Lok Sabha. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the government aims to bring the tax into effect from April 1, 2016. Government will compensate its state governments for revenue losses due to the new nationwide Goods and Service Tax. He added GST will also add to country's gross domestic product (GDP). The bill introduced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley needs the support of two thirds of members of parliament as well as ratification by state legislatures which is expected to happen by the next session of parliament. Dec 19, 2014

Drone sales could take off this christmas in the US

Small flying machines are all the rage amongst technology enthusiasts, many of which gathered at the Los Angeles drone expo this past weekend to not only to look at new models but also to size up potential gifts for their loved ones. Dec 20, 2014

Turkey court releases anti-Erdogan editor, arrests TV chief

A Turkish court on Friday ordered the release of an anti-government newspaper editor but the head of a national television network remains in custody in a controversial case that has strained relations with the European Union. Dec 20, 2014