Public sector bank relay strike hits northern India

Lucknow/Chandigarh, Dec 3 (ANI): Public sector banks employees in northern India went on a strike on Wednesday to demand wage revision, which caused inconvenience to people. The employees began their four-day relay strike with staff in southern region going off from work on Tuesday. The finance ministry also asked banks to ensure operation of clearing houses, continuation of Internet banking, and make arrangements for carrying out uninterrupted government business transactions. Shutters were down at all the banks as public sector bank employees staged protest march on the streets in Chandigarh holding banners and placards and shouting slogans. Dec 3, 2014

TMC protests against hike in fuel excise duty

New Delhi, Dec 3 (ANI): Leaders of Trinamool Congress (TMC) party, on Wednesday (December 03), staged a protest outside parliament against a hike in excise duty of petrol and diesel. India on Tuesday (December 02) raised excise duties on petrol by 2.25 rupees per litre and on diesel by one rupee per litre with immediate effect, the finance ministry said in a statement to parliament. The increases, which follow similar hikes in mid-November, seek to take advantage of a slump in world oil prices to shore up government revenues without stoking inflation. A source familiar with the matter said the latest measures were expected to raise an additional 40 billion rupees in the remainder of the fiscal year to the end of March 2015. Meanwhile, TMC staged protest against the hike, saying the Indian consumers could not avail of advantage of global slump in fuel prices. Dec 3, 2014

Modi's foreign visits improved relations with other countries, says Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi, Dec 3 (ANI): Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday while speaking at the Lok Sabha said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's foreign visits have improved country's relations with other nations. She added that development process has got a new momentum. Meanwhile, Swaraj said Modi's speech in Hindi at the United Nations General Assembly was a matter of great pride. Swaraj further stated that Modi is the second prime minister to visit Fiji after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1981, despite the fact that Indians make up 40 percent of the Fiji's population. Dec 3, 2014

Request Opposition to let Parliament run, no question of Sadhvi's resignation: Venkaiah Naidu

New Delhi, Dec 03 (ANI): Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday requested the Opposition parties to maintain calm and let Parliament run. Naidu said that the Congress and TMC parties are trying to adjourn the houses and not letting main issues come to discussion which is not in the benefit of the country. Further, talking about the opposition’s demand for Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti's resignation, using the example of Congress leader Beni Prasad Verma who used indecent language against many leaders, Naidu said that there is no question of the Minister's resignation as she has tendered an apology for her statement. Dec 3, 2014

No verdict final on Saradha-Burdwan link, matter under investigation: PMO

New Delhi, Dec 03 (ANI): Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office Dr Jitendra Singh on Wednesday that the verdict on the link of Saradha scam money being transferred to Bangladesh through Burdwan has not yet been finalized and the matter is still under investigation. Singh said that the statement made by Amit Shah during his rally in West Bengal cannot be stated completely wrong as the investigation is underway. Dec 3, 2014

A life of servitude: the modern slaves of Pakistan

An estimated two million men, women and children in Pakistan work for no pay, indebted for life, often for several generations -- modern-day slaves, prisoners of a system of debt where interest rates are so high they can never be met. Duration: 03:03 Dec 3, 2014

Congress may back govt on insurance bill, politicos react

New Delhi, Dec 03 (ANI): A compromise between the Congress and BJP appears likely on the insurance bill with the opposition outfit expecting the government to address its concerns over dealing with foreign institutional investors in the overall 49% foreign investment ceiling in Indian insurance companies. Reacting over this Congress leader Manish Tewari said on Wednesday that the BJP should apologize to the nation about opposing amendments to the Insurance Bill when they were in opposition. Meanwhile, TMC MP Derek O'Brien said that the party has been opposing Insurance Bill not just for the sake of it, told Select Committee why going from 26% to 49% is not good. Dec 3, 2014

Babri demolition petitioner refuses to continue fight, says issue politically motivated, Reactions f

New Delhi, Dec 03 (ANI): Babri demolition petitioner Hashim Ansari who has been fighting the case since many years has refused to continue his fight. Ansari said that the issue is now very old and has always been used for political gains and to create communal tension. BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said that such comments are welcome as they show harmony among various communities. JD (U) leader Ali Anwar said that Ansari has taken a strong step and it will make way for the abolition of religion dominated people who misguide innocents. Meanwhile, JD (U) leader KC Tyagi said that one petitioner's withdrawal cannot withdraw history so the final decision has to be taken by the Supreme Court on the issue of Ayodhya. Dec 3, 2014

3-year old minor allegedly raped in Bangalore school

Bangalore, Dec 3 (ANI): A three-year-old minor girl was allegedly sexually assaulted twice in the school premises in Bangalore. Bangalore Police Commissioner MN Reddi said that a police complaint has been registered and the accused, a school attendant, was arrested. He added that the accused has been booked under Section 373 and a female police officer has been assigned to investigate the case. Dec 3, 2014

Hike in excise duty aimed to meet budget deficit: Dharmendra Pradhan

New Delhi, Dec 03 (ANI): Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday said that the government hiked excise duty on petrol and diesel for the second time in three weeks to shore up revenue to meet budget deficit without burdening the consumer. The government had on Tuesday raised excise duty on petrol by Rs.2.25 per litre and by Rs.1 a litre on diesel but retail pump rates will not be increased as oil firms decided to absorb the duty change for the time being. Dec 3, 2014

Floral tribute paid to Dr Rajendra Prasad in Parliament on his 130th birth anniversary

New Delhi, Dec 03 (ANI): Floral tributes were paid to the first President of India- Dr Rajendra Prasad in the Parliament on his 130th birth anniversary on Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Veteran BJP leader LK Advani, Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and other Parliamentary dignitaries paid floral tribute to Prasad. President Pranab Mukherjee also paid floral tributes to the first President of India on occasion of his 130th birth anniversary at Rashtrapati Bhavan today. Dec 3, 2014

Survivors recall Bhopal gas tragedy on 30th anniversary, demand compensation

Bhopal, Dec 03 (ANI): Survivors of Bhopal gas tragedy, world's worst industrial disaster which happened three decades ago, on Wednesday (December 03), recalled the night when cyanide gas in air killed thousands. In the early hours of December 03, 1984, around 40 metric tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate gas accidentally leaked from a pesticide factory owned by US multinational Union Carbide Corp. and was carried by the wind into the surrounding slums. The government recorded 5,295 deaths. Activists estimate 25,000 people have died from illnesses in the years since. Many more, they said, are dealing with cancer, blindness, respiratory difficulties and immune and neurological disorders, but with no support. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan along with other government officials organized special prayers for the victims and observed a moment of silence as a tribute to the victims. Dec 3, 2014

Australia bids farewell to Phillip Hughes

Australia, Dec 03 (ANI): The funeral of Australian test cricketer Phillip Hughes began to the strains of a song entitled "Forever Young" in his home town on Wednesday. Eight days after Hughes was struck by a ball in the back of the head and six after he died of the catastrophic injuries that resulted, his family, friends and a host of cricketing greats gathered at Macksville High School to bid farewell to him. Father Michael Alcock welcomed the mourners in the small rural community halfway between Sydney and Brisbane. Hughes' brother Jason wrote his brother what he called the most important letter he would ever write. Australia captain Michael Clarke broke down in tears for the second time in a few days as he paid public tribute to his former team mate and friend, who would have been 26 last Sunday. Dec 3, 2014

Anil Kumar Sinha takes charge as CBI chief

New Delhi, Dec 3 (ANI): Senior IPS officer Anil Kumar Sinha on Wednesday took charge as the new CBI chief. Anil Kumar Sinha, a 1979 batch IPS officer of Bihar cadre, is succeeding Ranjit Sinha, who retired on Tuesday. Anil Kumar Sinha was working in the CBI since May 15, 2013 as special director and was supervising investigations into several high profile cases. Before joining CBI, he was posted as additional secretary in the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). Dec 3, 2014