Modi govt sacks Sujatha Singh as foreign secretary, S Jaishankar to take charge today

New Delhi, Jan 29 (ANI): In a significant development, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh’s tenure was “curtailed”- six months early - and India’s ambassador to the US, S Jaishankar was appointed as the new Foreign Secretary. The Modi government on late Wednesday evening announced the abrupt “curtailment of tenure of foreign secretary Sujatha Singh with immediate effect”. The surprise announcement was made after a meeting of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. S Jaishankar, who is a batch junior to Singh in the service, will be the new foreign secretary and will take charge of the office today. According to sources, PM Modi had been unimpressed with Singh and her work. There had also been talks of a change for some time, but Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is said to have wanted Singh to stay on. Jan 29, 2015

Government not to appeal Vodafone tax ruling

New Delhi, Jan 29 (ANI): The central government will not appeal a regional court ruling in favour of Vodafone Group Plc in a long-running tax dispute, the cabinet decided in a move aimed at boosting investor confidence in Asia's third-largest economy. Vodafone, the biggest foreign corporate investor in India, has been involved in a series of tax disputes since it entered the country seven years ago. In one such case, India's tax office had accused a unit of the British group of under-pricing shares in a rights issue to its parent company and demanded tax of about 30 billion rupees. The Bombay High Court had in October ruled in favour of Vodafone, and later the attorney general had recommended the government to refrain from appealing that ruling at the Supreme Court. Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the decision was in direction to assure investors of a fair and just Indian government. Jan 29, 2015

National youth festival in Guwahati sends out a message of peace and unity

Guwahati, Jan 29 (ANI): India's cultural diversity and youth power was on display at the Nehru Stadium of Guwahati as thousands of youngsters from all across the country came together for the 19th National Youth Festival. The five-day long event, which was hosted for the first time in the North East, was organised by the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs in association with the State Government. Dressed in traditional attires, teams from different states took out a colorful procession presenting their culture. Union Minister of state for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal who were present at the inaugural function urged the youth to channelize their energy for transforming the country. Jan 29, 2015

Maine and Massachusetts still battered by winter storm Juno

US winter storm Juno hits the Maine southern coast with strong winds and heavy snowfall, while residents in Massachusetts struggle to clear out several feet of snow brought about by the powerful Nor'easter. Duration: 00:40 Jan 29, 2015

Nigerians fearful of violence ahead of elections

Nigeria goes to the polls on February 14, a date many in the northern state of Kaduna have good reason to fear, after the region plunged into inter-religious violence during the 2011 poll. Jan 29, 2015

Malnutrition on the rise as violence flares in C. Africa

Violence can flare up at any moment in Bambari with only a bridge separating Muslims and Christians. Malnutrition is on the rise and lack of water means simple cooking fires threaten to destroy makeshift camps where people are living. Jan 29, 2015