Congress leadership accepts Ajay Maken as party face for Delhi polls

New Delhi, Jan 14 (ANI): Congress leaders on Wednesday should confidence in Ajay Maken as the face of party for the 2015 Delhi Assembly Polls. The Congress high command had on Tuesday, named party general secretary Ajay Maken as the head of party's 101-member campaign committee for the upcoming Assembly elections. Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit welcomed the decision and said that she will participate in the campaigning but had informed about not contesting the polls beforehand only. Abhishek Manu Singhvi and JP Agarwal also said that Maken will come out strong and will prove beneficial for Congress at the polls. Jan 14, 2015

Pope set for huge welcome in Philippines

Pope Francis’ second visit to Asia takes in the Philippines, a stronghold of Christianity in the region, where he is set to attract one of the biggest gatherings ever for a head of the Catholic Church. Duration: 02:17 Jan 14, 2015

Devotees take holy dip in River Ganges to mark 'Makar Sankranti'

Varanasi/ Allahabad/ Haridwar, Jan 14 (ANI): Devout Hindus in India converged on the banks of holy River Ganges on Wednesday to take holy dip to mark harvest festival, ‘Makar Sankranti’. The festival marks the arrival of spring. Large number of devotees gathered in Allahabad and Varanasi cities of Uttar Pradesh to take a dip in River Ganges. The pilgrims camp by the riverside and in the evening they decorate the entire riverbank with earthen oil lamps. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also extended best wishes on the occasion. He tweeted saying, “I convey my heartfelt greetings to our fellow countrymen & women on the various festivals across the Nation. The festive spirit across India is gladdening. It celebrates the diversity of India that we cherish & are extremely proud of.” Jan 14, 2015

Pope Francis gives Sri Lanka its first pope before huge crowd

Colombo, Jan 14 (ANI): Pope Francis gave Sri Lanka its first saint on Wednesday at a Mass for hundreds of thousands of people packed on a Colombo oceanfront, in a climax to a 300-year campaign to recognize the holiness of Indian-born missionary Joseph Vaz. Vaz, who was captured as a suspected spy after he crept into the tropical island in disguise was born in 1651 in Goa. He traveled south at the age of 36, dressed as a beggar, to a country then divided into kingdoms after hearing about the persecution of Catholics by the Dutch, and worked for years under the protection of a Buddhist king. Meanwhile, Pope Francis touched upon the need for religious freedom at the mass. Francis, speaking slowly in English, said Christians should follow the example of Vaz to build peace, justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Jan 14, 2015

SC grants 3 months extension to Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre

New Delhi, Jan 14 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended, by another three months, stay in Italy of Massimiliano Latorre, one of the two Italian marines accused of killing Indian fishermen in 2012. The court allowed his application for extension of stay on medical grounds. Jan 14, 2015

Black buck poaching case: SC quashes suspension of Salman Khan's conviction

New Delhi, Jan 14 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed the Rajasthan high court order which stayed actor Salman Khan's conviction in the blackbuck poaching case. The apex court asked the HC to decide Khan's plea afresh in which the trial court had sentenced him to five-year jail term. The SC also said that the actor can approach the HC if he really needs to travel abroad. Jan 14, 2015

Nearly 50 bodies found in River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh

Unnao, Jan 14 (ANI): Nearly 50 bodies have been found in River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh. The administration has ordered a probe in the matter. Dogs, crows and vultures dug into bodies as they had reached the bank due to low water level, posing major environment challenges in the areas under Unnao District. A district official, Suraj Prasad, promised action after probe. Residents blamed the state as well as the government at the centre for it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, elected to represent the 3,000-year-old riverside city of Varanasi, has taken personal responsibility to clean up the Ganges, as part of a broader push to India's scarce water resources and improve standards of public health and hygiene. Jan 14, 2015

Centre removes DRDO chief Avinash Chander

New Delhi, Jan 14 (ANI): The government has removed Defence Research and Development Organization Director General Avinash Chander from his post, 15 months before his contract was to end. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi "approved the termination" of the contract of Avinash Chander with effect from January 31, an official notification said. Chander was Secretary, Defence Research and Development-cum-Director General, DRDO and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister. He had retired on November 30 last year after he turned 64, but was given a contract for 18 months till May 31 next year. He is considered to be the chief architect of Agni series of ballistic missile systems. Jan 14, 2015