Political parties remain optimistic even as BJP and PDP share early leads in J and K

New Delhi/ Jammu, Dec 23 (ANI): Political parties on Tuesday remained optimistic even as BJP and PDP are locked in a close contest as the counting for the assembly elections are underway. BJP was leading in 16 seats while PDP was ahead in 15 in the early trends of counting of votes in Jammu and Kashmir where Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was ahead by a slender margin in Beerwah constituency but trailing by over 1,800 votes in Sonawar seat. While BJP remained confident that it will come to power with majority and said that the party will be open to those who want to give support: PDP leader Sameer Kaul said that the party will not need support from any party and will make government on its own. NC leader Ratan Lal Gupta also remained hopeful and chose not to rely on early trends. J and K NPP' Bhim Singh said that the party will gain a few seats and claimed that no party will be able to make majority government in the state. Meanwhile, Congress leader Shobha Oza also chose to wait for final results. Dec 23, 2014

BJP says TMC fell into its own trap as Kunal Ghosh claims Mamata's involvement in Saradha scam

Kolkata/ New Delhi, Dec 23 (ANI): BJP said that Trinamool Congress party has fallen into its own trap while saving its party leaders in Saradha chit fund scam. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said this after suspended TMC leader Kunal Ghosh claimed that party Chief Mamata Banerjee, is involved in Saradha chit fund scam. Earlier in the day, a delegation of Left parties also submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding a coordinated investigation into the scam and compensation for the victims. However, while addressing an event in Kolkata, Banerjee took an indirect jibe at BJP, saying the party possesses pessimistic attitude. However, TMC leader Derek O'brien refuted Ghosh's claims. Dec 23, 2014

Tata, Singapore airlines Indian venture 'Vistara' to begin operations from January 09

New Delhi, Dec 23 (ANI): Singapore Airlines Limited's Indian joint venture with the Tata conglomerate, Vistara, will start flying from January 09, the airlines said. Based in New Delhi, the full service Vistara will begin operations with a fleet of new Airbus A320-200s with 148 seats, Tata SIA Airlines Limited had said in a statement on December 18. Vistara will offer flights to Mumbai and Ahmedabad city initially. Speaking at a promotional event, Chief Executive Officer of Vistara, Phee Teik Yeoh, said he is optimistic about the potential that Indian aviation market has to offer as many airlines in the country are cash strapped. The announcement comes in the middle of a particularly testing time for the airlines industry in India, with budget carrier SpiceJet struggling for survival. Dec 23, 2014

People in Bangladesh demand arrest of Tarique Rahman for 'derogatory remarks' against independence l

Dhaka, Dec 23 (ANI): Thousands of people took to Dhaka streets to protest against Bangladesh National Party (BNP) leader Tarique Rahman for making derogatory remarks against country's founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Protesters, mainly freedom fighters of 1971 war of liberation, shouted slogans "down with Tarique Rahman" and "we demand his arrest" and carried flags and banners as they marched through the streets. Tarique Rahman, son of former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, had on December 15, reportedly said that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a 'razakar'-a collaborator with Pakistan occupation army in 1971. A protester, Muhammad Alauddin said Tarique should be arrested immediately and awarded punishment. Dec 23, 2014

Sydney siege victims remembered

Mourners attend services for Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, the two victims of the Sydney cafe siege. Duration: 00:53 Dec 23, 2014

PM Modi applauds Singer Kailash Kher for participating in 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' in Varanasi

Varanasi, Dec 23 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi applauded Singer Kailash Kher as he wielded broom in Varanasi as part of 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan'. Modi tweeted saying,"Bravo @kailashkher!I congratulate you for joining Swachh Bharat Mission in Varanasi. Admirable effort." Kher swept banks of River Ganges in Varanasi. Modi represents the 3,000-year-old riverside city of Varanasi and has taken personal responsibility for restoring Maa Ganga, or "Mother Ganges". Kher, best known for his soulful melodies and songs that have graced many a Bollywood chartbuster in the recent years, wielded a broom as part of cleanliness drive and urged others to join the mission. Kher also sang a song composed especially for keeping the river clean. Dec 23, 2014

Police arrest two persons with heroin worth billions of rupees in J and K

Poonch, Dec 23 (ANI): Police arrested two persons with contraband substance heroin worth billion of rupees in Jammu and Kashmir. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) JS Johar said the drugs were recovered from a vehicle in Poonch district of the state. The police said further investigation is in progress to trace others involved in the smuggling. India-Pakistan porous border makes it easy for smugglers to carry out lucrative trade. Dec 23, 2014

Shiv Sena seek ban on Aamir Khan's 'PK', says it hurts Hindu sentiments

Lucknow/ Ludhiana, Dec 23 (ANI): Shiv Sena held a protest to demand ban for Bollywood actor Aamir Khan's newly released film 'PK', saying it hurts the sentiments of Hindu community by mocking gods. A member of Shiv Sena, Rajeev Tandon while protesting in Ludhiana city of Punjab, said Hindu organisations want the movie to be banned from playing in theatres. Bollywood filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani's 'PK', the most anticipated Bollywood film of the year, presents latest social cause - religion and the commercialisation of it. The movie also references the Hindu-Muslim divide, conversions, and rich godmen. Meanwhile, lawyer Ranjana Agnihotri who also filed public interest litigation (PIL) against the film, said the filmmakers have hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community. Dec 23, 2014

Counting of votes for J and K and Jharkhand assembly elections begins

Jharkhand/ Jammu and Kashmir, Dec 23 (ANI): Counting of votes for the five-phased assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand began on Tuesday amidst high security. In Jammu and Kashmir, a total of 821 candidates, including 276 independents, contested the elections to the 87-member House. While in Jharkhand, the fate of a total of 1,136 candidates, including 111 women, will be decided in the counting for the 81-member assembly. Elaborate security arrangements are in place so as to ensure smooth counting of the votes and later, the declaration of results. Dec 23, 2014