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PM Modi named 'Person of the Year' by ToI, BJP welcomes

New Delhi, Dec 28 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been named as the 'Person of the Year' by Times of India. The news was welcomed by the BJP leaders. Party Spokesperson Sambit Patra said that it was a welcome decision and soon he will become the international person of the year due to his spreading influence. GVL Narasimha Rao said that PM Modi is becoming popular far and near due to his strong governance policies. Dec 28, 2014

Congress leaders feel proud as party marks 130th foundation day

New Delhi, Dec 28 (ANI): Congress party, led by the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, marked its 130th foundation day on Sunday (December 28). Senior Congress party leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said winning or losing was a small thing against the sacrifices made by the creators of the party during independence. Janardan Dwivedi, also expressed proud to be a part of the party. Congress party president Sonia Gandhi unfurled a flag at party headquarters in New Delhi in presence of several senior leaders. Dec 28, 2014
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Tourists throng hill resort of Shimla after fresh snowfall

Shimla, Dec 28 (ANI): Revellers are thronging the hill resort of Shimla city after it witnessed fresh spells of snowfall. Shimla, the summer capital during the British Raj, witnesses a rush of tourists during Christmas and New Year. Officials say there has been a significant rush this year with both domestic and foreign tourists visiting Shimla and nearby tourist destinations of Kullu, Manali and Kufri. Tourists, mostly from southern and northern states, visit Shimla to enjoy the cold weather. Vice-Chairman of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Board, Vijay Singh Mankotia said hotels were offering discounts to lure the visitors. Most of the budget hotels have full occupancy due to unprecedented rush of the tourists. Dec 28, 2014
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AirAsia flight QZ8501 from Indonesia to Singapore missing with 162 on board

London, Dec 28 (ANI): AirAsia flight QZ8501 travelling from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board has lost contact with air traffic control. The airlines' authorities said in a statement that the rescue operations and search for the flight were being conducted under the guidance of Civil Aviation Authority. An official with the transport ministry said that the plane lost contact over the Java Sea between Surabaya and Singapore. The Air Asia also said in a statement that 162 passengers and crew were onboard of which 1 is from Singapore, 1 from Malaysia, 3 from South Korean & 157 from Indonesia. Dec 28, 2014
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PM Modi lauds Guru Gobind Singh's courage as Sikhs celebrate his birth anniversary

New Delhi/ Amritsar/ Patna, Dec 28 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday lauded Guru Gobind Singh's courage and spirit of sacrifice on his birth anniversary. "The life and ideals of Guru Gobind Singhji inspire eternally. He epitomised ultimate courage and a spirit of sacrifice. I bow to him," the Prime Minister tweeted. Meanwhile, people in Amritsar celebrated the Sikh leader's birthday. They took a dip in the holy pond and sought blessings from the almighty. Guru Gobind Singh formed the Khalsa by selecting five persons from different castes belonging to different regions. He baptised them as Sikhs, thus giving a lesson of casteless society and national integration. Community kitchens are also being organised. Dec 28, 2014
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People in Kerala creates world record for largest Santa Claus gathering

Thrissur, Dec 28 (ANI): Largest gathering of people dressed at Santa Claus entered Guinness Book of World Records during an event in Kerala. Total 18,112 people gathered at a place and participated in ‘Buon Natale 2014’ in Thrissur district and broke Northern Ireland’s record of largest gathering of people dressed as Santas. Last year, the event saw 5,000 Santas taking part in it but this year the participants broke the existing record of 13,000 Santa gathering. One of the organisers of the event, Father Injodikkaran, said a cultural programme was organised for the participants and other people. Dec 28, 2014
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Tourists throng Shimla to enjoy ice skating

Shimla, Dec 28 (ANI): Domestic tourists thronged hill town of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh and enjoyed ice skating. As per reports, it is Asia’s oldest skating clay surface rink and got a natural coating of thick ice for the first time. People, including locals, thronged the rink with their skates and instructors also helped them to skate with ease. A tourist from Delhi, Luv, said he had a wonderful experience of ice skating for the first time. The secretary of the ice skating club in Shimla, Manpreet Singh, said that if sub-zero temperatures continue, the rink will be open for a month. The ice skating club in Shimla was established in 1920 and since then it has been attracting tourists and locals. Dec 28, 2014
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Raghubar Das sworn-in as Jharkhand CM; PM Modi skips ceremony due to bad weather

Ranchi, Dec 28 (ANI): BJP leader Raghubar Das was sworn in as the first non-tribal chief minister of Jharkhand on Sunday. He was administered oath of office and secrecy by Jharkhand Governor Syed Ahmed at the Birsa Munda Football Stadium in Ranchi. Four cabinet ministers Nilkanth Singh Munda, Chandreswar Prasad Singh, Chandraprakash Choudhary and Louis Marandi were also sworn in along with Raghubar Das. Elaborate arrangements were made for the function which was attended by a host of leaders although Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah were unable to attend the ceremony due to bad weather conditions. Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari were also present at the ceremony. Das, a five-time MLA from Jamshedpur East since 1995, retained the seat this time as well after he defeated Anand Bihari Dubey of the Congress. Dec 28, 2014
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Northern India under dense fog conditions: IMD

New Delhi, Dec 28 (ANI): Director of Indian Meteorological Department BP Yadav said on Sunday that the entire northern India is under the grip of dense fog conditions. Yadav said that chilly winds from hilly areas continue to lower temperature in areas of Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. He also said that weather during day is colder than expected but at night it is normal. Dec 28, 2014
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Aviation expert expresses concern over missing AirAsia flight

New Delhi, Dec 28 (ANI): Expressing concern over the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501, Aviation Expert Harshvardhan on Sunday said it is an extremely worrying situation and prayed to god for the safety of the passengers. He, however, also said that there could be some internal problem but didn't rule out any external problems or the sabotage or such issues. Earlier in the day, AirAsia Indonesia confirmed that flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore lost contact with ATC at 07:24 (Surabaya LT). A statement released by Air Asia informed that nationalities of passengers and crew onboard include one from Singapore, one from Malaysia, three from South Korean and 157 Indonesia. Dec 28, 2014
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India is welcomed to participate in Kazakhstans development programme, says envoy

New Delhi, Dec 28 (ANI): Kazakhstan ambassador invited India to participate in its recently announced signature programme ‘Nur Zhol’, an innovative and development-linked initiative to take the country on the path of growth. Kazakhstan ambassador to India, Bulat Sarsenbayev, said ‘Nur Zhol’ is new and unusual as it focuses on making the country an industrial hub based on innovative ideas to ensure a better future for its citizens. He said the objective of the “Nur Zhol” policy was to ensure stability in the country. Sarsenbayev said his country’s programme is similar to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative as Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Modi want their countries to move forward. Dec 28, 2014
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Situation of northeast violence-hit state improving, says official

Sonitpur, Dec 28 (ANI): Administrative officials of Assam said with relief materials being provided to victims and army initiating operation in the woods, the overall situation is improving after a tribal militant group had shot dead at least 80 people in the state earlier this week. Political department's commissioner and secretary, Prateek Hajela and chief executive officer (CEO) of Assam state disaster management authority P.K. Tiwary, during a news conference, said total 81 relief camps have been set up across the state and over 101000 people have taken shelter in the camps. Meanwhile, Tiwary said over 50 companies of paramilitary Central Reserve Police force (CRPF) have been deployed in the sensitive areas and more force are coming from neighbouring states like Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. Dec 28, 2014
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Bangladesh Finance Minister expecting fruitful cooperation from India in energy sector

Kolkata, Dec 28 (ANI): Bangladesh Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, who is on visit to India, said that he is expecting a fruitful outcome of the energy cooperation between the two countries after getting a positive nod from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Earlier this month Modi had said India is ready to meet Bangladesh’s energy needs. India granted in-principle approval to Bangladesh’s request to enhance thermal electricity sales from 500 MW to 1,100 MW (mostly through open market purchase), but discussions are also on to collaborate in harnessing renewable energy sources. Dec 28, 2014
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Dense fog envelopes northern India, cold wave tightens grip

New Delhi/Kanpur/Nagpur, Dec 28 (ANI):Dense fog engulfed northern India on Sunday, disrupting rail and air operations. The intense cold wave continued to tighten its grip, forcing people to stay indoors and sit around bonfires. Visibility in New Delhi was reduced due to thick blanket of fog and people sat around bonfires and drank hot tea to keep themselves warm. According to reports, Delhi recorded the second lowest temperature of the season with mercury dipping to 2 degrees Celsius. Dense fog affected train services in Kanpur city with about 70 trains being rescheduled. The cold wave has added troubles to lives of daily wage labourers and homeless people as they have no alternative but to bear the chill and earn their living. Dec 28, 2014
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Congress celebrates its130th Foundation Day at AICC headquarters

New Delhi, Dec 28 (ANI): Congress party on Sunday celebrated its 130th Foundation Day at the All India Congress Committee headquarters in the national capital. Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were present at the celebrations. Gandhi unfurled the national flag after which a brief ceremony began with 'Vande Mataram' and ended with the National Anthem. The foundation day celebrations comes in the backdrop of the party's sliding base and its disastrous electoral performance this year. Dec 28, 2014