Mani Shankar Aiyars justification on Paris attack draws flak

New Delhi, Jan 09 (ANI): Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyars justification on Paris attack drew flak for him on Friday. Aiyar had justified the attack saying that the attacks were imminent as the "powerless" people were retaliating. Reportedly, Aiyar referred to the French ban on Muslim women wearing hijab and said that it was just a "backlash." BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi, NCP leader Tariq Anwar and Majid Memon and CPI leader Atul Anjan condemned Mani Shankars statement. Jan 9, 2015

Sri Lanka Polls: Mahinda Rajapaksa concedes defeat after decade in power; politicos react

New Delhi, Jan 9 (ANI): Politicos on Friday reacted after Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa conceded defeat to challenger Mithripala Sirisena in elections. Rajapaksa conceded defeat to his opposition challenger on Friday after a presidential election, ending a decade of rule that critics say had become increasingly authoritarian. The results came in from Thursday's election on this Indian Ocean Island of 21 million people. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi and BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi hoped that India-Sri Lanka relations will continue to strengthen under the new regime. NCP leader Majid Memon, said that results of Sri Lankan polls show that the peoples mandate is unpredictable. Jan 9, 2015

Venezuela's economy: all downhill from here

Venezuela is battling a tough economic storm, sending President Nicolas Maduro to China to raise finances. But ordinary Venezuelans and analysts alike are worried that things will only get worse.Duration:02:11 Jan 9, 2015

Sri Lanka's Maithripala Sirisena will emerge as powerful candidate like PM Modi: Tamil Journalist

New Delhi, Jan 09 (ANI): Senior Tamil Journalist R Rajagopalan said on Friday that Sri Lanka's Maithripala Sirisena will emerge as a powerful candidate in South-Asia region, just like Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become an international figure. Rajagopalan also said that now the people of Sri Lanka will have a breath of life. Comparing Sri Lanka's politics to India's 'dynastic politics', Rajagopalan said that like Sonia Gandhi, Mahinda Rajapaksa's dynastic politics will come to an end with the results of the polls. He also assured that all the issues, like fishermen, will be addressed very properly. Praising Sirisena's win he said that Sirisena is the opposition candidate and was nowhere and suddenly woken up, and came as a powerful opposition candidate for three reasons. One is because of the antipathy towards Rajapaksa. Jan 9, 2015

Cold Wave continues to throw life out of gear across North India

New Delhi/ Uttar Pradesh, Jan 09 (ANI): Most parts of North India continued to be in the grip of a severe cold wave-cum foggy conditions on Friday, throwing normal life out of gear, as road, rail and air traffic was disrupted. The minimum temperature in national capital New Delhi early this morning was seven degree Celsius, one notch below normal. According to the Met department, the cold wave will continue for some more days and there will be dense fog in some places in the city. Visibility on Friday was reduced to 500 meters. Northern Railway confirmed that 52 trains are running late, while two trains have been rescheduled. The Met Department has said there will be clear skies with a maximum temperature of around 12 degrees Celsius. In Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow, there was a sharp decline in minimum temperature. It was pegged at around five degrees Celsius. So far, 160 people have died due to cold wave conditions in the state. Jan 9, 2015

Boko Haram militants kill hundreds in Nigerian town, UN appeals for release of all abductees

Nigeria, Jan 09 (ANI): Boko Haram militants have killed hundreds of people and burned down homes in the northeast Nigerian town of Baga in the past two days, in a second killing spree since seizing control there at the weekend, witnesses said. Two locals said the Islamist insurgents began shooting indiscriminately and burning buildings on Tuesday evening in raids on the civilian population that carried on into Wednesday. It is seen as the gravest threat to Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy, and a headache for President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of an election on February 14. Soldiers fled Baga over the weekend when the Sunni jihadist group overran a nearby army base. The district head of Baga, Abba Hassan said that at least 100 people were killed when the group first took over the town on the edge of Lake Chad. Abubakar Gulama, who escaped without his family to Monguno, 40 km (25 miles) away, said he crossed "many dead bodies on the ground" and that "the whole town was on fire". Meanwhile, United Nations Chief Ban Ki-Moon issued a personal appeal for the release of children kidnapped by extremist groups. Jan 9, 2015

Mahinda Rajapaksa concedes defeat in Sri Lanka's presidential election

Colombo, Jan 09 (ANI): President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reportedly conceded defeat to joint opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena in what has been touted as Sri Lanka's tightest-ever seventh presidential election race. According to reports, Rajapaksa has left the official "Temple Trees" residence, after cumulative results indicated that Sirisena was leading by a huge margin. "President Rajapaksa left Temple Trees bowing to the people's mandate in the presidential election," a statement from Rajapaksa's office said. President had talks with the main opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and conveyed his wish to let the new President take over without any hindrance, the statement further said. With final result yet to be out, Sirisena is expected to be declared winner by around 4,00,000 votes. Rajapaksa had served two terms as president and was seeking a record third consecutive term. Jan 9, 2015

Social sector looks for higher budget allocation in skill building

New Delhi, Jan 09 (ANI): Representatives from India’s social sector sought higher budget allocation in skill building and public procurement, in pre-budget talks with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Jaitley also held pre-budget meetings with representatives from Indian industry, earlier this week. Social sector representatives hoped that the government would focus on skill building so that employment would see a rise and people could sustain their jobs. She said they also spoke on focussing on skill development for the employment of youth, especially from socially excluded communities. The representatives also gave recommendations on public procurement for which there is no legislation or policy. The budget for the fiscal year 2015-2016 will be out by the end of February. Jan 9, 2015

Police recover huge cache of explosives in Jharkhand

Dumka, Jan 09 (ANI): Police recovered huge cache of explosives in Maoist affected Dumka district of Jharkhand. Acting on a tip-off, police reached a spot in middle of thick forest area and recovered 55 bags of ammonium nitrate and two cartons of gelatin, which was lying unattended. The recovery of explosives in large amount has worried the authorities. Prior to 2014 assembly elections, during an encounter with Maoists, police had destroyed camps and recovered explosives in large amount. The Maoists, also known as Naxals in India, say they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers. Jan 9, 2015