Norway to take up 'Clean India' campaign in Varanasi

Varanasi, Dec 14 (ANI): Norway's ambassador to India, Eivind S Homme, met mayor of Varanasi Ram Gopal Mohale to take forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cleanliness campaign in the temple town. He added that the river which flows through five states cannot be made filth-free unless the cleanliness drive is taken seriously in all of them. Meanwhile, Homme said it would be a learning experience for him. Dec 14, 2014

Season's first snowfall in Shimla delights tourists

Kufri, Dec 14 (ANI): Tourists threw snowballs at each other and enjoyed winter season's first snowfall in hill town of Kufri. Snowfall in Kufri in Himachal Pradesh delighted tourists, who were earlier disappointed due to no snow. Every year, hundreds of domestic tourists throng Kufri to enjoy snowfall. Meanwhile, director of meteorological department of Himachal Pradesh, Manmohan Singh, said the town will witness snowfall till December 24. He added that other districts of the state including Naldehra, Fagu, Narkanda and Kinnaur will also witness snowfall. In higher altitudes, temperatures even drop to sub-zero level and some states witness lowest minimum temperatures. Dec 14, 2014

Rajnath Singh says Pakistan providing safe havens to militants

Jammu, Dec 14 (ANI): Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, while addressing a rally in Jammu and Kashmir said that Pakistan was providing safe havens to militants, who attacked our country. Singh added that India wanted better relationship with Pakistan. The five-phase elections in 87-member Kashmir assembly began on November 25, with the third phase on December 09 recording 58 percent voting. In the first two phases the voter turnout was high - more than 70 percent each. Dec 14, 2014

India's secret gardener reveals 18-year labour of love

On the eve of his 90th birthday, self-taught sculptor Nek Chand recalls spending years secretly building a fantasy rock garden of waterfalls, mosaics and sculptures in the north Indian city of Chandigarh. Duration: 02:35 Dec 14, 2014

Fourth Phase of Assembly Elections: Polling underway for 15 seats of Jharkhand

Jharkhand, Dec 14 (ANI): Polling began for 15 seats in Jharkhand on Sunday with former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi and three incumbent ministers testing their luck. A total of 43,48,709 voters are eligible to decide the fate of 217 candidates, including 16 women. Adequate security arrangements have been made under fourth phase in all the 15 constituencies with many being Maoist-hit. Polling will end at 5 PM in Dhanbad and Bokaro while the EVM will be sealed at 3 PM in the rest of the constituencies. Polling to 50 of the 81 seats has already been concluded in the previous three phases. Dec 14, 2014

Fourth Phase of Assembly Elections: Polling underway for 18 seats in J and K

J and K, Dec 14 (ANI): Voting for 18 Assembly constituencies began under the fourth phase of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday. In the penultimate round of the five-phased elections in J and K, the fate of 182 candidates including two chief ministerial aspirants and Speaker of the Assembly will be sealed. Over 14.73 lakh voters including 7.05 lakh females are eligible to exercise their franchise at 1,890 polling stations in four districts of the state Srinagar, Anantnag, Shopian (Kashmir Valley) and Samba (Jammu region). Security arrangements in all the four districts have been strengthened to ensure peaceful polling. Dec 14, 2014

Kerala dons festive celebration of Christmas

Kochi, Dec 14 (ANI): Kerala, which has a sizeable population of Christians, is all decked up for the Christmas festival. Colourful stars, mistletoe wreaths, Santa Claus masks dot the markets. The markets in Kochi city have been drawing good crowds. Shopkeepers are witnessing a jump in the sales of delicate ribbon tassels, miniature statues of Santa Claus and other decorative pieces. The shopkeepers have imported dancing Santas, guitar-and-violin-playing Santas, hand-shaking Santas, 3D, inflatable, 360-degree-turning Santas, which are proving to be quite a hit among the customers. Christmas is celebrated with much pomp, gaiety and devotion across India. Celebrations of Christmas are marked by carols, cakes, candles, glittering Christmas trees and exchange of gifts. Dec 14, 2014

Two years after Nirbhaya case women feel country has still not learnt a lesson

Shimla/ Chandigarh, Dec 14 (ANI): Almost two years after the gruesome rape of a 23 year old woman in the capital led to amendment of the laws for prosecution of rapists, women in other parts of the country say they don't feel that things have changed for the better. A resident of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, Phalma Chauhan, said that she felt that since the Nirbhaya incident things had only gotten worse. However, Deputy General of Police, Himachal Pradesh, Sanjay Kumar did not seem to be in agreement with the girls. Since the Nirbhaya case, a number of shocking incidents have come to light, most recently the Uber rape case. A resident of Chandigarh said that for any effective steps to be taken in this direction, the political parties must stop indulging in mud-slinging. Dec 14, 2014

Tito's 'Blue Train' open to tourists in Serbia

The 'Blue Train' of former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito is open to tourists in search of a trip back into the past, with visitors able to take an escorted tour of state carriages that have hosted monarchs and world leaders. Duration: 00:49 Dec 13, 2014

South Asia Newsline- 13 December 2014

The European Parliament, on the behalf of the European Union has lauded the zeal of Kashmiris who are defying all odds and turning up in large numbers to cast their ballot. According to a press release, it asserted that the high voter turnout of 70 percent in the first two phases proves the vibrancy of democracy in India. It took cognizance of the fact that despite calls for boycott from separatist forces, the youth and women also took to the polling booths, given a serious blow to divisive politics sponsored by a neighbouring country. Dec 13, 2014

Congress' Captain Amarinder Singh to meet Sushma Swaraj to talk about abducted workers in Iraq

Amritsar, Dec 13 (ANI): Former Punjab Chief Minister and Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh said on Saturday that he would meet India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to seek status report on bringing back abducted workers from Iraq. Singh met relatives of missing construction workers in Amritsar and assured them of pursuing the central government on this issue. Meanwhile, relative of another abducted worker, Manish, said even after meeting Swaraj several times, there were only assurances. Swaraj had said last month that search for missing Indian workers in war-torn Iraq was still on, assuring families that India would leave no stone unturned to find their loved ones. Dec 13, 2014

Saradha Scam: Madan Mitra sent to CBI custody till December 16

Kolkata, Dec 13 (ANI): Trinamool Congress leader Madan Mitra has reportedly been sent to CBI custody till Dec 16 in connection with the Saradha scam case. He was produced in Alipore court on Saturday, a day after the CBI arrested him. Mitra, however, termed his arrest as a political conspiracy. Earlier, supporters of the Yuva Trinamool Congress blocked the vehicle in which he was being taken and threw flowers on his car. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said that Mitra will remain the transport minister and she would handle the ministry in his absence. On Friday, Banerjee sparked a controversy after backing the senior TMC leader. She said that Mitra's arrest was unconstitutional and slammed the CBI and BJP government at the Centre, accusing them of conspiring against her party. Dec 13, 2014

Social activists in Kerala protest against moral policing by demonstrating 'Kiss of Love'

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 13 (ANI): Social activists of a mass-kissing campaign, 'Kiss of Love', held protest in Kerala against moral policing. Activists held the protest outside the venue of the ongoing annual International Film Festival in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday. A social activist, Aswathy Sreeram, said they were campaigning for what she said "Right to love" and against moral policing. The protest against moral policing kicked off from Kochi and Kozhikode cities in Kerala early November. Since then, the campaign has swept the country, advertised via Facebook, as urban youngsters challenge a deeply conservative society. Dozens of 'Kiss of Love' activists stole kisses and blocked traffic near a metro station in New Delhi last month, outnumbering a handful of right-wing protesters who see such public displays as a threat to Indian culture. Dec 13, 2014