Rahul Gandhi seeks time to reflect on 'recent events', politicos react

New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has taken a few weeks off to "reflect upon recent events and the future course of the party. Reactions flowed in on Tuesday over this. Rahul has been "granted leave of absence for a few weeks after which he will return and resume his active participation in the affairs of the Congress party Feb 24, 2015

Bare-footed jockeys continue with 135-year-old horse race tradition in Assam

Jorhat, Feb 24 (ANI): It is a horse race minus all the trappings of a modern day derby. With no protective gear and no footwear, the participants on untrained horses take part in the race held in the country-side fields in Jorhat district of Assam. The race was originally initiated in 1876 by the British tea planters. Since then it has become an annual event drawing enthusiastic villagers who like derby bet on their favourite horses. Interestingly, jockeys are also allowed to bet on themselves. The race was organized by Jorhat unit of Assam Tea Planters Association (ATPA). Organisers said the idea behind the race was to encourage tea planters' equestrian skills. People from neighbouring districts also come to watch the race. The winners and runners-up are awarded with trophies. Feb 24, 2015

Arvind Kejriwal appeals Mohan Bhagwat to 'spare Mother Teresa as she was a noble soul'

New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday slammed RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat for his remark on Mother Teresa and asked the organisation to 'spare her' as she was a noble soul. "I worked wid Mother Teresa for a few months at Nirmal Hriday ashram in Kolkata. She was a noble soul. Pl spare her," tweeted Kejriwal. Bhagwat has implied that the sole objective of Mother Teresa's service to the poor was to convert people to Christianity. Bhagwat's comment was made at an NGO function in Rajasthan on Monday. He had said, "Here, the service isn't like Mother Teresa's. Her service would have been good, but it used to have one objective, to see that the person who was being helped, felt obliged to become a Christian." Feb 24, 2015

TMC MPs stage protest outside Parliament against Land Acquisition Bill

New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): TMC MPs on Tuesday staged protest outside Parliament against the BJP government's Land Acquisition Bill. The party leaders shouted slogans against the Land Acquisition Bill calling it 'anti-farmer'. Dressed in green attires, the TMC MPs demanded taking back the bill. Under pressure from all quarters the Narendra Modi government is all set to introduce the controversial Land Acquisition Amendment Bill 2015 to replace the contentious ordinance in Lok Sabha today. However, opposition parties are firm to protest against the same inside the Parliament too. This along with five other ordinances would expire on March 20, if not passed during this Budget Session. Feb 24, 2015

Mysore gets its new King

Mysore, February 24 (ANI): Southern city of Mysore adopted a 22-year-old prince, Yaduveer Gopalraj Urs, as the next in line for the throne in a lavish ceremony, more than a year after the death of its king. Celebrations were on in the Mysore Palace as few guests, mostly royal patrons, dignitaries and family members were invited to witness the traditional adoption ceremony. Urs, who is studying in the US., will be coronated as king right after his graduation. His family was elated and hoped he would be a successful king. As per reports, a procession for Urs was out on the streets for the public to witness right after the religious ceremony. The palace built during the British Raj was also illuminated for the special occasion. The adoption ceremony is unique as it comes after 75 years when the last maharaja, Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, had been adopted into the family. Urs will be the 27th custodian of the Royal House of Mysore after King Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, last of the Wadiyar dynasty, died in December 2013, leaving no heir. Feb 24, 2015

Citizens take swine flu prevention into their own hands in Surat

Surat, Feb 24 (ANI): Citizens across Surat are distributing masks and raising awareness about swine flu as the pandemic is spreading across India. India has seen a sharp rise in the number of swine flu deaths and reported cases this year, prompting officials to investigate the cause and step up efforts to combat the virus. Meanwhile, in Surat, 7,000 employees of a diamond factory have been assured medical assistance by their boss. Workers were seen donning masks as they cut and polished diamonds. On the other side of the city, volunteers of the Non-governmental organisation (NGO) Youth for Gujarat distributed masks and spread awareness at a crowded railway station. Feb 24, 2015

Bahrain Foreign Minister meets Indian PM Modi in New Delhi

New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): Bahrain Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Khalifa had arrived in the country on February 22 on an invitation by his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj. He co-chaired the first meeting of the India-Bahrain High Joint Commission with Swaraj. Khalifa also extended a letter of invitation to Modi to visit Bahrain on behalf of Prime Minister, Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa. The Foreign Minister recalled the deep emotional bonds of friendship that are felt by the people of Bahrain towards India and also conveyed the commitment of the Government of Bahrain to deepen bilateral relations, including in the areas of defence, security, counter terrorism, trade and investment. Feb 24, 2015

Explosion at Gulf Oil Corporation factory in Hyderabad kills two

Hyderabad, Feb 24 (ANI): Two people died and at least 13 were injured after an explosion at a factory belonging to Gulf Oil Corporation Limited in Hyderabad. Reportedly, this was the fourth blast in the factory in the last 12 years. Factory workers and residents of the surrounding areas also gathered outside the factory and held a protest. Telangana home minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy also visited the spot. Fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the injured were immediately taken to a hospital. Few people are said to be critical as they received extensive burn injuries. Feb 24, 2015

Congress defends Rahul Gandhis break from politics

New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): The Congress party defended party’s vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s leave of absence from parliament as a break to reflect and chart a course for the future of the party. He further said the leave has been granted for a few weeks after which Gandhi will return and resume his active participation in the affairs of the Congress party. Feb 24, 2015