JandK's PDP positive about an alliance with BJP for government formation

Jammu, Jan 29 (ANI): People's Democratic Party (PDP) indicated that it could form an alliance with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form government in Jammu and Kashmir. PDP Spokesperson Naeem Akhtar said that the party was aware of the fact that it could not work alone. PDP emerged as the single largest party in the state bagging 28 seats in the 87-member legislature, brightening its chances of forming a coalition government. Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir BJP unit President Jugal Kishore met Governor NN Vohra but did not divulge any details about a probable alliance with PDP and on his discussions with Vohra. Earlier this month, PDP rejected the offer of support from rival party, National Conference (NC), which was voted out of power in the elections. Jan 29, 2015

Pakistan police arrests suspected killer of professor who faced blasphemy accusations

Karachi, Jan 29 (ANI): Pakistan police has arrested suspected killer of a professor of Islamic studies who faced accusations of blasphemy and threats from colleagues over his moderate views, a senior police official said. Unidentified gunmen had shot dead the professor in Karachi on September 18 last year. Two gunmen riding a motorcycle fired on the car taking Dr Muhammad Shakil Auj, the dean of the faculty of Islamic Studies at the university to a function at an Iranian cultural centre in the city. The other educationist Professor Sibt-e-Jaffer was killed in March 2013. Holding a news conference, Additional Inspector General of police Ghulam Qadir Thebo said the suspects involved in the killing of Karachi University Islamic Studies and Professor Sibte Hassan (Jaffer) had been arrested. Shakil Auj had received threats following complaints that his teaching was too liberal. Jan 29, 2015

S Jaishankar takes charge as Foreign Secretary of India, says honoured to be assigned such responsib

New Delhi, Jan 29 (ANI): S Jaishankar on Thursday took charge as the new Foreign Secretary of India in Delhi. Jaishankar reached the Ministry of External affairs and took over the office assigned to him. While talking to mediapersons, he said that he was honoured to be assigned with such responsibility and looked forward for the same. He replaced Sujatha Singh who was sacked by the central government late Wednesday evening. Singh's two-year tenure was to end in August this year. Jan 29, 2015

Modi govt sacks Sujatha Singh as foreign secretary, S Jaishankar to take charge today

New Delhi, Jan 29 (ANI): In a significant development, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh’s tenure was “curtailed”- six months early - and India’s ambassador to the US, S Jaishankar was appointed as the new Foreign Secretary. The Modi government on late Wednesday evening announced the abrupt “curtailment of tenure of foreign secretary Sujatha Singh with immediate effect”. The surprise announcement was made after a meeting of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. S Jaishankar, who is a batch junior to Singh in the service, will be the new foreign secretary and will take charge of the office today. According to sources, PM Modi had been unimpressed with Singh and her work. There had also been talks of a change for some time, but Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is said to have wanted Singh to stay on. Jan 29, 2015

Government not to appeal Vodafone tax ruling

New Delhi, Jan 29 (ANI): The central government will not appeal a regional court ruling in favour of Vodafone Group Plc in a long-running tax dispute, the cabinet decided in a move aimed at boosting investor confidence in Asia's third-largest economy. Vodafone, the biggest foreign corporate investor in India, has been involved in a series of tax disputes since it entered the country seven years ago. In one such case, India's tax office had accused a unit of the British group of under-pricing shares in a rights issue to its parent company and demanded tax of about 30 billion rupees. The Bombay High Court had in October ruled in favour of Vodafone, and later the attorney general had recommended the government to refrain from appealing that ruling at the Supreme Court. Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the decision was in direction to assure investors of a fair and just Indian government. Jan 29, 2015

National youth festival in Guwahati sends out a message of peace and unity

Guwahati, Jan 29 (ANI): India's cultural diversity and youth power was on display at the Nehru Stadium of Guwahati as thousands of youngsters from all across the country came together for the 19th National Youth Festival. The five-day long event, which was hosted for the first time in the North East, was organised by the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs in association with the State Government. Dressed in traditional attires, teams from different states took out a colorful procession presenting their culture. Union Minister of state for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal who were present at the inaugural function urged the youth to channelize their energy for transforming the country. Jan 29, 2015

Nigerians fearful of violence ahead of elections

Nigeria goes to the polls on February 14, a date many in the northern state of Kaduna have good reason to fear, after the region plunged into inter-religious violence during the 2011 poll. Jan 29, 2015