L A T E S T      N E W S

Bachchans blessed with a baby girl

Mumbai, November 16
Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan today gave birth to a girl in a hospital in suburban Andheri here.

She was admitted to the Seven Hills Hospital on Monday night.

"IT'S A GIRL!!!!!! :-)))))," husband Abhishek Bachchan wrote on social networking site twitter. The baby is the couple's first child.

"I AM DADA to the cutest baby girl !! Dadaji... ecstatic!!!!," actor Amitabh Bachchan said on twitter.

The senior Bachchan had yesterday tweeted, "A day of expectation....but another day! The lord has his way and they are most special....we wait!!." It was in June this year that Amitabh Bachchan had broken the news about his daughter-in-law's pregnancy. PTI



Gehlot reshuffles ministry, drops 6

Jaipur, November 15
With his government's image given a knock by sleaze and corruption allegations, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tonight carried out a reshuffle of his ministerial team, dropping six ministers including Education Minister Bharosilal Jatav facing illegal mining charge.

However, Minister of State Amin Khan, who had caused considerable embarassment by saying that President Pratibha Patil got the top post due to her proximity with Sonia Gandhi, has been rewarded with independent charge in the same status.

Among the six shown the doors were Ramlal Jat, who had resigned as Minister of State for Forest and Environment following allegation of being involved with a woman, Education Minister Bhanwarlal Meghawal who had made allegedly adverse comments about women and Motor Garage Minister Bharosilal Jatav.

The resignation Jat, who had put in his papers on Saturday last, was accepted by Gehlot today, official sources said. The others sacked in the reshuffle exercise are Golma Devi and Pramod Jain Bhaya.

Information and Public Relations Minister Ashok Bharwa has been elevated from MoS rank to the cabinet status while Birender Beinwal, Amin Khan and Dayaram Parmar have been made Ministers of State with independent charge.

Three new Ministers of State are Manju Meghawal, Naseem Akhtar and Vinod Chaudhary.

Congress Chief Whip Raghu Sharma has been given a cabinet rank and his deputy Ratan Devasi the status of MoS.

All the new ministers will be sworn in tomorrow afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Gehlot secured the resignation of all his ministers in order to carry out the reshuffle. (more) PTI




Maoists more dangerous than terrorists: Mamata

Kolkata, November 16
Faced with renewed violence by the Maoists, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today described them as more "dangerous than terrorists" and warned that her government would not sit back and watch the bloodbath.

"You cannot talk peace and kill people. We cannot sit back and watch. We have to maintain law and order. We cannot suck our fingers when the killings go on," Mamata said a day after the Maoists offered to extend their unilateral ceasefire offer by four months if the operation by Joint Forces was kept suspended for the same period.

She said the Maoists were more dangerous than terrorists.

However, she said, "I still feel good sense will prevail on them and they will come back to the mainstream. If they come to the mainstream, the state government will take responsibility. It is a duty of the government to give protection to people." The chief minister was speaking at meeting to condole the killing of two Trinamool supporters by the Maoists at Balarampur in Purulia district on November 14.

She said some people were helping the Maoists with money and shelter.

"The government is keeping a watch on them," she said and urged people to stay vigilant about their activities, particularly in Uttarpara in Hoogly district and activities of some students of universities like the Jadavpur University.

"I know all people are not bad, but you must keep a watch," Banerjee said. PT I




Jessica case: HC grants parole to Manu Sharma

New Delhi, November 16
The Delhi High Court today granted five days parole to Manu Sharma, serving life term in Tihar Jail for killing ramp model Jessica Lall in 1999, on the condition that he will not visit night clubs or discotheques during the period.

Allowing Sharma's plea to attend his younger brother's marriage, Justice V K Shali granted the temporary relief to him from November 21 to November 25.

"The petitioner (Sharma) is allowed to be released on parole for five days but he shall not visit any night club or discotheque," Justice Shali said, directing Sharma to surrender before the Tihar Jail superintendent soon after his parole period expires.

The court confined the parole to Chandigarh, Karnal and Ambala and asked Sharma to furnish the residential addresses of these three places to the jail superintendent.

The court further asked him to furnish a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and a surety of like amount before the jail superintendent.

Manu Sharma, the son of an influential Congress leader Venod Sharma, sought parole to attend his brother's marriage and related functions.

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Sharma, had earlier submitted before the court the schedule for marriage ceremonies which include pre-marriage function of 'ladies sangeet' on November 21 at Chandigarh, marriage at Karnal on November 22 and reception in Ambala on November 24.

The police had earlier objected to Sharma's plea, saying his past conduct does not entitle him as he was found indulging in brawl in a discotheque when he was out on parole.

It later gave a nod for his parole release, saying he should give an undertaking that he would not leave Karnal, Ambala and Chandigarh, where key marriage ceremonies are slated. PTI




Central team inspects Koodankulam Plant

Tirunelveli (TN), November 15
The 15-member expert committee of the Central government today started its inspection of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant here as part of the second phase of its safety inspection programme.

The officials said they would submit their report after inspecting the plant till November 17.

The first phase of the inspection was conducted on November 8 following the meeting here between the committees set up by the Centre and Tamil Nadu Government to resolve the standoff over the plant.

Representatives of the protesters had then presented the teams a charter of demands including a paper on the plant's status.

The members, led by A E Muthunayagam, Vice-Chancellor, Noorul Islam Deemed University, Kumarakovil, arrived here this afternoon and discussed the mode of detailed inspection, especially the safety and technical aspects of the plant.

The final report would be able to clarify all the doubts raised by the Anti-Nuclear Energy Movement, a member of the expert committee said.

The Rs 13,600-crore project, whose first unit (1000 MWe) was scheduled to be commissioned in December, has run into trouble following protests from locals who are demanding that it be scrapped on grounds of safety. PTI


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