Home » Catch Wire » Your Wire on 14 January

Pak team wants direct flight to Guwahati for South Asian Games

Officials of Pakistan's Olympic association want their athletes to fly direct to Guwahati and Shillong for next month's South Asian Games, reports The Indian Express. As of now, Pakistanis flying to India can only land in Delhi or Mumbai. The Pakistani officials made this request to an Indian delegation that had travelled to Islamabad and Lahore last week. Though assured of the highest security, the Pakistani officials said they would "prefer to fly athletes directly to the host city instead of taking a long detour via Delhi or Amritsar". A team of 444 Pakistani athletes and officials were scheduled to arrive in India via the Wagah border and then take flights to their respective destinations.

Actor arrested for mimicking Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh released on bail

Actor Kiku Sharda who had been arrested in Mumbai by police from Haryana on Wednesday has been granted bail, reports the Hindustan Times. The actor had been accused of offending sentiments of the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Sharda had been remanded to judicial custody by Nandita Kaushik, chief judicial magistrate of Kaithal, Haryana, and then released on bail of a personal surety of Rs 1 lakh. A case has been registered against him under Section 295-A (malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code at the Civil Lines police station in Kaithal district.

Supreme Court allows marine to stay in Italy till 30 April

The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed an Italian marine accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012 to stay in his country until 30 April for medical treatment, reports The Indian Express. The marine was supposed to return to India by Friday to meet the deadline set by the court. Massimiliano Latorre and his colleague Salvatore Girone face a murder charge for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012. The Italian government has invoked international arbitration. While permitting the extension of Latorre's stay in Italy, the Supreme Court bench asked for the status of the proceedings at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Delhi's triple murder resulted in booty worth only Rs 40,000

The murder of three members of a family in Old Rajender Nagar, Delhi, on 9 January, had been committed for a haul of only Rs 40,000, reports the Hindustan Times. The murder of the Sonaria family had been planned and carried out by one Rajan Singh, who had met and befriended property dealer Sanjay Sonaria at Tihar jail, where Singh had been held for murder, while Sonaria was imprisoned for cheating. Sonaria had apparently boasted of property deals worth crores and persuaded Singh to work for him on commission. Eight people, including two juveniles, murdered the three Sonarias in their home, after which they ate what the family had cooked for dinner.

India cautious about Pak claims of detaining JeM chief

Though the Pakistani media have reported the detention of Jaish-E-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar and 12 others in connection with the terror attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot on 2 January, India remains cautious, reports The Economic Times. "The government of India does not have any objective evidence of detention of Azhar in Pakistan. The Pakistani media reports on this development are not credible," said a source. A GEO TV report stated that Azhar had been detained, but Mohammad Zubair, a minister in the Nawaz Sharif government, told an Indian TV channel that he could not confirm Azhar's detention.

Re breaches 67-mark, falls 26p tp trade at month low

The rupee again breached the 67-mark by depreciating 26 paise to trade at one-month low of 67.11 against the dollar in early trade today, mainly due to strong demand for the American unit from importers and banks amid a lower opening in the domestic equity market.Moreover, sustained capital outflows weighed on the domestic unit but the dollar's weakness against some other currencies overseas limited the rupee's fall, traders said.The rupee had closed one paise higher at 66.85 against the US currency in yesterday's trade on mild selling of dollars by banks and exporters.

Six killed in blasts in downtown Jakarta

At least six people - including three police personnel - were killed in Jakarta on 14 January when a series of explosions rocked the Indonesian capital.

According to reports, suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a Starbucks outlet in downtown Jakarta. The area houses the popular Sarinah mall, the United Nations office and a number of luxury hotels.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has condemned the blasts and ordered speedy investigation. Click herefor more.

Don't cancel Odd-Even, people are dying of pollution: SC

The Supreme Court on 14 January refused to put the Odd-Even trial run in Delhi on hold.

Speaking in the support of the policy, Chief Justice of India TS Thakur said that people should support the efforts being taken to tackle the rising air pollution in the Capital.

"People are dying of pollution. The government is taking steps to control pollution. Everyone must cooperate".

Pak has no information on JeM chief Azhar Masood's detention, no talks tomorrow

The Foreign-Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan - scheduled for 15 January - have been postponed, Pakistan foreign affairs spokesperson Qazi M Khalilullah said. The Pakistan Foreign Office on 14 January reportedly denied having any information on the detention of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Azhar Masood - a fact corroborated by the Indian MEA spokesperson. India believes that JeM is responsible for the 2 January attack on the Pathankot Air Force base - which resulted in the deaths of seven Indian security personnel.

Sania-Martina break world record, ease into Sydney International final

Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and Swiss ace Martina Hingis continued their dream unbeaten run, setting a world record for 29 successive victories as they won their semifinal WTA Sydney International match against Yaroslava Shvedova and Raluca Olaru on 14 January. The Indo-Swiss pair bounced back brilliantly from a set down to claim a 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 triumph over the Russian-Romanian pair. Earlier in the quarterfinals, Mirza and Hingis levelled the record of most consecutive matches won set by Puerto Rican Gigi Fernandez and Belarus' Natasha Zvereva in 1994.

On R-day, watch India's largest tricolour flutter atop India's highest flagpole

Come Republic Day on 26 January, and India's biggest flag will flutter from the top of India's highest flagpole at the Pahari Mandir in Ranchi, reports the Hindustan Times. The flag, 66 feet x 99 feet, will be mounted on a pole that at 240 feet high, is higher than the Qutub Minar by 53 feet. Created at a cost of Rs 1.25 crore, it has taken 120 workers 40 days to complete.

Humans of future could grow webbed feet

Climate change could lead to humans growing webbed hands and feet and developing gills to adapt to living underwater, according to an academic. Dr Matthew Skinner, a paleoanthropologist, believes humans would become fishlike to colonise aquatic communities, or "water worlds", if sea levels rise, a report in the media said.

To adapt to underwater foraging for food, colonists would develop artificial gills to extract oxygen from the sea to allow them to breath, and grow a transparent eyelid to see underwater, said Dr Skinner. Dr Skinner predicts the changes would be essential to ensure survival

The reliance on gills would subsequently reduce the requirement for lung capacity and colonists rib cages would likely shrink over time as a result, he predicted.

By April, Al Jazeera America will be no more

The ambitious channel launched a little over two years ago, Al Jazeera America, will be shutting down come 30 April. At a staff-wide meeting on the afternoon of 13 January, the news was announced. As many as 700 staffers could love their jobs. Al Jazeera for its part said that it would not give up entirely on the American market. The company plans to "expand its existing international digital services" in the United States in a memo released.

The ratings during prime time have averaged between 20,000 and 40,000 viewers on a typical day. CNN, Fox News and other channels typically have over ten times the number of viewers.

Police officer Archana Singh creates history in Agra

Archana Singh has become the first woman SHO of Government Railway Police (GRP), Agra. A 1996-batch officer, Singh has served for 20 years as a police officer in Uttar Pradesh, which has always had a very high rate of crime. And she's roughed it out to be where she is now. Singh lost her husband, sub-inspector Brijendra Bahadur Singh in an encounter some years back, but she didn't back off. She led the anti-eve teaser squad of GRP Agra instead, and now she's set to be the SHO.

God Save the Queen: MPs vote to introduce bill on new English anthem

British MPs have voted to introduce a bill to parliament on whether or not England should be given its own official national anthem. Using a 10-minute rule motion in parliament, the Labour MP Toby Perkins proposed that a public consultation be launched to decide which song would be best. MPs agreed on Wednesday that the bill should be given its second reading in parliament in March, the Guardian has reported.

While Scotland and Wales have their own anthems, England does not, and God Save the Queen is usually sung at sporting events when an English team is playing. Northern Irish sports teams also usually sing the UK national anthem. "I would like to say at the outset that I am neither a republican, nor an atheist nor an English nationalist ... Members should detect no hostility in me towards God, her majesty the Queen, to God Save the Queen or to the United Kingdom," said Perkins, MP for Chesterfield.

"Indeed it is precisely out of respect to preserving many of these things that I believe the time has come to consider the question of an English national anthem."

Charlie Hebdo cartoon depicting drowned child Alan Kurdi sparks racism debate

A cartoon in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has caused online shock by suggesting drowned toddler Alan Kurdi would have grown up to be a sexual abuser like those immigrants allegedly involved in the assaults in Cologne. Under the headline "Migrants", the drawing shows two lascivious pig-like men with their tongues hanging out chasing two terrified, screaming women who are running away, the Guardian has reported.

An insert at the top the cartoon contains the famous image of the three-year-old Syrian boy laying face down dead in the sand. The question at the top of the drawing "What would little Aylan have grown up to be?" is answered at the bottom by "Ass groper in Germany". The implication that all refugees grow up to be gropers has outraged many, but some people have defended the cartoon and interpreted it as a satire on tabloid perceptions of refugees.

Kurdi's death on a beach in Turkey last year galvanised public opinion, and the widespread sympathy for the humanitarian crisis put pressure on European governments.