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Margdarshak committee led by LK Advani may raise Kirti Azad's suspension issue in party forum

LK Advani (Photo by Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Photo: Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times via Getty Images

A day after BJP MP Kirti Azad was suspended for "anti-party activities", the party's Margdarshak Mandal members LK Advani and Shanta Kumar went into a huddle at Murli Manohar Joshi's residence.

According to sources, the meeting was a hush hush affair and no one in the Party was aware of it. What's interesting is that this meeting comes just a day after Azad said he would move the Margdarshak Mandal committee and ask them how could he be suspended for exposing corruption. The BJP veterans are likely to meet Azad and raise the issue in party forum. Last time, after the BJP faced defeat in Bihar elections, members of the Margdarshak Mandal had gone public with their views and held the party high command directly responsible for the debacle.

ULFA leader Anup Chetia released from jail

ULFA general secretary Golap Baruah alias Anup Chetia was on Thursday released from Guwahati central jail. The court had on Wednesday granted him bail in the last of the four cases registered against him, paving the way for his release.

Chetia had earlier been granted bail in three cases out of the four that were registered after his deportation to India from Bangladesh. Chetia was handed over to India by Bangladesh where he was in jail since his arrest by the country's police in 1997 on charges of cross-border intrusion, carrying fake passports and illegally keeping foreign currencies.

On November 17, Chetia was brought to Guwahati by the CBI on a transit remand and produced before the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate amid tight security.


Brazil declares emergency after 2,400 babies take birth with mosquito-borne disease

Brazil health authorities on 24 December declared a state of emergency after 2,400 babies were born with microcephaly. 29 of the babies have succumbed to the congenital condition, that is associated with incomplete brain development, so far.

According to media reports, Brazilian health officials have linked the deaths to a mosquito-borne virus called Zika after a postmortem on one of the infants revealed the association.

Minor gang raped, murdered on way to school in Aligarh

A 17-year-old girl was gang raped and killed by unidentified persons in Harduganj area, police said on Thursday. The victim, a Class-XI student, was on her way to school on a bicycle on 23 December when the accused waylaid her. She was then raped and murdered.

As news spread, angry villagers assaulted four policemen who arrived on the spot. Senior police officials rushed to the spot and managed to control the situation.

-- PTI

Modi pulls an ace; visits Pakistan on Sharif's birthday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been on a one-day trip to Kabul surprised many by announcing his itinerary on Twitter. Modi chose to visit Pakistan on his way back and meet his counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

Incidentally, it is Sharif's birthday and also Modi's first visit to the neighbouring country. He was received by Sharif at the airport from where the duo headed to the Pakistani Prime Minister's residence, where his grand-daughter's wedding is being held. After blessing the bride, he left for Delhi.

The move was welcomed by Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Omar Farooq and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted that the two leaders discussed Indo-Pak relations.

The relations between India and Pakistan have witnessed some positive developments in recent past. The two countries recently decided to launch a comprehensive dialogue after Mr Modi and Mr Sharif met in Paris.

Fans fearing Miss Colombia may have a mental breakdown after Miss Universe goofup

Miss Universe-2

File photo

Fans are fearing that the experience of being crowned Miss Universe 2015 for only for 2 minutes could be pushing Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, towards a mental breakdown.

The 21-year-old's Miss Universe dreams came true for a brief moment, when Steve Harvey, the pageant's host, named her as the winner. But Harvey had made a mistake and the crown was taken away from her and given to Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.

After the incident, fans took to the social media to cheer Gutierrez up, including Sofia Vergara, who tweeted that Gutierrez is "still the queen."

Maria Isabel Nieto, Colombia's consul general to New York said that she doesn't think that Miss Colombia is very affected by all this, adding "I just think that when I was in my 20s and was in her situation, I would take a little while to recover."

Deepika Padukone could just play 'Bidda' Bagchi in Kahaani 2

Basking in the success of her recently released Bajirao Mastani, Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone seems to have yet another reason to celebrate.

According to the latest industry reports, the actress has been approached to play the lead in Kahaani 2.

Kahaani, the 2012 Sujoy film, with Vidya Balan in the lead role, won critical acclaim. Balan swept up almost all the awards that year for her strong performance as Vidya Bagchi - a pregnant woman in search of her lost husband.

HC cancels Saibaba's bail, issues contempt notice to Arundhati


Photo: Getty Images

The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court today rejected the regular bail application filed by the Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, arrested for alleged links with the Naxals, and directed him to surrender within 48 hours. Taking a serious view of criticism of the judiciary by Booker prize-winner writer Arundhati Roy in her article about the professor, Justice Arun Choudhary also issued a criminal contempt notice to her which is returnable by January 25. Justice Chaudhary also turned down the request to grant more time to Saibaba to surrender and directed the police to arrest him if he failed to turn up within two days.

Shashi Tharoor launches Change.org petition to decriminalise homosexuality

Shashi Tharoor lgbt petition.jpg

After Shashi Tharoor's private member bill seeking to decriminalise homosexuality was voted out by Lok Sabha last week, the Congress MP has started a change.org petition regarding the same.

The petition, directed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was launched on 23 December. It makes several statements against Article 377 of IPC.

The former Union Minister said he "will move the Bill again when the session is convened next to ensure individual privacy is possible".

You can sign the petition here.