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LIVE! TN governor may ask Sasikala nominee Palanisamy to form govt

17:27  Sasikala surrenders at Bengaluru jail :   Just in: AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala reaches Bengaluru jail where she will surrender. Sasikala’s lawyers have asked for a two-week relief before she surrenders. This is the second time she will be incarcerated at the Bengaluru jail, where she spent six months in 2014.

Sasikala, 61, asked the SC today if, because of her health, she could be allowed some time to present herself in Bengaluru for imprisonment. “Do you know what immediately means?” the judges responded, highlighting that they had made their decision clear in yesterday’s verdict.

Sasikala then left the house in Chennai’s Poes Garden and after two pit stops at Jaya and MGR’s memorials she has now reached the prison. The other two accused are also part of the 25-car convoy to the jail. Her husband and aides reached the jail ahead of her arrival.

The court hall where Sasikala is to surrender today has been shifted to the central jail at Parapppana Agrahara due to security reasons. The Karnataka  High Court Registrar accepted a request by Bengaluru City Police to shift the court hall in the city citing security and other considerations, official sources
said. The Parappana Agrahara jail is located close to Hosur, the entry point on Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border.


17:16  PM pays homage to 4 army men killed in Kashmir encounters:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi today paid homage to four army men, including a Major, who were killed in two separate encounters in Kashmir yesterday. He laid wreaths on the bodies of the soldiers at the Palam Airport here where the mortal remains were brought today.

On the occasion, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat briefed the Prime Minister on the incidents in which the casualties took place. Major S Dahiya and three other soldiers were killed yesterday in two encounters in Kashmir. Dahiya was killed in an encounter in Kralgund area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district where security forces gunned down three militants hiding in a residential house.

Three other army men were killed in an encounter in Hajin area of Bandipora district after security forces cordoned off the area following information about presence of militants there.

17:15  2 killed, several injured in a suicide attack in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar: police.

16:51  India Today says Governor Vidyasagar Rao has asked Edapadi Palanisamy to submit signatures of 118+ MLAs. If he can get 118+ signatures he will be called to form the government.


16:08  Former India skipper MS Dhoni’s video on Instagram and Twitter, crawling on a lawn imitating daughter Ziva, has predictably gone viral.


15:49  S Korea suspects female assassins killed half-brother of North Korea leader:  South Korea’s spy agency suspects two female North Korean agents assassinated the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Malaysia, lawmakers in Seoul said on Wednesday, as Malaysian medical authorities sought a cause of death.

US government sources also told Reuters they believed that North Korean assassins killed Kim Jong Nam. Malaysian police said he had been assaulted on Monday in Kuala Lumpur International Airport and died on the way to hospital.

South Korean intelligence believed Kim Jong Nam was poisoned, lawmakers said after being briefed by the spy agency.

They said the spy agency told them that the young, unpredictable North Korean leader had issued a “standing order” for his half-brother’s assassination, and that there had been a failed attempt in 2012.

Kim had been at the airport’s low-cost terminal to catch a flight to Macau on Monday, when someone grabbed or held Kim’s face from behind, after which he felt dizzy and sought help, Malaysian police official Fadzil Ahmat told Reuters.

According to South Korea’s spy agency, Kim Jong Nam had been living, under Beijing’s protection, with his second wife in the Chinese territory of Macau, the lawmakers said. One of them said Kim Jong Nam also had a wife and son in Beijing.Portly and gregarious, Kim Jong Nam was the eldest son of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and had spoken out publicly against his family’s dynastic control of the isolated state.”


15:42  Delhi HC disposes off BSF jawan Tej Bahadur’s wife’s plea:  The Delhi High Court on Wednesday disposed off the habeas corpus plea of BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav’s wife, citing she had already met him in Jammu in accordance with judicial orders.

Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) conveyed to the Delhi High Court that BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav was not arrested but moved to another unit.

The High Court took up the Habeas Corpus plea in which Tej Bahadur Yadav’s wife Sharmila and family complained of not being able to contact him for three days.

The court further asked why Tej Bahadur Yadav’s wife was not allowed to meet him in the new battalion camp.Tej Bahadur Yadav had posted a video on Facebook on January 9 complaining about the ‘bad food’. Where the BSF jawan Yadav had alleged on the food being served at mealtime on duty at places, including along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, and that jawans often went to bed on empty stomach.


15:04  TN governor may ask Sasikala nominee Palanisamy to form govt :  Just in: AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala and legislative leader Edapadi Palanisamy booked by police for alleged detention of AIADMK legislators at the Golden Bay resort near Chennai on complaint from rival camp MLA. A large posse of police deployed outside the resort in Kuvathur.

Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao is likely to move this evening to end the state of flux that Tamil Nadu is in. And NDTV says the governor is inclined to invite Edapadi Palanisamy to form government.

The AIADMK has 134 of Tamil Nadu’s 234 legislators.  Of the 134, 120 are in the Sasikala camp. 

Image: AIADMK Legislative Party Leader Edappadi Palaniswami met Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao to stake claim for formation of government at Raj Bhavan in Chennai yesterday.


14:18  Police enter resort where Sasikala’s MLAs are confined :  Based on a complaint filed by Madurai MLA, Saravanan, who said he escaped from the Golden Bay resort in a camouflage (bermuda and shorts) and joined the O Panneerselvam camp, police conducted an enquiry and entered the resort.

Section 144 was imposed in the area around Golden Bay resort after the SC convicted Sasikala and ordered her to serve a four year jail term.

Around 120 MLAs have been staying at the resort for over a week. Many of them, loyal to Sasikala, insist they are not being held against their will.

14:05  Voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in 2nd phase of Uttar Pradesh polls 2017: Amroha-44.75%, Badaun-37.03%, Bareilly-39.06%, Moradabad-40.80%


14:04  Shift Shahabuddin to Tihar Jail: SC:  The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin be moved from Siwan (Bihar) to Tihar Jail for a free and fair trial in the case relating to a journalist’s murder.

Shahabuddin’s trial will be conducted through video conferencing and no special treatment will be given to him in Tihar jail, said SC.

Asha Ranjan, the wife of the deceased journalist, Ranjan Rajdeo, had filed a plea stating that free and fair trial against Shahabuddin was not possible if he remain lodged in the Bihar jail as witnesses would not be able to depose against him with his goons threatening them.

Shahabuddin is facing trial in 45 criminal cases.

42-year-old Rajdeo was shot dead in July last year at Phal Mandi near the Siwan Railway Station, barely half-a-kilometre from the police station.

The Bihar Government had recommended the CBI to probe the case.

13:57  Court hall for Sasikala’s surrender shifted to central prison:  The court hall where AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala is to surrender today has been shifted to the central jail at Parapppana Agrahara due to security reasons.

The Karnataka High Court Registrar accepted a request by Bengaluru City Police to shift the court hall in the city citing security and other considerations, official sources said.

The Parappana Agrahara jail is located close to Hosur, the entry point on Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border. Late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and her relatives V N Sudhakaran and J Ilavarasi had spent three weeks in the jail after they were convicted by the trial court in the Disproportionate Assets case in September 2014 before being let out on bail by the Supreme Court.

The Apex Court earlier today refused to entertain Sasikala’s plea seeking more time to surrender for undergoing jail term.


13:49  You make every day seem like V-Day: Virat publicly declares love for Anushka :  Please awwwww in unison.

Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma have remained tight-lipped about their relationship but the cricketer publicly declared his love for the actress by posting a sweet Valentine Day message.

The Indian cricket skipper took to Instagram to share this sun-kissed picture of the two and tagged Anushka in the post. “Everyday is a valentine day if you want it to be. You make everyday seem like one for me. @anushkasharma,” Virat wrote along with heart emojis.

Dating for a while now, Anushka and Virat have been spotted together in several occasions – with the cricketer attending movie events and the actress going to stadiums to cheer him during the matches. The two, however, have not publicly confirmed their relationship.

Reports had said that Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli are ready to take their relationship to the next level when they had holidayed over the New Year in Uttarakhand. But Virat had to step in and clear all the confusion, “, “We aren’t getting engaged & if we were going to, we wouldn’t hide it. Simple Since news channels cant resist selling false rumours & keeping you confused, we are just ending the confusion :)…”

All that without naming Anushka. Classy.

Here’s wishing the couple much happiness.

13:39  The Dinakaran effect begins… :   More leaders abandoning Sasikala’s ship.

AIADMK Organising Secretary V Karuppasamy says he is resigning from the party; calls TTV Dinakaran’s appointment as unacceptable.

This morning, just before she left for Bengaluru, Sasikala in direct contravention of Jayalalithaa’s orders, re-inducted two nephews – TTV Dinakaran and S Venkatesh – into the party.

Jayalalithaa had expelled Dinakaran in 2011 for conspiring against her. Sasikala appointed him Deputy General Secretary of the AIADMK and asked her MLAs to cooperate with him. Sasikala remains the General Secretary of the party, the party’s most powerful position, a post that Jayalalithaa retained.


13:28  After pit stops at MGR, Jaya memorials, Sasikala on the road to Bengaluru:   Sasikala is now finally on her way to Bengaluru jail. After the theatrics at Jayalalithaa’s memorial, where the AIADMK said she took a “mighty vow”, she stopped at the MGR statue that she had unveiled at MGR Memorial Estate in Ramapuram, Chennai.

Sasikala, 61, asked the Supreme Court today if, because of her health, she could be allowed some time to present herself in Bengaluru for imprisonment. “Do you know what immediately means?” the judges responded, highlighting that they had made their decision clear in yesterday’s verdict.

After the court turned down her request for more time, Sasikala, who was at her Poes Garden residence, left in a convoy of 25 vehicles for Bengaluru jail. On the way she stopped at Jayalalithaa’s memorial at Marina Beach and after praying for a few seconds, took a “mighty vow”. The AIADMK tweeted:  Conspiracy, betrayal, crisis… I’ll emerge victorious from them, AIADMK’s general secretary Honorable Chinamma vowed.”

On to the Bengaluru jail now. This is the same jail where she was imprisoned with Jaya in 2014 before they were acquitted. 

Image: Sasikala at the MGR memorial


12:48  Natonal-level archer to street vendor to coach :  For those trashing all media as paid news, this is how genuine grassroots reports help. In Chirang (Assam), Buli Basumatary (extreme left in picture), once a national-level gold medallist archer, now selling oranges on the pavement will soon work as a coach for the state.

Speaking to news agency ANI she said, “I’m a street vendor. Ive been selling oranges since three years now. I have won many medals and I applied for a job in the Assam police but didnt get it.”

Shortly after the report, Naba Doley, Assam Sports Minister said they would appoint her as archery coach next week, followed by short-term training in Punjab.


12:36  Sasikala weeps, takes an oath at Amma’s memorial :   Dramatic moments in the Sasikala soap opera at Jayalalithaa’s shrine at Marina Beach.

Sasikala who is headed to Bengaluru jail made a pit stop at the shrine and offered flowers and prayed quietly. But quite suddenly, she began weeping and bent down to strike the memorial a couple of times (reports said she was breaking a coconut, which is erroneous) with her palm and muttered, what seemed like a promise, an oath, so to speak to take forward Amma’s legacy.   

Her supporters shouted slogans for both Jayalalithaa and Sasikala.

Ironically, this morning, the very people Jaya had expelled from the party — Sasikala’s nephews TTV Dinakaran and Venkatesh — were inducted into the party in direct contravention of Jaya’s wishes.

This is something the O Panneerselvam camp will seize upon.

12:21  Meanwhile,South Korea confirms that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam killed in Malaysia.

12:06  Over 120 AIADMK legislators are reportedly still at the Golden Bay Resort in Mahabalipuram, where they have been sequestered by Sasikala for over a week now.


11:53  Sasikala heads to Bengaluru to surrender, pitstop at Jaya memorial:  Just in: VK Sasikala leaves her Poes Garden residence for Bengaluru where she will surrender at the city civil court inside Bengaluru jail. Her convoy of at least 25 vehicles making their way now to the Jayalalithaa memorial at Marina Beach.

She will travel the 345 km to Bengaluru by road escorted by the police from both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to begin the four-year prison term ordered yesterday by the top court in a corruption case.

Security has been increased at the city civil court and the Parappana jail. Sasikala’s supporters have already gathered at the court.


11:37  Sasikala will surrender today, lawyer tells SC :   Sasikala’s lawyer KTS Tulsi tells the Supreme Court that she will surrender today. Sasikala who is in Chennai will surrender at the Bengaluru city civil court #48 which is being moved to inside the  Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru. She is expected to leave Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden home, where she stays, anytime now. She will travel the 345 km to Bengaluru by road today escorted by the police from both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and will begin a four-year prison term.

The Supreme Court made it clear this morning that VK Sasikala, convicted for corruption yesterday, needs to make herself available “immediately” to be jailed in Bengaluru to begin a four-year prison term. The court verdict ended her plans to become Tamil Nadu’s next chief minister.


11:14  And this is the sweet picture that Barack Obama posted.


11:13  Always feels new: Obamas exemplify relationship goals:  If you’ve missed these lovely pictures the Obamas posted yesterday on Valentine’s Day, take a look.

It’s been 28 years, but things are still new for former first couple Barack and Michelle Obama.

The former US president and former first lady, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, took to Twitter to keep their love and ‘island’ vibes alive.

“Happy Valentine’s Day to the love of my life and favorite island mate, @BarackObama. #valentines,” she wrote, along with a snap of two pairs of feet, on a beach. See alongside.

Soon after, Barack Obama tweeted. “Happy Valentine’s Day, @michelleobama! Almost 28 years with you, but it always feels new,” along with a beautiful snap, that portrays the love and bond they share.

On a related note, the former first couple, who have been married for 23 years, recently enjoyed a 10-day post-White House vacation to the British Virgin Islands.


10:49  SC tells Sasikala to surrender NOW, refuses to give her more time:   All roads lead to Bengaluru Central jail for VK Sasikala.

The Supreme Court refuses any more time for Sasikala to surrender. All options are closed.

KTS Tulsi, Sasikala’s lawyer told Justice Ghosh today that she needs more time to sort out her affairs.

Reports say the court was categoric and in fact irritated that she has yet not surrendered. The court said it will not give any further relief and she has to go and surrender immediately. No breather for Sasikala, the court said, and added that it had passed judgment and can’t give more time.

The court was annoyed that Sasikala has not shown any urgency to surrender since the verdict was read yesterday afternoon. The court has told Sasikala to go to the Bengaluru court and then surrender.

Since she is still in Chennai, it will take at least six hours to reach Bengaluru. Courts normally close at 4 pm. Stay with us for the Sasikala soap opera.


10:36  Polling for 2nd phase of UP polls underway, 10.75% voter turnout till 9 am:  Polling for the second phase of Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, spanning 67 constituencies in 11 districts, began on Wednesday morning amid tight security.

The fate of 721 candidates is to be sealed by balloting of 2.28 crore voters of which a sizable number (47.72 lakh) is of young voters, aged 18-19 years. Polling agents have been deployed in adequate numbers, an Election Commission official told IANS.

At least 2,983 of the total 23,695 polling booths have been identified as sensitive and security scaled up. The elections are taking place in 67 constituencies and 11 districts.

Prominent contestants include controversial SP minister Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam, who are contesting from Rampur and Swar seats respectively, Saif Ali Naqvi, son of former Congress MP Zafar Ali Naqvi, former central minister Jitin Prasada from Tilhar (Shahjahanpur), BJP Legislature Party leader Suresh Kumar Khanna from Shahjahanpur city and state minister Mehboob Ali from Amroha.

Image: Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi queues up to vote


10:32  Record 27 US Congressmen travelling to India this month:   A record number of 27 US Congressmen will visit India later this month, reflecting the increased efforts by American lawmakers for strengthening ties with New Delhi. The top lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties are visiting India in two separate delegations.

Describing this as an important development, Navtej Sarna, Indian Ambassador to the US, said such visit is reflective of the efforts on the part of the US to “strengthen and build” on the bipartisan support that they have in the US Congress for India-US relations. Congressional records indicate that this is the largest ever travel of US lawmakers to India.

10:12  President Pranab Mukherjee tweets his congratulations. ‏@RashtrapatiBhvn Congratulations to ISRO on the successful launch of PSLVC37, carrying a record 104 satellites This day shall go down as a landmark in the history of our space programme 

10:11  104 satellites: Proud moment for India, says PM:  PM congratulates ISRO: @narendramodi  This remarkable feat by @isro is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation. India salutes our scientists.
10:09  It’s a record! ISRO launches 104 satellites into space :  The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday launched a record number of 104 satellites including Cartosat-2 in one go on board a single rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here.

The satellites will be injected into sun synchronous orbit at different slots at different angles and at different times.Apart from principal payload Cartosat-2 series satellite and two more nano-satellites weighing less than 10 kilograms, 101 other co-passengers are from foreign countries including one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UAE and 96 from the US.

The Russian Space Agency holds the record of launching 37 satellites in a single go in 2014.The U.S. space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched 29 satellites, while ISRO successfully launched 20 satellites in June 2015.


10:04  Sasikala makes nephew, sacked by Jaya, AIADMK deputy gen secy :   Sasikala inducts nephew TTV Dinakaran into the AIADMK as the party’s deputy general secretary ahead of surrender, which is likely to happen today. Sasikala has also inducted another relative Venkatesh into the party. Dinakaran’s appointment is a departure from Jayalalithaa’s decision in 2011, when she had expelled Dinakaran from the party. 

Yesterday, she appointed Edappady K Palaniswami, a AIADMK loyalist as the Legislature Party Leader, projecting him as the next CM as she heads to jail. Her conviction prevents her from holding the executive post for six years.

Sasikala also sacked rebel leader O Panneerselvam, the chief minister, from the party’s primary membership.

Security has been strengthened across the state. Police presence has been stepped up at the resort where MLAs supporting her are housed since the past few days. Sasikala herself stayed overnight at the resort.

The expectation is that Sasikala will leave for Bengaluru to surrender in the trial court as per the apex court order.

The apex court on Tuesday quashed the Karnataka high court verdict that had acquitted Sasikala in the disproportionate assets case and asked her to surrender herself.

Sasikala was elected AIADMK Legislature Party Leader on February 5, paving the way for her becoming chief minister. Two days later, Pannerselvam rebelled against her.

Image: Sasikala with MLAs on February 12, ahead of the SC verdict.

10:00  PSLV-C37 carrying 104 satellites lifts off :  PSLV-C37 carrying CARTOSAT-2 series earth observation satellite and 103 nano satellites lifts off from Sriharikota. PSLV-C37 successfully places in orbit India’s CARTOSAT-2 series satellite and two other satellites.

09:48  Congress hails Sasikala verdict, accuses TN Guv of causing instability:  Welcoming the verdict given by the Supreme Court convicting AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala in connection with the 19-year old disproportionate assets case, the Congress on Wednesday emphasized on the instability spreading in Tamil Nadu due to Governor C Vidyasagar Rao’s delay in actions.

“The court judgment has come and we welcome it. It is a clear-cut judgment against the corruption and corrupt parties prevailing in the country. It is probably a warning to all the parties and people in the country,” Congress leader PC Chacko told ANI.

He added that the confusion in Tamil Nadu is also almost over now with this judgment.

“The assembly should be immediately convened and a vote of confidence should be taken. Tamil Nadu should immediately get a stable government. Delaying by the governor has created some instability, that’s the fact,” Chakco said.

He further said that this instability happened due to two reasons; one is O. Panneerselvam’s resignation and the election of the new leader. Second is, action not taken at the proper time by the Governor.


09:34  ISRO launches record 104 satellites into orbit:   ISRO is attempting a new world record by launching 104 satellites in a single flight of PSLVC 37 from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. 

The main passenger is the Earth-mapping Cartosat 2 series satellite, which weighs 714 kg. Among the 104 satellites are many belonging to international customers. Small satellites belong to the US, Israel, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates will be launched. 96 of the satellites belong to the US.

In the past, the Russian Space Agency has launched 37 satellites in one go.

This will be ISRO’s second successful attempt after the launch of 23 satellites in a single rocket in June 2015.


09:26  Raees promotion: FIR against SRK for rioting:  

The Government Railway Police in Kota, Rajasthan, lodged an FIR against Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan and others under several charges, including rioting, while he was in Kota for the promotion of his film Raees on January 24. On way to New Delhi from Mumbai, Khan was aboard August Kranti Rajdhani Express, which had briefly halted at Kota station around 5 am.

The case was lodged following a complaint by Vikram Singh, 32, who owns a food trolley at the station, said Ganga Sahay Sharma, SHO of GRP, Kota. Singh alleged that the actor did not get down from the train. He waved to his fans and started throwing gifts at them. One such gift was hurled near Singhs trolley. 

The trolley was damaged as people rushed to catch the gift. Singh added that the food on his trolley was scattered and a stampede-like situation was created. Amid all this chaos, money from his coffer was stolen and he had also suffered injuries.


08:57  ISRO attempts to make history today at 9.28 am:  

The Indian Space Research Organisation is all set for the biggest launch of record 104 satellites at one go, which will be a historic moment for India. 

With this launch, India will script history by becoming the first country to launch more than 100 satellites under single mission.

The 104 satellites will be carried by ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37, which will be going on its 39th mission.

The satellites will be blasted off from the SDSC SHAR Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 9:20 am.

08:41  The judge that got things moving in the DA case:  Diverting from the norm, the Bench of Justices PC Ghose and Amitava Roy overturned the Karnataka high court’s acquittal and restored the judgment of the trial court in toto. 

This, despite the fact that many an apex court decision, including the one in State of Uttar Pradesh v. Chet Ram & Ors, has laid down that the court’s power under Article 136 of the Constitution ought to be exercised with care and restraint in setting aside a judgement of acquittal by a high court.

That, in itself, speaks volumes of the competence of the trial judge in question, John Michael D’Cunha.

Read full story HERE
08:33  Sasikala to seek more time from SC to surrender:  Sasikala to seek more time from Supreme Court today for surrendering before Bangalore trial court. 

Earlier on Tuesday, the apex court while delivering its verdict had told the AIADMK chief that she should surrender forthwith. Following her conviction, she cannot hold public office or contest elections for the period of her jail term and six years after that.


08:09  Voting begins in UP in second phase of assembly polls:  

Polling began this morning in 67 assembly constituencies spread over 11 districts of western Uttar Pradesh figuring in the second phase of voting.

The districts where polling is on amid tight security arrangements are Saharanpur, Bijnor, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Bareilly, Amroha, Pilibhit, Kheri, Shahjahanpur and Badaun.

Of the 67 seats at stake, ruling Samajwadi Party had won 34 in 2012, followed by BSP 18, BJP 10, Congress three and others two.

In this phase, 720 candidates are in the fray with a maximum of 22 from Barhapur (Bijnor) and a minimum of four nominees from Dhanaura (Amroha).

Prominent contestants include controversial SP minister Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam, who are contesting from Rampur and Swar seats respectively, Saif Ali Naqvi, son of former Congress MP Zafar Ali Naqvi, former central minister Jitin Prasada from Tilhar (Shahjahanpur), BJP Legislature Party leader Suresh Kumar Khanna from Shahjahanpur city andstate minister Mehboob Ali from Amroha.


01:07  Justin Bieber is coming to India in May for concert:  Grammy award winning pop singer Justin Bieber to come to India in May this year.

“Namaste India. See you on May 10th at D Y Patil Stadium,” said the exuberant message from Justin Bieber, confirming his arrival to Hindustan Times.

The show at the stadium located in Nerul, Mumbai, is a part of the Purpose World Tour 2017. Mumbai will be one of the three Asian cities to host the Canadian singer’s concerts. 

The other two are Tel Aviv (Israel) and Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

According to sources, Bieber will fly in with an entourage of 150 people, including backup dancers and choreographers. 

During his planned week-long stay, the pop star is “excited about doing the typical touristy things”, said the source.


01:02  I will steer the party even from inside a cage: Sasikala:  

Meanwhile, having reached the Pose Garden residence in Chennai, Sasikala once again spoke to the crowd that had gathered to meet her before she headed to Bengaluru on Wednesday to serve out her sentence.

She said, “Dharma will undergo challenges but one has to overcome it.”

She reiterated that wherever she will be, her thoughts will be with the party and its supporters and asked them to remain bold at this time of crisis.

“I will steer the party even from inside a cage,” she told party supporters who had gathered there. 

The 62-year-old Sasikala said that upon her return from the prison, the AIADMK government will be formed and that the party workers should strive in this regard.

She urged them not to lose their composure and stay united in the interests of the party. 


00:59  Melania Trump reopens White House for tours:  

After pressure from lawmakers, First Lady Melania Trump announced today the White House will reopen to the public in early March, nearly seven weeks after her husband Donald became president. 

White House tours are highly popular with visitors to Washington, a perk arranged by members of Congress for their constituents and foreign embassies for their nationals. 

Some members of Congress had begun complaining about the long delay in restarting tours that had been suspended since Trump’s inauguration January 20.

Melania Trump said the public tours will resume March 7 of the 224-year-old White House. 

“I am excited to reopen the White House to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come each year. The White House is a remarkable and historic site and we are excited to share its beauty and history,” she said in a brief statement. 

The first lady, who plans to continue living at the Trump Tower in New York until their 10-year-old son Baron finishes the school year, stressed her dedication to the White House.

“I am committed to the restoration and preservation of our nation’s most recognizable landmark,” she said. 

00:58  Jean-Pierre Lacroix is new UN peacekeeping chief:  

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has announced the appointment of Jean-Pierre Lacroix of France to head UN peacekeeping for a year pending a review of the world body’s functions and structure.

The UN’s political affairs chief, Jeffrey Feltman of the United States, will remain at this post, also for a year. 

The two positions of under-secretary-general are among the most high-profile at the United Nations. 

Lacroix, 56, will replace Herve Ladsous who steps down in March after six years in the top job. 

Currently director for the United Nations at the French foreign ministry, Lacroix will take over UN peacekeeping as it struggles to overcome a scandal over mounting cases of sexual abuse by troops serving in peace missions. 

The United States, the biggest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping, is considering cuts to its contribution, currently at 29 per cent of the $7.9 billion budget for 2017. 

Source: Rediff