iconimg Friday, March 27, 2015

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 03, 2014
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KT Thomas declines to head lokpal search panel

After noted jurist Fali Nariman, justice KT Thomas (retired) on Monday became the second expert to quit the panel that was to recommend names of members for India's first lokpal.

"The reason is that the search committee was to recommend names to a select committee, which need or need not accept those names. So it was not worthwhile to have this search committee," said Thomas, a former Supreme Court judge.

Nariman had quit the panel on Thursday last week, fearing "the most competent will get overlooked". This was seen as a major embarrassment for the government, already under fire from the BJP for appointing senior advocate PP Rao, allegedly a Congress loyalist, to the selection panel.

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Pro-Russian troops takeover Crimean borders, ferry

Russia pressed hard on Monday for Ukrainian politicians to return to the Feb. 21 agreement that promised to create a new unity government which would rule until an early election no later than December.

But the proposal seemed to be a non-starter as diplomats met in Brussels, Kiev and Geneva and warnings about the dangers of Russia's military actions were issued from a host of European capitals.

On the ground, Russian troops controlled all Ukrainian border posts Monday in Crimea, as well as all military facilities and a key ferry terminal, cementing their stranglehold on the strategic Ukrainian peninsula.

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Narendra Modi, Ram Vilas Paswan share stage; Jayalalithaa slams Congress

Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan on Monday shared the stage with Narendra Modi and pitched for making him the next prime minister, as AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa launched her party's campaign for the Lok Sabha polls and asked people to throw out the "corrupt" Congress-led government.

Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal addressed meetings in Agra as part of his party's campaign in Uttar Pradesh.

Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, launched a scathing attack on the Congress and the Janata Dal-United at the election rally in Bihar's Muzaffarpur.

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Family photo: ND Tiwari kisses and makes up with son Rohit Shekhar

Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and governor of Andhra Pradesh ND Tiwari on Monday admitted that Rohit Shekhar was his biological son.

Shekhar had approached court against Tiwari in 2008, claiming he was born out of an affair between the Congress leader and his mother Dr Ujjwala Sharma.

In 2012, Tiwari was forced to give samples of his DNA for a paternity test which established he had fathered Shekhar.

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Cong MLA harassed me: woman suspect in solar scam

Saritha Nair, the prime accused in the Kerala solar panel scam, on Monday raised a serious allegation against Congress MLA AP Abullakutty, also a former MP, saying he misbehaved with her and invited her to his hotel room on several occasions.

She hinted a few other leaders also behaved indecently with her, but said she would reveal their names in the days to come.

The solar scam relates to alleged fraud by Saritha and her second husband with the help of a few staff members of chief minister Oommen Chandy's office. They promised unsuspecting customers imported solar panels. Once the scam surfaced, CM Chandy had to sack three of his aides and Kerala's public relations director.

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'12 years a Slaves' wins at historic 86th Oscars

Harrowing historical drama 12 Years a Slave was crowned best picture Oscar, while 3D space thriller Gravity was the top prize winner at the 86th Academy Awards with seven.

True-life AIDS activist drama Dallas Buyers Club won three Oscars including best actor for Matthew McConaughey, while Australia's Cate Blanchett won best actress for Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.

But 1970s crime caper American Hustle and Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street went home empty-handed from the Oscars, the climax of Hollywood's annual awards season.

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Pistorius pleads not guilty as witness tells of 'bloodcurdling screams'

South African Paralympian star Oscar Pistorius pleaded not guilty on Monday to murdering his girlfriend as his trial opened with a neighbour testifying she heard "bloodcurdling" screams on the night of the killing.

Pistorius, whose trial is being broadcast live around the world, faces a life sentence if convicted of the Valentine's Day killing of model and reality television star Reeva Steenkamp a year ago.

After a state prosecutor charged that Pistorius "unlawfully and intentionally did kill" Steenkamp, he entered a plea of "not guilty, my lady".

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TRS rules out merger with Congress

TRS on Monday noght ruled out a merger with Congress and refused to give any commitment on an alliance with the party in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

At a day-long meeting of the general body of the party, which spearheaded the fight for separate Telangana state, it was decided to form a committee of senior leaders to to look into the issue of alliances, if any, with any party that seeks that.

The TRS decision may come as a dampner for Congress, which has been looking at making gains in the 17 Lok Sabha seats and 117 Assembly that will be up for grabs in the coming elections under either a merger or an electoral alliance with that  party.

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