$11 billion treasure revealed beneath temple in India
The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the southern Indian state of Kerala.
July 4th, 2011
12:43 PM ET

$11 billion treasure revealed beneath temple in India

A court-ordered search of vaults beneath a temple in India has turned up a treasure worth at least $11 billion, according to reports from the Indian state of Kerala.

An inventory of what lies beneath the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, as reported on the website Business-Standard.com and others, reads like a prop list from an "Indiana Jones" movie:

  • Rubies, sapphires, emeralds and pearls
  • Replicas of coconut shells made of pure gold
  • Hundreds of thousands of gold and silver coins, some dating to the 16th century
  • Gold chains as long as 18 feet
  • Solid-gold human figurines and idols
  • Crowns and pendants
  • Gold and silver bars

The wealth was amassed in at least six vaults, some of which had not been opened in 150 years, according to media reports. India's Supreme Court ordered an inventory of the vaults after hearing a private complaint seeking "more transparency and trustworthiness in the temple administration," according to a report on the news website daijiworld.com.

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Filed under: India • World
June 11th, 2011
01:14 PM ET

Indian crime reporter shot dead

In a brazen daylight attack Saturday in the Indian city of Mumbai, gunmen shot and killed a veteran journalist who reported on the city's underworld.

Jyotirmoy Dey, was rushed to a hospital where he died of five gunshot wounds, reported CNN's sister network, CNN-IBN.It quoted police as saying that four men on two motorbikes pulled up to Dey, who was also riding a bike, and shot him from behind at close range.

Police are searching for the gunmen, who were able to escape the scene.

Dey had covered crime for two decades and was most recently writing for an English language tabloid called Mid Day.

The newspaper posted a statement on its website that called Dey "one of the pillars" of its newsroom.

It would not comment on the circumstances of Dey's killing but speculation surfaced that it was act committed by someone who intended to silence him.

"We  will not stop doing investigating stories, and we will not bow to  criminals," the newspaper said.

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Filed under: Crime • India • World
June 9th, 2011
06:35 PM ET

Chicago man convicted in Denmark plot, acquitted in Mumbai attack

Chicago businessman Tahawwur Hussain Rana was found not guilty Thursday on federal charges of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008.

But Rana was convicted on one count of conspiracy to provide material support in a plot to bomb the offices of a Danish newspaper that had published irreverent cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, and on one count of providing material support to the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.

The Chicago businessman was accused of facilitating the November 2008 terrorist attacks that killed more than 160 people in Mumbai, India. But the defense argued that he was an unwitting victim betrayed by a business associate and longtime friend.

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Filed under: Courts • Denmark • India • Justice • Pakistan • Terrorism
Elephant kills man in India
An elephant roams the street Wednesday in Mysore, India, with a tranquilizer dart in its side.
June 8th, 2011
08:11 PM ET

Elephant kills man in India

A wild elephant trampled a man to death in Mysore, India, Wednesday, creating panic in the city.

Four elephants bore through the city around 6 a.m., straying from the town of Tirumakudalu Narsipura, about 35 kilometers (21 miles) from Mysore, according to The Times of India. One elephant was seen trampling to death a 55-year-old security guard at a bank ATM. The elephant also attacked a cow in the market and a moving bus in the street.

“The forest guards and officials from the Mysore zoo were alerted,” State Higher Education Minister S.A. Ramdas told the Times. “They rushed to the spot to control the jumbos by tranquilizing them.”

Two of the more destructive elephants were tranquilized, the Times reported, citing local officials. One barged into a women’s college compound and roamed the grounds while the other wreaked havoc in a residential area.

As a precaution, schools and colleges were closed for the day and extra police deployed.

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Filed under: Elephants • India • World
Last typewriters for sale? Not so fast, U.S. firm says
The typewriter, once a mainstay in business offices, was a tech innovation in its day. And it didn't track your whereabouts.
April 26th, 2011
02:26 PM ET

Last typewriters for sale? Not so fast, U.S. firm says

The Internet was humming Tuesday with a report that the world’s last typewriter manufacturer is closing shop and has 500 machines left, according to the Business Standard of India.

“We stopped production in 2009 and were the last company in the world to manufacture office typewriters,” said Milind Dukle, general manager-operations of Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co., according to the Business Standard. “The machines are of Godrej Prima, the last typewriter brand from our company. ...”

But Edward Michael, sales general manager at Swintec, a New Jersey-based typewriter company, said not so fast. He said when he read the report on the typewriters' demise, he initially thought it was a typo.

"We are a typewriter company, and we are alive and doing very well," Michael said in a telephone interview Tuesday with CNN.

Before the Internet age, the typewriter ruled. But when the seeds of the tech boom started to germinate, the typewriters' use as a business communication tool quickly faded.

Michael said he couldn't recall exact sales figures but his company, which started in 1978, sold "in the thousands" to private dealers, prisons and government offices.

Michael said if you want the latest in business communication, sans the Internet, there's an "app" for that.

“Some (typewriters) have memory, some don’t," he said. "Even spell check. You can save the document in the machine’s memory, call it up at a later time. It doesn’t go on the Internet, but it saves inside the typewriter itself.  It has a ribbon, it has a print wheel. You can change the character style (50 variations) by changing the wheels. There’s many applications that are easier than a computer."

Michael said many government agencies actually prefer the typewriter for official documents. He cited marriage licenses and birth and death certificates.

We think there's more electric and manual typewriter manufacturers out there. Know of any?

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Filed under: India • Technology
World Cup match brings together leaders of Pakistan, India for 'cricket diplomacy'
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (left) speaks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India at Wednesday's match.
March 30th, 2011
09:52 PM ET

World Cup match brings together leaders of Pakistan, India for 'cricket diplomacy'

India celebrated on Wednesday after beating Pakistan in the World Cup of cricket, a match that brought together two arch-rivals on the field and the leaders of their countries in the stands for some "cricket diplomacy."

Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani arrived in India Wednesday to watch 2011 ICC World Cup second semi-final with his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, as the nuclear neighbors try to repair ties wounded by the 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai.

Politics nearly threatened to take the focus off the high-pitched cricket match, which prompted early closures of thousands of businesses in Mohali, the city hosting the game.

Gilani's visit came a day after his country agreed in principle to allow a tour by an Indian commission in connection with the investigations into the Mumbai assault blamed on Pakistani militant groups. In talks Tuesday in New Delhi, Indian and Pakistani home secretaries also pledged to set up a "hotline" on terror threats.

The Times of India noted that Singh had been "jittery" over the possibility that their meeting in the stands of the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium would receive "more-than-necessary coverage by an intrusive media."

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Filed under: India • Pakistan • Sports
India's wild tiger population jumps 14%
A tiger wearing a tracking collar is seen in an Indian national park in October.
March 28th, 2011
10:36 AM ET

India's wild tiger population jumps 14%

The wild tiger population in India, home to half of the wild tigers in the world, has increased almost 14% in the past three years, a new census shows.

There are now an estimated 1,706 wild tigers in India, according to the count from India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority, which cooperated with the World Wildlife Fund, among other partners, in doing the study.

“These numbers give us hope for the future of tigers in the wild, and that India continues to play an integral role in the tiger’s recovery,”  WWF International Director General Jim Leape said in a statement.

"Recovery requires strong protection of core tiger areas and areas that link them, as well as effective management in the surrounding areas,” added Mike Baltzer, head of WWF’s Tigers Alive Initiative. “With these two vital conservation ingredients, we can not only halt their decline, but ensure tigers make a strong and lasting comeback.”

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Filed under: Animals • India • Nature • Tigers • World
Indian warship sunk during 'day at sea' for military families
Smoke rises from a ship inside the naval dockyard in Mumbai on Monday.
February 1st, 2011
02:54 PM ET

Indian warship sunk during 'day at sea' for military families

The heavily armed Indian navy frigate was equipped to do battle with enemy battleships and submarines, but it went up in flames as soon as it was hit … not by a torpedo or enemy vessel, mind you, but by a merchant ship.

The sinking of the INS Vindhyagiri, a 3,000-ton warship, marked the worst-ever peacetime loss for the Indian navy, Indian Express reported, adding that it’s also pretty embarrassing.

The warship was returning from a “day at sea” for families of sailors and officers and was entering the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust off the coast of Mumbai on Sunday afternoon, the website said.

Video taken by a passenger aboard the INS Vindhyagiri caught the collision as it unfolded. Those aboard the navy ship can be seen scurrying nervously as the merchant vessel approaches the frigate.

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Filed under: India • Military
100 dead in stampede near Indian temple
January 14th, 2011
05:51 PM ET

100 dead in stampede near Indian temple

One hundred people died and 14 were injured during a stampede near a religious temple in southern India, the home secretary of Kerala state said.
- From CNN's Sumnin Udas

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Filed under: India • World
Forecaster: Two phenomena responsible for world's bizarre weather
A graphic outlining sea temperature anomalies the first week in January shows drops in the Pacific as air temperatures rise between the U.S. and Europe (continents in gray). La Niña and the North Atlantic Oscillation are to blame, an expert says.
January 13th, 2011
03:35 PM ET

Forecaster: Two phenomena responsible for world's bizarre weather

The catastrophic weather events taking place across the globe – from Brazil’s and Australia’s flooding to the Eastern United States’ heavy snowfall – have two likely explanations.

Tony Barnston, lead forecaster at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, said two phenomena – La Niña and the North Atlantic Oscillation – are likely responsible for the patterns we’re seeing.

Though La Niña is different every time, it can be simply defined as a drop in water temperature in the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean. This particular La Niña appeared in July, Barnston said, and will last through spring.

During La Niña, there is less rainfall in the tropical Pacific and a horseshoe pattern of warm water typically forms in the North Pacific, the coast of Southeast Asia and the seas around Indonesia and Australia (check out the graphic above).

In this case, though, “the whole globe looks to be compensating,” Barnston said, noting that it’s difficult to determine if  La Niña spawns individual weather events.

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Filed under: Australia • Brazil • India • Indonesia • Philippines • Sri Lanka • Tropical weather • U.S. • Weather • Winter weather
December 25th, 2010
12:53 PM ET

Human rights group slams life sentence for Indian doctor

A life sentence handed down to a rural pediatrician in the world's largest democracy had human rights activists screaming a mockery of justice Saturday.

A court in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh found Dr. Binayak Sen and two others guilty of sedition and conspiracy Friday for helping India's Maoist Naxalite movement. They were sentenced to life in jail.

Amnesty International blasted the court's actions as a violation of international fair trial standards and said Binayak's sentence was likely to enflame tensions in an area already clouded by conflict.

Amnesty said the charges were politically motivated because Sen reported the unlawful killings of tribal people by police and a private militia believed to be sponsored by the government to fight Maoist rebels.

"Life in prison is an unusually harsh sentence for anyone, much less for an internationally recognized human rights defender who has never been charged with any act of violence," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific director.

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Filed under: India • Justice
Friday's intriguing people
December 10th, 2010
11:40 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Brenda Starr

The comic strip about the crimson-coiffed reporter is going to the white panels in the sky.

Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich and artist June Brigman, who had been writing and drawing "Brenda Starr" for the better part of the past two decades, are done with the strip, the Tribune reported.

"There's sadness about stopping, but no regret and no ambivalence," The Tribune quoted Schmich as saying. "It came to me really clearly that I was done. … I don't think the character is dead. But the comic strip in this form is."

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Companies betting on soccer in India
December 10th, 2010
12:45 AM ET

Companies betting on soccer in India

India’s achievements on the world soccer stage would be considered meager for any country, let alone for the planet’s second-most populous nation. India has never played in a World Cup, and its men's national team is ranked 142nd by FIFA. The Faroe Islands, home to 49,000 people, are 11 spots ahead of the country of 1.2 billion.

Truth is, India’s athletes and sports fans have been more drawn to cricket. But two companies are betting that the country is a slumbering giant of a soccer market.

Reliance Industries, India’s largest private-sector firm, and sports and entertainment company IMG Worldwide have bought the commercial rights to soccer in India and will develop and run a new professional league in the country, India’s soccer federation announced Thursday.

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Filed under: India • Soccer • Sports
Report: Co-pilot moved seat, sent jetliner plummeting
November 30th, 2010
03:31 PM ET

Report: Co-pilot moved seat, sent jetliner plummeting

The co-pilot of an Air India Express 737 sent the jetliner into a terrifying 7,000-foot plunge in May when he accidentally hit the control column while adjusting his seat, investigators report.

According to the report from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the co-pilot panicked and was unable to execute the proper procedures as the jetliner dropped from 37,000 feet at a 26-degree angle. The plane and its 113 passengers were saved when the pilot, who’d gone on a bathroom break, used an emergency code to get into the locked cockpit, jumped back into his seat and grabbed the controls to bring the plummeting plane out of its dive.

The aircraft would have broken apart if the descent had continued, the aviation agency report said. The aircraft was not damaged and no one was injured, the report said.

After the pilot, 39, regained control of the plane, he told passengers, who were in the middle of a meal when the jet plunged, that the plane had “went through an air pocket and that is why there was a rapid descent,” according to the report.

The aviation agency report concluded that the 25-year-old co-pilot had not been trained in the specific scenario the jet encountered and “probably had no clue to tackle this kind of emergency.”

Neither the pilot nor co-pilot were named in the report.

The Air India Express flight was en route from Dubai to Pune, India, on May 25 when the incident occurred.

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Filed under: Air travel • India • Plane emergency landing • Travel
November 25th, 2010
11:26 AM ET

India marks two years since Mumbai terror attacks

Indians will march for peace, pray, and lay wreaths Friday in memory of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, in which 164 people were killed.

The state's chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan, will lead government officials and railway police in homage at the Victoria Terminus railway station, one of several places that came under assault by gunmen, on the second anniversary of the attacks.

The peace march and multi-faith prayers will take place at Mumbai's Gateway of India monument.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent a message of solidarity Thursday to mark the assaults, in which 10 men stormed the station, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower and Oberoi-Trident hotels, and the Jewish cultural center, Chabad House.

"As the people of the United States gather with family to celebrate Thanksgiving, we pause to remember the horrific attack on innocent men, women and children that occurred in Mumbai two years ago," Clinton said in a statement. "Now, as then, the American people stand in solidarity with the people of India and honor those who lost their lives."

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Filed under: India • Terrorism
November 15th, 2010
02:06 PM ET

At least 32 killed in building collapse in Indian capital

[Updated at 2:06 p.m.]At least 32 people are dead and 40 are injured aftera residential building collapsed in the Indian capital Monday night, New Delhi fire-service chief R.C. Sharma told CNN.

About two dozen people could still be trapped, he said.

[Posted at 1:04 p.m.]At least 23 people were killed when a residential building collapsed in the Indian capital Monday night, authorities said.

Another 40 people were pulled from the rubble and taken to local hospitals, New Delhi's municipal spokesman Deep Mathur told CNN.

Video from the scene showed residents digging through the debris with help from construction equipment. Some men carried dust-covered victims to waiting vehicles.

The five-story building apparently collapsed because its foundations had weakened from seepage of rain water from this year's heavy monsoons. The fallen structure was situated closely to the Yamuna River that flows through New Delhi.

Mathur said rescue operations were still on, and fire officials estimated that as many as 20 people could still be trapped.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit expressed her sympathy for the families of the victims and promised to "inquire into the causes of the tragedy."

"I don't know if we can call it negligence ... it seems people were living comfortably there," Dikshit told CNN sister network CNN-IBN.

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Filed under: India
November 8th, 2010
09:03 AM ET

Obama backs permanent seat for India on Security Council

In another major sign of growing ties between India and the United States, President Barack Obama on Monday backed a permanent seat for India in the U.N. Security Council.

"In the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed U.N. Security Council that includes India as a permanent member," he said in an address to the Indian parliament.

The statement came as Obama made a wide-ranging address that envisioned closer economic and security ties between the United States and India, standing "shoulder to shoulder" with the world's largest democracy.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • India
November 6th, 2010
03:45 AM ET

President Obama arrives in India for start of Asian tour

President Obama arrived in India on Saturday for the start of his four-nation, 10-day tour through Asia.

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Filed under: India
November 4th, 2010
05:25 PM ET

All-clear given for India-bound flight after emergency hold

[Updated at 5:25 p.m.] An all-clear was given early Friday for Delta Flight 70 from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Mumbai, India, after a full emergency had been declared due to an unidentified object in plane's cargo hold, according to a Mumbai airport spokesman.

[Updated at 3:40 p.m.] Delta has said the plane is an Airbus A330 and it was carrying 235 passengers and 12 crew members. The flight originated at New York's John F. Kennedy International airport before stopping in Amsterdam.

A spokesman for India's Central Industrial Security Force had put the number at 247 people earlier.

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Filed under: Air travel • India • Netherlands
October 18th, 2010
04:05 PM ET

U.S. official denies intelligence breakdown in Mumbai attack

A senior U.S. official is denying allegations that American officials ignored warnings by the Moroccan-born wife of David Headley, a Drug Enforcement Administration informer in Pakistan who was convicted of helping to plan the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.

"She expressed concern about individuals that her husband was hanging around with," he said. "She had concerns that they were involved in a terrorist plot. She had no details about who he was associated with or what they might be contemplating."

The official, speaking on background because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the subject, said the wife "walked into the U.S. Embassy in December 2007. There was a follow-up meeting in 2008. That was the last contact that we had with her."

The attack occurred in November 2008.

An American former wife of Headley also expressed concern about Headley's activities to U.S. investigators two years earlier, news reports say, but Headley was able to continue his contacts and training with militants in Pakistan.

The senior U.S. official denied, however, that the information was ignored. "We took what the wives told us seriously," he insisted.

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