Thursday, Feb 23st 2017 | Time 14:57 Hrs(IST)
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  • Thailand monitoring short-term capital inflows - c.bank gov
  • Battered French bonds fight back after Bayrou-Macron alliance
  • Merkel's Bavarian allies signal open to limiting pay for top managers
  • Sri Lankan National arrested for illegally entry into India
  • Sanjay Nirupam resigns as Mumbai Congress President
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  • POA demands apology from MLA
  • JD (U) MLA Mewalal Choudhary suspended
  • Ajay Singh made MP Leader of Oppn
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  • BJP not pressurised Hydrocarbon project against people: Pon Radhakrishnan
  • T-TDP presents memo to Guv
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  • Former Mayor of NMC lost
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After decades of debate, Turkey starts building mosque in Istanbul square

By Melih Aslan and Osman Orsal

ISTANBUL, Feb 17 (Reuters) Construction began today of a mosque in Istanbul's central Taksim square, a controversial project championed by Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan but mired in years of court battles and public debate.
Cranes moved into the site and first cement was poured at a modest ground-breaking ceremony on the edge of the square, long a rallying point for demonstrations, as riot police with armoured vehicles and water cannon stood guard.
The square was at the heart of large anti-government protests in June 2013, when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest a plan to build a replica Ottoman barracks on the adjoining Gezi park.
Plans for a mosque at Taksim have been discussed for decades, with supporters arguing there are not enough Muslim places of worship close to one of the city's busiest hubs.
"As someone who spent his life in Taksim, I have always felt the lack of a mosque here," Ahmet Misbah Demircan, mayor of the surrounding Beyoglu district, said at the ceremony. "I know that all Muslims who live in or come to Beyoglu share this feeling."
Erdogan, himself a devout Muslim who served as mayor of Istanbul in the 1990s, has long argued for a mosque at Taksim.
But opponents see the project as an attempt to stamp a more religious identity on a square that includes a monument to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern secular republic.
They have long accused Erdogan and Turkey's mildly Islamist ruling AK Party of trying to roll back Ataturk's legacy, a charge they deny.
Some residents of Taksim suggested the timing of the construction might be meant to rally Erdogan's supporters ahead of an April referendum on boosting his powers.
"The timing of this is deliberate and I don't find that very ethical," said one resident, Dincer, declining to give his family name for fear of publicly criticising Erdogan.
The cost of the project has not been disclosed. Demircan was quoted as saying by Haberturk newspaper that it was going to be funded by a private construction company.
REUTERS CJ PM2056
Top News
UP Assembly polls: 16 pc polling till 1000 hrs, violence in Mahoba injures five

UP Assembly polls: 16 pc polling till 1000 hrs, violence in Mahoba injures five

Lucknow, Feb 23 (UNI) Amid violence in Mahoba in Bundelkhand region, an estimated 16 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 1000 hrs in 53 Assembly seats of the Uttar Pradesh where polling is underway in the fourth phase today.

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23 Feb 2017 | 12:35 PM
BJP, Shiv Sena in jubilant mood over victories in Maharashtra local body polls

BJP, Shiv Sena in jubilant mood over victories in Maharashtra local body polls

New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) The Shiv Sena and BJP leaders in Mumbai and also in the national capital were in jubilant mood today after Uddhav Thackeray-led outfit and the saffron party - though contesting separately - notched convincing leads in crucial civic body polls in the metropolis and other key cities across Maharashtra.

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23 Feb 2017 | 2:12 PM

Seven killed in Lahore blast

Islamabad, Feb 23 (UNI) At least seven people were killed and 15 others injured as blast rocked Lahore's commercial area, local media said today.

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23 Feb 2017 | 1:42 PM
3 soldiers, woman killed in militant ambush in Kashmir

3 soldiers, woman killed in militant ambush in Kashmir

Srinagar, Feb 23 (UNI) Three Army personnel and a woman were killed and three soldiers injured in a militant ambush in the wee hours in south Kashmir district of Shopian, a police spokesman said.

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23 Feb 2017 | 12:06 PM
PM to unveil 112-foot statue of Shiva in TN

PM to unveil 112-foot statue of Shiva in TN

Coimbatore, Feb 23(UNI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil the 112 feet statue of Shiva known as ‘Adiyogi’ on Mahashivaratri tomorrow.

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23 Feb 2017 | 11:58 AM
Govt directs NAFED to procure pulses directly from farmers

Govt directs NAFED to procure pulses directly from farmers

New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) In order to provide remunerative prices to farmers for their produce, the Government has directed National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) to procure pulses directly from the farmers.

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23 Feb 2017 | 2:45 PM
Iraqi security forces storm Mosul airport

Iraqi security forces storm Mosul airport

BAGHDAD, Feb 23 (Reuters) - US-backed Iraqi security forces closing in on the Islamic State-held western half of Mosul stormed the city's main airport and a nearby military base today, state television said.

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23 Feb 2017 | 12:19 PM
India's satellite launch wins accolades from international media

India's satellite launch wins accolades from international media

15 Feb 2017 | 10:02 PM

New Delhi, Feb 15 (UNI) India today carved out a niche in annals of space science by successfully launching 104 satellites on a single mission, overtaking the previous record of 37 satellites launched by Russia in 2014 and winning accolades from the international community and the global media.

TransferWise launches international money transfers via Facebook

TransferWise launches international money transfers via Facebook

21 Feb 2017 | 12:57 PM

By Anna Irrera NEW YORK, Feb 21 (Reuters) Money transfer company TransferWise has launched a new service that allows users to send money internationally through Facebook Inc's chat application, as competition in the digital payments landscape intensifies.

Sanjay Nirupam resigns as Mumbai Congress President

23 Feb 2017 | 2:49 PM

Mumbai, Feb 23 (UNI) Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) president Sanjay Nirupam today tendered his resignation from the post following party's debacle in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls.

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