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Millions of Indians get ready to cast their votes

The largest democracy in the world, India, is preparing to go to the polls in the country elections which will last for a total of six weeks.

According to Fair Observer, the elections will be decided in 543 constituencies with 814 million Indians casting their ballots.

India prepares for the Credit: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

The general elections in India will be held in nine phases, the longest election in the country's history, from 7 April to 12 May 2014.

Tyne Tees

Family's joy as former soldier is released from Indian jail

The sister of a former soldier who's been in prison in India since October said the family are 'elated' he's been released on bail.

Nick Dunn, from Ashington, was arrested on weapons charges after a security ship he was working on was stopped.

He left the jail in Chennai this morning along with four other British men.

But they must remain in the country while they fight to get the charges against them dropped.

MORE: Former soldiers released on bail from Indian prison

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Prisoners released from jail in India on weapons charges

A man from Chester has been released on bail after being held in an Indian jail on weapons charges since October.

Ray Tindall is one of five British men who left prison this morning, but they must stay in the country while they fight to have charges against them dropped.

Ray Tindall from Chester
Paul Towers from Bootle

Meanwhile Paul Towers from Bootle remains in custody along with the captain of the ship they were working on.

Tyne Tees

Former soldiers released on bail from Indian prison

Nick Dunn has been released on bail from prison in India.
Nick Dunn has been released on bail from prison in India. Credit: Family photo

Two former soldiers from the region held in an Indian prison since October have left jail this morning after a long battle by lawyers and their families to free them.

Nick Dunn from Ashington and Nicholas Simpson from near Catterick have been released on bail but must stay in India while they fight to have charges against them dropped.

A third man, Paul Towers from near York, remains in prison along with the captain of the ship they were working on. He was the most senior member of the six British men on board.

The prison in India where the men are being held.
The prison in India where the men are being held. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

They were imprisoned almost six months ago after what they thought was a routine paperwork check aboard their security vessel Seaman Guard Ohio turned into them all being arrested.

Their company AdvanFort has always insisted the men were working to provide protection to other ships from pirate attacks, but the Indian courts have pressed weapons charges on the Brits.

Five of the six Britons were granted bail on Wednesday March 26 but have only just been released.

One of their bail conditions is that they can't leave the country. They could only return to the UK if charges against them are dropped.

Indian plane crash kills five crew

Onlookers stand alongside the debris of the US-made aircraft.
Onlookers stand alongside the debris of the US-made aircraft. Credit: Reuters

An Indian Air Force cargo plane has crashed, killing its crew of five, in the latest of a string of accidents to spotlight poor safety standards across the country's armed services.

A US-made C-130J Hercules aircraft came down in a desolate area of the central state of Madhya Pradesh while on a routine training mission.

It crashed to the west of the city of Gwalior after taking off from Agra, home of the famed Taj Mahal monument.

Onlookers stand alongside the debris of the US-made aircraft.
An investigation is underway into the cause of the crash Credit: Reuters

All five crew members on board were killed, Air Force spokesman Captain Gerard Galway said. The defence ministry said it had ordered an investigation into the cause of the crash.

The aircraft, made by Lockheed Martin Corp, was one of six bought for the air force at a cost of £580 million in 2011.

Onlookers stand alongside the debris of the US-made aircraft.
The aircraft was made by Lockheed Martin Corp. Credit: Reuters

India's navy chief resigned last month, taking moral responsibility for a series of accidents, on the same day that two officers were killed by smoke in a submarine.

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India: 'No evidence' Malaysia jet flew through airspace

India has formally told Malaysian investigators it has found no evidence that a missing Malaysia Airlines jet with 239 people on board flew through its airspace, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.

The international search has resumed for the missing aircraft today
The international search has resumed for the missing aircraft today Credit: Reuters

The first formal notification that India has come up empty-handed after checking its radar records leaves the investigation dependent on increasingly fragile hopes that an object spotted in the southern Indian Ocean comes from Flight MH370.

Any radar data from India could have proved crucial in identifying whether the aircraft went north or south from its last known position after disappearing on March 8, but the issue is seen as sensitive because of the presence of military radar.

Delhi gang rape hangings for two men delayed

India's Supreme Court has temporarily stayed the hanging of two of the four men convicted of the 2012 gang rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi.

A police bus carrying four men pictured arriving at a court in Delhi today Credit: Reuters

The Supreme Court's order came in response to a petition filed by an attorney for the two men which said the appeals court that confirmed the death sentence this week had completely ignored their defence.

The court scheduled a hearing in the case for March 31.

Read: Delhi rapists get death penalty

Person dies in India building collapse

A seven-storey building has collpased in a suburb of India's Mumbai city, reportedly killing one person and possibly trapping several more.

An amateur cameraman captured the moment the building collapsed, as several onlookers - including children - desperately ran away from the collapsing rubble.

Dozens of firefighters and rescue workers burrowed through piles of rubble and concrete slabs to reach people who may have been trapped.

The building was declared uninhabitable by the local authority, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, in 2007.

PM urged to help British ex-soldiers jailed in India

Families of six British soldiers who were jailed in India while working for an American private maritime company will deliver a 100,000-strong petition to Downing Street to urge the Government to intervene.

Downing Street
According to relatives, an Indian adviser said if the British government were to provide assurances, the men would most likely be released. Credit: PA

Billy Irving, from Scotland; Nick Dunn, from Northumberland; Ray Tindall from Chester; Paul Towers, from Yorkshire; John Armstrong from Cumbria; and Nicholas Simpson, from North Yorkshire, were arrested on October 12 and have been in prison in India since October 24.

Supporters of the men are urging the Prime Minister to step in and get their loved ones released.

According to the men, Indian authorities claim the vessel entered Indian waters illegally with weapons on board, despite their employers AdvanFort's insistence the ship had the correct papers.

They were granted bail in December but after objections from Indian officials, are yet to be released.

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