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January 12, 2016


23:41  Marseille Jews urged not to wear skullcaps after attack:  
The leader of Marseille's Jewish community today urged Jews in the southern French port city to refrain from wearing skullcaps after a teacher was hurt in an attack by a Turkish teenager.

"Remove the kippah during this troubled time until better days," said Zvi Ammar, head of Marseille's Israelite Consistory, a day after the youth attacked the 35-year-old Jewish teacher with a machete in broad daylight, leaving him injured in the shoulder and one hand.

"Unfortunately for us, we are targeted. As soon as we are identified as Jewish we can be assaulted and even risk death," he told AFP.
23:00  601 people challaned for violating odd-even scheme:  
As many as 601 violators of the odd-even scheme were challaned today, the 12th day of implementation of car-rationing measures in the national
capital. 

The police penalised 147 motorists for violating the vehicular restriction norms, enforcement teams of the government's Transport department fined 240 motorists and Revenue department booked 214, senior officials said.
On Monday, the authorities had booked 753 violators of the scheme, which will run till January 15.

The odd-even scheme brought by AAP-led Delhi government as part of a pilot plan to cut air pollution in the city was rolled out on January 1.
The rules apply only from Monday to Saturday.
22:37  Italian marine will not return to India for trial:  
One of two Italian marines accused of murdering Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala almost four years ago will not be returning to India to face trial after being allowed home temporarily for medical treatment, a senator said on Tuesday.

India had granted Massimiliano Latorre, who suffered a stroke while in New Delhi in 2014, a period of leave in Italy for medical treatment, but he was supposed to return by Friday.

It was not clear when or if Latorre would return to India.

The second sailor on trial, Salvatore Girone, is being held in the Italian embassy in New Delhi.
22:14  My sadness ends with Kolkata concert, says Ghulam Ali:   Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali, whose concert was cancelled in Mumbai last year following Shiv Sena protests, today enthralled a packed audience at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.

"I am always happy whenever I go anywhere, but this time I am very happy. I used to visit Kolkata often, but this year it seems I am coming after 50 years. I was so sad and today my sadness ends," the 75-year-old singer of Patiala gharana said.

 Thousands, who gathered to hear him, cheered when he crooned his popular numbers Chupke Chupke Raat Din and Hungama Hai kyon Barpa.

His son Aamir Ali also sang with him at the programme.

Describing Ghulam Ali as 'Sangeet Samrat', Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who was also present said, "Music has no boundary".
21:25  Rahul to visit Mumbai on Jan 15-16:   Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who was back from Europe trip on Sunday, will visit Mumbai on January 15 and 16 during which he will hold meetings with party leaders and is expected to hold an interaction with students.

Rahul on Tuesday held confabulations with a number of senior party leaders, including Amarinder Singh, chief of Punjab Congress where the party is making a bid for power in the 2017 assembly polls.

The Congress vice president is learnt to have enquired in detail about the Pathankot terror attack during his meetings with party leaders.

Sources said Rahul as well as Congress president Sonia Gandhi were of the view that the decision to hold the Indo-Pak foreign secretary-level talks should be left to the government based on merits and 'since the government has not involved the major opposition party' on the issue, it should not pre-empt the government's decision on the matter.
20:57  Afghan cop blames Pak for attack on Indian consulate:   Pakistani military officers were behind the attack on Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan, says police chief of Afghanistan's northern Balkh province.

Sayed Kamal Sadat was quoted as saying by Tolo News that the attackers 'from across the border were well-trained military men who fought Afghan security forces in the 25-hour siege'.

'We saw with our own eyes and I can say 99 percent that those attackers were from Pakistani military and used special tactics while conducting their operation,' Sadat was quoted as saying.

'The attackers were military personnel. They were educated and well prepared and had intelligence. They fought us and only by Allah's grace were we able to control them and eliminate them'.
20:39  Now, DMK wants ordinance to allow Jallikattu:   After Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, M Karunanidhi's Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Tuesday urged the Centre to promulgate ordinance to conduct Jallikattu.

'I urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promulgate an Ordinance forthwith to enable the conduct of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu immediately,'  M. Karunanidhi said in a statement.

'Central government has failed to take appropriate actions. It should've brought ordinance instead of notification,' he added.

The Supreme Court earlier this afternoon stayed a central government notification that paved the way for a return of the banned bull taming sport, thereby effectively scuttling plans of staging the event during the Pongal celebrations in Tamil Nadu later this week.
19:59  Erdogan says Istanbul blast has Syrian roots:   The suicide bomber who killed nine people on Tuesday in a popular central Istanbul tourist area had Syrian roots, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Erdogan did not specify which group his government thinks is behind the explosion, which happened between the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque tourist attractions in the cultural and historic heart of the city.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus later said the bomber was born in 1998 and was from Syria. No group immediately claimed responsibility.

Islamic State and various militant factions have been battling in Syria, with Turkey siding against those groups. IS has targeted Turkey in recent months, putting Erdogan on the cover of its Dabiq magazine with President Barack Obama and playing up the country's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation role.  

Read HERE
19:40  Cop whose video groping women at carnival went viral suspended:   The policeman, who had allegedly molested several girls and women during a recently-held festival in Ahmedabad, has been arrested and suspended from duty, police said today.

A video clip purportedly showing the policeman groping girls and inappropriately touching women at Kankaria Carnival held between December 25 and 31, had gone viral on social media, including WhatsApp, following which the city police had launched a search to nab him.

The accused, identified as Ramsinh Valvai, 48, a head constable attached to Danilimda police station in Ahmedabad, was arrested on Monday night after three days of extensive search operation by several police teams.

"Valvai was part of the police team deployed at Kankaria Carnival on bandobast duty, where the incident took place. He was suspended from duty today and we would produce him before court in due course," Maninagar police inspector N S Desai said.

He has been charged under Indian Penal Code Section 354 (outraging modesty of women), 354A (sexual harassment) and 268 (public nuisance).

In his defence, Valvai claimed that he was just trying to make his way through the crowd.
19:30  Turkey blames Istanbul blast on Islamic State:   Turkish officials have blamed today's blast in Istanbul which killed 10 people on Islamic State terror group.

They said there are high probabilities that IS was involved in the blast at a major tourist spot in the city.

IS had claimed two earlier blasts in the country.
19:08  I am with you, BJP's Ram Jethmalani writes to Sonia on National Herald case:  Congress vice-president Sonia Gandhi was surprised, and probably pleasantly surprised,  to receive a letter from BJP MP and Supreme Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani. The letter was in commiseration with Sonia and Rahul's legal woes in the National Herald case.

Sources tell us that Jethmalani assured Sonia that she would win the case in the lower court and he wrote, "I am with you."

Sonia smiled on reading it and marked it to her legal team.

BJP circles are unconcerned for they believe it is a prestige issue between Jethmalani and Dr Subramanian Swamy. Swamy is the complainant in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the functioning of the now-defunct National Herald newspaper.

Many in the Congress are still unable to reconcile to the fact that this is the Ram Jethmalani who fought the Bofors case against Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi.

They way the 92-year-old legal stalwart has turned against the Modi government and will go to any extent to defame the BJP.

As we know, Jethmalani will defend Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the defamation case filed against him by Finance minister Arun Jaitley.
18:31  NYT journalist's house raided in Pak; probe ordered:  The New York Times' Pakistan correspondent today accused the Rangers of raiding his house illegally, triggering a storm on the social media with the Interior Minister ordering a probe into the incident. Salman Masood tweeted that paramilitary "Rangers have shown up at my house, saying they want to search the premises but have no documents or warrants."

"Spoke with a senior Islamabad police official. He said a "terrorist search operation underway"," he said in another tweet as he uploaded pictured of the officials searching his house in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

The tweet created a storm on the social media with civil society and media professionals condemning the search of journalist residence.
18:27  What reputation? Arun Jaitley lost by 1 lakh votes: Kejriwal:  Arvind Kejriwal today responded to Arun Jaitley's defamation suit with a stinging reply in which he taunted the Union Finance Minister for "losing by over one lakh votes" in the national election and said he has no high public "reputation to protect".

NDTV reports that in a statement to a Delhi court,  the Chief Minister said Jaitley's "claim that he enjoys a high public character is totally frivolous and unsustainable."

He wrote: "The last time he contested the election to the Lok Sabha was from Amritsar as a BJP candidate in 2014. Despite the success of the BJP this plaintiff lost by a margin of more than 1,00,000 votes. Indian democracy has never accepted his claim of public character."

Last month, Jaitley filed the suit against Kejriwal and five other leaders of his Aam Aadmi Party over their allegations that he had presided over large-scale corruption in Delhi's cricket body, the DDCA, during his 13-year-stint as the organisation's chief. He has also filed a civil suit, claiming Rs 10 crore in damages.
18:21  BJP MLAs hold meeting at Nirmal Singh's residence in Jammu to discuss political situation in J&K, Ram Madhav also present.
18:03  Biden says Obama offered him money during son's illness:  The friendship between President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and is well-documented. They have lunch together every week, wear matching ties,and their families go on vacation together. Obama even gave the eulogy at the funeral for Biden's son Beau, who died of cancer last year.In an interview with CNN, Biden this week revealed just how deep bond runs.

The veep told CNN that Obama offered him money during Beau's illness. Biden told the president that, to make sure he could take care of Beau's family, he and wife Jill might have to sell their house. But Obama wouldn't stand for that.

"He got up and he said, 'Don't sell that house. Promise me you won't sell the house,'" Biden said. "He said, 'I'll give you the money. Whatever you need, I'll give you the money. Don't, Joe -- promise me. Promise me."
17:49   In Kolkata, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee attends Ghulam Ali's concert. 
17:43  Bring ordinance to allow jallikattu, desperate Jaya writes to PM after ban :  Just in: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa writes to PM Modi requesting the government to issue an ordinance that will enable the conduct of jallikattu. "Important that sentiments of people of Tamil Nadu attached to jallikattu are respected," Chief Minister Jayalalithaa writes in her letter to PM Modi. Jallikattu is seen as a populist measure to ensure poll victory in the assembly elections later this year.

The Supreme Court today stayed the Centre's notification lifting the ban on the controversial bull taming sport during the festival of Pongal in Tamil Nadu.

The bench also issued a notice to the MoEF and Tamil Nadu on petitions filed by various bodies including Animal Welfare Board of India seeking striking down of the Centre's notification and sought their replies within four weeks.

The Centre's notification lifting ban on Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu was challenged in the Supreme Court yesterday by AWBI, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals India and a Bangalore-based non-governmental organisation.
17:21  Centre wants Animal Welfare Board head to quit for defying it on jallikattu:   The Centre has reportedly asked Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) chairman Maj General (retd.) R.M. Kharb and vice chairman Chinny Krishna to resign from the statutory body for challenging  its January 8 notification lifting a four-year-old executive order prohibiting jallikattu.

The Wire reports that AWBI filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Monday against the government's move.

Jallikattu is a traditional Tamil bull-baiting sport which animal rights activists say involves cruelty to bulls.

Though there has been no official confirmation of the resignation call, sources in the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) said both Kharb and Krishna were called by a senior ministry official today and asked to resign from their posts for going against the government's decision.

Earlier in the day, the AWBI, along with People for Ethical treatment of Animals (PETA), the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation, Compassion Unlimited Plus Action and some individuals, filed a petition in the apex court challenging the latest notification of the ministry as it was in violation of the court's May 7, 2014, judgement banning jallikattu.
17:21  HC gives Salman two more weeks to furnish sureties:  The Bombay High Court today granted two weeks additional time to actor Salman Khan to furnish sureties as directed by it while acquitting him in the 2002 hit-and-run case.

On December 10, Justice A R Joshi of the high court had acquitted Salman and quashed and set aside the trial court's order convicting the actor and sentencing him to five years in jail, for allegedly driving his car under the influence of alcohol and running over people sleeping on the footpath in suburban Bandra in 2002. One person lost his life in the incident.

Salman was convicted by the trial court for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The actor had appealed against his conviction and the high court allowed the appeal and acquitted Salman. Justice Joshi, while acquitting Salman, directed him to submit two sureties of Rs 25,000, as per section 437-A of CrPC.

The sureties had to be submitted within two weeks. The actor yesterday approached the high court once again, seeking further time to submit the sureties as certain formalities are not yet over. Justice A M Thipsay today permitted the actor two more weeks to complete the formalities and submit the sureties.
17:00  Court denies nod to Telangana Police for taking Kobad to state:   A Delhi court has dismissed a plea by Telangana Police seeking its nod to take Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy, facing trial here for allegedly trying to set up a base for the banned CPI (Maoist), to produce him before courts in that state in some other cases.

65-year-old Ghandy is facing trial here in the case for alleged offences punishable under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and various provisions of the IPC. The court had earlier framed charges against co-accused Rajender Kumar under various sections of the IPC in the case. Ghandy, an alumnus of the prestigious Doon School and St Xavier's College Mumbai, is facing prosecution in around 20 criminal and terror cases in different parts of the country.
16:55  Mehbooba to take oath after January 13: PDP:  PDP president Mehbooba Mufti will take oath as the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister anytime after the end of the seven-day official mourning for her late father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Wednesday, party spokesman Mehboob Beg said on Tuesday.

Beg also said that neither it nor its alliance partner -- BJP -- had set any preconditions for the formation of the new government in the State.

"Without any preconditions from either side, Mehbooba ji will take oath as the Chief Minister anytime after the seven-day official mourning ends tomorrow,' he said.

"The terms of alliance already worked out will continue to govern the relationship between the two parties in the next government," Beg asserted.
16:33  Amazon's Jeff Bezos on Fortune cover as Lord Vishnu irks Hindus:  A Fortune magazine cover of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos resembling Hindu god Vishnu has drawn outrage from the community in the US over "trivialisation of their venerated deity'. 

The January issue of the magazine's international edition features a story about Amazon's expansion in India. The cover piece, titled 'Amazon Invades India', talks about how Bezos "aims to conquer the next trillion-dollar market'. An illustration of the Amazon CEO striking a customary form of Vishnu can be seen on the cover.

"Lord Vishnu is a highly revered major deity in Hinduism meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used indecorously or thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects," Nevada-based Hindu statesman Rajan Zed wrote in a statement
16:14  'Like coming back to life' says child soldier who escaped Islamic State:  'Nasir' is one of the lucky ones. He managed to escape from the grasp of Islamic State, which was training him to be a suicide bomber. He is just 12 years old. The boy is now reunited with his mother at the Esyan refugee camp in Kurdistan, home to almost 15,000 Yazidis fleeing IS. 

"There were 60 of us," Nasir says. "The scariest times for us all were when the airstrikes happened. They'd lead all of us underground into the tunnels to hide. They told us the Americans, the unbelievers, were trying to kill us but they, the fighters, they loved us. They would look after us better than our parents.

Read more HERE
15:45  15 injured in Istanbul blast:  Fifteen people have been wounded in the blast at Istanbul. The governor's office said, "Investigations into the cause of the explosion, the type of explosion and perpetrator or perpetrators are underway," it said in a statement quoted by the Dogan news agency after the blast in the Sultanahmet neighbourhood.
15:33  Rescue teams gather at the scene after an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey. Kemal Aslan/Reuters.
15:23  Istanbul attack: We saw body parts, say eyewitnesses:  Eyewitness said the explosion was very loud. "We shook a lot. We ran out and saw body parts," one woman who works at a nearby antiques store told a Reuters correspondent, declining to give her name.

Turkey has also become a target for Islamic State, with two bombings last year blamed on the radical Sunni Muslim group, in the town of Suruc near the Syrian border and in the capital Ankara, the latter killing more than 100 people. Kurdish, leftist and Islamist militants have all carried out attacks in Turkey in the past.
15:09  Suspected suicide bomber leaves 10 dead in tourist centre of Istanbul :  Another update on the explosion in Turkey.

An explosion occurred in Istanbul's touristic Sultanahmet neighborhood, reportedly causing injuries and deaths.

According to reports by private broadcaster CNN Trk, the explosion occurred by the obelisk of Theodosius in the touristic Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul's Fatih district.

Tourists were among the victims of the explosion, reports indicate, while wounded persons were transferred to nearby hospitals, mainly Haseki Training and Research Hospital. According to Istanbul's governor's office, 10 people have been killed in the explosion while at least 15 people have been reported wounded.

Details awaited.
14:52  Rupert Murdoch announces engagement to Jerry Hall:  And the still stunning Jerry Hall is now engaged to media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Hall, an American actress and former supermodel had a long-time relationship with Mick Jagger.

Murdoch (84) and Hall (59) placed a classified ad Monday in the Births, Marriages and Deaths section of the Times newspaper, which is owned by Murdoch's News Corporation.

Dating since late summer Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corporation, and Hall have been dating since late summer after being introduced by one of his sisters and his niece in his native Australia, the Times reported in a story posted online.

They made their relationship public in October when they appeared together at the Rugby World Cup Final in London and got engaged last weekend while attending the Golden Globes awards in Los Angeles.
14:47  Explosion in tourist centre of Istanbul, several injured :  An explosion rocked a central square in Istanbul on Tuesday, Turkey's semi-official Anadolu news agency reported.

The Independent says there were reports of a number of people injured in Sultanahmet Square, close to the major tourist attractions of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. 

Witnesses reported hearing a loud blast and video footage on the CNN Turk channel showed police and ambulances at the scene.

Casualties were reported, but no further details were immediately available. News reports showed Turkish security forces clearing the area.


The picture tweeted by Haidar Sumeri @IraqiSecurity shows people, probably injured, lying on the road.
14:16  Premature to speak of asylum for Assad: Putin:  Russian President Vladimir Putin said today it was premature to say whether Moscow would grant asylum to embattled Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, who had made "many mistakes."

"You know I believe that it is premature to discuss this," Putin said in the second half of a two-part interview with German mass circulation daily Bild.

"We gave asylum to Mr Snowden, it was more difficult than giving it to Assad," he said, referring to fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, granted asylum in Russia in 2013.

"First one needs to give the Syrian people an opportunity to have their say," Putin said, according to a Russian-language transcript of the interview published by the Kremlin.

"And I assure you that if this is done in a democratic way, then maybe he won't have to go anywhere. And it does not matter whether he is president or not." Global powers are seeking to push the Syrian regime and opposition to the negotiating table in a bid to end the nearly five-year war that has killed 260,000 people.

A UN-backed plan foresees talks between the different sides starting on January 25, the establishment of a transitional government within six months and elections within 18 months. Putin - who launched a bombing campaign in the war-torn country on September 30 - appeared to defend Assad, although he acknowledged the Syrian president had made "many mistakes" since the conflict broke out in 2011.
14:07  Several injured in explosion in Istanbul, says Turkish media report, reports Associated Press.
13:57  BSF jawan Prem Singh, accused of helping arms smugglers, arrested in Amritsar.
13:48  Encouraged by Pak's promise to investigate Pathankot attack: US:   The US has said it is encouraged by the fact that the Pakistan government has condemned the Pathankot terror attack and promised investigation. "Our expectation is that investigation will be thorough and complete and as transparent as possible. But in terms of its progress and where they are, you'd have to talk to Pakistani authorities on it," State Department Spokesman John Kirby said at his daily news conference.

"We're encouraged by the fact that the Pakistani Government condemned the attack and said that they would investigate," he said.

The spokesman said that the US would like the two countries to continue with their peace talks. Last week US Secretary of State John Kerry asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to find out the truth and stressed on the need to stay focused on the pressing challenge of terrorism in the region.
13:32  NO Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu this year, says SC :   The Supreme Court has said NO to Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu this year.

The court heard a clutch of appeals challenging the Centre's notification to allow the bull taming sport Jallikattu, during the festival of Pongal in Tamil Nadu.

Senior lawyers Sidharth Luthra and Anand Grover had mentioned the matter before Chief Justice T S Thakur for an urgent hearing, pointing out that the decision to lift the ban has been taken days before traditional harvest festival Pongal is set to begin.

This morning Justice R Banumathi recused herself from hearing the case in the Supreme Court.

Petitions seeking stay/quashing of batch of petitions have been shifted for hearing to a Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra.

Justice R. Banumathi had first banned jallikattu during her tenure as Judge of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.


13:22  Not talking to Pakistan will not stop terrorism:  "In our media and general population the idea of 'strong posture' was successfully sold by Modi. This is now a liability for him, as he has discovered," says Aakar Patel. Read
12:40  Jindal demits office as Louisiana Governor:  Indian-American Bobby Jindal has demitted his office as Louisiana Governor after the end of his second four year term.

Jindal, 44, was replaced by John Bel Edwards of the Democratic Party, who was won the elections last November.

In 2008, Jindal was sworn in as Governor of Louisiana, becoming the first ever Indian-American to hold the top position. In an interview over the weekend, Jindal did not rule out running for any other elected position.

As for now, he has decided to work with a think-tank America Next.
12:31  Pathankot attack: India has given 'enough' leads to Pak to take action, says BJP:  Putting the onus on Pakistan to speed up the investigation in the Pathankot attack probe, the BJP on Tuesday said that India has done its job by giving enough leads and evidence and the time had come for Islamabad to take concrete steps.

"India has done its job and has given the evidence to Pakistan. Their attitude seems positive to some aspect but we want a fair probe and demand that justice is delivered as fast as possible," BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh told ANI.

Further pressuring the Pakistan government to speed up the investigation, he added that India will only respond when Islamabad delivers on the leads and evidence provided to them.

Meanwhile, reports have emerged that Pakistan has rejected the evidence provided by India in the Pathankot attack and has denied the credibility of the proofs.
12:22  Alert in Punjab's Ferozepur after caller reports men in Army fatigues:  Security has been tightened around the army cantonment in Punjab's border district of Ferozepur, after a man called the police and said he had seen two men in military fatigues lurking suspiciously. The caller, the police said, did not identify himself, reports NDTV.

The Army has been alerted and extra police forces have been rushed to the area; search operations are being conducted.

Security forces have spent days combing through thick sugarcane fields after a similar alert from villagers around the Tibri military cantonment in Punjab's Gurdaspur district, which like Ferozepur, borders Pakistan.  

The villagers in Gurdaspur too had reported two men in uniform "moving around suspiciously" in a village not far from the Tibri cantonment.   Gurdaspur is about 40 km from Pathankot, where six Pakistani terrorists dressed in Army fatigues attacked an air force base on January 2.

The terrorists were eliminated after an 80-hour gun battle. Seven security personnel were martyred and 20 were injured. Security has been tightened around all military instalments in the country after the Pathankot attack.
12:10  India tops 2016 outsourcing index:  India is the world's biggest outsourcing destination in terms of financial attractiveness and business environment, according to a study published today by a London-based global management consulting firm.

A T Kearney's 2016 Global Services Location Index (GSLI) rated India as number one out of the total 55 countries analysed. China, Malaysia, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, The Philippines, Mexico, Chile and Poland respectively made up the top 10 list.

Offshoring to India remains a high attractive proposition for many companies, said the study which also takes a deeper dive into optimal cities for offshoring within the ranked countries.
11:58  White House assures Sikhs of their safety and security:  The White House has assured American-Sikhs of their safety and security in view of the increasing threats and hate crimes against the community members in the recent past.

In a rare gesture, Melissa Rogers, Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and head of the Office of Faith Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships office of the White House, visited a Gurdwara in Maryland to deliver the message of reassurance from the President.

Asserting that the US Government's stand with Sikhs in America, Rogers also expressed empathy with the Sikh community over the recent incidents of violence against Sikhs and a reported case of vandalism at Los Angeles Gurdwara, a media release said.
11:46  Total prohibition in Tamil Nadu if elected, promises Cong :  No rules learnt from Gujarat.

The Congress will bring in total prohibition if elected to power in the coming state assembly polls, TNCC president E V K S Elangovan has said. At a public meeting at Gobichettipalayam near Eroed last night, Elangovan promised the gathering that if Congress formed the government in Tamil Nadu, it would bring in total prohibition besides free education from kindergarten to postgraduate level.

Party spokesperson Kushbhoo said the election was crucial to all parties and claimed the Congress would form the government in the state. Both leaders slammed the state government over its handling of the flood situation during the heavy rains in early December.

They also flayed the functioning of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, claiming that there was no development during its 19-month rule.
11:42  Security agencies alerted after caller sees men in Army fatigues in Ferozepur cantonment area. 
11:41  I want to be a doctor, study in AIIMS: Ghalib Abdul Guru, son of Afzal Guru:  The Pathankot attackers said they wanted revenge for the hanging of Afzal Guru; and in the Kashmir valley, Afzal Guru's "martyrdom" has becoming a rallying cry in the valley. But Afzal Guru's 17-year-old son Ghalib Abdul Guru says he has nothing to do with the azaadi (freedom) sentiment and wants to become a doctor and study at AIIMS.  Read more
11:38  Sensex reverses trend, slides 135 pts in late morning deals:  The benchmark BSE Sensex pared its early gains to drift lower by 135.33 points in late morning deals on selling in key blue-chips stocks IT, Teck, telecom, banks and oil and gas.

Participants traded caution ahead of key macro numbers of Industrial Production (IIP) for December and (CPI) Inflation data to be released later in the day and quarterly earnings IT major TCS. The BSE Sensex opened higher at 24,862.93 and moved between 24,882.30 and 24,654.97.

It was quoting 24,689.71 at 1100 hrs, down 135.33 points or 0.55 per cent. The 50-share Nifty also dropped by 50.25 points or 0.66 per cent to 7,513.60 at 1100 hours. Major losers were Axis Bank 2.41 per cent, ONGC 2.32 per cent, Infosys 1.50 per cent, Dr Reddy's 1.34 per cent, TCS 1.31 per cent, Tata Motors 1.26 per cent and Hero MotoCorp by 1.25 per cent.
11:04  Around 100 whales washed ashore on Tuticorin beach, rescue ops on:   Around 100 short-finned whales have been washed ashore in Tiruchendur coast of Tuticorin district since Monday night.  According to officials, the local fishermen and rescuers dragged many of them back into the sea, but they kept returning to the shores.

The whales appear disoriented, the officials say.

In June last year, a 42-feet-long blue whale, the largest extant animal and among the heaviest existing species on the earth, was washed ashore and later died of its injuries.

In August, the carcass a dead 33-feet-long whale washed up on a beach near a village in Nagapattinam district.
11:04  India has given 'enough' leads to Pak on Pathankot: BJP:   Putting the onus on Pakistan to speed up the investigation in the Pathankot attack probe, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday said that India has done its job by giving enough leads and evidence and the time had come for Islamabad to take concrete steps.

"India has done its job and has given the evidence to Pakistan. Their attitude seems positive to some aspect but we want a fair probe and demand that justice is delivered as fast as possible," BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh told ANI.
10:28  But the woman has now claimed that the video is fake. "They have made a fake video clip to ruin my life as a dowry case is in court," she says.
10:27  Caught on camera: Woman brutally assaults elderly mother-in-law:    In CCTV footage from a home in Uttar Pradesh, an elderly woman is seen wrapped in a quilt, cowering in her bed as she is slapped, kicked, choked and beaten with a brick.

Her attacker is her own daughter-in-law.Sangeeta Jain was arrested this morning for attempted murder after the video of her vicious assault on her 70-year-old mother-in-law Raj Rani Jain went viral on social media.

The disturbing visuals are from January 5, when only the two women were inside their home in Bijnore.Sangeeta is seen mercilessly beating the older woman, at times trying to strangle her with a cloth, dragging her and slapping her repeatedly.

She pauses only to get a brick and then starts raining fresh blows, jumping on the bed.

Watch the terrifying video (external link)
10:24  Justin Bieber equals John Lennon's UK chart records:  Justin Bieber recently marked a historic first on the British singles charts as he occupied the entire top three of the chart.

The 21-year-old singer's 'Love Yourself' logged a fifth week at number one, followed by 'Sorry' at number two and ' What Do You Mean' at three, reports News24.com.

The Official Charts Company said it's the first time an artist has ever achieved the feat in the history of the official charts, having previously hit the incredibly rare milestone of holding spots one and two with 'Love Yourself' and ' Sorry.'
09:34  PM to address youth on Swami Vivekananda's birth anniversary:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday extended wishes to 'venerable' Swami Vivekananda on his birth anniversary.

"I salute the venerable Swami Vivekananda on hisbirth anniversary," said Prime Minister Modi on Twitter.

He also said that he will address the National Youth Festival in Chhattisgarh via video conference today.

Earlier, Modi at the 21st International Conference on Frontiers in Yoga Research and its Applications, had recalled Swami Vivekananda and praised him for sharing India's ancient wisdom with the world.
09:32  India should not 'overreact' to Pathankot attack: Musharraf:  New Delhi, Jan. 12 (ANI): Former Pakistan President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf has called on India to not 'overreact' to the terror strike on the Pathankot IAF base saying that both nations were victims of extremism and also accused New Delhi of creating pressure on Islamabad over terrorism.
09:19   India should not 'overreact' to Pathankot attack: Musharraf:   Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has called on India to not 'overreact' to the terror strike on the Pathankot Indian Air Force base saying that both nations were victims of extremism and also accused New Delhi of creating pressure on Islamabad over terrorism.

Speaking in an interview to a Pakistani news channel, Musharraf said that terrorism was prevalent in both India and Pakistan because of which incidents such as Pathankot would keep happening."Terrorism is prevalent in both India and Pakistan. 

We are also victims of the same, so we should not overreact to what happened in Pathankot. Yes, of course we want to control such incidents, but one should get hyper over such incidents," Musharraf said.

"India's first reaction to every terrorist attack is Pakistan but India is not free of terrorism or extremism itself," he added.
09:01  Talks with Pakistan must take place: Khurshid:  Asserting that the talks with Pakistan must take place, former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday said that the government must take responsibility for any decision that it takes on the bilateral talks. 

" Talks have to happen, must happen but you can't just say definitive yes or no. It depends on the gut feeling and factual situation before the government," Khurshid told ANI.
08:47  SC to hear plea against 'Jallikattu' today:  The Supreme Court will today be hearing the petitions challenging the central notification allowing 'Jallikattu' in Tamil Nadu.

The Animal Welfare Board has moved the apex court against Centre's move to lift ban on the controversial bull-taming sport in Tamil Nadu.

PETA on Friday had criticised the Central government's decision to permit events like 'Jallikattu' and bull races in Tamil Nadu and said it would challenge the move in the Supreme Court.
08:36  Separatist leader Asiya Andrabi invited for conference in Pak:  Senior Hurriyat Conference (G) leader and chairperson of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Syedah Asiya Andrabi has been invited for a two-day round table conference to be held in Islamabad.

The conference is scheduled to take place on January 20th and 21st.The invitation, which has been sent by President of Pakistan occupied Kashmir Yaqoob Khan, chalks out the broad highlights of the round table conference.
08:10  Suspended encounter cop Daya Nayak reinstated:   On the day the state decided to reinstate suspended IPS officer Sunil Paraskar, the government also decided to reinstate suspended subinspector Daya Nayak.

 Director General of Police Praveen Dixit confirmed that Nayak, a former encounter specialist, has been reinstated. This is the second time Nayak has been reinstated.

 The first time was in June 2012, when he was transferred to Nagpur, pending inquiries against him. However, he did not join duty there, and was suspended again. 
08:10  10,000 additional paramilitary forces deployed in Delhi ahead of R-Day:   In order to strengthen the security ahead of the Republic Day celebrations, 10,000 additional paramilitary forces have been deployed in the national capital.

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday confirmed the news.Earlier, it was announced that Delhi will remain on high alert till the Republic Day as the Centre had asked the Delhi Police to be prepared to foil any attempt by terrorists to carry out strikes in the city.

According to reports, the directive has come following intelligence inputs in the wake of terror attack at Pathankot Air Base.
08:10  White nationalist group urges Iowans to vote Trump:  
A white nationalist super PAC says it has started an independent robocall campaign in Iowa urging voters to support Donald Trump's presidential bid.

The campaign is being funded by the American National Super PAC, which was created by the chairman of the American Freedom Party, William Johnson. The robocalls were first reported by Talking Points Memo.

A spokesperson for the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to CNN request for a statement on the robocall campaign.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Freedom Party "is a political party initially established by racist Southern California skinheads that aims to deport immigrants and return the United States to white rule." The group claims on its website to "represent the interests and issues of European Americans and all Americans who support our mission."

Read more HERE.
04:16  Cologne aftermath: Migrants attacked in wake of New Year's assaults:  
Gangs of men have attacked and injured two Pakistanis and a Syrian man in Cologne, Germany, in the aftermath of an unprecedented wave of mob sex assaults on women in the city on New Year's Eve.

Cologne police said a gang of 20 men attacked at least six Pakistani nationals Sunday, with two of the victims hospitalized. Five men later attacked and injured a man of Syrian descent, police said.

Two men have been detained following the assaults on the men, which occurred as Germany grapples with the New Year's Eve attacks on women in Cologne.

Large numbers of women reported being sexually assaulted or robbed by gangs of men of Arab or North African appearance during New Year's celebrations in the city center, with some victims saying they feared for their lives.

Read more HERE.
03:57  US bombs 'millions' in ISIS currency holdings:  
In an extremely unusual airstrike, the U.S. dropped bombs Sunday in central Mosul, Iraq, destroying a building containing huge amounts of cash ISIS was using to pay its troops and for ongoing operations, two U.S. defense officials told CNN.

The officials could not say exactly how much money was there or in what currency, but one described it as "millions."

Two 2,000-pound bombs destroyed the site quickly. But the longstanding impact may be even more significant. The officials said the U.S. plans to strike more financial targets like this one to take away ISIS's ability to function as a state-like entity.

Read more HERE.
00:51  6.1 quake hits off northern Japan:  
A strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido today, the US Geological Survey said.
The quake hit off the west coast of the island, about 170 kilometres north of Sapporo, at a relatively deep 236 kilometres.
The Japan Meteorological Agency recorded it as a weaker 6.0 quake.
Japan sits at the meeting place of four tectonic plates and experiences around 20 percent of the world's most powerful earthquakes every year.
But rigid building codes and strict enforcement mean even powerful tremors frequently do little damage.
00:49  Bombings at Iraq cafe kill 20: officers:  
Bombings killed 20 people and wounded dozens at a cafe in the Iraqi town of Muqdadiyah northeast of Baghdad today, officers said.
A bomb exploded at the cafe and a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle after people gathered at the scene, a police captain and an army colonel said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but suicide bombings are a tactic frequently used by Sunni militants in Iraq, including the Islamic State jihadist group.
00:49  Top headlines of the last hour:  Baghdad attack: Several dead as gunmen storm mall

Odd-even scheme: 753 people challaned for violations

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