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August 12, 2017

21:48  Encounter breaks out in Shopian:  An encounter broke out today between terrorists and security forces in Shopian district of south Kashmir, police said.

The gunbattle started after security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation following information about presence of terrorists in Avneera village of Zainapora area of the district, a police official said.

As the security forces were conducting searches, the terrorists opened fire on them, triggering a gunfight, he said. There were no reports of any casualties so far, he added.  -- PTI
20:04  Yogi on Gorakhpur deaths: Will not spare the guilty:   Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath speaks on Gorakhpur deaths. Excerpts:

I have full sympathy with the parents who lost their children.

I visited BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur twice after taking over as CM.

Hon'ble PM is very upset over the reports of death and he has assured all help to the state.

MoS Anupriya Patel has visited the state.

I would request the media to put the facts in right perspective.

Two of our ministers have visited the hospital and they were told to find out what was the cause of deaths and who is responsible for the laxity.

We have formed a committee to probe the role of the oxygen supplier. It is criminal if the children died due to lack of oxygen supply.

Will not spare the guilty in any way.
19:19  Gorakhpur deaths: Sakshi Maharaj claims oxygen was cut off:  Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sakshi Maharaj today said infants died in a Gorakhpur hospital because oxygen supply was cut off over non-payment of dues.

He demanded stringent action against those responsible for the tragedy in Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital.

"The deaths which took place in a Gorakhpur hospital were very saddening. The person, who switched off the oxygen supply on the pretext of non-payment of dues, was responsible for the incident," the MP from Unnao told reporters.

Denying media reports that he had termed the incident as a 'massacre' (narsanhar), Sakshi Maharaj said, "I have never said so. I said the deaths were not natural and steps should be taken to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in the future."  -- PTI
18:48  Hospital tragedy a 'test' for CM Adityanath: Paswan:  Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan today sought a time-bound probe into the deaths of children in a government hospital in Gorakhpur, and said it was an 'hour of test' for Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Paswan, a Bharatiya Janata Party ally, termed the deaths, many of which were reportedly caused by lack of oxygen, as 'heartrending' and noted that the tragedy happened in Adityanath's constituency.

"I am sure he will take it very seriously and it must be taken so. This is an hour of test for the chief minister," he told a press conference.

Paswan said there must be a high-level probe and action should be taken within a week.

He said condition of government hospitals in UP and several other states is 'very bad'. -- PTI
18:04  Lalu demands Bihar CM sack Sushil Modi for involvement in Rs 1,000 crore scam:  
RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Saturday demanded that Bihar chief minister sack his deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, lodge a case against him and arrest him for his direct involvement in a Rs 1,000 crore scam.

A day after he demanded a CBI probe into the scam involving Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and an NGO, where funds were illegally transferred to private accounts between 2005 and 2010, Lalu Prasad said, "Nitish Kumar should sack Modi from his ministry immediately if he has zero tolerance against corruption and lodge an FIR against him and arrest him. There is solid evidence of Modis involvement in the scam when he was the Bihar finance minister."

Lalu Prasad also threatened that the RJD will not allow the functioning of the monsoon session of Bihar aassembly beginning in the third week of August if Modi was not sacked by Nitish Kumar.

Lalu Prasad said Modi is not only senor BJP leaders behind this scam,which is bigger than the fodder scam that surfaced in mid 90s.Modi and other BJP leaders including BJP MP Ashwani Kumar Choubey, Manoj Tiwari and former union minister Shahnawaz Hussain are involved in the scam.

This scam happended in full knowledge of Modi,who wass Bihar finance minister from 2005 till 2013 June.None but as a finance minister Modi is responsible for the scamLalu Prasad said.

Lalu Prasad recalled that in a similar case, charges against him in the fodder sacam is that as he was finance minister ,he was responsible for the fodder scam.

-- M I Khan in Patna
17:40  JD-U to get 2 central berths, Nitish Kumar may become NDA convenor:  
Bihar Chief Minister and Janta Dal-United national president Nitish Kumar is expected to formally announce his decision to join the National Democratic Alliance at the partys national executive meeting in Patna on August 19.

Nitish Kumar had snapped ties with NDA in 2013 after 17 years of togetherness when the BJP decided to project Narendra Modi as prime ministerial candidate. But this break up lasted only till last July when he announced his inability to continue in the Grand Alliance government along with the tainted RJD leadership and weakening Congress.

After joining NDA, JD-U would be offered two ministerial berths in the Centre one of cabinet rank and the other as minister of state. However it will take time and would delay cabinet reshuffle as the party will try to replace Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar with new members in the Rajya Sabha. If they do not resign on their own, they can then go to the disciplinary committee as both are engaged in anti party activities. If this does not work, there are other ways to ensure their ouster from the Rajya Sabha, sources said.
17:11  After UP, MP orders madrasas to hold Tiranga rally on I-Day:  
The Madhya Pradesh Madarsa Board has ordered over 5000 madrasas or Islamic seminaries in the state to compulsorily organise a Tiranga rally to celebrate Independence Day and email it the photographs of the celebrations.

This is for the first time that state that the Board has issued an order asking the managements of the madrasas to take out a Tiranga rally.

Syed Imad Uddin, chairman Madhya Pradesh Madarsa Board said that madrsas have been sending photographs of the flag hoisting and other events to mark Independence Day over the years across the state.

"There are around 5000 madarsas in the state. They have been celebrating Republic Day and Independence Day with much gusto over the years. And they keep sending us the photographs of these celebrations. This has been the case over the years. There is no videography that is carried out of these celebrations," he said.
17:09  Sena minister Desai offers to quit, Fadnavis declines request:  Shiv Sena Minister Subhash Desai,accused of graft by the opposition, today offered to resign,but Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis turned down his request.

The development comes a day after Fadnavis announced a probe by Lokayukta against Housing Minister Prakash Mehta, who has been accused by the opposition of impropriety in a slum redevelopment project in Maharashtra. 

He belongs to the BJP. The opposition has accused Desai of violating norms while allegedly denotifying lands acquired by state-run MIDC in Nashik.

On allegations against Desai, Fadnavis had yesterday said the government will request the Lokayukta to consider the case and if that does not work out, an independent probe would be conducted.

The 75-year-old Sena veteran, who holds the industries portfolio, said he met Fadnavis and offered to quit the state cabinet, but his request was rejected by the chief minister.
16:37  Sena minister Desai offers to quit, Fadnavis declines request:  Shiv Sena Minister Subhash Desai,accused of graft by the opposition, today offered to resign,but Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis turned down his request.

The development comes a day after Fadnavis announced a probe by Lokayukta against Housing Minister Prakash Mehta, who has been accused by the opposition of impropriety in a slum redevelopment project in Maharashtra. 

He belongs to the BJP. The opposition has accused Desai of violating norms while allegedly denotifying lands acquired by state-run MIDC in Nashik.

On allegations against Desai, Fadnavis had yesterday said the government will request the Lokayukta to consider the case and if that does not work out, an independent probe would be conducted.

The 75-year-old Sena veteran, who holds the industries portfolio, said he met Fadnavis and offered to quit the state cabinet, but his request was rejected by the chief minister.
15:53  JUST IN: UP govt suspends principal of BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur, says death of children not due to lack of oxygen supply
15:47  PM monitoring Gorakhpur tragedy after 63 kids die in 5 days:  Following harsh criticism of Prime Minister being silent on the Gorakhpur hospital tragedy, the Prime Minister's Office tweeted, "PM is constantly monitoring situation in Gorakhpur. He is in constant touch with authorities from the central and UP governments."

The Congress on Saturday said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh should resign taking moral responsibility for the death of the infants at the state-run hospital in Gorakhpur.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari also demanded strict action against those responsible for the deaths, allegedly due to shortage of supply of liquid oxygen, at Baba Raghav Das Medical College in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
15:23  Is HBO willing to pay GoT hackers $250,000 as ransom? Leaked email suggests so:  
Hackers this week released an email from HBO in which the company expressed willingness to pay them $250,000 as part of a negotiation over data swiped from HBOs servers.

The July 27 email was sent by John Beyler, an HBO executive who thanked the hackers for making us aware of previously unknown security vulnerabilities. 

The executive asked for a 1-week delay and said HBO was willing to make a good faith payment of $250,000, calling it a bug bounty reward for IT professionals rather than a ransom.

HBO declined to comment. 

A person close to the investigation confirmed the authenticity of the email, but said it was an attempt to buy time and assess the situation. The same hackers have subsequently released two dumps of HBO material and demanded a multi-million dollar ransom.
14:42  California to pay $85,000 to Muslim woman over forcibly removing hijab:  
A Muslim woman has been awarded $85,000 after an officer forcibly removed her hijab, or headscarf, when she was in police custody in Long Beach, California.

Kirsty Powell was stopped by police officers with her husband in 2015 as he was driving a lowrider vehicle. She then filed a lawsuit in 2016 alleging the police department had violated her First Amendment rights and the settlement was approved this week and is to be paid by the local municipal authority.

The city of Long Beach, California, will pay $85,000 to settle a 2016 lawsuit filed by a Muslim woman after an officer forcibly removed her hijab, or headscarf, when she was in police custody.

"She cried throughout the ordeal and experienced humiliation when both her religious beliefs and personal integrity were violated," the lawsuit said.

Powell was the passenger, but was arrested after police found a warrant under her name for a shoplifting incident. Powell's husband requested a female officer handle the arrest, according to the suit, but the arresting officers denied the request and told Powell she had to remove her hijab.

Powell spent the night in prison without her headscarf. It was returned when her husband posted her bond.
14:22  Nitish does not belong to JD-U anymore: Lalu:  
Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav on Saturday asserted that his former friend and ally Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar does not belong to Janata Dal United Janymore.

"Nitish Kumar does not belong to JD-U)) anymore, it is Sharad Yadav's now. He has gone to Bharatiya Janata Party. He is bowing before the same Amit Shah whom he used to abuse earlier," Lalu said.

Lalu further said that he will be holding a press conference at 3 pm today, and will highlight the details of a scam involving Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi.

Earlier in the day, Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah announced that he has extended an invitation to Nitish to join the National Democratic Alliance.
13:45  Chandigarh stalking case: Vikas Barala sent to judicial custody till Aug 25:  
In a new development to the Chandigarh stalking case, accused Vikas Barala, son of Bharatiya Janata Party's Haryana unit president Subhash Barala, and his friend Ashish Kumar have been sent to judicial custody till August 25.

On August 5, Vikas was arrested on the charges of stalking and harassing an IAS officer's daughter Varnika Kundu in Chandigarh. 

But he was granted bail on the same day.

After massive outrage on streets and in the Parliament, the accused appeared before a Chandigarh court on Thursday.

Subhash Barala, however, rebuffed the claim of pressurising or influencing the police in the case.

Earlier, Director General of Police Chandigarh Tajender Singh Luthra had said that Haryana BJP chief's son and his friend were slapped with charges of abduction.

The notice was issued to both the accused, under 160 Code of Criminal Procedure and the case was filed against Barala under Section 354D (stalking), 341 (wrongful restraint), 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 185 MV Act (rash driving).
13:29  India behaving like mature power in Doklam standoff: US expert:  
India is "behaving like a mature power" in the Doklam standoff in the Sikkim section and making China look like an adolescent throwing a tamper tantrum, a top American defence expert has said.

India and China have been locked in a face-off in the Doklam area for the last 50 days after Indian troops stopped the Chinese People's Liberation Army from building a road in the area.

Praising India's behaviour over the matter, James R Holmes, professor of strategy at the prestigious US Naval War College, said, "New Delhi has done things right thus far, neither backing away from the dispute nor replying in kind to Beijing's over-the-top rhetoric."

"It is behaving as the mature power and making China look like the adolescent throwing a temper tantrum," Holmes said.

Holmes said it was 'weird' that China wanted to keep alive a boundary dispute with its most formidable neighbour.
13:27  JUST IN: Accused Vikas Barala and Ashish sent to judicial custody till August 25 in Chandigarh stalking case.
12:51  JD-U removes Sharad Yadav as leader of party in Rajya Sabha:  The split in the Janata Dal-United is all but apparent with the party removing Sharad Yadav as the leader in the Rajya Sabha. Yadav has been replaced with Bihar Chief Minister and party chief Nitish Kumar's close aide RCP Sinha. 

The development comes after Kumar on Friday virtually shut the door on any reconciliation with rebel leader Sharad Yadav, saying he is free to take any decision as the alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party had the entire partys nod.

He (Yadav) is free to take his decision. As far as the party is concerned, it has already taken its decision. The decision was not mine alone and it was taken with the consent of the party. If he keeps a different opinion, then he is free to do so, Nitish had told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Earlier today, Sharad Yadav said that JD-U is not only Bihar CM Nitish Kumar's party, but also his party. 

Sharad Yadav said "Jab hum Indira Gandhi se nahi dare aur unke khilaf khade hue, kisi aur se kaisa darna," he said.

Earlier, Sharaad Yadav made it clear that he is still with the Grand Alliance of the RJD and Congress and that the mandate was given to the Grand Alliance and not the BJP. 

-- With inputs from M I Khan in Patna
12:31  Oxygen vendor raided after 63 children die at UP hospital:   An FIR has been filed against Pushpa Oxygen Supplier, the company which was supplying oxygen to Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur where 63 children have died in 5 days. 

Meanwhile, Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi azad and others visited the hospital and demanded the resignation of UP's health minister. 

"Heart-wrenching incident. Saddened by children's death. This happened due to state government's carelessness," Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters outside the hospital. Other opposition leaders are also expected to visit the hospital later in the day.
12:21  JUST IN: Chinese President Xi urges US President Trump to avoid 'words and deeds' that exacerbate North Korea tensions
12:01  Amit Shah invites Nitish to join NDA:  
BJP president Amit Shah has invited Bihar Chief Minister and JD-U president Nitish Kumar to join the ruling NDA, following the latter's alliance with the saffron party in the state to form a new government.

"I met JD-U president Nitish Kumar at my residence yesterday. I invited JD-U to join the NDA," Shah said in a tweet today.

The Bihar-based party is expected to endorse a proposal to join the NDA in its national executive meeting in Patna on August 19, after which it is likely to join the Narendra Modi cabinet.

Asked if the party would join the Modi cabinet, a JD-U leader said such a decision would be "natural".

"When we are together in government in Bihar, it is only natural that our party joins the Union government," he said.

11:40  Congress sends invites for Opposition satyagraha in Gujarat:  
After Lalu Yadav's anti-BJP rally planned for August 27 in Patna, opposition unity will face its big test in Gujarat where the Congress has decided to launch a satyagraha on September 1 along with other opposition parties, to protest what it calls are attacks on tribals in the state. 

Gujarat, which has been ruled by the BJP for over two decades, goes to polls later this year and the Congress is hoping to consolidate goodwill among tribals and Patidar.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi are expected to lead this protest.

A Congress leader said that invitations were being sent to opposition leaders for the mega protest in Gujarat and the party expected a good show at the satyagraha protest. 

The plan comes days after 66-year-old Ahmed Patel's election as a Rajya Sabha member, surviving cross-voting and defections for which the Congress has blamed ruling BJP.

It is, however, not clear how the opposition support at the September protest can translate into votes in a state where the BJP and the Congress have been the two big players. Between the two of them, they have accounted for nearly 85 per cent of the votes in the last few assembly elections.
10:59  Not a tragedy, it's a massacre: Satyarthi on Gorakhpur hospital deaths:  
Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi expressed his outrage at the death of over 60 children in Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das Medical College's hospital due to alleged lack of oxygen, saying it was not a tragedy but a clear case of massacre.

Taking to Twitter, Satyarthi tore into the Uttar Pradesh government asking "Is this what 70 years of freedom means for our children?"

Appeal to CM @myogiadityanath Ji. Your decisive intervention can correct decades of corrupt medical system of UP to prevent such incidents," he added.
10:25  Chandigarh marches for women's rights to public spaces:  
Exactly a week after 29-year-old Varnika Kundu's car was chased by two drunken men in Chandigarh, women from across the city gathered to reclaim the streets.

The 'Bekhauf Azaadi' march started at 10 pm on the Geri route in Sector 10, passing through Sector 11. The demand was for freedom from patriarchial norms which restrict women under the pretext of safety. "Sadke bhi hamari, galiyan bhi hamari, raatein bhi hamari, aur raat ke chand sitare bhi hamare. (The streets are ours, so are the alleys. The night is ours and so are the moon and the stars)," they chanted.

"The Geri route is considered unsafe for women, so we decided to start from here at 10 pm the time when girls are not supposed to go out," says 29-year-old Amarjot, one of the organisers. The route, where high incidences of sexual harassment and stalking are reported, passes through various colleges.

Men and women participated in the march and many performed street plays, recited poetry and delivered speeches.
10:09  'History will not forgive Nitish for going against mandate':  
Suspended Janata Dal-United leader Ali Anwar on Saturday said that history will not forgive Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for going against the mandate of the people of Bihar, which was given in favour of the grand alliance.

Anwar accused Nitish of sacrificing the nation for saving his government.

"You (Nitish Kumar) sacrificed the nation to stay in power. History will not forgive. We will go across the country and tell people about what has happened," Anwar said.

Justifying his stand of attending the Opposition's meet, Anwar said he is still following the people's mandate.

"Nitish Kumar went against the mandate. We are still following the mandate of the people, which was in the favour of the grand alliance," he said.

"The ones who changed the mandate should be questioned," he added.

Anwar said that leaders like him and Sharad Yadav have listened to their conscience and that any sort of sacrifice for truth will be less, adding that what has happened is a political mishap.

Anwar was suspended from the JD-U parliamentary party for participating in the Opposition meeting called by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
09:20  Gorakhpur hospital deaths: CM Adityanath calls emergency meeting:  
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has called an emergency meeting today following the tragic deaths of over 30 infants at Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das Medical College's hospital due to alleged disruption in the supply of liquid oxygen.

Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh and Minister for Medical Education Ashutosh Tandon will visit Gorakhpur after meeting the chief minister.

Earlier in the day, the alleged disruption in the supply of liquid oxygen at the hospital claimed lives of two more children.

The shortage of oxygen allegedly led to encephalitis, which is a sudden onset inflammation of the brain, following which the children died.

The families of the children have claimed that the doctors were not treating them well and the hospital was not even providing the medicines which were required for the treatment.

As per the locals, though the hospital is supposed to provide free medical assistance, neither is there any proper medical facility available nor are the patients provided free medicines.

Earlier on Friday, it was reported that as many as 30 children lost their lives due to encephalitis in a span of 48 hours at the hospital.

09:13  Trump says mulling 'military option' on Venezuela:  
US President Donald Trump has said that he was considering military options as a response to the escalating crisis in Venezuela, describing the situation there as a "very dangerous mess."

Washington has slapped sanctions on President Nicolas Maduro and some of his allies, and branded him a "dictator" over his attempts to crush his country's opposition. Venezuela has in turn accused America of "imperialist aggression."

But yesterday's latest comments were the first sign that Trump may be mulling military intervention.

"We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary," Trump told reporters in New Jersey.

"We have troops all over the world in places that are very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they're dying."

"Venezuela is a mess. It is very dangerous mess and a very sad situation," Trump said.
08:51  BJP backs NCP's decision of skipping Opposition meet:  
As the Opposition seek to mount a united fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party, the saffron party on Saturday stated that the Nationalist Congress Party skipping the meeting called by Congress President Sonia Gandhi was a good decision.

BJP spokesperson Syed Zafar Islam said, "The Opposition can never over rule the BJP with any meeting that they conduct. Also NCP skipping the meeting shows that Congress has no power and has lost it long back. After the Congress MLA's betraying its own party shows how strong they are?"

Hailing over BJP and its rule, another saffron party leader Kailash Vijayvargiya stated that other than no other party is capable of ruling the government than them.

"I would not like to comment much about this situation as it is their problem. But I would like to inform the opposition that; other than BJP no other party is capable of ruling the government or Centre. Conduct any meeting; nothing can hamper us in any way," he said.

The NCP skipped a meeting of Opposition parties yesterday called by Sonia Gandhi after the Congress suggested that the former had betrayed them in the recent Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat.
07:53  Woman killed in Pak shelling in J-K's Mendhar sector:  
A woman was killed in the shelling from Pakistan side in Jammu and Kashmir's Mendhar sector at 5:30 am on Saturday.

"The 45-year-old woman Raqia Begum was a resident of upper Golat in Mendhar," said Mendhar Sub-Divisional Police Officer Riyaz Tantray.

In a separate provocation last night, terrorists attacked 42 Rashtriya Rifles headquarter in the forest area of Kalaroose Kupwara district of north Kashmir.

The attack which took place yesterday, injured a soldier who was later shifted to the military hospital Drugmulla for treatment.

The search operation is still on
00:05  US company offers to search for MH370 on its own dime:  
Months after the underwater search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was called off, an American company is offering to resume the hunt for the missing airliner.

Ocean Infinity, a Texas-based firm that specialises in seabed exploration technology, said that it has submitted an offer to search for the remains of the Boeing 777 that disappeared more than three years ago with 239 people on board.

The company declined to reveal the exact terms of the proposal, but said it's willing to "take on the economic risk of a renewed search."

It's a bold move to offer to shoulder the financial burden of trying to help solve one of modern aviation's greatest mysteries. The original underwater search dragged on for years and cost roughly $150 million.

Malaysia, Australia and China announced in January that they were suspending the search for MH370, which vanished while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. But the governments didn't rule out a future resumption of the search if "credible new information" came to light.

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