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August 14, 2017


23:05  4 arrested for leaking 'Game of Thrones' episode online:  The Mumbai police today arrested four persons for leaking online an episode of popular fantasy TV series "Game of Thrones". Three of the accused are employees of Prime Focus Technology, while the fourth one is its former employee, police said. 

The company, which processes the series for online streaming service Hotstar, had lodged a complaint. A court in Mumbai remanded them in police custody till August 21, Deputy Commissioner of Police Akbar Pathan said.

Maharashtra Cyber police and the city cops started investigation after Prime Focus Technology lodged a complaint last week that the fourth episode of season seven of the series was available online before its scheduled release on August 7, DCP Pathan said.

The accused men's motive behind leaking the episode was yet to be ascertained, he said. Police have registered a case under IPC section 408(criminal breach of trust by an employee) and also under the Information Technology Act.
23:04  JUST IN: Terrorists open fire at Police bunker at Jammu-Kashmir's Tengpora bypass in Srinagar and managed to flee; no injuries reported. 

Operation to nab attackers underway
22:30  Trump condemns 'evil racism' in Charlottesville:  
US President Donald Trump has spoken out against racist violence after the killing of a protester in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.

"Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs," he told reporters.

The Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists were "repugnant" to everything Americans held dear.

Heather Heyer, 32, died and 19 others were hurt when a car ploughed into demonstrators in Charlottesville. 
22:05  Trump calls up Modi, greets him on I-Day:  US President Donald Trump tonight called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi to greet him on Independence Day. 

Modi shared this information through a tweet. 

 "Appreciate the warm felicitations from @POTUS, who called this evening to convey Independence Day greetings. Thank you @realDonaldTrump," the prime minister tweeted.
21:51  Maneka seeks removal of Blue Whale Challenge:  
Union minister Maneka Gandhi has written to home and IT ministers, asking them to remove online suicide game 'Blue Whale Challenge' from social media.

A class 10 student from West Midnapore allegedly committed suicide last week and is suspected to be the latest casualty of this fatal game.
"Maneka Gandhi on Monday took up the matter with Home Minister and IT Minister and has requested that the challenge be removed from social media by suitable intervention," the Ministry of Child and Development
said in a series of tweets.

The letter also mentions that the deadly game is believed to have led to nearly 100 deaths in the US, China and other countries.

The apex body for child rights, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, has also written to the ministry of electronics and information technology thrice on the matter since May asking it to identify violators, according to a ministry spokesperson.

The blue whale game is a 50-day challenge which demands that players complete tasks given by an anonymous "handler". The "handler" instructs the players to cause self-harm, leading up to suicide.
21:28  Gorakhpur hospital tragedy continues, 6 more children die:  
Six more children have died from encephalitis since Saturday at state-run BRD Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur where the death of nearly 70 of them, including infants, has set off a nation-wide outrage and political recrimination.

Many of these deaths were alleged to have been caused by shortage of oxygen, a claim dismissed by the government.

Even as the authorities grappled with the situation in the aftermath of the tragedy which continued to unfold, additional director health Pushkar Anand today said these fresh deaths occurred between August 12 and 14.

"In the past three days -- from August 12 to August 14 -- six encephalitis patients, mostly children have died. In the same period, as many as 21 patients were admitted for treatment. At present nearly 75 encephalitis patients are undergoing treatment in the Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital," he said.
20:37  UP infant deaths: Cong demands PM apology in I-Day address:  
The Congress today demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologise to the country in his Independence Day address for the death of children at a state-run hospital in Gorakhpur.

Congress senior spokesperson Ajay Maken attacked Modi for remaining silent on the death of 30 children, allegedly due to shortage of supply of liquid oxygen, within a span of 48 hours last week.

"The prime minister uses Twitter to say something about tragedies even in Turkey or USA, but he has not found any word to console the families of the dead children.

"We hope he apologises to the country for the deaths due to negligence in his address to the nation on Independence Day," Maken said.

The manner in which this government has failed, the way this incident has happened and there is negligence on the part of the government, "we hope that the prime minister will in his I-Day address first apologise", he said.
20:18  70,000 cops to guard Delhi on Independence Day:  
The national capital, including the Red Fort from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on the 71st Independence Day tomorrow, has been put under an unprecedented ground-to-air security cover.

Close to 70,000 Delhi Police personnel will be guarding the national capital owing to the twin occasions of the Independence Day and Janmashtami festival, a senior police officer said today.

Thousands of security personnel, including 9,100 personnel from the Delhi Police, have been deployed in and around the historic Mughal fort which will see the presence of senior ministers, top bureaucrats, foreign dignitaries and common people during the PM's address.

Two dozen Parakram Vans manned by quick reaction teams of NSG-trained commandos have been stationed in areas with high footfall to thwart any attempt by terror groups to disrupt peace. As many as 11 such vans have been deployed in the area around the Red Fort.
19:39  JUST IN: Encephalitis claims the life of an 8-year old, being treated at Gorakhpur's BRD Medical College.
19:29  GST, Swachch Bharat finds mention in President's speech:  
President Ram Nath Kovind addresses the nation as part of a decades old tradition. 

This is his first Independence Day address after he was sworn in last month.

Here are the highlights from his speech:

>> I congratulate the nation on the eve of Independence Day

>> It was the culmination of a dream for our country - a dream seen by our forefathers and freedom fighters. We were free to imagine and build our nation anew.

>> We are indebted to those who laid down there lives for our independence

>> Freedom fighters like Sardar Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Birsa Munda and thousands of others gave their lives for us. We can never forget them

>> Gandhiji was not alone in this nationwide struggle for freedom and reform. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose exhorted our people, saying: "Give me blood and I will give you freedom". At his word, millions of Indians joined the freedom movement under his leadership and gave their all

>> The government has started Swachch Bharat campaign but it is the duty of each one of us to keep the nation clean

>> The government can make, implement and strengthen laws but it is everyone's duty to abide by them

>> It is our national pledge to achieve important goals to make a 'New India'

>> Glad that people of the country have accepted GST happily

>> There is no place for poverty in 'New India'

>> We should pay special attention to our divyang brothers and sisters

>> It is responsibility of each one of us to promote sense of pride in paying taxes
18:57  JUST IN: President approves 112 Gallantry awards to armed forces personnel and members of paramilitary forces. The awards include five Kirti Chakras, 17 Shaurya Chakras, 85 Sena medals, three Nao Sena medals and two Vayu sena medals.
18:38  Pak Rangers offer sweets to India at Wagah border:  
Celebrating the 70th Independence Day of Pakistan, Pakistani Rangers today gifted a box of sweets to the Border Security Force (BSF) on the Indian side of Wagah border. 

Security personnel of both the sides hugged and shook hands with each other, besides sharing pleasantries for a few minutes, officials said.

Pakistani Wing Commander Bilal shook hands with BSF Commandant Sudeep during the sweet giving ceremony to mark Pakistan's Independence Day celebration at the Joint Check Post of Attari/Wagah border, they said.

The BSF personnel would offer traditional Indian sweets to their Pakistani counterparts on the 71st Independence Day of India tomorrow, they added.

Photograph: Pakistani Wing Commander Bilal presents sweets to Border Security Force Commandant Sudeep on the occasion of Pakistans Independence Day, at the India-Pakistan Attari-Wagah border post. Photograph: PTI Photo
18:18  Train services to flood-hit northeast stopped, may resume tomorrow :  Train services to the Northeast from the rest of the country have been stopped till Wednesday in view of the flood in Assam, West Bengal and Bihar.

The Railway Board has decided to cancel all incoming trains from various parts of the country towards NE Region, which were to reach either Katihar or Malda town till 10 am of August 16, 2017, Northeast Frontier Railway chief public relations officer (CPRO) Pranav Jyoti Sharma said in a statement.

Heavy rainfall in the last 72 hours in West Bengal, Bihar, Assam and other NE states has resulted in railway operations being severely hampered as rain water has affected railway tracks at several places in Katihar and Alipurduar Division of NF Railway, Sharma said.

In view of the flood situation, 11 outgoing trains have been cancelled by NF Railway today, Sharma said, adding four other trains have been short-terminated at various locations, he added.

Yesterday, 22 trains were cancelled, while 14 others were stopped at various places as tracks were flooded.

While many rivers in Alipurduar and Katihar divisions are in spate, NF Railway authorities are keeping a close watch and continuously monitoring the situation of nearby railway bridges and tracks, taking all precautionary measures for safe train running, the CPRO said.

Emergency control is being manned by senior officials at the headquarter and divisions, Sharma said, adding railway tracks were affected in as many as 12 locations initially, of which seven have been repaired and restored.

The authorities have opened additional counters at many stations, which are working round-the-clock to extend refund to passengers, he said.

Sharma informed that internal train connectivity from New Jalpaiguri to Guwahati, Guwahati to Dibrugarh and Murkongselek continued as usual. Trains on these routes are plying as per their normal schedule. -- PTI

17:34  Hizb names new Kashmir commander after Yattoo's killing :  Hizbul Mujahideen today named Mohammad bin Qasim as its "field operational commander" in Kashmir in place of Yaseen Yattoo who was killed yesterday in a fierce gun battle with security forces in Shopian district.

Qasim was made the new commander of Hizb at a meeting of the outfit's command council chaired by Syed Salahuddin in Muzaffarabad (in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir), a spokesman of the outfit said in a statement. Salahuddin said the high number of killings of militants in encounters were because of "traitors" and "Indian agents".

Yattoo, alias 'Gaznavi', and his two associates were killed yesterday in an encounter that began on Saturday night in Awnira village of Shopian district in south Kashmir.

In the encounter, two army men were also killed and three others, including a Major, were injured.

Yattoo, who hailed from Budgam district of central Kashmir, had a long association with Hizbul Mujahideen and was responsible for keeping alive the prolonged unrest of 2016 following the killing of group's commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8.

He had also played key role in recruiting several young men into the outfit, according to the police. Yattoo had joined Hizbul Mujahideen in 1996 but had surrendered in 2007 and was later released on parole in 2014. Subsequently, he had joined the militant group again and was its self-styled chief operations commander.

Along with him, the security forces killed Umar Majeed, who hailed from Shopian, and Irfan, a tech-savvy militant involved in online propaganda for the militant outfit.


Image: Yaseen Yattoo/Facebook.
16:51  Gorakhpur tragedy: Amit Shah calls it an 'accident', says guilty will be held responsible:  
BJP national president Amit Shah condoled the death of 72 children at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, and called it an "accident".

Shah said, "The incident is an accident. The Uttar Pradesh government is currently investigating it. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered a time-bound probe as well."

Shah also added that the those responsible for the tragedy will be brought to book. "We won't spare the guilty. We will fix accountability," he said.

Politicising the Gorakhpur tragedy, Shah said that unlike the Congress, BJP won't blame anybody without a proper investigation. "Congress' only job is to demand resignations. In such a huge country, a lot of tragedies have occurred. This is not a first such incident," Shah added.

Shah added that BJP's sincerity must not be doubted based on just one incident. "Our intention to serve the poor must not be doubted based on just this one incident," he said.

16:05  SC stays Madras HC order putting lookout notice against Karti on hold:  The Supreme Court today stayed the Madras high court order that had put on hold the lookout circular issued by the Centre against Karti Chidambaram, son of former minister P Chidambaram, and others in connection with an alleged corruption case.

A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and D Y Chandrachud also issued notice to Karti Chidambaram and others on an appeal filed by the Centre challenging the high court's order staying the lookout circular.

The bench, during the hearing, repeatedly observed that Karti had not joined the investigation in the case and, moreover, he has not sought grant of anticipatory bail in the matter.

The bench, meanwhile, asked the high court to decide the petition seeking quashing of the FIR lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The case is related to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds when Karti's father was the Union finance minister in 2007.

The CBI had claimed that the FDI proposal of the media house was 'fallacious', but Chidambaram had cleared it.

The FIR dated May 15 was registered before the special CBI judge in New Delhi.

It was followed by searches at the residences and offices of Karti and his friends on May 16.  -- PTI
15:36  Tamil Nadu gives Rs 20 lakh as compensation to kin of Sepoy Ilayaraja:  Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami on Monday announced compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the kin of Sepoy Ilayaraja who lost his life in the Shopian encounter in Jammu and Kashmir.

Two jawans were killed and three others, including a captain, injured on Sunday in an encounter with militants at Awneera village in south Kashmir's Shopian district. Ilayaraja P, a resident of Tamil Nadu, was killed in the fierce gun battle.
15:29  JD-U sacks 21 party leaders close to Sharad Yadav:  Bihar's ruling JD-U has suspended 21 party leaders including a former minister and MLAs on Monday for supporting the party's former president Sharad Yadav during his three-day visit to the state.


Sharad Yadav has repeatedly said that he opposed Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's decision to walk out of the Grand Alliance and join hands with the BJP to form the government in the state. Nitish Kumar is now the JD-U national president, replacing Sharad Yadav.

This is the biggest action taken against rebel leaders close to Sharad Yadav by the JD-U in Bihar. The JD-U state president Vashsisht Narain Singh said in Patna today that the party has acted against these 21 leaders for anti-party activities. "The party has suspected 21 leaders from the party for six years," Singh said.

According to Singh, JD-U has suspended minister Ramai Ram, MP Arjun Rai, MLA Rajkishore Sinha and 18 other senior party leaders, all considered loyal to Sharad Yadav. Ramai Ram and Arjun Rai were seen with Sharad Yadav during his recent visit to Bihar to meet people.

JD-U also suspended its Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar Ansari from the parliamentary party for attending a meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday.

Sharad Yadav during his visit to seven Bihar's districts said the decision to join hands with the BJP was "unfortunate' and the mandate given by the people was being violated. "The trust of 11 crore people who gave the mandate to form the grand alliance government in Bihar was broken. The agreement of the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) was for five years which was broken... I am hurt by this. I continue to stand for the grand alliance," he had said.

Yadav even claimed that the original party is with him as he termed Nitish Kumar's joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party as 'betrayal of the people's mandate'.

-- MI Khan in Patna/Rediff.com
14:47  Son-in-law of Hurriyat's Geelani sent to jail in terror funding case :  Just in: Four Kashmiri separatists, including son-in-law of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, sent to judicial custody by a Delhi court. Geelani's son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah and other six accused Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Shahid-ul-Islam, Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Nayeem Khan and Farooq Ahmed Dar were arrested on July 24 in the case of alleged funding of terror and subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley.

Shah, the son-in-law of separatist leader Geelani, was in the custody of the Jammu and Kashmir Police which had put him under preventive detention immediately after the festival of Eid last month.

Geelanis close aides Tehreek-e-Hurriyat spokesperson Ayaz Akbar and Peer Saifullah were arrested by the NIA from the Valley.

Shahid-ul-Islam is the spokesperson of the moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq.

Hafeez Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of the Jamaat-ul Dawah, the front of the banned Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), has been named in the FIR as an accused, besides organisations such as the Hurriyat Conference (factions led by Geelani and Mirwaiz Farooq), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and Dukhtaran-e-Milat.
14:21  70 years with India at 70 :  As young as India itself, poet and retired university professor Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, was born in Lahore four months before India became a free nation. Sitting in his family home in Dehradun, where he had arrived as an infant at Partition with his mother, he periodically gets up to speak to his mother, who is now 92 and in fragile health.


In conversation with Rediff.com's Archana Masih, the author of five volumes of poetry, two translations and editor of acclaimed anthologies on Indian literature examines these 70 years alongside India.  Read more
14:19  Priyanka Gandhi's office rubbishes reports of her appointment as 'Cong working president':  Priyanka Gandhi's office on Monday rubbished the reports of her taking over as the Congress working president.

Shunning media reports of Priyanka being allotted the coveted post in the party, her PA told ANI that no discussion has taken place in this regard.

"Complete fabrication. No such discussion took place whatsoever," said P Sahay, PA of Priyanka Gandhi.

According to reports, the news on Priyanka started doing rounds post the August 8 Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting. The reports further said that Congress president Sonia Gandhi raised the subject of a change in leadership of the party.

In the meeting senior Congress leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, suggested if Priyanka Gandhi should be made the Working President of the grand old party. 
13:58  Muslim cleric opposes Independence Day directive for madarsas:  A Muslim cleric has opposed the government orders making it mandatory for madarsas to unfurl national flag and sing the national anthem on Independence Day.

Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have directed the madarsas in the state to unfurl the national flag and sing the national anthem on August 15.

Speaking to ANI, Mufti Mukkaram, a cleric from Delhi, said such orders shouldn't be passed which question the loyalty and patriotism of the Muslims.

"Such orders give a wrong impression about Muslims. We unfurl the national flag a day or two before Independence Day. But to doubt the Muslims or looking at them with suspicion is wrong," Mukkaram said.

He argued that it is objectionable for people to believe that Muslims are not patriotic or are anti-nationals.

"We (Muslims) have contributed a lot to the country. There should be no reason to cast any doubts over our patriotism." He added.

Earlier on August 11, Madhya Pradesh Madarsa Board has followed in the Uttar Pradesh Madrasa Shiksha Parishad's footsteps and has ordered all 256 madrasas in the state to unfurl the national flag and recite the national anthem on August 15.

The Madrasa Board on Friday directed the youth to follow the order, record the video, click pictures of the event and send it to the chairman of the board.The board has also asked the students to take out a ' Tiranga rally' on the day. -- ANI
13:21  Removing Article 35 (A) will terminate state subject laws, fears Omar :   Amid reports of the alleged abolition of Article 35 (A) of the Constitution, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah urged that this would lead to the end of state subject laws in Jammu and Kashmir.


"Provisions which are stated under article 35 (A) were initiated by Raja Hari Singh. If this is scrapped by the Supreme Court, it will end state subject laws. People from other states will gain access to buy property in the region, avail educational scholarships for their children, relief material and bag government jobs; the four main things that Raja Hari Singh protected us from," said Abdullah, while addressing a gathering


 Alleging conspiracy by the ruling BJP-PDP coalition, Abdullah claimed that the BJP has constantly batted for the removal of Article 35 (A), and has attempted to suppress any opposition arising against the same.


"The BJP has been on our case ever since we spoke of Article 35 (A). We have never encouraged bloodshed, but we refuse to fall prey to their conspiracy. Nobody should be carried away in their propaganda," he said.


"Surprisingly, the BJP made an issue of 35A as a case of Jammu versus Kashmir. They say it will benefit Kashmir but adversely affect Jammu. Nobody is going to benefit from the removal of 35 (A)," added Abdullah.


Coming down heavily on the saffron party over the proposed removal of Article 370 of the Constitution, Omar alleged that although the former supported the removal of this provision, it was a veiled attempt, supported by an affidavit that lacked depth and detail.


"The BJP said it would scrap Article 370 but realised it isn't possible through Parliament. Therefore, they approached the Court and asked others to fight the case on their behalf," said Omar.
13:12  Yuvraj Singh: All good things come to an end:  Like in life, miracles do happen in sport but Indian cricket's 'fighterman' Yuvraj Singh may not be seen again in a blue jersey, something he had made his own for the better part of the last 17 years.

The national selectors yesterday did not name the 36- year-old for the ODI series in Sri Lanka, a tough but fair call, indicating their mindset going into the 2019 World Cup in England. So, is it time up for Yuvraj Singh? Perhaps, it is if one reads between the lines of what experts feel.

"Yuvi is a fighter but I believe going into the 2019 World Cup, it is more to do with his fitness rather than just form. Look, there's a difference between 20-over fitness and 50-over fitness," Saba Karim, who was a national selector in the last panel, told PTI today. -- PTI
13:01  Varun Gandhi pledges Rs 5 crore for pediatric wing in Sultanpur hospital:  BJP's Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi, has pledged Rs 5 crore from his MP funds for a pediatrics wing in the district hospital in his constituency.

Tweeting the news, Gandhi said, "Spoke to the DM & Chief Medical Superintendent. Have pledged Rs 5 cr from my MPLAD funds to build a new state-of-the-art paediatrics wing in the District Hospital. It is important to ensure that another tragedy is averted. I urge MPs representing other rural areas to do the same."

In a press note, Gandhi writes that the human tragedy in Gorakhpur has left him jolted. "While grieving the terrible loss of lives of all the children, the incident must act as an impetus to take actions that serve as a deterrent against a re-occurrence of such an event.

He said that the Rs 5 crore from the MP funds, will be accompanied by a matching grant of Rs 5 crore more to be raised personally through donations and collections from Corporate Social Responsibility funding.

"The cheque of Rs 5 crore from the MPLADS fund to be used for construction of the wing will be functional today itself. I envision that with sufficient additional funds from external donors the pediatric wing will be functioning full swing in six months from today.

"The wing will include an in-house research centre that would work on matters of child healthcare and prevention of several water/air borne disease that could affect these defenseless children," Gandhi's statement said.

Three ambulances will also be part of the wing.

Last week, more than 60 children died at Gorakhpur's BRD Medical College. Parents and others have blamed oxygen shortage for the deaths. The state government has already taken action, removing the doctor in charge of the paediatrics ward and suspending the hospital chief.
12:30  Malegaon blast case: SC to hear Lt. Col Purohit's bail plea on Aug 17 :  The Supreme Court on Monday announced that it will hear the bail plea of Malegaon blast case accused, former Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit on August 17.

A division bench of the apex court, headed by Justice RK Agrawal and also comprising Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar, decided to hear the bail plea.

The Bombay High Court had earlier dismissed the bail plea of Lt Col Purohit.

Lt Col Purohit then moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court's order and seeking bail in the case.

Besides Lt Col Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya is also an accused in the Malegaon blast case.

On September 2008, a blast at Malegaon killed six and injured 101 others
12:17  Gorakhpur hospital tragedy: Dr Kafeel Ahmed Khan no hero?:  Dr Kafeel Ahmed Khan, who until a night ago was being hailed as a hero for saving lives at Gorakhpur's BRD Medical College on August 11-12, now stands accused of stealing oxygen cylinders from the hospital and financial irregularities. Read the report here.
12:01  Bombay High Court puts up Sahara's Aamby Valley for auction:  Three days after a Supreme Court directive, the Bombay High Court on Monday put up the beleaguered Sahara Groups prestigious 'Aamby Valley city in Lonavala for a public auction.

The Official Liquidator for the Aamby Valley city -- considered the jewel in the crown of the Sahara Group -- has put up a reserve price of Rs 37,392 crore. The Sahara group pegs the market valuation of this project at over Rs 1 lakh crore.

The Supreme Court on Thursday had rejected the Sahara Group's proposal to repay the investors till July 2019 terming the proposed plan of payment too long.

The apex court told Roy that his proposal of paying Rs 1,500 crore, if the auction process was halted or postponed, was unbelievable.

"Your proposal is making us to make a statement that it is willing suspension of belief," a bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, said.

It said the auction process will go on according to the schedule and if Rs 1,500 crore is paid by the contemnor (Roy) into the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)-Sahara refund account by September 7, then it may pass an appropriate order.

"We are not inclined to entertain the prayer of the contemnor. The prayer is hereby rejected. If any agreement is reached by the group to raise money, then appropriate orders will be passed," a bench also comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and A K Sikri said.

During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said that the auction process of Aamby Valley which would start with the publication of a notice on August 14, should be postponed at least till September 16 to enable Roy arrange the money.

He said that hotels in New York have been sold and soon money would be coming into the Sahara account after which Rs 1,500 crore would be deposited into the SEBI-SAHARA refund account by September 7, as had been directed by the court.

"Our request is that the auction process for Aamby Valley, which will be initiated by way of publication of a notice should be postponed till September 16, as the value of property will fall drastically once it is put on sale in public domain," Sibal said.

He said that Sahara has been on verge of entering an agreement with a Mauritius-based company to raise money, but for that purpose, the auction process has to be postponed for the time being.

"We are negotiating a deal of subscription agreement whereby an investor will invest 1.67 billion dollars in Aamby Valley out of which around Rs 5000 crore will given to the SEBI-Sahara refund account," he said.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, representing the SEBI, opposed the proposal of the Sahara chief saying that every time a process starts, the group came up with some objection in order to delay the process.

He said that it was a global auction and interested parties from across the world would participate and Rs 4.4 crore hasd already been spent in initiating the process.

"It will not be appropriate, if the auction process is stalled," he said and added that according to SEBI's research, the said Mauritius-based company, named by Sahara, did not exist. -- PTI
11:32  SC refuses to take cognisance of Gorakhpur child deaths:  The Supreme Court refuses to take suo motu cognisance of the death of children at a Gorakhpur hospital in Uttar Pradesh. The court asks the lawyer, who mentioned the plea, to move the Allahabad High Court with his grievance.

The Congress has also demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the death of at least 30 children at a state-run hospital in Gorakhpur, alleging that the Yogi Adityanath government, through operation cover-up, was attempting to bury the truth.
At least 70 children have died in the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur.
 
The Union home ministry said according to the SP of Gorakhpur, 21 children died due to shortage of supply of liquid oxygen.

As per SP Gorakhpur, 21 children died due to shortage of supply of liquid oxygen in BRD MedicalCollege, in last 36 hours. Senior officers are on the spot. Exact cause is being verified by civil administration, a home ministry spokesperson said.

The incident triggered a spate of reactions from the opposition parties, with the Samajwadi Party and the Congress seeking the resignation of the state health minister.
10:50  The critical role of oxygen:   Oxygen is critical to treating life-threatening respiratory infections and encephalitis, but patient-specific probes may be needed to explain the spike in child deaths in Gorakhpur last week, doctors said today.


Thirty children had died at Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das Medical College on Thursday and Friday after a vendor stopped the oxygen supply on Wednesday evening because of unpaid bills.


The state government insists that the hospital had quickly made alternative arrangements and that the children did not die of a lack of oxygen. Some of the parents have, however, alleged that as soon as the supply stopped and the deaths began, they were thrown out of the hospital. Read more
10:45  Anxiety surround Charlottesville residents after violent rally:  A disquiet anxiety has surrounded the residents of Charlottesville, many of whom are Indian Americans, after a rally of white supremacists ended in violent clashes with counter-protesters and claimed the life a 32-year-old woman.

While normalcy seemed to have returned to the city by afternoon yesterday, residents grappled with shock and fear following a day of violence when a car rammed into a crowd peacefully protesting against the rally by white supremacists.

The city in the US state of Virginia has a significant Indian and Indian-American population, but there was no report of anyone from the community being injured in the violence on Saturday.  -- PTI

Two police officers monitoring the demonstration died following a helicopter crash near the protest site and 19 others were injured, though, unofficial figures could be high.

"It's still difficult for us to understand and grapple with the reality that such a thing has happened. This is not what the city is about," Sankaran Venkataraman, said Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research, MasterCard, Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.

Venkataraman has lived in Charlottesville, which is about 120 miles southwest of Washington DC, for nearly 20 years. His daughters' friend had gone to the downtown to take part in the counter protest to the white supremacist rally on Saturday. She has returned with a broken leg. "(The violence) doesn't represent any of the views or characters of the people here. We are progressive people who believe in diversity and inclusiveness.

"For something like this to happen is a shock to us. The notions of racism, hatred, bigotry are completely antithetical to the views of most citizens of Charlottesville," Venkataraman, who recently returned from Tamil Nadu, said.
10:24  Delhi airspace sanitised ahead of Independence Day :  As the nation gears up to observe the 70th Independence Day, security has been beefed up across the country, aiming to ensure a seamless feat of celebration for its countrymen.

In Mumbai, security has been tightened ahead of the big day, with a greater level of scrutiny being exercised by the police personnel. Barricades have been placed in major junctions with greater emphasis on patrolling. As a mark of celebration, the Gateway of India in all its grandeur is lit up, portraying various phases of the Independence struggle.

In the New Delhi, posters of ' wanted terrorists' have been issued by a Special Cell of the Delhi police, which are displayed in all prominent locations.The posters carried photos of absconding Lashkar-e-Taiba ( LeT), Indian Mujahideen (IM) and Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorists.

Major monuments in the national capital are also beautified to mark the historic day.

In Coimbatore, a miniature artist designed images of freedom fighters and leaders on a custard apple, and the map of India and the tricolor on a watermelon and brinjal respectively.

India will celebrate its 70th Independence Day on Tuesday, 15 August. The function is to be held at the Red Fort , in the august presence of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who will be the Chief Guest.

All the rehearsals of the Independence Day eve are been closely supervised by the Police personnel through CCTV.

Delhi Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Jatin Narwal told ANI, "The security arrangements required for the Independence Day celebrations in coordinated way are in place. Our security preparation is adequate enough to overcome any type of situation."

He further said that the police department has completed the Census of Residential Verification in the entire local region.The DCP also assured tight security which would be controlled by the CCTV (Closed-circuit television) cameras.

"The exact number of CCTV cameras cannot be revealed, but we have enough cameras to control to supervise the function," he added.

Earlier the Delhi Police in a statement said, "It has been reported that certain criminal, anti-social elements or terrorists, inimical to India may pose a threat to the safety of the general public, dignitaries and vital installations by the use of sub-conventional aerial platforms like para-gliders, para-motors, hang-gliders, UAVs, UASs, microlight aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft, hot air balloons, small size powered aircrafts, quadcopters or even by para-jumping from aircraft and others."

The statement further announced the prohibition of flying of such objects on the occasion of Independence Day Celebration in the national capital and doing so shall be punishable under law.

Image: The Gateway of India in Mumbai earns its colours ahead of I-Day
10:02  Yogi's Modi moment:  Yogi Adityanath had a Narendra Modi moment today, wiping tears as he spoke to patients' families at the Gorakhpur medical college where 30 children had died between Thursday and Friday after a halt in oxygen supply.

The chief minister then held a tearful news conference at the institute, where he looked close to breaking down as he stressed his love of children while evading the question why the oxygen vendor hadn't been paid on time.

He continued to insist that lack of oxygen hadn't caused the deaths at Baba Raghav Das Medical College. Read more
09:54  Karachi: 11 injured in Independence Day celebratory gunfire:  At least 11 people were wounded due to aerial firing during Independence Day celebration in Karachi on the night between Sunday and Monday. According to reports, the injured included women and children. A stray bullet wounded a 13-year-old girl Maryam in Soldier Bazaar area, while a woman was injured in aerial firing near ICI Bridge, reports Dunya News.

Aerial firing in the Light House area injured a man named Umair, while Yameen was wounded in Sarafa Bazaar area of Khara Dar.

At least seven more people were injured in incidents of aerial firing in Azam Basti, Lines Aera, Landhi, Mahmoodabad, Defence, Aysha Manzil and Numaish Chowrangi.The wounded persons were shifted to various hospitals of the city.
09:28  At least 17 killed in attack on restaurant in Burkina Faso:  At least 17 people were killed and another eight were wounded in a suspected terror attack at a Turkish restaurant in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou.

Express.co.uk quoted a police spokesperson as saying that the restaurant witnessed heavy gunfire and security forces have been deployed at Ouagadougou post attack.

Burkina Faso's communications minister Remi Dandjinou confirmed that security operations are underway at the restaurant, named Aziz Istanbul Patisserie, which is part of the Hotel Bravia.

Soldiers are deployed on the scene, with armoured vehicles as they launch an operation against suspected jihadists in the city.

The assailants were reportedly armed with automatic firearms.

According to the witnesses, three armed men arrived at around 10.30 pm BST and opened fire on customers sitting outside the cafe.

One person, who was in the hotel at the time of the incident, said there are several victims following the attack.

Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.  -- ANI

IMAGE: Policemen are seen on a street following an attack by gunmen on a restaurant in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Photograph: Reuters TV/Reuters
08:52  2 killed in clashes with security forces in Kashmir:  One person was killed in south Kashmir's Shopian district during security forces' action on a mob of stone-pelters who were protesting after an encounter in which three terrorists were killed on Sunday, police said.

Mohammad Sayeed Bhat, 25, received bullet injuries when security forces used fire to chase away the mob near the encounter site at Avneera in Shopian last night, a police official said.

He said Bhat was taken to a hospital where he succumbed.

The official said 12 other persons were injured in the clashes.

On Sunday, one person was killed when security forces fired pellets to chase away a mob of stone-pelting youths in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, police said.

Owais Shafi, 22, sustained multiple pellet injuries inhis chest at Kakapora in Pulwama and was referred to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar for treatment, a police official said.

He said Shafi was declared dead on arrival by doctors. -- PTI

Representative image.
08:04  Uttarakhand: Cloudburst in Mansarovar Yatra route; 3 dead, 7 missing:  Four soldiers and three civilians are missing in Mangti Nala, three bodies recovered in Malpa in Uttarakhand after cloudburst in Kailash Mansarovar Yatra route.

The has been stopped following the incident.

Two bridges have been damaged in Mangti and one in Simkhola.

The road is blocked at Ailagad, while Kali river is flowing at danger level.

More details awaited. -- ANI

Image only for representation.

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