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LIVE! Ockhi: Toll hits 36, search ops to be extended to international waters

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December 07, 2017

22:52  BSE Sensex today.
22:51  Bombay Stock Exchange- Top gainers today.
22:50  Ockhi: Toll hits 36, search ops to be extended to international waters:  Three bodies were recovered today off the Kerala coast, taking the death toll due to Cyclone Ockhi to 36, even as defence sources said search and rescue operations will be extended to International waters around Maldives.

This followed a request from some fishermen from Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari district.

They requested the Southern Air Command here to extend the search operations to international waters to trace72 boats with 1,200 fishermen who may have drifted to international waters due to the cyclone.

The state government approached the Centre with the request of the fishermen following which the defence ministry has approved sending of C-130J Hercules transport aircraft around Maldives by tomorrow morning, the sources said.

The fishermen missing hail from Vallivilai, Thuthoor, Neeroodi, Puthanthurai, Poothurai and Marthandamthurai in Tamil Nadu.

Hundreds of fisher folk staged a rail roko at Kuzhithurai station bordering Kerala, leading to Southern Railways cancelling two trains -- Tiruchirapalli-Trivandrum Intercity and Kochuveli-Nagercoil passenger, besides partially cancelling five other trains.

96 fishermen are still missing from Kerala following the cyclone causing havoc to the state's coastal region, according to official estimates.  -- PTI
22:43  Rahul likely to collect certificate appointing him as Cong chief next week:  All set to be elevated to the top post in the Congress party, Rahul Gandhi was expected to collect the certificate, declaring his appointment formally, next week in the presence of top party leaders, including his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi, sources said today.

While the date was yet to be finalised, the Congress sources indicated that the Gandhi scion could collect the certificate between December 14 and 16.

The 47-year-old Amethi MP, who has been the Congress vice president for nearly five years, is the sole contender for the top party post.

Backed by the entire rank and file of the party, he had filed his nomination for the Congress president's post three days ago.

The last date for the withdrawal of candidature is December 11.

"It is going to be a grand affair at the AICC headquarters next week. Soniaji is expected to accompany him (Rahul Gandhi), besides other senior leaders of the party. PCC leaders from various states are also likely to be there," a source said.  -- PTI
21:53  Gujarat: 10% rise in Cong candidates with serious criminal charges:  An analysis of the affidavits of candidates in fray for both phases of the Gujarat assembly polls has revealed that 38 Congress candidates face serious criminal charges.

This, the analysis shows, is a 10 per cent rise in candidates with serious criminal charges when compared to the party's candidates for the 2012 assembly polls.

The Congress's percentage went from 12 per cent to 22 per cent, said the analysis conducted by two NGOs -- Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Gujarat Election Watch (GEW).

In 2012, 21 Congress candidates out of 171, that is 12 per cent, were facing such serious charges.

This time, as many as 38 candidates out of 174 candidates, that is 22 per cent, are facing such charges, the analysis showed.

The Bharatiya Janata Party's percentage, at 13 per cent, has remained the same, the NGOs said.

In the polls of 2012, out of total 180 candidates analysed, 24 BJP candidates were facing serious charges, said the comparative analysis released today.

This time, out of the total 175 BJP candidates analysed, 23 candidates are facing charges related to murder, attempt to murder, robbery, abduction and rape.  -- PTI
21:12  Mani Shankar Aiyar suspended from Congress:  JUST IN: Mani Shankar Aiyar has been suspended from primary membership of the Congress, reports ANI.

A show cause notice has also been issued to him for his remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Aiyar stirred controversy today after calling Modi as 'neech aadmi', by which, he later clarified, he meant to refer to 'the PM's low level' and not to 'his origins or family'.

Soon after his remarks, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had disapproved of it and asked him tender an apology.

Modi, addressing a rally in Surat, said Aiyar's remark was an insult to Gujarat and people of the state will respond with ballot.  -- with ANI inputs
20:06  FDRI Bill to be more depositor-friendly, clarifies Centre:   The Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill, 2017 (FRDI Bill) is far more depositor friendly than many other jurisdictions which provide for statutory bail-in, where consent of creditors/depositors is not required for bail-in, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday.

The ministry in its official statement said that certain misgivings have been expressed in the media regarding 'bail-in' provisions of the FRDI Bill and it clarified that the provisions of the bill are in line with the objective of the government to fully protect the interest of the financial institutions and the depositors.

'The FRDI Bill will strengthen the system by adding a comprehensive resolution regime that will help ensure that, in the rare event of failure of a financial service provider, there is a system of quick, orderly and efficient resolution in favour of depositors,' it added.

The provisions contained in the FRDI Bill, as introduced in the Parliament, do not modify present protections to the depositors adversely.

'The FRDI Bill does not propose in any way to limit the scope of powers for the government to extend financing and resolution support to banks, including Public Sector Banks. The government's implicit guarantee for Public Sector Banks remains unaffected,' the Ministry of Finance said.

FRDI bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 10, 2017 is presently under the consideration of the Joint Committee of the Parliament.

The Joint Committee is consulting all the stakeholders on the provisions of the FRDI Bill.  -- ANI
19:00  China says no change in its stand on India's membership to NSG:  China today asserted its opposition to India's membership bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, saying there is no change in its stand and efforts were on to forge 'consensus' among the 48-member elite nuclear club about the admission of new members.

"China's position on this remains unchanged," Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media in Bejing responding to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov's remarks in New Delhi yesterday that Moscow was speaking to China for India's membership into the NSG.

"China supports the NSG to follow the principle of consensus through consultation through transparent and fair intergovernmental process to deal with this issue," Geng said.

China, a key member of the NSG, has been stridently opposing India's bid primarily on the grounds that New Delhi is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  -- PTI
18:31  I meant low-level not low-born, Aiyar attempts an apology:   Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar apologises for his comment calling the PM a 'neech insaan'.

Speaking to reporters Aiyar attempted an apology first explaining the context in which the remarks were made. He said the PM was making a jibe at the Congress and Rahul Gandhi at the inauguration of a Centre on Babasaheb Ambedkar and routinely said foul language against Congress leaders.

"I am a freelance Congressi, I hold no post in the party, so I can reply to the PM in his language. I meant low-level when I said 'neech', I think in English when I speak in Hindi as Hindi is not my mother tongue. So if it has some other meaning then I apologize. I am Macaulay's (Thomas Macaulay, who introduced English education in India during the Empire) child. If the translation of neech means a low-born, then all I can do is apologise, but it was not my intention.

"There is a reason why the Congress party has not asked me to campaign in Gujarat even though I have been a Congressman for decades, it's because I am a stormy petrel. If I hurt someone I am sorry," Aiyar said.     

He also claimed he had never called the PM a 'Chaiwala'. "You can go on the internet and check all the videos," he told reporters. 
17:26  More on the what the PM said on the 'neech insaan' remark:

"You all have seen me I have been CM and PM. Has anyone had to hold his or her head in shame due to me? Have I done any shameful thing? Then why are they calling me 'Neech'? What all have they called us -- donkeys, Neech, Gandi Naali Ke Keede...the people of Gujarat will give a fitting answer to such deplorable language. Congress leaders are speaking in a language that is not acceptable in democracy." 
17:14  I expect Mani Shankar Aiyar to apologise: Rahul:  Congress V-P Rahul Gandhi asks Mani Shankar Aiyar to apologise for the 'neech insaan' remark. Rahul said, "The 'BJP and PM routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party. Congress has a different culture and  heritage. I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer to address the PM. Both the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said." 
17:10  Ballot box will answer Congress for calling me 'neech': PM:   On the final day of campaigning for the phase I of the Gujarat polls, PM Narendra Modi addressing a public meeting in Surat, called out Congress veteran Mani Shankar Aiyar's 'neech insaan' remarks.

"Yes, they called me 'Neech' but our value systems are strong. We have nothing to say to such elements. Our answer will come through the ballot box. We have seen enough insults from them. They insulted me when I was CM. They called me 'Maut Ka Saudagar' and wanted to jail me," PM Modi said.

Aiyar launched a stinging attack on Narendra Modi on Thursday after the prime minister said the grand old party tried to erase the contribution of B R Ambedkar in nation-building. Aiyar said the comments by the PM showed his low-level mindset and one bereft of any manners. "Mujhko lagta hai ki ye aadmi bahut neech kisam ka aadmi hai, isme koi sabhyata nahi hai. Aise mauke par is kisam ki gandi rajniti karne ki kya avashyakta hai? (This shows the low-level mindset of the PM and one bereft of any manners. What is the need of doing such dirty politics on such an occassion)," ANI quoted Aiyar as saying.

Responding to this at Surat, the PM told the crowd, "I beg to the people of India -- please let them be. Let them keep calling me 'Neech', we will not respond. We do not have this mindset and want to congratulate them for theirs. If anything, we will answer them for their mindset with our votes on 9th and 14th.

"Yes, I am from the poor section of society and will spend every moment of my life to work for the poor, Dalits, tribals and OBC communities. They can keep their language, we will do our work."

Ahead of his Surat speech, the PM tweeted, @narendramodi, "I have nothing to say on a wise Congress leader calling me Neech'. This is the Congress mindset. They have their language and we have our work. People will answer them through the ballot box."

This is not the first time Aiyar has made inopportune comments. In the run up to the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, he had called the PM a chaiwallah and rubbished his chances of ever getting to be the prime minister. The BJP went to town on the remark organising the very popular chai pe charcha addas, which saw a surge of support for the party and its prime ministerial  candidate. The BJP used the comment to reinforce that the Congress was an elitist party that did not care about the poor.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, speaking to news agency ANI, said, "Mani Shankar Aiyar has called our PM 'neech' but we are proud of our Prime Minister, he has answered (Mani Shankar Aiyar) very politely and sensibly. Aiyar's mindset is a 'darbaari' one."

Former J-K CM Omar Abdullah tweeted, "If I had as many loose cannons in my party as the Congress seems to have I'd be even more of a basket case than I am now. Gotta hand it to the PM though, if you bowl such loose deliveries in the slog overs he's going to hit them for a six & that's what's been done with the neech nonsense."

File pic.
16:19  Sensex leaps to biggest single-day gain in a month:  Benchmark Sensex rebounded by over 352 points to close at 32,949.21 today as investors piled into recently beaten down bank, auto and metal counters. The broader Nifty too ended above the key 10,100-level.

The 30-share Sensex stayed in the green throughout and hit the day's high of 32,992.45 following all-round buying. It finally ended at 32,949.21, up 352.03 points, or 1.08 per cent -- its biggest single-day gain since November 1, when it had surged 387.14 points. This is also the benchmark's highest closing since November 30, when it had finished at 33,149.35.

The index had lost 205 points yesterday after the Reserve Bank held the policy rate and raised the inflation forecast for the remainder of the fiscal. The broader NSE Nifty also soared 122.60 points, or 1.22 per cent, today to close at 10,166.70 after shuttling between 10,182.65 and 10,061.90. This is its biggest single-day jump since May 25, when it had gained 149.20. -- PTI
15:48  NGT holds Art of Living responsible for damaging Yamuna floodplains:  The National Green Tribunal today held the Art of Living Foundation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar responsible for the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains due to holding of the World Cultural Festival organised by it in March 2016.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, however, refused to impose any further environment compensation on the AoL and said the amount of Rs 5 crore which was submitted by it earlier would be used for the restoration of the floodplains.

"We hold AoL responsible for the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains in terms of the report submitted by the expert committee," the bench said.

The bench also comprising Justice Jawad Rahim and expert member B S Sajwan directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to assess the damage caused on floodplains and compute cost of restoration in line with the recommendations of the expert panel. The tribunal said that in case if the expenditure of the restoration crosses the cost Rs 5 crore then it would be recovered from the AoL. However, if the costs is less than Rs 5 crore, the remaining amount would be refunded to the foundation, it said.

The NGT also said that Yamuna floodplains should not be used for any activity which can cause damage to the environment. However, it refused to decide whether AoL was authorised to hold the festival on Yamuna floodplains or not saying it is beyond its jurisdiction.

The NGT also rapped the DDA for failing to exercise its duty to protect the Yamuna floodplains but refrained from imposing any penalty on it.

Before the pronouncement of the judgement, it was informed that Justice R S Rathore, who had earlier heard the matter had recused from the bench.

The AoL counsel said that they will approach the Supreme Court against the verdict. "We are not in agreement with the verdict. The Art of Living is disappointed with the decision taken by the NGT for damaging Yamuna floodplains during its World Culture Festival.

The expert panel had told the NGT that a Rs 42.02 crore would be required to restore Yamuna floodplains which was ravaged due to the cultural extravaganza held from March 11- 13, 2016. The Green Panel was hearing a plea filed by Manoj Misra who claimed that severe damage was done to the river and the floodplains and it must be restored by authorities concerned. -- PTI
15:29  Rahul will attract other parties like a magnet: Moily:  Rahul Gandhi, who is poised to become the Congress president, has the capability to bring together other like-minded parties for a joint fight against the BJP, senior party leader M Veerappa Moily said today.

The former Union minister also said that the Congress vice president had acquired certain qualities of his great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru and grandmother Indira Gandhi. Moily rejected the criticism that the Congress indulged in a "dynastic rule" within the party, saying that if Rahul Gandhi wanted to become the prime minister, he could have done so (during the 2004-2014 UPA rule).

"Rahul is known for his humility and the other parties would definitely cooperate with him, given his absolute sense in taking democracy, secularism and socialism forward," the former Karnataka chief minister told PTI.

"He (Rahul) is more like a magnet to attract the parties, which do not believe in communal politics. Such parties will have a natural tendency to go along with Rahul," Moily said.

"Apart from consolidating the Congress, he (Rahul) will ensure that there is a proper understanding between all the like-minded parties, an understanding to jointly fight the communal elements," he added.

The former Union law minister said Rahul had undergone a lot of "trials and tribulations", gained experience in governance and strengthening the organisation and evolved as a "dynamic leader".

"He (Rahul) has acquired the qualities, particularly of Jawaharlal Nehru, his vision for the country, for secularism and socialistic ideas, with an excellent rooting in the heritage of the country which Nehru possessed. "Rahul could have even become the prime minister or a powerful minister (during the UPA rule), but he preferred to strengthen the organisation in a big way, which is a great quality," the Congress veteran said.

"He is not like Narendra Modi who shot into the national scene suddenly," he added. Moily said if the Congress indeed indulged in a dynastic rule, Rahul would have become prime minister long back.  -- PTI

File pic.
15:20  India cutting sorry figure with threats to artists: HC:  A democratic country like India is cutting a very sorry figure with open threats being given to artists and others and with attacks on people for voicing their opinions, the Bombay High Court said today. The high court, while referring to the Sanjay Leela Bhansali's controversy-hit film Padmavati, observed that the director has not been able to release his film and an actress is facing death threats.

The HC also pulled up the CBI and the state CID, which are investigating the murder cases of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare respectively, over the failure to arrest the main suspects in these cases so far. The strong remarks were made by a division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Bharti Dangre while hearing the petitions filed by family members of Dabholkar and Pansare seeking court supervision on their murder probe. -- PTI
15:18  Horrific video of man axing labourer, burning him alive, goes viral:   In a shocking incident, a labourer was burnt alive and a video of the gruesome incident was uploaded on social media in Rajasthan's Rajsamand district, police said.

The slain labourer, who hailed from West Bengal, was identified as Mohammad Afrazul.

The accused, Shambhu Lal, who allegedly committed the crime in Raj Nagar has been arrested, SP Rajsamand Manoj Kumar told PTI.

He said that the accused, a resident of Raj Nagar, was being interrogated.

Home minister Gulabchand Kataria condemned the incident and said that the investigation has been handed over to SIT for further investigation.

In the video, the labourer was hacked and burnt to death. "The labourer died on the spot," police said. According to the IG Udaipur Anand Srivastava, the accused was also seen shouting at the victim in the video, saying it would end love jihad. The investigation is on and matter is being probed for further details, he added. -- PTI

Image: The killer has been identified as Shambhu Lal and the man he murdered is believed to be Ifrazul.
14:14  The world's 50 greatest cities :  Mumbai makes it to the #48 in the Telegraph's 50 greatest cities, according to it's readers. Take a look.
14:09  Defence minister donates to Armed Forces fund :  Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman @nsitharaman tweets: India's Armed Forces show supreme excellence during wars, natural calamities, rescue ops. As a token of respect, I have contributed to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. I urge you to contribute to the fund as well using  #ArmedForcesFlagDay
13:58  'There can't be a cap on the value of sacrifice':  "Reduce the perks and privileges of MPs, but let there be no reduction in the money spent on the education of martyrs' children," says former BJP MP Tarun Vijay. Read the column here.
13:51  Gabbar Singh has attacked agriculture: Rahul takes on Modi:   Taking forward his 'question a day' campaign, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the problems afflicting the farm sector and farmers.

Asking his 9th question in the series, he asked, "Neither loan waiver, nor remunerative price for produce, neither received crop insurance benefit, nor were tubewells installed.'

The Congress leader also used the 'Gabbar' jibe to target the prime minister "Agriculture hit by Gabbar Singh, land snatched and the (nnadatta) farmer was rendered useless. PM sahib should explain why such step-motherly treatment with the farm labour," he also said on Twitter.

Gandhi had earlier termed the Goods and Services Tax as Gabbar Singh Tax to attack the government. Under the ongoing offensive, the Congress leader is using the tagline "22 saal ka hisab, Gujarat maange jawab' (22 years of accounts, Gujarat demands answers), in the run-up to Gujarat elections starting December 9.

The Congress vice president has been tweeting to pose daily questions to the prime minister over the performance of the BJP in Gujarat and its "unkept" promises over the past 22 years of its rule in the state. -- PTI
13:23  US to begin process to move embassy to Jerusalem: Tillerson:  The US will immediately begin the process to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said, hours after President Donald Trump recognised the holy city as Israel's capital.

In a major announcement, Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital yesterday despite warnings from the Arab leaders, reversing decades of US and international policy on the holy city.

"The State Department will immediately begin the process to implement this decision by starting the preparations to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," Tillerson said.

The President Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital aligns the US presence with the reality that Jerusalem is home to Israel's legislature, Supreme Court, president's office, and prime minister's office, Tillerson said in a statement. -- PTI
12:57  No longer ashamed: Ayodhya at 25 :  In the 25 years since Ayodhya's Babri Masjid was razed, our discourse has been hauled in the opposite direction - from shuddering shame to the discarding of that shame and the adoption of audacities that undermine the fundamental underpinnings of India and its Constitution.

The grand temple hasn't moved in that time; it remains a template that awaits turning tangible. It lies unformed among millions of bricks and unfinished masonry scattered across Ayodhya; it parades the courthouses trying to rid itself of legal tangles, yet unable to leap out of their grasp and become a physicality; it remains probably the most divisive and disruptive argument we've had with ourselves since Partition.

What has come to calcify and claw its way to centre-stage during the past quarter century, though, is the idea that proposed the stunning violations of December 6, 1992. 

Read Sankarshan Thakur's column on the 25th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid yesterday.
12:46  Russian-Indian Defence Co-operation Reaches A Deadlock:  What went wrong in the military and technical co-operation between Russia and India? Read the report here.
12:45  IMA asks BCCI to consider pollution levels before deciding match venue :  The Indian Medical Association has asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India to take into account the atmospheric pollution while deciding the venue of a match.

A letter written to BCCI by KK Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association, reads, "Rain and poor light are taken into consideration while determining suitable playing conditions, so we suggest that atmospheric pollution should now also be included in the assessing criteria for a match."

The IMA letter comes after Sri Lankan players were seen wearing masks during the third and final Test game between India and Sri Lanka in the national capital's Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

The fast bowlers Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage also walked off the field after they allegedly expressed displeasure in bowling under the conditions of high levels of air pollution.

The national capital has been in news since last several days as the air quality in the Delhi-NCR region has been ranging between 'very poor' and 'severe' which has evoked ire among the citizens. -- ANI

IMAGE:  Sri Lanka fielders in masks look concerned as bowler Lahiru Gamage (kneeling, left) takes a break from bowling last week. Photograph: BCCI
12:31  EXPLAINED: Gujarat Phase I polls in 5 graphs:  The high-octane campaign for the first phase of the crucial Gujarat elections, viewed as a prestige battle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a litmus test for the leadership of soon-to-be Congress president Rahul Gandhi, will come to an end on Thursday. Here's everything you need to know about the polls -- from candidates to the constituencies -- on Take a look
12:20  India's position on Palestine is independent: MEA :  In accordance with the United States' Jerusalem move, India on Thursday stated that its position on Palestine is independent and consistent."India's position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests and not determined by any third country," Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel by the United States.

Speaking from the White House, President Donald Trump pronounced Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.In line with this announcement, the US is also shifting its embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, again becoming the first country to take such a step.

While, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has welcomed the United States' move and termed it a "historic day", the Arab world has denounced it saying that the holy city would continue to remain "eternal capital of the State of Palestine" and President Donald Trump's move has opened "the gates of hell".

Leading the charge, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a televised speech on Wednesday, said their leadership would not accept the move and announced that the US could no longer participate in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Palestine Liberation Organization echoed Abbas' comments and said they have "destroyed the two-state solution". The Palestinian Islamist group, Hamas, vociferously condemned the Trump's announcement. -- ANI

File pic: Palestinians with posters of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Palestinian flags during a rally. Photograph: Ammar Awad/Reuters
12:06  Morning after: Sensex rises over repo rate :  The benchmark BSE Sensex rose by 258.77 points in late morning deals on across the spectrum buying led by utilities, capital goods, auto, power, metal, banks and financials counters. Domestic funds got into act amid buying spree after the Reserve Bank of India kept its policy rate steady yesterday as widely expected.

The 30-share index was trading higher by 258.77 points or 0.79 per cent at 32,855.95 at 1115hrs. The broader Nifty was trading above the key 10,100-level, up by 83.25 points or 0.83 per cent at 10,127.35. Major gainers were NTPC 2.20 per cent, Maruti 2.16 per cent, Tata Steel 2.08 per cent, Bajaj Auto 1.95 per cent and L&T 1.66 per cent. -- PTI

Image: Maruti Suzuki gained 2.16 per cent
11:44  'Among India's military greats, he was the greatest':   Sam Manekshaw led the Indian Army to its greatest military victory this month 46 years ago. Lieutenant Colonel A K Shinde (retd), the field marshal's doctor for 25 years, tells's Archana Masih about the charming man behind the soldier's uniform. Step into your time capsule, right here.

IMAGE: Then General SHFJ Manekshaw with troops during the 1971 War. Photograph: Kind courtesy Major General BNBM Prasad and DPR Photo Division Archives.
11:40  Govt willing to extend Aadhaar linking deadline to March 31:   The Centre today informed the Supreme Court that it was willing to extend till March 31, 2018, the deadline fixed for mandatory linking of Aadhaar for availing various services and welfare schemes.

The Supreme Court will now be setting up a five-judge Constitution Bench next week to hear several pleas seeking an interim stay on the Centre's decision of mandatory linking of Aadhaar.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was informed by Attorney General K K Venugopal that the Centre was willing to extend the deadline of December 31 to March 31 next year for linking of Aadhaar with various services and schemes.

The Attorney General, however, made it clear that February 6 next year would remain the deadline for linking Aadhaar for availing uninterrupted mobile services as it had been mandated by the apex court.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for those who are opposed to Aadhaar scheme told the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, that the central government should give an undertaking that no coercive steps would be taken against those fail to link their Aadhaar with various services.

The apex court on October 30 had said that a Constitution Bench would commence hearing on the clutch of petitions against Aadhaar scheme from the last week of November.

Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had claimed it violated privacy rights.

The Centre had on October 25 told the top court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to receive benefits of government schemes has been extended till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have the 12-digit unique biometric identification number and were willing to enrol for it.

The Attorney General had told the court that no coercive action would be taken against those who do not have the Aadhaar card but are willing to enrol for.  He had said such people would not be denied the benefits of social welfare schemes till March 31.  -- PTI
11:34  Jama Masjid was Jamuna Devi temple, claims BJP leader :  The BJP on Thursday claimed that Delhi's Jama Masjid was originally Jamuna Devi temple. Speaking to ANI, BJP leader Vinay Katiyar said, "There were about 6000 places that were broken down by the Mughal emperors. Delhi's Jama Masjid was originally Jamuna Devi temple, similarly Taj Mahal was Tejo Mahalaya.

"Our religious places were targeted by Muslim but we have asked Ram Janambhumi, Baba Biswanath mandir in Kashi and Krishna janambhumi in Mathura. As of now we only want that Ram Temple should be built on Ram Janmbhoomi," added Katiyar.

Katiyar also targeted the Congress and Kapil Sibal, for representing the Sunni Waqf Board in the ongoing long-standing Ayodhya dispute at Supreme Court. However, Sibal yesterday refuted the allegations.

"Congress wants to build a mosque at that place but we will not let that happen. If Congress continues their efforts to build a mosque then we would charge to other 6000 places of religious importance," said Katiyar.

Sibal on Tuesday demanded for the next hearing in the case to be held only in July 2019 after the completion of the next Lok Sabha polls, citing political ramifications. This statement by the Congress leader has created uproar in the political scenario of the entire country.The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred hearing in the case for February 8, 2018. -- ANI
11:16  Honeypreet in court today:  Haryana: Honeypreet and aide Sukhdeep Kaur arrive at Panchkula District Court to appear in Panchkula violence case. Raped convict Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim's 'adopted' daughter, Honeypreet, has allegedly claimed that she had no money to hire lawyers to fight her case in the court.

Honeypreet has been arrested for her alleged role in planning the self-styled spiritual gurus escape after his arrest and for being the mastermind behind the widespread violence that erupted in Haryanas Panchkula in August following Ram Rahims conviction.
11:04  People have made up their mind to vote out BJP, says Hardik Patel:  Nobody is happy with the ruling party... there are no jobs for youth, farmers are crying, says the young Patidar leader. Read the report here.
10:55  'Fortis offered me Rs 25 lakh to stop action against them':  In a stunning allegation, Jayant Singh, father of 7-year-old Adya, who died of dengue despite being billed an exorbitant fee of Rs 18 lakh by Gurugram's Fortis Hospital, has claimed that the hospital administration offered him Rs 25 lakh in cash to prevent him from taking any legal action.

Speaking to ANI, Singh stated that not only did senior members from Fortis Hospital agreed to foot the entire bill that the family had to shell out, it even offered him money to stop the ongoing social media campaign against the hospital.

"Senior members of Fortis met me and offered me a cheque of Rs 10,37,889 refunding the entire amount,"  Singh told ANI. "They also said they will be offering me Rs 25 lakh cash on top of this, said that I will have to sign and enter into a legal agreement assuring them I will end my social media campaign and will not take legal action against them," Singh added.

Adya Singh was admitted to Fortis Hospital and put on the ventilator as soon as she was admitted and her family was being billed over a lakh rupees per day for 15 days.

Jayant alleges that he paid a sky-high amount for the branded drugs whose alternatives could have been procured for a cheaper price.

The family, hooked outside ICU waiting for their daughter to recover, was further shaken when they did not have access to doctors. 

Jayant Singh had alleged that the doctors continued her treatment in the ICU, in full knowledge that her condition had deteriorated beyond cure, and the family was charged with a hefty bill.

After the patient's death, the hospital also denied an ambulance for the deceased child and refused to give a death certificate citing that the rule of Leaving Against Medical Advice (LAMA) was applicable in this case. The family was also told to get a death certificate from another hospital, alleged the father.

Jayant's wife, who was pregnant at the time of Adya's hospitalisation, suffered a miscarriage due to the shock of her daughter's death. Jayant had decided to file a lawsuit against Fortis Hospital for the unimaginable trauma and mental harassment. -- ANI
10:41  Is this the end of the road for Adanis Australian megamine?:  Adani's operations in Australia appear to be hanging on by a thread, as activists prove effective at undermining the company's chances of getting the finance it needs. China seems to have ruled out funding for the mine, which means it's not just Adani's proposed Carmichael coalmine that is under threat, but also its existing Abbot Point coal terminal, behind the Great Barrier Reef.  Read more
10:38  'My God! He was the most handsome man I had seen':  "When I met him for the first time, it was when he visited the location of my first Hindi film Kashmir Ki Kali. I was shooting the song Isharon Isharon Mein with Shashi's brother Shammi. I couldn't concentrate on my romantic poses with Shammi. Director Shakti Samanta had to ask Shashi to leave."

Sharmila Tagore on her friend and co-star Shashi Kapoor. Do read
10:09  Position on Palestine not determined by any third country: India:  
Reacting to the US' announcement recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, India today said its position on Palestine is independent, consistent and not determined by any third country.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India's position on Palestine is shaped by its own views and interests and not determined by any third country. 

"India's position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country," he said responding to a query regarding India's position on recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the US.

US President Donald Trump had yesterday recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital, reversing decades of US and international policy on the holy city.

-- PTI 
10:05  Greatly troubled about recent cricket match: IMA writes to BCCI:  
The Indian Medical Association has lashed out at Board of Control for Cricket in India after the mask-gate controversy that hit the Delhi Test between India and Sri Lanka.

The IMA in a letter said that levels of pollutants in the air in Delhi are unhealthy and pose a threat to all.

The letter stated, "Greatly troubled about the recent cricket match between India and Sri Lanka in Delhi played under conditions of high levels of air pollution.

"Air pollution also reduces performance of the athletes. In a situation where milliseconds and millimetres often determine success of athletes, air pollution can be an important factor in affecting their performance."

The sports governing body declined to comment. Indias powerful cricket board accused Sri Lanka of making a big fuss, pointing to Indian skipper Virat Kohli who hit a record sixth Test double century despite the smog.

But the US embassy website also urged Delhi residents to avoid all outdoor exertion as concentrations of the smallest and most harmful airborne pollutants known as PM2.5 soared to hazardous levels.
09:19  China says Indian drone 'invaded' its airspace and crashed:  
An Indian drone has invaded Chinas airspace and crashed, Chinese state media said Thursday, months after the neighbours ended one of their worst border standoffs in decades.

The Indian move violated Chinas territorial sovereignty. We strongly express our dissatisfaction and opposition, Xinhua news agency cited the deputy director of the armys western theatre combat bureau, Zhang Shuili, as saying.

Zhang did not give details about when or where the incident happened.

Chinese border troops took a professional and responsible attitude and carried out identification verification of the device, Zhang added.

Indian and Chinese troops were in a face-to-face situation near the Sikkim sector of the international border after the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army tried to build a road in Doklam in mid-June.

While India and Bhutan said that it violated the status quo along the India-Bhutan-China international trijunction, Beijing claimed that it was Chinas territory.

Indias army chief said in September that his country could not afford to be complacent and must be prepared for war.
09:10  The story behind the woman you dont see on TIMEs Person of the Year cover:  
The faces of five women, including celebrities Taylor Swift and Ashley Judd, appear on TIMEs 2017 Person of the Year cover, representing the The Silence Breakers the thousands of people across the world who have come forward with their experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

But on the lower right-hand corner of the cover, theres simply an arm, cropped at the shoulder. It belongs to an anonymous young hospital worker from Texas a sexual harassment victim who fears that disclosing her identity would negatively impact her family.

Read full story HERE
09:04  Russia election: Putin to run again for president:  
Russia's Vladimir Putin has said he will seek another term as president in next year's election.

He made the announcement in a speech to workers at a car factory in the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod.

"I will put forward my candidacy for the post of president of the Russian federation," he said.

Putin has been in power since 2000, either as president or prime minister. If he wins the March election he will be eligible to serve until 2024.

Putin is popular with many Russians, who see him as a strong leader who has restored Russia's global standing with a decisive military intervention in the Syrian civil war and Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
08:04  Opinion polls show BJP winning Gujarat again, but by smaller margin:  
Opinion polls ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections show the BJP getting 105-106 of the state's 182 seats, well over the halfway mark of 92 the party needs to form government a fifth consecutive time, but a smaller margin of victory than last time.  

The aggregate of three opinion polls shows the Congress settling for the opposition benches again with 73-74 seats. 

The India TV opinion poll predicts that the BJP will get between 106 and 116 seats, the upper end of which range will mean the party equalling its tally last time. The Times Now survey shows the BJP getting 111 seats while the ABP-CSDS opinion poll predicts the lowest tally for Gujarat's ruling party at between 91 and 99 seats. 

All three opinion polls show the Congress bettering last time's performance, with India TV predicting that the party will win between 63 and 73 seats, Times Now giving it 68 seats and the ABP-CSDS poll showing a close battle, predicting the Congress will get 78-86 seats. 
00:12  Sherin's foster dad removed her body along with a bag of trash: Detective:  Police in Dallas have shared new details about the mysterious death of Indian toddler Sherin Mathews, alleging that her Indian-American foster father bundled her 'stiff and cold' body in the back of his car with a bag of trash and hid her corpse in a culvert.

Three-year-old Sherin was found dead in the culvert about 1 km from her home in suburban Dallas on October 22 by a cadaver dog during a massive search for the missing toddler.

Wesley Mathews, the adoptive father initially told police that Sherin disappeared overnight after he ordered her to stand outside their home at about 3 am on October 7 for not drinking her milk.

When he returned to the spot, Wesley said she had disappeared.

After Sherin's body was discovered after a search that lasted over two weeks, he changed his story and told police that she died after choking while he was forcing her to drink her milk.

Authorities in Dallas are still waiting on scientific testing to come back, including the autopsy.

New details surrounding Sherin's death emerged yesterday during the custody hearing of Wesley and Sini Mathews' 3- year-old biological daughter, who was taken away by US Child Protection Services after Sherin's disappearance.

Richardson police detective Jules Farmer testified that Wesley, 37, told them that Sherin died choking on milk that he forced her to drink.    

Farmer said that Wesley was forcing her to drink milk from a bottle while she was in the garage and he said that she was standing up when she choked.

The detective said he questioned Wesley how she could choke while standing up. Wesley then told the detective that Sherin stopped breathing, but he never called emergency number 911 or summoned his wife Sini, who is a nurse, for help.

He admitted to moving her body from the home.

He reportedly turned off the location tracking on his phone when he is believed to have taken Sherin's body to the culvert.

Farmer also said Sherin's body was "stiff and cold" when Wesley decided to dispose of the body.  -- PTI

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