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September 14, 2017

23:53  US Treasury announces new Iran sanctions:  The United States on Thursday announced economic sanctions on 11 individuals and companies accused of supporting Iran's Revolutionary Guards or engaging in hostile cyber attacks on US banks, the Treasury Department announced.

The move came the same day the White House was expected to announce an extension of sanctions relief under a landmark 2015 deal on Iran's nuclear program, which was negotiated by the prior Obama administration. Trump has criticised the agreement but maintained it so far.  -- Agencies

IMAGE: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
23:19  5-yr-old's rape in school: Probe handed over to Crime Branch:  The probe into the alleged rape of a five-year-old girl in a school in Gandhi Nagar has been transferred to the Crime Branch, police today said.

The development comes after the Delhi government wrote to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal in this regard yesterday.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had received complaints through Gandhi Nagar MLA Anil Bajpai about alleged 'inaction' by the authorities concerned.

The minister then wrote to Baijal demanding transfer of the case from local police to the Crime Branch for a fair and transparent probe. Baijal spoke to Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik yesterday.

Subsequently, the case was transferred from Shahdara district police to the Crime Branch last night, an officer said on the condition of anonymity.

The girl was allegedly raped by a peon on the premises of a private school in Shahdara in New Delhi last week.

The accused was arrested the same day.

A senior officer of the Crime Branch said the unit will probe whether there were lapses on the school's part. It will also probe the charge that a teacher asked the girl and her parents not to report the matter to police.

The Delhi government had recently ordered a magisterial probe into the alleged rape of the girl.

Following the rape incident, Patnaik had instructed all district deputy commissioners of police to ensure that schools in their areas have adequate security measures in place.  -- PTI
23:01  Ahmedabad serial blasts mastermind among 3 arrested in Bihar:  The alleged mastermind of the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts and two of his associates have been arrested here, police said today.

Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) S K Singhal identified the suspected mastermind as Tausif Khan, a resident of Ahmedabad and aged around 35 years.

Earlier, the Gaya police had identified him as Tausheek Ahmad.

Gaya Senior Superintendent of Police Garima Mallik said that the Gujarat ATS had been informed about the arrest and a team was being sent to Gaya.

Mallik said the man's original name is Tausif Khan and that he has been living in Gaya under the name of 'Atiq Sir'.

Mallik said Tausif Khan and his associate Sanaah Khan were arrested from outside a cyber cafe in Rajendra Ashram locality in Gaya town last night.

The owner of the cyber cafe Anurag Basu, who also runs a monthly magazine in Gaya, found the two making some objectionable posts on social media and tipped off the police, deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Alok Kumar Singh said.

The arrests were made by a police team with the help of Basu and some locals, he said, adding that on the basis of information gathered from the two, Shahber Khan of Shahdeo Khap village was arrested for giving shelter to Tausif.

Sanaah Khan hails from Shahdeo Khap village of Gaya.

Singhal said Tausif and Sanaah culled information on ISIS from the internet and emailed some parts to a few parliamentarians, among others.

Bihar ATS Inspector General of Police Sunil Kumar Jha said officers of National Investigation Agency, Research and Analysis Wing, ATS, Intelligence Bureau and Bihar Police were questioning the three at Delha police station of Gaya.

The DSP said that during interrogation it emerged that Tausif, who has been staying in Gaya under the name of 'Atiq Sir', is a B.Tech in computer and electronics from D Y Patil University in Maharashtra.

He has been visiting Gaya since 2009 and staying at Shahdeo Khap village at a shelter provided by Shahber Khan.

He was teaching maths and science to students in a school at Shahdeo Khap village. He also presented the teachings of Islam 'in a wrong way' to arouse anti-national feelings among his pupils, the DSP claimed.

During interrogation, Tausif revealed the names of more than 12 youths who had been associated with him, the DSP claimed.

Jha of the Bihar ATS said the cyber cafe owner and the local police who apprehended him would be rewarded.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Ahmedabad blasts prime accused Tausheek Ahmad arrested in Gaya on Thursday. Photograph: PTI Photo
22:14  Centre nixes reports saying it asked SC not to interfere in Rohingya issue:  Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Thursday said that the Centre has not filed any affidavit in the Supreme Court in regard to the Rohingyas matter.

"We have not filed any affidavit yet on Rohingyas," Rijiju told the media.

Earlier, it was reported that the Centre has filed an affidavit in the apex court, stating that 'Rohingyas are a threat to national security'.

It was reported that the government told the Supreme Court that Rohingyas are a threat to national security, have links with terror groups and are likely to be used by the Islamic State.

The reports also quoted that government as saying that 'national interest warrants their deportation' and the court should not 'interfere' in the proceedings.

New Delhi had earlier decided to send consignments of humanitarian assistance to Dhaka, in response to the humanitarian crisis being faced on account of the large influx of refugees into Bangladesh.

As per reports, on August 9, the government had told the Parliament that according to available data, more than 14,000 Rohingyas, registered with the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, are presently staying in India. -- ANI
21:50  No clear lead yet in Gauri Lankesh murder case:  Ten days after the cold-blooded murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, the Special Investigation Team probing the case is yet to get any clear lead into the killing that had sparked outrage across the country.

The Karnataka government today said it does not want to share any details pertaining to the killing of the journalist,who was gunned down at her residence by unidentified assailants on September 5 night.

"Right now, we don't want to share anything with the media. We don't want to discuss the FSL report, for now," Home Minister Ramlinga Reddy told reporters in Bengaluru.

There were reports that the SIT would today receive the Forensic Science Laboratory report that would, among other things, also indicate the type of weapon used in the crime.

The SIT has said that it was also looking into whether any right-wing organisation was involved or was it the handiwork of Naxals, who were unhappy with the efforts of Gauri to bring them into the mainstream.

The journalist's brother Indrajit Lankesh was questioned by the SIT yesterday, based on a complaint filed by Gauri in 2005 accusing him of threatening her with a gun over a property dispute.

Indrajit had earlier said, "Every angle has to be probed whether it is right-wing extremists or Naxalites... it has to be probed as Gauri was rehabilitating naxals..."

A 21-member SIT headed by IGP (Intelligence) B K Singh is probing the case and the state government has also announced a Rs 10 lakh reward to anyone providing clues about the killing. -- PTI
21:28  Cow smugglers kill BSF man near Bangla border:  A Border Security Force personnel was killed near the Indo-Bangladesh border in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas today when he tried to stop a mini truck smuggling cows across the border.

Superintendent of police P Sudhakar said Tushar Kanti Das of BSF 64 Battalion had spotted the mini-truck at Gaighata in the morning and had given it a chase on a cycle along with a local.

He was hit fatally by the fleeing truck and was rushed to a local hospital, which declared him brought dead.

The truck also hit against a wayside shop while speeding away and the driver jumped down and escaped.

The helper was caught by the locals and handed over to the police.

The truck with four cows was seized by the police, Sudhakar added.  -- PTI
20:50  Three Haryana cops arrested for 'conspiring to free Ram Rahim':  The Haryana Police on Thursday said it has arrested three policemen who allegedly conspired to help Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh escape after his conviction.

The policemen -- two head constables and a constable -- were part of the Dera chief's security detail during his appearance before a Central Bureau of Investigation court which held him guilty of raping two of his followers.

The cops were arrested in Panchkula where they were called to join the investigation, said Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police Manbir Singh.

They have been booked under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, including the sedition charge, said Singh.

"We have arrested three Haryana policemen who were part of the Dera sect chief's security on August 25," he said.

They have been in arrested in connection with the conspiracy to free Ram Rahim on August 25 after he was convicted by the Special CBI Court in Panchkula, he added.

The DCP said Head Constable Amit, Head Constable Rajesh and Constable Rajesh 'were produced in the local court today and have been remanded in police custody for three days'.

The Haryana police had dismissed five policemen who were also part of the Dera chief's security detail.

Besides them, three cops from the Punjab police had also been arrested.  -- PTI
20:03  Rs 5 cr reward for cops who worked during Aug 29 Mumbai deluge:  As a mark of appreciation, the Maharashtra government has decided to give Rs 5 crore reward to police personnel who worked untiringly during the deluge of August 29 to ensure safety of citizens and for the good work done in the last few months.

The government has also lauded the work done by the police for maintaining communal harmony during the recently concluded Ganeshotsav (August 25 to September 5) and Bakrid (September 2) festivals.

The home department has issued a government resolution in this regard today, a senior police official said.

The reward amount will be distributed amongst the personnel belonging to the ranks of police constables and assistant police sub inspectors, he said.

While giving the reward to these police personnel, the work performed by them between the period of August 25 to September 5 will be taken into consideration, he added.

In the last week of August, flood like situation occurred due to the torrential rains in the city and suburbs.

Several people were stuck on the roads due to water logging in many places.

Mumbai Police, who were on the road during the rains helped people reach their destinations safely.

It was due to the untiring work by police that hundreds of lives were saved in time, the official said. During the period of Ganesh festival (August 25 to September 5) and Bakrid (September 2) the police personnel also worked hard to ensure peace and communal harmony, he said.

The reward of Rs 5 crore announced by the home department is in recognition of the good work done by the police personnel in the last few months, the official said.

The amount will be handed over to the office of the Director General of Police and the DGP will distribute it to the concerned unit commanders, he said. -- PTI

Photograph: Sahil Salvi
19:27  Karti refuses to appear before CBI in Aircel Maxis case:  Karti Chidambaram today refused to appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Aircel Maxis case saying a special court had discharged all the accused and terminated proceedings in the matter, a claim strongly contradicted by the CBI which said that the investigation was still on.

The agency had called Karti for questioning today in connection with the foreign investment clearance given in 2006 in the Aircel Maxis deal when his father P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister.

Karti, through his lawyer, has refused to appear before the agency saying a special court had discharged 'all the accused' in the matter.

'All proceedings connected with the said (case)... were also terminated,' the response said.

The response said after the discharge of the accused and 'termination' of the proceedings, the CBI will not have jurisdiction to issue a summons in connection with the case.

The CBI strongly contradicted claims of Karti saying only four, including two companies, of the eight charge-sheeted accused were discharged by the special court and the agency has already filed an appeal against the order in the Delhi high court in May this year.

"FIR RC-22(A)/2011-DLI has not been quashed by the court and further investigation under 173(8) of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) is continuing," CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said on Thursday.

He said two Malaysian nationals and two Malaysian companies who were charge sheeted by the CBI in the matter did not appear before the special court and warrants were issued against the individuals.

"Court proceedings are still pending. Request has been placed before the Interpol for issuance of Red Notices against the two Malaysian national," Dayal said.

The CBI sources said all the options are open before them in the matter.

They said that examination also gives suspects a chance to put forth their case before the agency.

The investigation into alleged irregularities in granting foreign investment approval to Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd for investment in Aircel is still going on, the CBI sources said.

They said the agency is also looking into investments made by firms controlled by Karti Chidambaram into Aircel while the FIPB clearance issue was under the consideration of the Finance Ministry.

In August 2014, the CBI had charge-sheeted former Telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi, Malaysian business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan, Malaysian national Ralph Marshall and four firms-- Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd, South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd, Maxis Communication Berhad and ASTRO All Asia Network PLC.

In an order on February 2 this year, the special CBI court had discharged Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi, Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd and South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd saying the charges were without any 'legal basis'.

The court order, however, did not have any effect on the two accused Malaysian nationals -- Ralph Marshall and T Ananda Krishnan -- in the CBI's case as the court has already segregated the proceedings against them from that of Maran brothers and others.

Both had not appeared before the court.

The CBI had challenged the order of discharge in the Delhi high court on May 11 this year.

P Chidambaram, in a statement in 2014, had dismissed the allegations against him saying the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance was granted in due course.  -- PTI
19:04  NGT refuses to lift ban on 10-yr-old diesel cars in Delhi-NCR:  
A decade old diesel vehicles will now have to go off the roads with the National Green Tribunal today declining to lift its ban on them in Delhi-NCR, noting that emissions from diesel vehicles were carcinogenic.
The green panel said the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises has failed to prove that the use of 10 year old vehicles will not be harmful to the health of people.
It also said that a report of the pollution monitoring body has declared that one new diesel car is equivalent to 24 petrol and 84 new CNG cars on road.
Refusing to recall its order directing deregistration of old diesel vehicles, the green tribunal said the Ministry's plea seeking modification of the NGT direction was not maintainable and liable to be rejected at the threshold.
A bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar also junked the government's plea on the ground that the Supreme Court has rejected similar appeals challenging the ban on vehicles and the orders passed by this Tribunal had reached "logical end and finality."
"Undisputedly, the applicant (Centre) had failed to substantiate before passing of the order dated April 7, 2015 that use of diesel vehicles of more than 10 years will not be detrimental to the health of people and further failed to negate statistical information that the particulate matter level in vehicular emissions consequent to diesel as fuel was scientifically proved to be carcinogenic, leading to fatality and undetectable setback in health shortening the life span...," the bench said.
Referring to a report published by the Central Pollution Control Board, the green body said the use of diesel in vehicles was highly toxic carcinogenic and leads to untimely fatality.
"The report speaks loudly, that it is the most harmful of the exhaust emissions which release particulate emission, that is carcinogenic. The report declares one new diesel car is equivalent to 24 petrol cars and 84 new CNG cars on road," the tribunal said.
The bench which delivered the judgement also comprised Justices Jawad Rahim and R S Rathore and expert member B S Sajwan.
18:56  Act against 26/11 accused: PM Modi, Abe tell Pak:  
Stressing on "zero tolerance" against terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe called upon all countries to work towards rooting out terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting their networks and financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists, in an apparent reference to Pakistan.

After jointly inaugurating work on India's first bullet train, Modi and Abe held summit talks and signed 15 agreements to enhance strategic partnership, agreeing to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region where China is increasingly assertive. 

A joint statement said India and Japan also agreed to strengthen cooperation against terror groups like Al Qaeda, ISIS and Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Tayiba, calling upon Islamabad to act against those behind 2008 Mumbai terror attack and Pathankot.
18:26  Cong leader Huda may form new party :  Haryana Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda is has been canoodling with the Prime Minister's Office, our sources tell us. Hooda is all set to launch a regional party, which may support the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. It is believed that Huda and the Prime Minister had three rounds of meetings.

While the question being asked is whether Sonia or Rahul Gandhi know of this, the fact remains that the Haryana Congress is in crisis like the Bihar Congress.

In fact, the Prime Minister on spotting Huda in the Central Hall of Parliament recently, loudly  called out to him, saying, 'Hudabhai, how are you!"

The CBI and the ED are conducting a probe into Robert Vadra's land deals and the fear is that the Huda may turn approver.

18:15   Following the killing of Abu Ismail, mobile internet services have been blocked in Srinagar.
17:50  Abu Ismail, mastermind behind attack on Amarnath yatris, killed:  
Top Lashkar-e-Taiyba commander Abu Ismail, responsible for the attack on a bus carrying Amarnath Yatra pilgrims in July that left eight dead and several injured, has been killed in an encounter.

"LeT terrorist Abu Ismail of Pakistan along with his accomplice killed in Nowgam. Huge achievement for police and SF (security forces)," Jammu and Kashmir police official said.

According to the official, the encounter ensued after government forces cordoned off the area following inputs about the presence of terrorists.

More details are awaited. 
17:19  ISIS may use Rohingyas, don't interfere in deportation: Centre to SC:  
Rohingyas are a threat to national security, have links with terror groups and are likely to be used by the Islamic State, the Central government told the Supreme Court today. 

The government also said "national interest warrants their deportation" and the court should not "interfere" in the proceedings.

There are intelligence inputs that some Rohingyas are linked with terror groups, the government said. These groups are very active in Jammu, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mewat.

The National Democratic Alliance-led central government had on August 9 told the parliament that more than 14,000 Rohingyas, registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, were at present staying in India.

However, sources claim that around 40,000 Rohingyas are illegally staying in the country, largely in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR region and Rajasthan.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, had earlier said the Rohingyas were "illegal immigrants" and stand to be deported. He added that India had absorbed the maximum number of refugees in the world.
16:43  Just In: 3 Bangladeshi youths, suspected to have links with banned extremist group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), arrested in Lucknow, says IG, ATS, Asim Arun.
16:43  DAVP takes action against 52 newspapers:   Following the Press Council's censure of various publications, for reasons ranging from 'paid news' to 'irresponsible, mala fide reporting', the Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity has decided to take action against 52 publications.   

Accordingly, those that have been empanelled with it have been suspended for two months, while others that are not empanelled with the DAVP will not be eligible for the same for two months.   

Among the publications are Times of India (reason: aggrieved by a news item and not willing to admit mistake), Dinakaran (for paid news), and Dainik Jagran (cast severe insinuation against complainant and no justification for publication of impugned news item).   

You can see the complete list here.
16:02  Boost for Dinakaran: Madras HC stays TN floor test till Sep 20:  Madras High Court orders no floor test be conducted in Tamil Nadu assembly till September 20.   

Court passes the interim order after apprehensions by DMK and TTV Dinakaran camp about the possible disqualification of 19 dissident AIADMK MLAs by the Speaker.
15:57  Farmers in Palghar protest against bullet train project:  Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe today launched the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project, farmers from Boisar in Palghar district protested against the project fearing acquisition of their lands. The farmers, who held the demonstration outside Boisar railway station, said they will be ruined if their agricultural lands are acquired for the project.
15:50  Fix this first: Mumbai reacts to bullet train :  The announcement of Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train has received mixed reactions from people in Mumbai, but they were unanimous in their demand for reforms in the city's local trains over the introduction of a bullet train.

One Mumbaikar was of the opinion that bringing bullet trains when local trains and platforms are already in poor condition, was a wrong move and would increase debts.

With local trains being the primary mode of commute for people, other Mumbaikars too spoke on similar lines.

"It isn't very beneficial to the common man as the fare will be similar to that of flight," said Ranjit Chauhan.

However, some welcomed the new venture, and were optimistic about its service.

"In terms of saving time, it is good, especially for businessmen, but local trains and the Indian Railways also need reforms at the same time. The government should take care of that," said Bharat.

He was hopeful that the government will make provisions to make tickets for the bullet train affordable to general public, and added that it will prove beneficial to those, who can't afford flight tickets.

The government of India has launched a joint project with Japan to introduce a bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The duration of the commute will be three hours.
15:40  NPAs to touch 10.5% by March as banks recognise entire stress:  Crisil Ratings today said banks have only recognised two-thirds of their stressed loans as non-performing assets, and estimated the bad loan ratio to rise by 1 percentage point to 10.5 per cent by March 2018.

The 9.5 per cent NPA figure for March 2017 includes only two-thirds of the overall stressed assets, it said. The agency said it estimates the total amount of stressed loans, which includes NPAs and standard assets that are under pressure currently and could deteriorate into NPAs, to be at Rs 11.5 trillion or 14 per cent of the system.
15:17  Bullet train should run between Delhi, Kolkata: Akhilesh:  Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav today said the Narendra Modi government should have launched the bullet train project for New Delhi-Kolkata route.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe today launched India's first bullet train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said they have initiated the bullet train project. It's very costly. The fare will be known only when it gets started. "In my opinion, it should have been between New Delhi and Kolkata passing through Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which have maximum number of unemployed and poor," Yadav said.

The former UP chief minister's comments came hours after the launch of the ambitious Rs 1.10 lakh crore Mumbai- Ahmedabad bullet train project which will cut travel time between the two cities from seven hours to less than three. The project, covering the 508-km stretch, is expected to be completed by 2022.  -- PTI
14:56  Madras High Court says no floor test in Tamil Nadu till September 20.
14:43  NIA picks up young Kashmiri photo journalist:  Kamran Yousuf has been in the National Investigation Agency's custody for a week without any charges being brought against him. Read more
14:30  India's Rohingya relief flight reaches Bangladesh:  An Indian Air Force plane carrying the consignment of Op Insaniyat, humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh, reached Chittagong today. The consignment is relief assistance for the lakhs of Rohingya refugees who have fled the violence in Myanmar's Rakhine province for Bangladesh.

"In response to the humanitarian crisis being faced on account of the large influx of refugees into Bangladesh, government of India has decided to extend assistance to Bangladesh,' the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a press release, announcing the commencement of Operation Insaniyat.

The relief material consists of rice, pulses, sugar, salt, cooking oil, tea, ready-to-eat noodles, biscuits and mosquito nets, among other things.The Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Shringla is in Chittagong to meet the relief flight.

"India has always responded readily and swiftly to any crisis in Bangladesh, in keeping with the close ties of friendship between the people of India and Bangladesh. India stands ready to provide any assistance required by the government of Bangladesh in this hour of need,' the MEA said in the press release.

Image: Food aid from India,  marked 'Janaganer Uphaar Swaroop' (Gift from the people) reaches Bangladesh.
13:00  NGT refuses to lift ban on 10-year-old diesel vehicles in Delhi-NCR.
12:56  August wholesale inflation at 4-month high:  India's wholesale inflation rises.

Inflation grew at 3.24 percent during August, higher from 1.88 percent in July, primarily because of an increase in food and vegetable prices, reports

The commerce ministry said that, while the prices of pulses continued to fall owing to a supply glut, there was a rise in certain food items, which led to a rise in inflation.

Wholesale inflation rate is a marker for price movements in bulk buys for traders and broadly mirrors trends in shop-end prices.

Vegetable index is up 8.6 percent. Similarly, food articles became dearer, growing at 5.75 percent from 2.15 percent in July. Food inflation came in at 4.41 percent as against 2.15 percent month-on-month.
12:41  Bullet train not a common man's dream: Sena:  Slamming the bullet train project, NDA ally Shiv Sena today said the project was not a dream of the common man but that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece 'Saamana', sought to know if the Ahmedabad-Mumbai high speed train project really fits into the needs of the country. The criticism came on a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone of India's first bullet train project in Ahmedabad.

"We are getting a bullet train without asking for it. We do not know exactly which problem will this problem solve," the Sena said.

"(Former Prime Minister) Pandit (Jawaharlal) Nehru laid the foundation of several projects, from Bhakra Nangal to Bhaba Atomic Research Centre, to ensure the country advances in technology and science. All these projects were needed for the nation. Does this bullet train fit into the needs of the country?" the ally asked. Out of the estimated Rs 1,08,000 crore cost of the project, at least Rs 30,000 crore would have to be shelled out by the Maharashtra government, it said.

"The demands for loan waiver of farmers were being made since many years. Nobody sought a bullet train. Modi's dream is not of the common man but of the rich and industrialists," said the Sena, which is an ally of the BJP in Maharashtra and at the Centre.

Those saying that this project will create employment were speaking false, because Japan will bring everything required, right from the machinery to labourers from there for the project, the editorial said.

The high-speed train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai is expected to be completed by 2022. The train is expected to cut the journey time from the current six hours to less than three hours. Of the 508-km route and 12 stations of the bullet train, 120 km and four stations will fall in Maharashtra. -- PTI
12:36  Wholesale inflation rises to 3.24% for the month of August from 1.88% for the month of July
12:08  Ryan murder: Gardener held, just 3 days left for chargesheet:  The Gurgaon Police has detained the Ryan International School gardener and key witness in the school boy murder case, Harpal Singh and is likely to arrests some more persons in connection with the case, a senior SIT officer said.

The Gurgaon Police's Special Investigation Team detained the gardener yesterday.

"The SIT does not want to leave out a single piece of evidence which can be important and work as a key breakthrough for us to solve this case. With three days left for submission of chargesheet in court, we have got possible positive leads against the accused school bus conductor Ashok Kumar," a senior SIT officer told PTI.

SIT teams yesterday searched the school here for clues to the crime while a CBSE panel also inspected the premises to examine loopholes in security arrangements.

Besides Harpal Singh, the SIT has questioned 17 persons including section inchage-Anju Dudeja, suspended acting principal-Neerja Batra, former principal Rakhi Verma, bus driver Saurabh Raghav, bus contractor Harkesh Pradhan and eight security guards.

The officer said questioning of all suspects who are on the police radar whether it is the suspended school principal, senior management officials, or staff members, is being conducted.

"Some more arrests are likely to be made," he said. The seven-year-old boy was found with his throat slit in the washroom of the school on Friday last.
-- PTI
11:39  PM meets Keshubhai Patel ahead of bullet train launch:  Just ahead of flagging off the bullet train project, the PM visited former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel at his residence in Gandhinagar to condole the death of his son Pravin Patel. Pravin (60) died of cardiac arrest in the US.
11:29  Bullet train should not be India's priority, says Congress :  The Congress on Thursday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the launch of the bullet train, saying that the latter is getting involved more in photo opportunities and is getting carried away from the important issues that need to be discussed with Japan.

Congress leader Anand Sharma told ANI that the strategic partnership between Japan and India is very important, which should not be wasted on a 'misplaced priority'.

"Our prime minister should not limit it to the photo opportunity and theatrics. There are serious issues on the agenda. Prime Minister Modi has misplaced the priority. The bullet train is not India's priority," Sharma said.

He added that several important agreements were signed between India and Japan during the UPA Government, which were of utmost importance and the prime minister should take them forward rather than what he's doing now.

"He is seeking to use this opportunity just to impress Shinzo Abe. This is the time to show result as to where we are," he said.

On the Ahmedabad-Mumbai route, total 12 stations have been proposed that include Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.

The distance of 508 km will be covered in two hours and seven minutes by the bullet train if it stops at four stations namely Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Mumbai.According to the railway ministry officials, the operating speed of the bullet train will be 320 kilometers per hour and the maximum speed will be 350 kilometers per hour.  -- ANI
11:16  To put scams into perspective, the Bullet train project costs Rs 1.1 lakh crore, while the 2G scam, three years ago, was Rs 1.63 lakh crore.
10:59  Bullet train is Japan's gift to India: PM:  Prime Minister Modi, along with visiting Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, launched work on India's first bullet train at Ahmedabad this morning.

Calling Japan a 'true friend', PM Modi told the cheering crowd of nearly 10,000, that the "bullet train will bring both speed and jobs to the country".
PM Modi speaking at the bullet train launch

Highlights of his speech:

"I want to congratulate you, the way you welcomed a world leader, Japan PM, our friend, my personal friend  yesterday.

"The transport system is of prime importance for a nation's development. I thank my friend Shinzo Abe; he took personal interest and assured that there should be no glitches in the project.

"Now next generation growth will happen at places where there are high speed corridors. If one says take a loan and  return it in 50 years, is it believable?  But Japan is such a friend. The Bullet Train is Japan's gift to India. They gave us a loan of Rs 88,000 cr at 0.1% interest.

"The Bullet train will bring you from Aapnu Amdavad to Amchi Mumbai. The area between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will become single economic zone."

10:44  Shekhar Gupta @ShekharGupta Mocking bullet train echoed our chronic fear of scale. Delhi Metro also faced "but-what-about-the-poor, can-we-afford/do-we-need-it" doubts
10:34  Jai Japan, Jai India: Abe :  Japan PM Shinzo Abe speaking at the launch of the bullet train project, starts his address with a "Namaskar".

"I'm grateful that Japan got the opportunity to build the first Bullet Train in India. It's a historic day, a beginning of new chapter. I am extremely happy. Two years ago a decision was taken for this project. India and Japan are key partners," Abe says.

He speaks about how Japan decided to start a high-speed rail and how the project changed Japan in various ways. More than 100 Japanese engineers are in India for success of this high speed railway project.

He ends his speech saying, "I wish that when I come here next I come with PM Modi in a Shinkansen (Bullet Train)." He ends his speech with a Jai India, Jai Japan.
10:21  PM, Abe launch India's 1st bullet train project :   Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be joined by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when they launch the ambitious Ahmedabad-Mumbai high speed bullet train project in a few moments from now.

The two leaders are at the venue where the bhoomi pujan will be conducted will lay the foundation stone of the project which is expected to be completed by 2022 at an estimated cost of Rs 1.10 lakh crore.

The train would cover the distance of over 500 km in around two hours. Japan has extended a soft loan for the ambitious project conceptualised by PM Modi.

Railway minister Piyush Goyal and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis at the venue. Fadnavis says he is proud that India's first bullet train will connect Mumbai with Ahmedabad.

Image: PM Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe launch the Bullet Train project.
10:16  The Mumbai-Ahmedabad route is expected to have 35 trains per day. This might increase to 105 by 2050. The trains are set to run at a speed of 320-350 kilometres per hour and will cover 12 stations -- Bandra Kurla Complex, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.
10:07  Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani speaking now.
09:52  Sangh red flags DUSU loss :  The RSS has alerted the BJP to credible signs of a shift in the public mood over the performance of the government in spite of the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources said today.

On the basis of feedback from various frontal organisations, the RSS has raised red flags on the economic slowdown, job losses and dismal job creation, the failure of demonetisation to throw up immediate results and unrest among farmers.

The Sangh has told government managers that its cadres on the ground have noticed common people starting to discuss these issues and ask uncomfortable questions, the sources said.  Read more
09:49  Pehlu Khan lynching: Probe against gau rakshaks closed:  The Rajasthan Police have closed investigations into six people named by dairy farmer Pehlu Khan before his death in a mob attack in April, Hindustan Times reports.

The police have cleared the six men -- three of whom are linked to Hindu right-wing organisations -- based on the statements by the staff of a cow shelter as well as mobile phone records, according to the investigation report that Hindustan Times has read.

The staff of the cow shelter, Rath Gaushala, has maintained that the six -- Om Yadav (45), Hukum Chand Yadav (44), Sudhir Yadav (45), Jagmal Yadav (73), Naveen Sharma (48) and Rahul Saini (24) '" were present on their premises, which was about four-km from the attack site. Rath Gaushala is patronised by Jagmal Yadav.

Read the full report here.

Image: A mobile phone grab of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan being beaten by gau rakshaks. He died in hospital as a result of his injuries.
09:31  Ryan school murder: Behaviour test for teachers likely:   The CBSE yesterday asked 19,500 affiliated schools to put all their employees through a psychometric evaluation against the backdrop of the murder of a child in a Gurgaon school allegedly by its bus attendant.

If the board presses ahead with the move, the scale and sweep of the test will be unprecedented: around 10 lakh employees, including teachers, spread over 26 countries will have to be evaluated.

Psychometric tests are used to measure an individual's mental capabilities and behavioural style. The tests are designed to measure a candidate's suitability for a role based on the required personality characteristics and aptitude. The evaluation is done by a professional psychologist.  Read more
09:23  Bizarre! NOTA becomes 3rd student union in DUSU elections:  The None Of The Above option has also shined in the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) elections. In fact, it has emerged as a Third Student Union in the DUSU elections.

NOTA is a ballot option designed to allow the voter to indicate disapproval of all of the candidates in a voting system.

The Congress-backed National Students Union of India on Wednesday won two seats in the DUSU elections giving a major blow to RSS and BJP backed ABVP, which also won two seats.

The ABVP held three posts in the outgoing panel.For the post of President, NOTA stood at third position and secured 5162 votes. Winner Rocky Tuseer secured 16299 votes and runner up Rajat Choudhary got 14709 votes.

ABVP's Amit Tanwar will be replaced as Delhi University president by NSUI's Rocky Tuseer. The NSUI has won the DUSU president's post for the first time since 2012.

For the post of Secretary NOTA was in fourth position and got 7891 votes. Winner Mahamedha Nagar got 17156 votes, runner up Minakshi Meena got 14532 votes and second runner up Jai Shree got 8035 votes.For the post of Joint Secretary, NOTA was again in third position. Winner Uma Shankar got 16691 votes and runner up Avinash Yadav secured 16349 votes.

NOTA got 9028 votes.For the post of Vice President, NOTA was in fourth position. Winner Kunal Sehrawat got 16431 votes, Paarth Rana 16256 votes, Aditya Baibahav 7765 votes, and NOTA 7684 votes.

Not only this, NOTA also became students' third choice in the Jawaharlal Nehru University elections, where the Left Alliance won all the four seats by defeating ABVP. More students voted for NOTA than the NSUI.
09:17  Aung San Suu Kyi to address Myanmar next week on Rohingya crisis:  
Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi will address the crisis engulfing Rakhine state next week, in her first speech since scores were killed in violence that has sent nearly 380,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh and sullied her reputation as a defender of the oppressed.

A crackdown by Myanmar's army, launched in response to attacks by Rohingya militants on Aug 25, has pushed vast numbers of refugees from the stateless Muslim minority across the border.

Government spokesman Zaw Htay said Aung San Suu Kyi would "speak for national reconciliation and peace" in a televised address on September 19.

He said the Nobel laureate, who has been pilloried by rights groups for failing to speak up in the defence of the Rohinyga minority, would skip the United Nations General Assembly next week to tackle the crisis unfurling at home.

She was needed in Myanmar to "manage humanitarian assistance" and "security concerns" caused by the violence.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been condemned for a lack of moral leadership and compassion in the face of a crisis that has shocked the international community. Her limited comments so far have referenced a "huge iceberg of misinformation" and played down alleged atrocities against the Rohingya.
08:54  UPDATE: Modi, Abe to lay foundation stone for India's first bullet train:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will today lay the foundation stone for India's first bullet train project. 
The Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project is expected to be completed by 2022 and is likely to traverse the distance of over 500 km between the two cities in around two hours. 

The total estimated cost is Rs 1.08 lakh crore for the first rail link. 

Japan has agreed to give a soft loan to India, which will fund 81 per cent of the entire project. According to the ministry of railways, such a loan from a body such as the World Bank would carry an interest of 5-7 per cent with a repayment period of 25-35 years. However, the Japanese loan comes at an interest rate of 0.1 per cent and India can repay it over a period of 50 years. 

The two leaders will also hold the 12th Indo-Japan annual Summit meeting at Gandhinagar after which agreements will be exchanged.

Read: 'The bullet train can be Modi's legacy'
08:38  Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid makes it to Man Booker Prize shortlist:  
A tale on the global migration crisis by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid has made it to the Man Booker Prize shortlist, alongside works by American authors Paul Auster (4321), Emily Fridlund (History of Wolves) and George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo), and British authors Ali Smith (Autumn) and Fiona Mozley (Elmet).

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Arundhati Roys first novel in 20 years, that was on the Booker longlist is out of the race.

The judges lauded  Hamids emotionally intelligent, clear, crisp Exit West. The protagonists were two of the many millions of people ready to sacrifice what they have for what they might gain, even as they recognise what theyre losing, said Baroness Lola Young, head of the judging panel.

Hamid is the author of three other novels, Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, as well as a collection of essays Discontent and Its Civilizations.

Read: Mohsin Hamid's to Rediff in 2013: 'It's not my job to defend Pakistan'
08:14  Coach of Rajdhani Express derails in Delhi:  A coach of Jammu Tawi-New Delhi Rajdhani Express derailed today at the New Delhi Railway station in the national capital, but no one was injured in the incident, a Northern Railway spokesperson said.

The incident took place around 6.00 am when the train was entering the platform, the spokesperson said. Nobody was injured in the incident, the official said.

The incident is the latest in a series of rail accidents in this month.

On September 7, seven coaches of Jabalpur-bound Shaktipunj Express jumped the rails near the Obra Dam station in Sonbhadra district in Uttar Pradesh around 6:25 am while the engine and power car of the Ranchi-Delhi Rajdhani Express derailed near Minto Bridge in Delhi, injuring a person. Two wagons of a goods train derailed in Khandala in Maharashtra on the same day. 
07:58  Hackers take over Ryan school website as tribute to murdered student:  
A team of hackers, who call themselves Kerala Cyber Warriors, on Wednesday took down several websites linked to the Ryan International Group, which runs a chain of schools including the one in Gurugram where a 7-year-old student was murdered on Friday. 

The hackers said they had targeted the schools websites as a tribute to the victim. They posted a photo of the boy along with the message, you may be gone but you will never be forgotten.

The group hacked four websites. 

The hack came on the same day when the Bombay High Court granted relief to Augustine Francis Pinto, founder of the Ryan International School and his wife Grace Pinto, managing director of the group in connection with the murder.

In a message to the school management, the hackers said they demand justice for the boy who died because of the schools negligence. They criticised the management for alleged security lapses like no background checks, non-functioning CCTV cameras, allowing vendor staff like bus drivers and conductors into the school building and allowing others to share the students washroom. 

They signed off by saying education is not a business and left a warning message at the end - expect more such action from them in the future. 
00:27  Mallya set to return to UK court for extradition hearing today:  Embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya is set to return to court in London on Thursday for a hearing in his ongoing extradition case over economic offences in India.

The 61-year-old businessman is out on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard on behalf of the Indian authorities in April.

He had been exempt from appearing before Westminster Magistrates' Court for case management hearings by Chief Magistrate Emma Louise Arbuthnot before his trial begins on December 4.

However, his legal team had indicated to the court that Mallya, wanted in India over a default on loans worth around Rs 9,000 crores to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, likes to be present at the hearings.

"All matters are on track," official sources had confirmed to PTI in reference to the timeline set by the court for the Indian authorities -- represented by the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) -- to provide Mallya's defence team with a detailed opening note on the case.

The defence response from Mallya's legal team on the paperwork was to have been completed this week.

The CPS, arguing on behalf of the Indian government at the last hearing on July 6, had told the court that they had 'excellent cooperation' with the Indian authorities in the case and had sufficient material to establish a prima facie case for the extradition of the UB Group chief.

"We have completed a review of materials and I am happy to state that we have had excellent cooperation with the Indian authorities in this case. We are ready and willing to proceed and would invite the court to fix a hearing date at the earliest," CPS barrister Mark Summers had said.

The judge agreed with the CPS to 'progress with some rigour' and set December 4 as the start date for a final hearing in the case.

If the chief magistrate rules in favour of extradition at the end of the trial, the UK home secretary must order Mallya's extradition within two months of the appropriate day. However, the case can go through a series of appeals before arriving at a conclusion.

India and the United Kingdom have an Extradition Treaty, signed in 1992 and in force since November 1993, under which recently a Bangladeshi national wanted in the UK on murder charges was to be extradited from India.

Mohammad Abdul Shakur is accused of murdering his wife Juli Begum and two daughters in the UK in 2007 before fleeing the country.  -- PTI

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