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February 13, 2018


23:16  Trump says mulling trade sanctions against China:  United States President Donald Trump vowed today to revise a trade deal with South Korea to secure more favourable terms, while also threatening retaliatory trade sanctions against China.

"The Korea deal was a disaster," Trump told reporters as he hosted a White House meeting on trade, saying the US would negotiate a 'fair deal' or scrap it altogether.

Trump said he was also mulling trade sanctions against China, and was 'considering all options' including tariffs.

Trump's comments came a day after he singled out South Korea and China, along with Japan, over their trade surpluses with the United States, accusing them of 'getting away with murder'.  -- Agencies
22:51  Transgender seeks 'mercy killing' after Air India denies job:  A transgender has written to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking mercy killing after being denied a job as a cabin crew member in Air India.

In November last year, Shanavi Ponnuswamy had moved the Supreme Court challenging Air India's decision to deny her a job as a cabin crew member.

The apex court had issued a notice and sought responses from Air India and the Civil Aviation Ministry in four weeks.

In her letter to the President, Ponnuswamy has claimed that neither Air India nor the Ministry of Civil Aviation have responded to the Supreme Court's notice.

She writes in the letter that in the absence of a job she cannot make her ends meet and, therefore, is requesting mercy killing.

'It is clear that Indian government (is) not ready to respond on my survival issue and employment question (sic). And, I am not in a condition to pay for my daily food expenses. So, it's not at all possible to manage Supreme Court case by paying advocates etc,' states the letter posted on a Facebook page called 'Trans Rights Now Collective'.

In her letter, she claims that she has been denied her basic rights because of her gender.

Ponnuswamy writes that she had been employed with Air India as a customer support executive for a year.

Later, she underwent a surgery for gender change. Following which she applied four times over a period of two years but while she got a 'call letter' for the post of female cabin crew she was never offered the job.

She states that after several attempts to contact the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air India, she was informed that as per the carrier's recruitment policy they do not have a category for 'transwomen'.  -- PTI
22:06  Sino-India ties to be tense, Pak to continue attack: US Intel chief:   America's intelligence chief today said that he expects tensions between India and China will continue despite the negotiated settlement to their three-month border standoff in August.

"China's growth may decelerate as the property sector cools and if Beijing accelerates economic reforms. India's economy is expected to rebound after headwinds from taxation changes and demonetisation," Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, said in his testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"We expect relations between India and China to remain tense and possibly to deteriorate further, despite the negotiated settlement to their three-month border standoff in August, elevating the risk of unintentional escalation," Coats said during the hearing on 'Worldwide Threat Assessment' of the US intelligence community.

In East Asia, Coats said, China will continue to pursue an active foreign policy, 'especially in the Asia Pacific region', highlighted by a firm stance on its sovereignty claims in the East China Sea (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS), its relations with Taiwan, and its pursuit of economic engagement across the region.

China, which has been reinforcing its hold on the disputed SCS with military installations in the shoals and reclaimed islands, claims sovereignty over almost all of it.

Coats said regional tension will persist due to North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes and simmering tension over territorial and maritime disputes in the ECS and SCS.

He also warned that Pakistan-supported terrorist groups would continue to carry out attacks inside India, thus risking escalation of tension between the two neighbours.

Pakistan, in fact, will continue to threaten US interests by deploying new nuclear weapons capabilities, maintaining its ties to militants, restricting counter-terrorism cooperation, and drawing closer to China, Coats said in his testimony.

"Militant groups supported by Islamabad will continue to take advantage of their safe haven in Pakistan to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan, including against US interests," Coats said.

He said Pakistan's perception of its eroding position relative to India, reinforced by endemic economic weakness and domestic security issues, almost certainly will exacerbate long-held fears of isolation and drive Islamabad's pursuit of actions that run counter to US goals for the region.

Without specifically referring to any terrorist incident by Pakistan-based groups, Coats told the lawmakers that he expects tension between the two Asian neighbours.

"Relations between India and Pakistan are likely to remain tense, with continued violence on the Line of Control and the risk of escalation if there is another high-profile terrorist attack in India or an uptick in violence on the Line of Control," Coats said.  -- PTI

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20:40  Why were the offices set up: HC asks disqualified AAP MLAs:  "Why were the offices set up," the Delhi high court today asked the disqualified Aam Aadmi Party MLAs, who claimed they had not received any monetary benefit, perks or remuneration including official vehicles, in their capacity as parliamentary secretaries.

A bench comprising of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar said if offices were set up, it means the MLAs were overlooking the administrative functions of the ministries where they were posted.

"Why were offices set up for you (disqualified AAP MLAs)? What were you getting from that. Normally if you are given an office means you will come and sit. You will also use the infrastructure. You are sitting there, (which) virtually means you are overlooking the affairs and functioning of the ministry," the bench orally observed.

The court's observation came during the hearing of the 20 AAP legislators' pleas challenging their disqualification for holding offices of profit.

The arguments on behalf of the MLAs, which remained inconclusive, will resume February 15.

During the nearly three-hour-long hearing of the legislators' petitions, senior advocate K V Viswanathan, appearing for some of the MLAs, submitted that the Election Commission (EC) did not consider the aspect of what benefits they had derived while ruling that they held offices of profit.

The advocate said that no pecuniary benefit was received by the MLAs, while appointed as parliamentary secretaries.

Yesterday, the MLAs had claimed that they were held guilty of holding office of profit by the EC without giving them an opportunity to explain their stand.  -- PTI
19:27  Defence ministry's nod for procuring 7.40 lakh assault rifles:  The defence ministry today cleared a proposal to buy 7.40 lakh assault rifles at a cost of Rs 12,280 crore for the three services, officials said.

The decision was taken at a meeting of Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) presided over by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The defence ministry will also procure light machine guns worth Rs 1,819 crore, they said.

In other decisions, a proposal for purchase of 5,719 sniper rifles for the army at a cost of Rs 982 crore was also approved.  -- PTI
19:19  Will reply to India's aggression: Pak defence minister:  Pakistan Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir on Tuesday said the Pakistan government will respond robustly to any aggression from India's side.

Datgir's remark comes a day after his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman said Pakistan will pay for the attack on an Army base in Jammu region which claimed seven lives.

"Any Indian aggression, strategic miscalculation or misadventure regardless of its scale, mode, or location will not go unpunished and shall be met with an equal and proportionate response. We will defend robustly every inch of Pakistan's soil," Pakistan Defence Minister said.

Earlier on Monday, addressing a press briefing regarding the Sunjuwan base attack and combing operation conducted by the Indian Army, the Defence Minister repeatedly said: "Pakistan will have to pay for the misadventure." -- ANI
18:40  Soldiers paying with blood for 'opportunistic' alliance in J&K: Rahul:  Congress president Rahul Gandhi today accused the Centre of having a 'non-existent' policy for Kashmir and blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party-People's Democratic Party alliance for the bloodshed in the region.

He also attacked the prime minister, saying while he was 'dithering', soldiers were paying with their blood because of the 'opportunistic' alliance in Jammu and Kashmir.

'PDP says 'talks' with Pakistan. BJP Defence Minister says 'Pakistan will pay the price'. While our soldiers pay with their blood for BJP/PDP's opportunistic alliance and non-existent Kashmir policy; Modi Ji dithers,' he said on Twitter.

The Congress has often attacked the government on Kashmir and its alliance with the PDP in the state.  -- PTI
18:10  I receive hatred in India, love in Pakistan: Aiyar:  And here's the latest from Mani Shankar Aiyar who is in Pakistan to attend the Karachi Literature festival. "Thousands of people, whom I don't know, hug me, wish me. I receive much more hatred in India than the love I receive in Pakistan. So I am happy to be here. They are clapping for me because I speak of peace," the Congress leader who has been suspended from the party for his 'neech' remarks on the PM said.


Aiyar on Monday called for an "uninterrupted and uninterruptible" dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve issues.


During a session, he hailed Islamabad for seeking to resolve issues with India through dialogue, saying New Delhi does not have this policy, Geo News TV reported.


"There is only one way of resolving India-Pakistan issues and that is by an uninterrupted and uninterruptible dialogue," Aiyar said.


The Indian politician said that he is "proud" of Pakistan for having this policy, however, regretted its non-reciprocation by New Delhi, the Pakistani media report said.
18:00  Not a suitable time for talks with Pakistan: BJP :  A day after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti called for dialogue with Pakistan to end the bloodshed in the state, the BJP today said talks were not suitable at a time when the neighbouring country was "supporting" militant attacks.


"Amid the sound of bullets and spilt blood, a certain section is advocating talks between Pakistan and India, which is not at all suitable at a time when Pakistan is openly supporting militant attacks in the state," J&K BJP spokesperson Sunil Sethi said.


He said the Centre takes a call on talks with Pakistan and there was no scope of interference by others. Dialogue can be considered if Pakistan "pulls back" from supporting subversive acts in the region and the environment is conducive, he said. -- PTI
17:53  Indian-origin Malaysian on death row in S'pore wins acquittal:  In a rare case, an Indian-origin Malaysian on death row in Singapore for possessing drugs has been acquitted by the country' apex court. According to the judgement yesterday, Gopu Jaya Raman successfully proved that he did not know that controlled drugs were hidden in the motorcycle he was riding into Singapore.


On March 24, 2014, Gopu was arrested after he entered Singapore through Woodlands Checkpoint on the north with three black bundles of diamorphine hidden in his motorcycle's fender.


Diamorphine also known as Heroin, is an opioid most commonly used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects. When immigration officers stopped him and found the drugs, he said he did not know the drugs were hidden in the motorcycle. Gopu, also claimed the motorcycle was not his.


Tay Yong Kwang, the sole dissenting judge in yesterday's judgement, noted that Gopu had trafficked drugs into Singapore on two other occasions before he was caught on March 24, 2014. He had been trying to repay a 4,000 Malaysian Ringgit loan. He was not convinced by Gopu's reasons for entering Singapore or how he came to possess the motorcycle. He said Gopu's admission to trafficking drugs into Singapore on the same motorcycle on two other occasions did not bolster his credibility.


After the authorities found the drugs, they got Gopu's help to try to nab others in the ring who might turn up to collect the drugs, the judgement stated.


The operation, however, was called off when no one turned up. Authorities monitored his conversation with the man who had helped to get him the motorcycle. After listening to a number of exchanges, officers told Gopu to send a message, indicating that he had no knowledge of the drugs. -- PTI
17:39  Kupwara unites behind slain Sunjuwan hero:  Last rites of Subedar Mohammad Ashraf Mir being conducted at his village in Madanpora Lolab in Kupwara. He lost his life in the attack on a CRPF camp in Sunjuwan in Jammu on February 10. Reports say that Kupwara, which is along the Line of Control, has united behind the grief-stricken family of the subedar coming out for the funeral en mass.

A group of heavily-armed men struck the sprawling camp of the 36 brigade of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry before dawn killing six people including five soldiers.


Five army personnel, hailing from Jammu and Kashmir, and the father of one of the slain soldiers, were killed and 10 others, including two officers and six women and children, were injured in the incident.


The bodies of the three terrorists of the Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit were also recovered along with huge cache of arms and ammunition during the search operation.

17:04  CCTVs in court rooms will ensure security: SC:  The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that intent of installing CCTVs in courtrooms is to ensure security and not to record its proceedings.While hearing a plea seeking installation of CCTVs in courtrooms, the top court expressed satisfaction over the Centre's progress in installing CCTVs in courts.The apex court will now hear the matter on April 5. - ANI
16:56  Third phase of NCP's 'halla bol' campaign to begin from Feb 15:  The Nationalist Congress Party will organise 21 public meetings over seven days in northern Maharashtra as part of the third phase of its "halla bol" campaign against the state government. The final rally in Nashik would be addressed by party chief Sharad Pawar on March 10. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the third phase of the campaign would begin from Srigonda on February 15, adding that it would cover Ahmednagar, Nashik, Nandurbar, Jalgaon and Dhule districts.


The party's "halla bol" campaign, launched to highlight the government's failures, has so far covered Vidarbha and Marathwada. -- PTI
16:51  Group Captain arrested for providing secret info to ISI sent to custody:  Group Captain Arun Marwah has been sent to a 14-day judicial custody by Delhi's Patiala House court.

He was arrested by Delhi Police Special Cell on charges of providing details of secret Indian Air Force documents to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.  -- ANI

Photograph: Arun Marwah/Facebook
16:48  Inside the Two Years that Shook Facebookand the World:  How a confused, defensive social media giant steered itself into a disaster, and how Mark Zuckerberg is trying to fix it all. Read more
16:35  Punjab minister flips coin to decide on posting of lecturers:  In a bizarre move, a Punjab minister took to flipping a coin, purportedly to decide on the right candidate, out of two nominees, for the post of a lecturer in a polytechnic institute.

The incident was caught on cameras and aired by television news channels.

However, a spokesperson of the Congress government in the state claimed that the minister's intention was to allot the posts in a 'transparent' manner and blamed the media for creating an unnecessary controversy.

Two lecturers -- one from Nabha and another from Patiala -- wanted to be posted to a government polytechnic institute at Patiala.

In order to resolve the issue, Punjab Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi decided to toss a coin.

The incident took place yesterday when the minister had called 37 mechanical lecturers, who were recently recruited through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) examination, for giving them their posting orders.

Meanwhile, the government spokesman defended Channi's move. Stating that both the candidates were vying for the same post, he said, "One of them said his scores were better than the other candidate, while the other one said he was more experienced.

"The minister had asked them to solve the matter mutually, but they insisted that he should take a decision. The minister then asked them about flipping a coin, to which both agreed."

The spokesman also claimed that the minister's intention was to allot the postings in a 'transparent' manner.  -- PTI
15:48  Army officer injured in Sunjuwan attack 'raring to go':   Major Abhijeet who was injured in the Sunjuwan terror attack and is recovering at the Army Hospital at Udhampur, says, "I am feeling much better now. I can interact with doctors, I was able to sit and walked twice today. I was not aware what has been happening in the last 3-4 days."


Major Gen Nadeep Naithani, Commandant of the Command Hospital where Major Abhijeet is being treated said, "His morale is very high. Soon after the surgery he asked about what happened to the terrorists. He is raring to go. His condition is good."


Mopping up operations were under way at a building in Srinagar's Karan Nagar area with security forces killing two terrorists, officials said today. The encounter between militants and security forces, which began yesterday after the ultras tried to attack a CRPF camp, resumed this morning after an overnight lull.


Security forces had launched a final assault on the terrorists hiding in an under construction building in Karan Nagar area this morning, officials said. The incident came two days after Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)
terrorists attacked an Army camp in Sunjuwan area of Jammu, killing seven people, including six Army soldiers. Three terrorists were also killed in retaliation by the Army.
15:32  Kashmir IGP says terrorists were from Lashkar:  Kashmir IGP SP Pani on Srinagar's Karan Nagar encounter: Two terrorists have been killed and arms a ammunition have been recovered. It was a Lashkar-e-Taiba outfit. One CRPF jawan has been injured but is completely out of danger. 
15:08  Justice Khanwilkar recuses from hearing Bofors case in SC:  Justice AM Khanwilkar of the Supreme Court today recused himself from hearing the politically sensitive Rs 64 crore Bofors payoff case. Justice Khanwilkar, who was the part of a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, did not give any reason for opting out of hearing the matter.


The bench, which also comprised Justice DY Chandrachud, said a new bench would be constituted for hearing the matter on March 28. The apex court was to hear the petition filed by BJP leader Ajay Agrawal challenging the May 31, 2005 decision of the Delhi High Court.  -- PTI
15:01   J'khnd govt push for SHGs manufacturing sanitary pads:  The Jharkhand government will purchase sanitary napkins from Self-help Groups for distribution among schoolgirls, Chief Minister Raghubar Das has said. The government had during the recent budget session taken this decision to empower women working in SHGs,the CM told reporters yesterday after inspecting a sanitary napkin manufacturing centre at Bagunhatu in Jamshedpur East constituency, his home turf. Das had won five times in a row from the constituency since 1995.


PadMan star Akshay Kumar posts a picture with a sanitary napkin as part of the #PadMan Challenge.
14:47  Hafeez Saee's JuD uses child soldiers to promote jihad against India :   The banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an organisation headed by Mumbai-terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed, is using children to promote jihad against India.In a procession organised in Islamabad, JuD leader Sadaqat allowed his minor son to lead with a gun in his hand.


The protesters were holding a banner which said that Kashmir is the integral part of Pakistan and support would continue to be extended for the liberation of Kashmir.


The JuD is a charity wing of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the largest and most Islamic of terrorist militant organisations in South Asia. It encourages children from parts of Pakistan and Kashmir to join the outfit and wage a jihad against India and the United States.


The organisation runs several madrassas or Islamic religious schools across Pakistan and brainwashes children into joining the holy war for the liberation of Kashmir.


They are also being used as human shields and also to organise anti-India or anti-U.S. protests. The United Nations had designated Hafiz Saeed a terrorist after the 26 November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which killed 166 people. -- ANI
14:42  J-K CM leads wreath-laying ceremony of slain Army personnel:  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today led the wreath-laying ceremony organised to pay tributes to four of the six soldiers who were killed in a terror attack on the Sunjuwan Military camp in Jammu.


Mufti joined the cabinet colleagues and senior Army and police officials and laid floral wreaths on the bodies of four Army personnel, hailing from Kashmir, at the Jammu airport, an official spokesperson said.


A group of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists struck the residential quarter inside the Army camp at Sunjuwan here on Saturday, killing seven people -- six soldiers, including two junior commissioned officers and father of one of the slain soldiers -- and injuring 10 others.


Three heavily-armed JeM terrorists were killed in the retaliatory action by the Army. Deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh, ministers Abdul Haq Khan and Choudhary Zulfkar, state BJP president and MLA Sat Sharma, among others, were present ceremony. -- PTI
14:16  Meet Pad Didi:  Maya Vishwakarma gave up her job as a scientist in California to make 'No Tension' sanitary pads for tribal women who have never used one before. Archana Masih/Rediff.com speaks to the real PadWoman. Read the story here.
14:13  Laugh, Renuka, laugh! We love you: Shatrughan :  Bharatiya Janata Party MP Shatrughan Sinha once again walks a different path from his party. The Patna Sahib MP has today openly backed Opposition leader Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury, tweeting his support for her.  Chowdhury was mocked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for laughing during his speech in the Rajya Sabha during Parliaments Budget Session and admonished by the Chair Venkaiah Naidu, who on hearing her laughing loudly, asked her to see a doctor.


Sinha tweeted, "Laugh Renuka laugh! We love you, were fond of you & wish you well. Dont worry, be happy! Let them cry & shout hoarse. Things will settle down. Those who oppose womens empowerment & laughter would melt soon. We all will have the last laugh. Long live Nari Shakti. Jai hind!


During his reply to the debate on Motion of Thanks on Presidents address, Modi had questioned the Congresss claim of being the originator of the biometric national ID Aadhaar when he said that the then Home Minister LK Advani had in 1998 spoken about an all-purpose national ID in Rajya Sabha.


This led to Chowdhury bursting into loud laughter. Naidu had disapproved of the behaviour but Modi asked him not to stop Chowdhury.


Sabhapati ji meri aapse vinti hai Renuka ji ko kuch mat kahiye. Ramayan serial ke baad aisi hansi sunne ka saubhagya aaj jaake mila hai (I request you not to say anything to Renuka ji. After the Ramayan serial, we got the privilege of hearing this kind of laughter only today, he had said, to the amusement of top BJP leaders and other ministers sitting around him.
13:45  Central schemes will reach poor if BJP wins in Tripura: Yogi:  Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today said if the BJP was voted to power in Tripura, it would ensure that all welfare schemes of the Centre reach the poor, even in the farthest corner of the Northeastern state. Adityanath, who arrived in Agartala yesterday to campaign for party candidates, said the Left Front government failed to reap the benefits of various central schemes in its 25 years of rule in Tripura. He said if the BJP came to power in the state, it would maintain "excellent relations" with the Centre and extend benefits of all central welfare schemes.


"Development projects are easier to implement if the same party is in the central and state governments," the UP CM said. He also said people in Tripura were denied the benefits of the Centre's flagship schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, Startup India, Stand-Up scheme, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, among others. -- PTI
13:21  2nd terrorist gunned down in Srinagar encounter, stone pelting begins:  Just in: The second terrorist holed up in an under-construction building at Karan Nagar in Srinagar has been killed. The encounter between militants and security forces, which began yesterday after the ultras tried to attack a CRPF camp, resumed this morning after an overnight lull. The encounter ended after nearly 30 hours today.

The other terrorist was gunned down a while ago. There are believed to be two militants, both killed, but combing operations are now underway to secure the area.

The identity and group affiliation of the slain militants is yet to be ascertained, a police official said.

Stone pelting has now been reported in the area.

12:58  What a woman wishes to wear is her prerogative: Sabyasachi on saree remarks:  Renowned fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, today responded to the backlash over his comments on Indian women and the saree, saying the matter has snowballed into an unintended "gender issue."


The designer said his remarks at the Harvard India Conference, which were in response to a query on the difficulties that women face in draping a saree, were intended to be a reflection on the "celebration of our clothing history and heritage". Sabyasachi told PTI over an e-mail exchange from Boston: "What was intended to be a comment on celebration of our clothing history and heritage became a debate on feminism. This is not a gender issue. Since the question was about the saree, women were involved.


"I would take the same stand on men's national clothing too. I have not made any statement on a woman's choice on what she wishes to wear which is always her own prerogative."


Talking to the Indian students gathered in Cambridge on Saturday, the celebrity designer had said, "I think, if you tell me that you do not know how to wear a saree, I would say shame on you. It's a part of your culture, (you) need to stand up for it."


"Women and men are trying very hard to be something that they are not. Your clothing should be a part of who you are and connect you to your roots," he had added. In one of his comments at the event, the couturier had then, in fact, credited Indian women for keeping the saree alive, but declared that the "dhoti is dead".


Referring to his remarks, the Kolkata-based Sabyasachi said he had only expressed his "personal point of view". The designer said he had often observed women confessing they do not know how to wear a saree "with a hint of pride".


"My observation came from the fact that I often meet those who say it with a hint of pride on how they don't know how to wear a sari and I find it very dismissive of our heritage. It's a personal point of view."


"You don't need to live your culture all the time but you can merely acknowledge it and celebrate it," said Sabyasachi, who was also in the news recently for designing the wedding dresses of Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma. -- PTI


Image: Anushka Sharma wore a Benarasi sari for her wedding handpicked by Sabyasachi.
12:44  Karan Nagar encounter: 1 terrorist killed :  Security forces launched a final assault on terrorists hiding in a building in Karan Nagar area for the last 24 hours, killing an unidentified militant, police said. The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is yet to be ascertained, a police official said.


The operation is going on as security forces believe one more militant is hiding in the under-construction building. The encounter between militants and security forces, which began yesterday after the ultras tried to attack a CRPF camp, resumed this morning after an overnight lull.


The operation to flush out the militants is in its final stage and is expected to end soon, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, S P Pani said in Srinagar. "We have been successful in localising them,' Pani told reporters near the encounter site. Asked about the number of militants, the IGP said, "We suspect they are two but that will only be confirmed once the operation is over." -- PTI


Image: Security personnel at Karan Nagar, the site of the encounter, yesterday. The encounter began at around 10 am yesterday. Pic: Umar Ganie
12:37  Four killed in Cochin Shipyard fire:  A fire broke out on a ship under repair at the Cochin Shipyard Limited premises, killing at least four people. Eleven persons trapped inside the ship were evacuated and rushed to various hospitals in the city, the spokesperson said. Efforts are on to evacuate two more trapped in the ship. PTI reported that initial feedback is that there are three casualties, but other reports put the figure at five. The spokesperson told PTI that two more are trapped inside. Further details awaited.
12:16  4 dead in Cochin Shipyard fire:  Just in: Explosion at the Cochin Shipyard kills 4, police & fire tenders at the spot. Details awaited.
12:15  Huge blaze at London industrial estate:  More than 100 firefighters are tackling a blaze at an industrial estate in London, reports the Independent. Crews were called to Long Drive, Northolt, northwest London at around 11.30pm on Monday and multiple units are alight.


London Fire Brigade said 15 engines were sent to the area.Station manager Ben King said: "This is a very visible fire."We would advise nearby residents to keep their windows closed as there is a lot of thick smoke in the area."We have a lot of fire engines on the scene so people should avoid the area where possible."


The cause of the fire is currently not known.
12:08  Snowfall continues at many places across Kashmir:  Intermittent snowfall continued at many places across Kashmir, even as the minimum temperature settled below the freezing point across the Valley and the Ladakh region.


Kashmir experienced the seasons's first major snowfall yesterday with the plains receiving snowfall between 5 inches to 22 inches, an official of the Meteorological office said. The higher reaches of the Valley and Jammu received heavy snowfall, he said.


The official said Srinagar -- the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir -- recorded 23 cm of snowfall in the last 24 hours, the official said. The city registered a minimum temperature of minus 0.6 degrees Celsius, he said.


The official said Qazigund town in south Kashmir recorded 19 cm of snowfall, while Kokernag received 58 cm. The night temperature at Qazigund and Kokernag settled at a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius and minus 4.9 degrees Celsius, respectively.


Kupwara town in north Kashmir received 11 cm of snow and the mercury there settled at a low of minus 0.9 degrees Celsius, he said. Pahalgam, the south Kashmir resort which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra, received 39 cm of snowfall in the last 24 hours, while the minimum there settled at minus 7.9 degrees Celsius, the official said. He said Gulmarg -- the famous ski-resort in north Kashmir -- recorded 45 cm of snow and the mercury there settled at a low of minus 10.5 degrees Celsius, which was colder than Leh. Leh town in the Ladakh region of the state recorded a low of minus 5.4 degrees Celsius, while the nearby Kargil town registered a low of minus 14 degrees Celsius.


Kargil was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir, the official said. The MeT office has said the weather is likely to improve later today. -- PTI


Image: Srinagar -- the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir -- recorded 23 cm of snowfall in the last 24 hours. Pic: Umar Ganie.

11:59  When a legend and a superstar meet :  Superstar Shah Rukh Khan paid a visit to Bollywood veteran Dilip Kumar at his home. Shah Rukh had last dropped by the legend's residence when he was discharged from the hospital last August following treatment for dehydration and urinary tract infection. Faisal Farooqui, a family friend of Kumar took to the actor's official Twitter account, where he shared a photograph of Shah Rukh and the 95-year-old star. The picture was captioned, ".@iamsrk came to visit Saab at home today. - FF."


Dilip Kumar also received treatment for mild pneumonia in December 2017. Farooqui had earlier given a health update on Kumar, saying he was in the pink of health. "Saab is doing well. - FF ( FF signature means the tweet was posted by @faisalMouthshut on behalf of Dilip Kumar)," the tweet read. -- PTI
11:42  The Perfect Mausi:  For all aunts, and then some, Rachel Dwyer's piece on how aunts don't really get their due in Hindi cinema. Do read.
11:36  Will Kashmir's new top cop quell terrorism?:  At 41, Kashmir's new IGP SP Pani is the youngest officer ever to hold the post. He is a 2000-batch Indian Police Service officer. A police official told PTI that Pani's name was given the go-ahead by J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in a Cabinet meeting last week. Pani has served in key positions, including deputy IG, south Kashmir range, senior superintendent of police, Kulgam and Kathua. He has also held position in the served in the Intelligence Bureau and National Investigation Agency.


Image: Former north Kashmir IG Muneer Khan with new IG SP Pani (R).
11:27  Expect Karan Nagar encounter to end soon, says Kashmir top cop:  Swayam Prakash Pani, IGP, Kashmir on the encounter underway in Srinagar's Karan Nagar: "We are suspecting the presence of two terrorists, the operation is in its final stage. We have been successful in doing a deliberate assault, we are expecting the operation to finish it very soon."


The encounter between terrorists holed up in a building in Karan Nagar area of Srinagar and security forces resumed this morning after an overnight lull.


The exchange of fire between the terrorists and the security forces resumed at day break, a CRPF official said.


He said the security forces were preparing for a final assault on the terrorists when they opened firing. No new casualty has been reported today.


A CRPF jawan was killed and a policeman was injured in the exchange of fire yesterday. The CRPF has claimed that it thwarted the attempt by the terrorists to attack its camp in Karan Nagar area. The incident came days after Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists attacked another Army camp in Sunjwan area of Jammu, killing six people including five soldiers. Three militants were also killed in retaliation by the Army. -- PTI
11:17  Sunjuwan attack: Body of another soldier recovered; toll rises to 6:  The body of another soldier was today recovered from the encounter site inside the Sunjuwan Military camp in Jammu, taking the death toll in the terror attack to six. One civilian and three terrorists of the JeM were killed in the encounter.


The body of the Army jawan was recovered during the clearance operation at the camp last night, Jammu-based Army Public Relation Officer Lt Col Devender Anand told PTI.


A group of heavily-armed men struck the sprawling camp of the 36 brigade of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry before dawn on February 10, killing six people including five soldiers.


Five Army personnel, hailing from Jammu and Kashmir, and the father of one of the slain soldiers, were killed and 10 others, including two officers and six women and children, were injured in the incident.


The bodies of the three terrorists of the Jaish-e- Mohammad (JeM) outfit were also recovered along with huge cache of arms and ammunition during the search operation. The mortal remains of four Kashmiri soldiers and the civilian would be flown to Srinagar after the wreath-laying ceremony around 11 am and thereafter to their native places for burial. -- PTI
10:49  V-day warning: Bajrang Dal goes pubbing against 'foreign culture':  Bajrang Dal activists visited pubs and handed over memos to the owners to not organise any special events on the occasion of Valentine's Day tomorrow. The saffron outfit has approached pubs and club owners in Hyderabad's upscale Banjara and Jubilee Hills, asking them not to plan any special events as well, as Valentine's Day is "a foreign culture".
10:23  Anti-terror law amended to ban UN-listed groups, individuals:  Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain last Friday quietly promulgated an ordinance amending the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 with regards to proscription of terrorist individuals and organisations to include entities listed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) -- in a move that would end a longstanding ambiguity over the status of Hafiz Saeed-linked Jamaatud Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation by firmly placing them on the list of proscribed groups.  Read more
10:15  Youth Congress leader 'hacked to death' by CPI(M) workers:   A 29-year-old Youth Congress leader was hacked to death allegedly by CPI(M) workers at Mattanur in Kannur district, police said today. The incident occurred late last night when four assailants came in a car and hurled crude bombs and attacked S P Shuhaib and two other party members with machetes, they said. Shuhaib, the Mattanur block Youth Congress secretary, was at a roadside tea shop at Therur with Riaz and Naushad when the attack happened.


The critically-injured Shuhaib was rushed to the Indira Gandhi Co-Operative Hospital at Thalassery where he succumbed, police said adding that the injured persons were stable. Police suspect it could be related to the incidents of violence in the area last week. -- PTI
10:13  Civilian construction near Army camps a problem: Sitharaman:  Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the construction of civilian houses adjacent to Army camps "with permission" from authorities is a problem.


"Civil constructions are taking place near the boundary walls (of Army camps across the country) and it is getting difficult to remove these constructions because these are taking place with permission," she told reporters yesterday.


"I am studying the scenario in the entire country and will definitely come out with a solution." Sitharaman was in Jammu yesterday to visit the people injured in Saturday's attack on an Army camp in Sunjuwan by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists based across the border.


Six people, including five soldiers, were killed in the attack. Three militants were also killed in Army retaliation. The defence minister's visit to Jammu came as an ecounter ensued between security forces and terrorists near a CRPF camp in Srinagar's Karan Nagar area.


A CRPF jawan was killed and a policeman was injured in the exchange of fire yesterday. The CRPF has claimed it thwarted the attempt by the terrorists to attack its camp there.


Sitharaman blamed Pakistan for the terrorist attack on Sunjuwan camp and said Islamabad will pay the price for the "misadventure". She said even though the evidence of Pakistan's role in the attack may be shared, India reserved the "right to respond adequately at the time our choosing".


Asked about her stand on Jammu and Kashmir government's amnesty for stone-pelters, she said, "I think first-time offenders were given amnesty and I am aware of that".


On filing of an FIR against an Army major over the killing of three civilians in Shopian last month, she said the case is "sub-judice" and today the Supreme Court in response to the father of the officer has given a stay of 15 days on the FIR.


"We have to see how it goes and we stand by our proud soldiers. In the call of duty if they have performed something, (it) still has to be contextualised and that is something on which I understand. I am not sure yet, but subject to verification, the defence ministry will respond to the Supreme Court," she said.
09:56  Congress calls for international pressure on Pakistan :  The Congress party on Tuesday welcomed Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's warning to Pakistan for the attack at an Indian Army base in Jammu region and reiterated that India should put pressure on Islamabad through the international community.


Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit while talking to ANI said that providing proof to Pakistan would not be of much help as they will never accept it.


"We have given a lot of proof to Pakistan, but that never proved beneficial for us. The only thing that we can do is to raise the matter on an international platform," Dikshit said.


Echoing similar sentiments, Congress party general secretary and in-charge of Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot also raised concerns on the issue.


"The activities of Pakistan at the border have increased considerably. It was promised by the ruling party to give a befitting reply to the neighbouring country for their acts and it is important to do so. We have so many soldiers and it is a matter of concern," he said.


Earlier on Monday, Sitharaman said Pakistan will pay for the attack at an Indian Army base in Jammu region which claimed six lives.


Addressing a press briefing regarding the Sunjuwan base attack and combing operation conducted by the Indian Army, the Defence Minister repeatedly said: "Pakistan will have to pay for the misadventure."


At least six army personnel and a civilian were killed in the attack at Sanjuwan Army base on February 10. -- ANI
09:52   Jammu & Kashmir: Body of one army jawan recovered from the Sunjuwan army camp which was attacked by terrorists on Saturday. A total of six army personnel and one civilian were killed in attack on the Army Camp.
09:43  South African President Zuma given 48 hours to quit:  South African President Jacob Zuma has been given 48 hours to resign by African National Congress leaders. The decision to ask Zuma to step down or face being stripped off his office was taken at a specially convened emergency meeting, late on Monday evening, according to The Guardian.


A meeting of the ANC's national executive committee was called after it became clear that nearly five days of talks between Zuma and the deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over the leadership of ANC in December, had failed.


Zuma, who had led the ANC since 2007 and has been South Africa's president since 2009, has come under increasing pressure to resign.


His tumultuous nine years in power have been marred by economic decline and multiple charges of corruption.


However, the 75-year-old retains significant support inside the party and at a local level in many parts.The former ANC security chief is also facing a no-confidence motion in the parliament set for February 22. -- ANI
09:35  Karan Nagar encounter: Security forces prepare for final assault :  The encounter between terrorists holed up in a building in Karan Nagar area of Srinagar and security forces resumed this morning after an overnight lull.


The exchange of fire between the terrorists and the security forces resumed at day break, a CRPF official said.


He said the security forces were preparing for a final assault on the terrorists when they opened firing. No new casualty has been reported today.


A CRPF jawan was killed and a policeman was injured in the exchange of fire yesterday. The CRPF has claimed that it thwarted the attempt by the terrorists to attack its camp in Karan Nagar area. The incident came days after Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists attacked another Army camp in Sunjwan area of Jammu, killing six people including five soldiers. Three militants were also killed in retaliation by the Army. -- PTI


Image: Security forces at Karan Nagar yesterday. The encounter is on for over 20 hours now. Pic: Umar Ganie
09:04  Knew from very beginning that mahagathbandhan will not last: Nitish :  
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday claimed that he knew "from the very beginning" that his alliance with Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal "would not last for more than a year-and-a-half", but he did his best to carry on in the grand alliance, which ultimately disintegrated last year.
The grand alliance ministry, headed by Kumar, collapsed in July last year after the chief minister resigned over graft charge against his then deputy, Tejashwi Yadav.
Subsequently, Kumar joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party to form another coalition government in Bihar.
"The very day the mahagathbandhan government was installed, I had said to those close to me that this was not going to last for more than a year-and-a-half. I knew it from the very beginning. I still managed to carry on for 20 months," the Janata Dal-United chief told reporters in Patna on the sidelines of his weekly Lok Samvad (public interaction) programme.
He said this while reacting to the allegations of "betrayal of mandate", levelled against him by the RJD and the Congress -- the two other constituents of the erstwhile mahagathbandhan.
The grand alliance was formed shortly after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when Kumar and Prasad decided to bury the hatchet.
Both the JD-U and the RJD had suffered a severe drubbing in the Parliamentary election, which saw the BJP putting up its best ever electoral performance, riding on a strong wave in favour of Narendra Modi.
However, Kumar's statement drew flak from former JD-U president Sharad Yadav, who had raised a banner of revolt when the Bihar chief minister joined hands with the BJP.
"If he (Kumar) knew that the alliance was not going to last, why did he agree for such a tie-up in the first place. It is an illogical thing to say. He is suffering from pangs of guilt for his volte face and trying to justify his actions by such utterances," Yadav told a TV news channel in Delhi.
Yadav was disqualified from the Rajya Sabha a couple of months ago, following an application by the JD-U, which had held that the former party president's presence at rallies and meetings organised by the RJD-Congress combine were tantamount to his having "voluntary renounced" the membership of the party.
Reacting to Kumar's statement, Tejashwi Yadav tweeted, saying, "This is what I have been saying since the beginning that Tejashwi was just an excuse. Paltu chacha (turncoat uncle) had vicious plans beforehand."
"The respected 67-year-old should be ashamed that he made a 28-year-old an excuse for his shenanigans. Uncle, you could have parted ways like a man," Yadav, who is the younger son of Lalu Prasad, said. -- PTI
08:48  11 CMs facing criminal cases; Chandrababu Naidu richest CM: Report:  
In India, around 35 per cent chief ministers have criminal cases against them and 81 per cent of the total are crorepatis, according to an Association for Democratic Reforms report released on Monday.
The Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of current chief ministers in state assemblies and Union territories across the nation.
These were the latest affidavits filed by them prior to contesting the elections.
"Out of the all 31 chief ministers analysed from state assemblies and Union territories, 11 (35 per cent) chief ministers have declared criminal cases against themselves," the ADR report noted.
Further, 26 per cent CMs have declared serious criminal cases, including related to murder, attempt to murder, cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, criminal intimidation, among others.
Interestingly, as many as 25 CMs, or 81 per cent, are crorepatis, with two of them having assets to the tune of over Rs 100 crore. The average assets of CMs are worth Rs 16.18 crore.
According to the report, Andhra Pradesh's Chandra Babu Naidu has emerged as the wealthiest chief minister with declared assets worth over Rs 177 crore, followed by Arunanchal Pradesh's Pema Khandu (over Rs 129 crore) and Amarinder Singh of Punjab (over Rs 48 crore).
The CM with the lowest declared asset is Tripura's Manik Sarkar with assets worth Rs 27 lakh, followed by West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee (over Rs 30 lakh) and Jammu and Kashmir's Mehbooba Mufti (Rs 56 lakh).
In terms of educational qualification, 10 per cent of 31 chief ministers are 12th pass, 39 per cent graduate, 32 per cent graduate professional, 16 per cent post graduate and 3 per cent doctorate. -- PTI 
08:41  Uninterrupted dialogue will resolve issues between India and Pak: Aiyar :  
Suspended Congress Leader Mani Shankar Aiyar has called for an "uninterrupted and uninterruptible" dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve issues.
Aiyar, 76, suspended by the Congress from the party for his "neech" (lowly) jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Gujarat assembly polls, was in Lahore to attend 'Karachi Literature Festival'.
During a session, he hailed Islamabad for seeking to resolve issues with India through dialogue, saying New Delhi does not have this policy, Geo News TV reported.
"There is only one way of resolving India-Pakistan issues and that is by an uninterrupted and uninterruptible dialogue," Aiyar said.
The Indian politician said that he is "proud" of Pakistan for having this policy, however, regretted its non-reciprocation by New Delhi, the Pakistani media report said.
"And I am very proud and half very sad that this sentence of these three words has been accepted as Pakistan policy, but has not been accepted as Indian policy," Aiyar was quoted as saying by the media report.
His words followed an applause from the audience.
Aiyar further said that Kashmir and terrorism are the two main issues that need to be dealt with.
He also said that both India and Pakistan should adopt a framework formulated by former president Pervez Musharraf's government, the report added. -- PTI
00:20  Trump's new budget plan proposes $336mn aid to Pak:  United States President Donald Trump on Monday unveiled a $4 trillion annual budget for the fiscal 2019 beginning October 1, proposing $256 million in civilian assistance and $80 million in military aid to Pakistan.

The proposal of aid to Pakistan comes weeks after Trump administration suspended nearly $2 billion in security assistance to Islamabad due to its inability to take action against terrorist groups operating from its soil.

The White House has said it would consider lifting the freeze if it sees action by Pakistan against terrorist groups.

The budgetary proposal says that the military aid depends on Pakistan taking action against terrorist safe havens.

'The budget requests $256 million for Pakistan in economic and other assistance to help increase stability, promote economic growth and create opportunities for US businesses,' said the annual budgetary proposals sent by the White House to the Congress.

'In addition, the Budget requests $80 million in Foreign Military Financing assistance to enhance Pakistan's counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency capabilities, contingent on Pakistan taking appropriate action to expand cooperation in areas where US-Pakistan interests converge and to address areas of divergence, in line with the administration's South Asia strategy,' the White House said.

The budget furthers the US goal of a stable and secure South Asia by supporting the Afghan government and security forces in their fight against the Taliban insurgents and jihadist terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State.

It requests more than $5 billion for continued US training and assistance for the Afghan security forces and would enable US forces to conduct counter-terrorism operations to ensure that the region cannot be used by jihadist, terrorist groups to plot transnational attacks against the US homeland, citizens overseas, or allies and partners.

"The budget also continues to include funding to support America's partnership with Pakistan," it said.

The budget's more than $630 million for civilian assistance supports the President's new strategy to empower the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, the White House said.

In addition, the budget strengthens and sustains improvements in education, health, governance and other sectors that are essential for securing a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. -- PTI

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