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LIVE! Pak mum over action to be taken against Saeed

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January 11, 2018

23:59  Sources of air pollution deaths in India.
22:56  Pak mum over action to be taken against Saeed:  Pakistan today kept mum over what action it will take against Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, but said it takes its 'international obligations' very seriously.

Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal while replying to a question during his weekly briefing said Pakistan is serious to implement United Nations sanctions against listed individuals and groups including Saeed.

"As far as Hafiz Saeed is concerned, Pakistan takes its international obligations very seriously. We have been implementing the UN Security Council sanctions related to assets freeze, arms embargo and travel ban on all listed individuals and entities," he said.

The Foreign Office spokesman was asked about action being taken against the founder of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba after a BBC report that he toured the United Kingdom in the 1990s to incite Muslims to become jihadis.

A BBC investigation has said that Saeed, one of the world's most wanted terror suspects, who now heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) group in Pakistan, had toured British mosques in 1995 and his visit was recorded in a magazine published by the LeT at the time.

Pakistan has banned the collection of donations by the JuD, the front organisation of banned outfit Lashkar- e-Tayiba, as well as several other such organisations named in a list of banned outfits by the UN Security Council.

"Pakistan has consistently maintained that the only way forward is through a comprehensive, result-oriented, uninterrupted, uninterruptible dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues. We are also ready to talk about the issue of terrorism, which is a global phenomenon, and calls for global and concerted action," he said.  -- PTI
22:24  Afzal's son, Burhan's brother pass class XII exams with distinction:  Galib Guru, son of Mohammad Afzal Guru who was executed in 2013 following conviction in the Parliament attack case, passed the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education's (JKBOSE) higher secondary school examination with distinction.

The younger brother of gunned down Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani also passed the Class XII state board examination with flying colours.

Wani's brother Muhammad Naveed Aalam secured 77 per cent marks in the science stream.

Galib Guru passed with distinction, scoring 88 per cent marks, according to officials.

Congratulatory messages poured in for the 17-year-old online while relatives and friends made a beeline at his home in the Sopore town of Baramulla district.

Overall, girls did better than boys in the examinationsfor which results were declared today.

According to BOSE officials, 33,893 of the 55,163 candidates were declared to have qualified the examination held in November last year.

The overall pass percentage was 61.44, more girls (64.31per cent) passed the examination compared to boys (58.92 per cent), they said.  -- PTI

Image used only for representation.
21:16  Navy needed at borders, won't give an inch in South Mumbai for housing: Gadkari:  Union minister Nitin Gadkari today said 'not an inch' of land would be given for Navy housing in South Mumbai, wondering why all their personnel in the metropolis want to stay in this posh area when they should be at Pakistan border.

Gadkari, who is the minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, made the remark while voicing his disappointment at the Navy's objection to a floating jetty plan at Malabar Hill in South Mumbai, where a floating hotel and seaplane service are planned.

The remark was made at a public event in Mumbai in the presence of Western Naval Command chief Vice Admiral Girish Luthra.

"Actually, Navy is needed at the borders from where terrorists sneak in. Why does everyone (in the Navy) want to stay in South Mumbai? They (Navy) had come to me, asking for a plot (of land). I will not give even an inch of land. Please don't come to me again," Gadkari said.

"Everyone wants to build quarters and flats on South Mumbai's prime land. We do respect you (Navy), but you should go to the Pakistan border and do patrolling."

A few important and senior officials can stay in Mumbai, Gadkari said, adding that land on the eastern seafront being jointly developed by the state-run Mumbai Port Trust and the Maharashtra government, would be utilised only for the benefit of local citizens.

South Mumbai is home to a sizeable presence of the Navy and houses the headquarters of the Western Naval Command, as well as the naval residential quarters at Navy Nagar in Colaba.

Berths for naval ships are close to the Port Trust assets used by merchant ships. Over a period time, a lot of cargo handling has moved out of the Mumbai Port, one of the oldest ports in the country.

"I heard that you (Navy) gave a stay to the floating jetty plan at Malabar Hill, despite it getting the high court's nod," Gadkari said.

Claiming that stopping such developmental work has become a habit, Gadkari wondered what has the Navy got to do with the Malabar Hill area which is primarily a private residential zone also having official residences of Maharashtra governor and chief minister.

"Where is the Navy at Malabar Hill? There is no Navy at Malabar Hill and the Navy has nothing to do in the area," Gadkari said and invited the Navy for talks to resolve the issue.

Gadkari said he chairs a committee for stalled infrastructure projects, adding that projects are cleared 'as soon as they come on the agenda'.

"We are the government. The Navy and the Defence Ministry are not the government," he added.  -- PTI
19:48  India seeks UK help in early extradition of Mallya:  India today sought United Kigdom's help in early extradition of liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya from Britain to face the law at home in connection with cases of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores.

During the bilateral meeting with UK minister for Security and Economic Crime, Ben Wallace, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju was made aware about the undergoing case at the Westminster Magistrates' Court in London.

During the talks, the minister sought Britain's help in early extradition of the fugitive industrialist, the official privy to the meeting said.

'Bilateral meeting with Mr Ben Wallace, UK Minister for Security & Economic Crime was fruitful. We discussed about issues of cooperation in cyber security, radicalisations, extradition of persons wanted by India & UK, sharing of informations,' Rijiju tweeted after the meeting.

The official said Rijiju has pressed for cooperation from Britain in extradition of 13 individuals, including Mallya, former IPL honcho Lalit Modi and alleged cricket bookie Sanjiv Kapur.

India also sought legal assistance in prosecution of 16 other alleged criminals.

Rijiju also asked his counterpart not to allow the British territory to be used for anti-India activities by Kashmiri and Khalistani separatists, the official said.

Activities of anti-India Sikh groups in the UK and attempts by extremist groups to radicalise youths also figured in the meeting, which lasted for more than an hour, the official said.

"The minister invited Wallace to visit India to continue discussions on security issues," the official said.  -- PTI
19:08  Mangaluru: Mishap averted as plane aborts takeoff at last minute:  An accident was averted at the Mangaluru Airport on Thursday after the Air Traffic Control spotted an empty tractor on the runway when a Jet Airways flight was about to take off.

According to ATC sources, "An empty tractor was parked for cutting grass at the end of the runway when the Mumbai-bound Jet Airways flight was about to take off. Following, which the take-off was suspended."

After spotting the tractor, which was deployed for cutting grass, the ATC officials immediately suspended the flight's take-off.

All the passengers and crew were reported to be safe.  -- ANI
17:59  'Talks on terror' can definitely go on: MEA on NSA-level meet with Pak:  Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed that NSA-level talks took place with Pakistan.

Earlier, there were reports that National Security Adviser Ajir Doval had met his Pakistani counterpart in Bangkok in December.

A Pakistan's national security division official, on the condition of anonymity, said the meeting between Pakistan's National Security Advisor retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua and Doval took place on December 27 in Thailand, The Dawn newspaper reported.

"We have said terror and talks cannot go together but talks on terror can definitely go ahead," Kumar told reporters.

"I am agreeing that talks took place and our issue was eliminating terrorism from the region, we of course raised the issue of cross-border terrorism in those talks," Kumar said.   -- With inputs from ANI
16:18  Vikas Barala arrested for stalking DJ gets bail:  Five months after he was arrested for allegedly stalking Chandigarh-based DJ Varnika Kundu, Vikas Barala was granted bail by the Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday. Barala, the son of Haryana BJP president Subhash Barala, was arrested on August 9, 2017.

His petition for bail had been dismissed four times by a trial court. Barala, and his friend Ashish Kumar are facing trial on charges of stalking and attempt to kidnap Varnika Kundu in Chandigarh on the intervening night of August 4 and 5, 2017.

Read the interview with Varnika Kundu here.
15:54  Chandrababu Naidu will meet PM after a year's wait :  After a year-long wait, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has finally found the time to meet Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. The meeting will take place on Friday at 10:40 am at the PM's office at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi.

Our sources tell us that Modi and the PMO has been avoiding meeting Chandrababu Naidu for two reasons.

Whenever they met, Naidu has been asking for special grants for Andhra Pradesh, has raised the issue of the Polavaram project and a change of governor.  

But with pressure building up from Naidu, the Prime Minister has consented to a meeting.

This has created a buzz in Andhra Pradesh political circles.
15:16  Salman receives death threats, Race 3 shooting stalled :  The shooting of Salman Khan's film Race 3 was stalled and the actor escorted home by police after armed men reached Film City on Tuesday, where he was shooting. The actor earlier received death threats from a gangster from the Bishnoi community that worships black bucks. According to a Mumbai Mirror report, Salman's appearance in Jodhpur last Thursday in the black buck case led to threats by gangster Lawrence Bishnoi. Read more
14:47  HC dismisses PIL for withdrawal of coins with religious images:  The Delhi High Court today dismissed a plea seeking withdrawal of coins having religious symbols embossed on them, saying it does not dent the secular fabric of the country. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar rejected the PIL filed by two Delhi residents who had sought a direction to the RBI and the Finance Ministry to withdraw the coins brought out in 2010 and 2013 with images of Brihadeeswara Temple and Mata Vaishno Devi, respectively.

"It does not dent the country's secular fabric and secularism does not bar issuance of coins to commemorate any event," the bench said. The bench observed that the petitioners were not able to support their argument that the act of issuing coins with religious figures was impacting religious practices.

"The decision to issue coin to commemorate an occasion is purely in the domain of the government under the Coinage Act, 2011," the court said, adding there was no act of favouritism or discrimination by the government by directing minting of coins to commemorate a particular event under the Act. The PIL filed by Delhi residents, Nafis Qazi and Abu Sayeed, had sought a direction to the RBI and the Finance Ministry to withdraw the coins brought out in 2010 and 2013 with religious symbols on them.

"These symbols undermine the secular character, a basic feature of the Constitution.... The making, marking, naming, drawing, embossing or displaying overtly any religious figure or symbol is tantamount to espousing a religion by the State," the plea had said. -- PTI
14:34  Lok Sabha polls in December 2018?:  With state elections dominating most of 2018 -- Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya and Karnataka -- in the first half of the year and Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh Rajasthan and Mizoram (all BJP-ruled states) in the second half of the year, a moment to recall Prime Minister Narendra Modi's advocacy of simultaneous Lok Sabha and state elections.

The PM has maintained that conducting polls every four to six months was hectic and drained the exchequer. In fact, the BJP manifestos for the 2014 general elections have promised to evolve a method of holding Assembly and Lok Sabha elections simultaneously.

The buzz in Delhi now is that the government will be calling an early election and instead of May 2019, the Lok Sabha polls could be held in December 2018.  The BJP feels that the the Opposition is not united enough too put up a fight against early elections.

But before that, the PM is all set to spring a huge surprise during the Monsoon session of Parliament, likely to be held in July.  We will let you in on what that is, soon.

Our sources also tell us that there will be a surgical strike against two enemy countries this year. India conducted a surgical strike against Pakistan in 2016 few days after the Uri attack that left 19 armymen dead.

There will also be a resolution in the Uttar Pradesh assembly and in Parliament about the construciton of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

In fact, BJP Chief Amit Shah and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat spent an hour discussing precisely this, recently. The RSS is waiting for a green signal from Narendra Modi.

A year to watch. 
13:56   Housing sales fall 17% in nine cities during 2017: PropTiger:  Housing sales dropped 17 per cent during 2017 in nine major cities of the country because of demand slowdown and impact of new realty law, according to a report by realty portal PropTiger. Sales declined to 2,18,500 units last year in nine cities -- Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad -- against 2,63,500 units in 2016, the News Corp-backed PropTiger said in its report. Launches fell by 43 per cent to 1,63,573 units in 2017 from 2,88,748 units in the previous year.

Yesterday, Knight Frank India released its report and reported 7 per cent decline in housing sales and 41 per cent fall in home launches during last year in eight top cities. Cushman & Wakefield reported 35 per cent fall in launches. -- PTI
13:53  Kejriwal to address rally in Maharashtra tomorrow:  Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal will address a rally at the birthplace of Jijabai, mother of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, in Maharashtra tomorrow.

Kejriwal will address the rally at Sindkhed Raja in Buldhana district, and pay tributes on her birth anniversary, party sources said.

Every year, lakhs of people, mostly from the politically dominant Maratha community, gather at the place to pay their respects to Rajmata (King's mother) Jijabai.

Police had initially denied permission for the rally citing law and order issues, but the rally, slated tomorrow morning, will be held as planned after AAP leaders took up this issue with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and senior police officials, the sources said.  -- PTI
13:48  3 Army personnel injured in 'slithering' ops:   Three army personnel were injured while carrying out "slithering" operations from an advanced light helicopter at the Army's parade ground in New Delhi, official sources said today. The incident, involving ALH Dhruv, took place Tuesday.

Slithering is an exercise where troops are dropped from a helicopter in an area of operation using a rope attached to the chopper. Following the incident, the Army has suspended slithering operations involving ALH Dhruv till a probe is completed, the sources said.

"Material failure" appears to be the reason behind the incident, in which three personnel were injured, they said. ALH Dhruv is an indigenously developed helicopter manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
--  PTI
12:53  PDP MLA hails militants from Kashmir as martyrs:  Peoples' Democratic Party legislator Aijaz Ahmad Mir on Thursday described Kashmiri militants killed by Indian security forces as martyrs and added that their deaths should not be celebrated.

"Militants who are from Kashmir and get killed are martyrs, they are our brothers, and some of them are minors who don't even know what they are doing," Mir said.

"We should not celebrate the killings of militants, it is our collective failure, we feel sad when our security forces are martyred as well, we should sympathise with parents of jawans and with parents of militants as well," he added.

Mir, who represents Wachi constituency, said Centre's Interlocutor for Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma should talk to everyone in the state including, Hurriyat and militants.

He said the Kashmir issue is a political issue and should be resolved politically.

On Wednesday, Mir had described militants from Kashmir as his brothers and called for talks with the Hurriyat, militants and other stakeholders to resolve the Kashmir issue permanently. -- ANI
12:38  Bangladeshi immigrant indicted for New York subway bomb attack:  A Bangladeshi immigrant has been indicted on terrorism charges in the US for last month's botched bombing in a New York City subway station. Akayed Ullah, 27, would face life in prison if convicted of the attack in a passageway near the Port Authority bus terminal on December 11 that left three persons injured. Ullah, 27, who was also injured in the explosion, has been in federal custody since his arrest. He will be arraigned before Judge Sullivan. -- PTI
12:28  Face of the Red Fort terror attack suspect caught after 17 years:  That's LeT terror suspect Bilal Ahmed Kawa who orchestrated a terror on the Red Fort in 2000, which killed three people.

He was arrested in a joint operation by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police and the Gujarat ATS from Delhi Airport yesterday.

He was arrested after 17 long years and has been remanded to a Police Special Cell in Delhi for further probe.

37-year-old Bilal was apprehended after the Gujarat ATS got a tip-off regarding his movement from Srinagar to Delhi.

On 22 December 2000, a terrorist attack took place on Red Fort in Delhi, India, which claimed three lives.

Earlier, terrorist Mohammad Arif alias Ashfaq, who was convicted in the case, had been awarded death sentence. 
12:24  Bhansali's 'Padmavati' officially gets renamed 'Padmaavat' :   Sanjay Leela Bhansali's magnum opus 'Padmavati' has finally been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and as per the modifications that were recemmended by the board, the producers have officially changed the title of the Ranveer-Deepika starrer to 'Padmaavat'.

CBFC recommended five modifications in the flick to avoid more controversy, the change of the movie-title being one of them.

Apart from this, changes have been ordered in the song 'Ghoomar' to make the depiction 'befitting' the character being portrayed. The other big modification was to change the incorrect or misleading references to historical places.

This is not the first time a movie's title has been a figure of controversy. In 2015, 'Udta Punjab' got into trouble with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and had to approach the Appellate Tribunal to get the movie to release with Punjab still in its name.

'Padmavati', now renamed as 'Padmavat', was earlier scheduled to release on December 1, 2017, but continuous protests and CBFC fiasco forced the makers to shift the date.

The movie features Deepika Padukone in the title role as Rani Padmavati, alongside Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Sultan Alauddin Khilji. - ANI
12:19  Macrons fake news law will threaten democracy:  Emmanuel Macron is the latest political leader to hop on the anti-fake news bandwagon, as regulators lose patience and promise to crack down on the proliferation of online disinformation across the bloc. Read more
12:17  Weinstein, Chapman agree on divorce settlement?:  Disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein and his estranged wife fashion designer Georgina Chapman have reportedly agreed on a divorce settlement. An insider told People magazine that Weinstein, 65 and Chapman, 41, recently signed off on the deal, but are yet to file the paperwork in court.

According to the pre-nup agreement, as previously confirmed by a source, the fashion designer could walk away with almost USD 12 million. She was set to receive USD 300,000 annually in spousal support for their first nine years of marriage and after 10 years, the amount spiked to USD 400,000. -- PTI
11:33  Washington renames Russian embassy street after slain opposition MP:  Washington DC has renamed the street the Russian embassy sits on after a murdered Russian opposition politician. The city council voted to rename the street outside Russia's embassy complex after Boris Nemtsov, who was shot outside the Kremlin in 2015. A statement from the council said the decision to honour the "slain democracy activist" passed unanimously.Russian politicians criticised the move, with one MP labelling it a "dirty trick".  Read more
11:28  French luxury group eyes investing over Rs 3K cr in Patanjali:  French luxury group LVMH Moet Hennessy - Louis Vuitton, is willing to invest a mammoth 500 million USD (Rs 3250 crore) in Patanjali Ayurveda. Patanjali spokesperson SK Gupta Tijarawala conveyed the information on Twitter on Thursday, and added, "Acharya Balkrishna (MD of Patanjali) has said that just as we use foreign technology for our development, we do not hesitate to use foreign funds for the benefit of our country, but we will take it on our own terms.will not give share/stake."

In the news clipping attached in the tweet, Balakrishna is quoted as saying that the company needs "Rs 5000 crore to set up plants in Nagpur, Greater Noida, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana and Rajasthan and for the cultivation of aromatic and herbal plants on 10,100 acres". -- ANI
11:21  Himachal govt announces Rs 5 lakh cash award for ski champ :  The government of Himachal Pradesh has given an award of Rs 5 lakh to Aanchal Thakur who won India's first ever medal at the Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup organised by the International Skiing Federation in Turkey's Erzurum. She won a Bronze medal at the event.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday heaped praise on the skier, who etched her name in history books by winning the first-ever medal for India in a skiing competition.

Taking to his official Twitter account, PM Modi wrote that the entire country is ecstatic by her "historic accomplishment".

"Well done @alleaanchal for winning an international medal in skiing! The entire nation is ecstatic on your historic accomplishment at  the FIS International Skiing Competition in Turkey. Wishing you the very best for your future endeavours," he tweeted.
11:16  Red Fort attack plot suspect arrested after 17 years:  The suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative, who was arrested after 17 long years for his alleged involvement in the 2000 Red Fort terror attack, is kept at the Police Special Cell in Delhi for further probe.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police and Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad, in a joint operation, apprehended the accused, identified as Bilal Ahmad Kawa, at the Delhi airport Wednesday night.

Bilal (37) was apprehended after the Gujarat ATS got a tip-off regarding his movement from Srinagar to Delhi. On 22 December 2000, a terrorist attack took place on Red Fort in Delhi, India, which claimed three lives. -- ANI
10:45  Elderly Mumbai couple with no children seeks Prez nod for euthanasia:  An elderly couple from Mumbai has made a heart-wrenching plea to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking permission for active euthanasia or "assisted suicide" as they feel they are of no use to society or themselves.

Narayan Lavate (88) and his wife Iravati (78), who have no children and say their siblings are also no more, are of the view that keeping them alive against their wishes is a "waste of the country's scarce resources as well as theirs".

The couple, residing at Charni Road in South Mumbai, has sought the president's intervention as they feel it is unfair to compel them to wait to die till they are afflicted by any serious ailment, and to make theirs as an exceptional case of "active euthanasia".

"The president has the powers for showing mercy to those on death row. We are serving a life imprisonment and the president can show us mercy by allowing us to end our lives," Narayan Lavate, who retired from the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) in 1989, told PTI.

Explaining his unusual plea, Lavate said if he and his wife, a retired school principal, decided to commit suicide by jumping from a terrace or hanging themselves, there was no guarantee they would die.

"In Switzerland, there is an organisation called Dignitas for those who wish to end their lives. Qualified doctors who assist them in the process are not charged for abetment to suicide. We became members of the organisation but cannot go there since I don't have a passport," Lavate said. "Our aim of writing to the president is to make us an exceptional case for active euthanasia," he said.

In his petition dated December 21, 2017, Lavate said he and his wife are in a reasonably good health and not suffering from any serious ailment. He said it is unfair to compel them to wait till they contract some serious ailment or deformity.

"We are of no use to the society or ourselves. Our siblings have passed away and we have no children. Keeping us alive against our wishes is wasting the scarce resources of the country as well as ours," the octogenarian said.

"We have already committed to donate our bodies after death and whatever little wealth we have, to the state treasury," Lavate said. He added, "At present we don't have any ailment or deformity. There is no guarantee that it'll be the case even in future. Instead of living further and creating trouble for others it is better to die. We had decided that we won't have children. There is no one in our family." 

His wife Iravati said, "I have had two operations. It is not possible for me to go out alone. It is tough for me to sit idle. I was a teacher. What is the purpose for me live now."
10:24  TN bus strike enters 8th day :   Hundreds of commuters struggled to reach places in Tamil Nadu as the indefinite strike called by transport unions, demanding a pay hike among other things, entered the eighth day on Thursday.

Though the transport department has roped in temporary drivers to resume services in the state, the fleet of buses has not been running at its maximum capacity.

Amidst the ongoing statewide strike, there were also reports of special buses being arranged for the MLAs.

Earlier on Sunday, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) working president MK Stalin urged Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy to initiate talks with transport employees and take suitable actions to end the ongoing strike in the state.

On its third day, Tamil Nadu Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabaskar had appealed to bus employees to return to work.

The strike, following the failure of talks on wage revision and clearance of pending dues with Vijayabaskar, was declared on Thursday.

Transport workers have been demanding for a pay revision to Rs 30,000; however, the authorities have only agreed to pay them Rs 24,400 per month. -- ANI
10:17  Sensex regains 51 pts in early trade ahead of earnings:  The benchmark Sensex rebounded by 51 points in opening trade today after IT, realty and teck stocks rose on optimistic buying by investors ahead of announcement of quarterly results.

The 30-share index rose by 51.78 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 34,484.85, in opening trade with IT, realty, teck, power and auto leading the recovery by rising up to 0.80 per cent.

The gauge had shed 10.12 points in the previous session following profit-booking at record levels. Also, the NSE Nifty traded higher by 9.05 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 10,641.25 in the opening trade.

Traders said widening of bets by investors ahead of Q3 numbers from IndusInd Bank and TCS, to be released later in the day amid buying by domestic institutional investors (DIIs) influenced sentiment. -- PTI
10:04  No special treatment: Lalu not allowed to get more than 3 visitors in jail:  
This may be the eighth time that Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Yadav is in jail, but it's the first time that jail authorities are throwing the rulebook at him. 

The BJP's Raghubar Das government in Jharkhand has declined his requests for special treatment, a sharp contrast from 2013 when Lalu Yadav's RJD was a partner in the state government.

On Wednesday, he requested the judge to make the prison authorities at Ranchi's Birsa jail let him meet visitors. 

The RJD chief said that the prison authorities weren't allowing him more than three visitors every week.

"The jailor says that only 3 people can meet me in a week... Please look into this," Lalu Yadav, in prison for the fodder scam case, said. 

When the judge refused to hear his request, Lalu gave it another shot. This time, seeking leniency because the Makar Sankranti festival was around the corner, on Sunday. 

"We celebrate it in a grand way... by eating dahi churra," Lalu Yadav said, trying to be his persuasive best.

The judge ignored the reference to a grand celebrations but promised to make sure that Lalu Yadav didn't miss the snack made of curd and flattened rice."I will get dahi chura arranged in jail," the judge told him, a faint smile on his face.
09:35  Denied meeting with PM, Yashwant Sinha says he'll express views in public now:  
Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said that since he could not get an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he has now decided that he will not meet anyone in the government and instead express his views in the public.

Referring to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP veteran LK Advani, Mr Sinha said "today's BJP is not like the one in the days of Atalji and Advaniji."

He said that in those days, even a "small-time worker could go to Delhi and meet party president Advani without appointment, who has targeted the government on many occasions recently".

"Now even senior and important leaders don't get appointment with the party president. So, I was not surprised when I did not get appointment for 13 months," he said. 

"I sought an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi 13 months ago to discuss various issues, but I haven't got it so far. Since I haven't got time, I have decided now I will not meet anyone in the government. Whatever I have to say, I will say openly in public," Sinha said.

Referring to a photograph of BJP president Amit Shah offering a laddoo to the prime minister, Mr Sinha said, "In that photo, Rajnath Singh, Ananth Kumar, Sushma Swaraj and others are visible. But Advani is not seen even at the back. Now he has become an 'aam' (ordinary) worker from 'khaas' (important one)."

-- PTI
09:09  There's an orchestrated campaign to malign Aadhaar: Nilekani:  
Former Unique Identification Authority of India Chairman Nandan Nilekani said there was an "orchestrated campaign" to malign Aadhaar.

He was reacting to filing of an FIR on The Tribune newspaper report relating to the Aadhaar data breach.

"There is hundred per cent an orchestrated campaign to see how Aadhaar gets maligned, yes absolutely," Nilekani said. 

Delhi Police had on Monday registered the FIR on a complaint by an UIDAI official following the newspaper report on data breach of more than 1 billion Aadhaar cards, naming the journalist behind the story.

The police was informed by the official that the correspondent, posing as a buyer, had purchased a service being offered by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp that provided unrestricted access to details of Aadhaar numbers.

Nilekani said the issue has been blown out of proportion as Aadhaar have built far too many security layers and it is not possible to randomly pore it.

urther referring to FIR filed in the Tribune case, he said negative views on Aadhaar will have negative reactions and hence, it would be better for people to have a constructive view on it.

"If you are just taking a negative view, and not a constructive view, then you also have other (negative) reactions. I think, everybody has to accept Aadhaar is here to stay," The former UIDAI chief said.

-- PTI

Read: The journalist who exposed Aadhaar
08:57  26/11 survivor Moshe to visit Chabad house in Mumbai:  
Ahead of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus four-day visit to India, the iconic Chabad House is already undergoing renovation. 

The Israeli PM and wife Sara, along with an entourage including 2008 terror attack survivor Moshe Holtzberg, his nanny Sandra Samuel and both maternal and paternal grandparents are expected to visit the Chabad House, also referred as Nariman House, in a heavily guarded private event on January 18.

An announcement of a museum on two floors of the Chabad house, that was being planned for a long time, may be made during the PMs visit. 

The year 2018, also coincides with the tenth anniversary of 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed six in Chabad House, including Moshes parents Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg.

Moshe wants to first see the Nariman House and then the Gateway of India. It has been nine years and he has forgotten most of Mumbai. He is no more a baby, we call him a big boy now. He is excited about this visit, Moshes grandfather Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg was quoted as saying to the Indian Express. 

Moshes family will be reaching Mumbai on January 16 for a three-day visit. Along with Netanyahu, the family will be staying at The Taj Mahal hotel, Colaba. The PMs delegation and Moshes family will pay tribute to victims of Nariman house. Moshes parents were murdered in the same house and the visit is scheduled under tight security, said Yaakov Finkelstein, Israels consul general in Mumbai.

Image: A Jewish man stands against a wall with bullet holes at Chabad House (also called Nariman House) in Mumbai. Photograph: Arko Datta/Reuters
08:37  Ramayana festival, khadi jackets: Stage set for ASEAN at Republic Day:  
A Ramayana festival, Ramayana stamps, specially-made Khadi jackets, and, of course, the Republic Day parade India is planning a grand show for the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders, who will be in the capital from January 24 to 26.

Officials said a Ramayana festival, which has a special connect with many of the ASEAN countries, has been curated by top artists. 

New Delhi is working with embassies of the 10 ASEAN countries to organise the Ramayana Festival, which will showcase the cultural interpretations of Ramayana across the ASEAN countries and India. The similarities of mudra (hand gestures) in our dance forms across ASEAN and India will also be showcased during this festival, said officials, adding that it will be held in the capitals Kamani Auditorium.

The government has received confirmation that all the 10 countries Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam will be represented by their heads of state or government at the ASEAN-India commemorative summit on January 25, marking 25 years of partnership.

The summit will be hosted at the Taj Palace Hotel in Delhis Chanakyapuri area. The leaders will release a commemorative Ramayana postage stamp on the occasion.

The day will start with a banquet hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind, followed by a leaders retreat at Rashtrapati Bhavan which will be hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Sources said the leaders will be given the choice of wearing Khadi jackets for either the leaders retreat or the gala dinner which will be held after the plenary session on January 25. 
08:29  Kamala Mills fire: Pub owners of 1 Above arrested:  
Jigar Sanghvi and Kripesh Sanghvi, 1 Above pub co-owners wanted in connection with the December 29 Kamala Mills fire that claimed 14 lives, were arrested, police said.

The Sanghvi brothers, who were on the run since the incident, were arrested from Mumbai's suburban area of Andheri,  additional commissioner of police S Jaikumar said. 

The police had yesterday arrested Vishal Kariya, a hotelier, for allegedly giving shelter to the Sanghvi brothers and Abhijeet Mankar -- owners of the '1 Above' pub.

The trio have been booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and other offences under the Indian Penal Code. Police had also announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for information about their whereabouts.

Mankar was still absconding.

On December 29, fire had swept through the '1 Above' and adjacent Mojo's Bistro resto pub in Kamala Mills compound in central Mumbai, resulting in the death of 14 people. 

-- PTI
00:03  Rahul to visit Amethi on Jan 15 for 1st time as Congress chief:  
Congress President Rahul Gandhi will make a two-day visit to Amethi next week in what would be his first trip to his Lok Sabha constituency after taking over the reins of the party.
Gandhi took over as Congress chief from Sonia Gandhi on December 16 last year, when she handed over the charge to her son after heading the grand old party for 19 years.
Gandhi will be in Amethi on January 15 and 16, party sources said.
Gandhi returned from Bahrain on Tuesday, after he addressed NRIs settled in the region at the conference of The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin on January 8.
The Congress chief also met Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Foreign Minister Prince Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa during his visit to the country, where he was the state guest.
"Thank you Bahrain for an inspiring and educational trip. Special thanks to HRH @bahraincpnews, HE @khalidalkhalifa, HH @khalidbinhamad, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, GOPIO and its participants, the Bahraini people and the Indian community for their love and hospitality," he tweeted after his return. -- PTI

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