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LIVE! 3 terrorists killed in encounter in Bandipora

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September 01, 2018


20:51  3 terrorists killed in encounter in Bandipora:  
3 terrorists were killed Saturday in an encounter with security forces in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir, a defence spokesman said in Srinagar.

"Three terrorists were killed in an operation in Danna in Bandipora district of north Kashmir," Srinagar-based defence spokesman, Col Rajesh Kalia, said.

He said weapons and other war-like stores were recovered from the operation site.

The operation is over, the spokesman said, adding further details were awaited.  -- PTI

Image only for representation.
20:35  Justice Banerjee says attempts were made to influence her:  
Supreme Court judge Justice Indira Banerjee has revealed in an open court that an effort was made to influence her in a case related to Hotel Royal Plaza.

A bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and Banerjee was hearing the matter on August 30 in court number 8 when the revelation was made.

Justice Mishra said that the attempt to influence the judge amounted to contempt of court.

Senior lawyer Shyam Divan requested Justice Banerjee not to recuse herself from the hearing as it might be used by others as well to ensure recusal of judges from hearing cases.

Justice Banerjee also said during the hearing that sometimes even senior members of the bar start talking about pending cases after customary meetings.

She said that any attempt to influence the court will be viewed seriously, while hinting that somebody had telephoned her for the same.

However, there was no clarity on whether there was a telephone call or who made it.

The bench then heard the matter and reserved its verdict.  -- PTI
19:46  One security personnel killed, 3 injured in IED blast by Naxals:  
A District Reserve Guard jawan was killed and three others were injured in an IED blast triggered allegedly by Naxals in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on Saturday, police said.

The incident took place around 12.30 pm in Rabdipara village when a team of DRG personnel was out on a routine search operation, Sukma Additional Superintendent of Police Shalabh Kumar Sinha told PTI.

When the patrolling team reached Rabdipara, around 500 km from state capital Raipur, the ultras triggered the improvised explosive device (IED) blast that left four jawans injured, he said.

On being alerted about the incident, reinforcement was rushed to the site to evacuate the injured to Sukma town, he said.

"Constable Gyandhar Pradhani succumbed to his injuries during the evacuation," Sinha said, adding the three others were admitted to Sukma hospital and will be airlifted to Raipur for further treatment.  -- PTI
19:35  CJI office recommends Justice Gogoi's name to succeed Justice Misra:  
Chief Justice of India's office has recommended Justice Ranjan Gogoi to be the next CJI, ANI says quoting sources.

Earlier this week, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had reportedly asked CJI Dipak Misra to recommend the name of his successor, setting in motion the process of change of guard in the Supreme Court.

Justice Misra retires on October 2.

Sources in the Law Ministry said the letter was delivered to the CJI recently.

Justice Ranjan Gogoi is the senior-most judge of the top court after the CJI.

Speculations over Justice Gogoi's appointment as the next CJI emerged following an unprecedented press conference by four senior-most judges, including Justice Gogoi, in January this year when they had criticised Justice Misra over various issues, especially the manner of allocation of cases to certain benches.

Justices J Chelameswar (since retired), Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph were among those who addressed the press conference, perhaps a first in the history of Indian judiciary.

As per the Memorandum of Procedure which governs the appointment of members of the higher judiciary, 'appointment to the office of the Chief Justice of India should be of the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court considered fit to hold the office'.

It stipulates that the Law Minister would, at an appropriate time, seek the recommendation of the outgoing CJI for the appointment of the next.

Under this process, after receipt of the recommendation of the CJI, the Law Minister puts it before the prime minister who advises the President in the matter of appointment.

'Whenever there is any doubt about the fitness of the senior-most Judge to hold the office of the Chief Justice of India, consultation with other Judges...would be made for appointment of the next Chief Justice of India,' the document states.

Law Minister Prasad had recently said that the government's intention on the appointment of the next CJI should not be questioned.

He had also said that when the incumbent names the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court as his successor as per convention, the executive will take a call.

He was responding to a question at the Law Ministry's annual press conference on whether the government would follow the laid-down conventions and procedures to appoint Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the next Chief Justice when incumbent Justice Misra demits office.

"The question is imaginary...as far as the appointment of the Chief Justice of India is concerned, the convention is clear...the sitting chief justice names the senior-most judge (of the top court) as his successor. When the name comes to us, we will discuss it," he had said.  -- PTI
19:05  US slaps sanctions on two Pak firms for nuke, missile-related activities:  
The United States on Saturday slapped sanctions on two Pakistani companies by placing them on the export entities list for activities related to nuclear and missile trade.

The two companies -- Technology Links Pvt Ltd and Techcare Services FZ have been placed under the Entity List by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

In a federal notification, the US Department of Commerce said that the entities added to the EAR list have been determined by the US government to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the US.

The move comes days ahead of the visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pakistan.

The EAR determined that Technology Links Pvt. Ltd., located in Pakistan, be added to the Entity List based on the company's involvement in the supply of items subject to the EAR to nuclear and missile-related Entity List parties in Pakistan without the required license, the federal notification said.

In addition, the EAR determined that Techcare Services FZ LLC, located in the UAE, and UEC (Pvt) Ltd, located in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, made multiple attempts to acquire US-origin commodities ultimately destined for Pakistan's unsafeguarded nuclear programme and have provided false and misleading information during an end-use check, the federal notification said.  -- PTI
18:43  Kerala hopeful of getting UAE aid for flood relief: Vijayan:  
As the Kerala government embarked on a fund mobilisation drive for reconstructing the flood-ravaged state, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Saturday he was hopeful of getting the offer of aid made by the United Arab Emirates.

His statement assumes significance in the wake of a row over the Centre's refusal to accept UAE's reported offer of Rs 700 crore to the flood-hit state.

At a function organised in Thiruvananthapuram to honour IAS officers who coordinated in operations to rescue stranded people from flood affected areas, Vijayan said several foreign countries have come forward to help the state.

Referring to the reported offer of Rs 700 crore made by the UAE to carry out relief operations and Centre's decision not to accept it, Vijayan said he does not believe that the stand (of the Centre) would continue.

Noting that the state was receiving good support for fund mobilisation from the country and abroad, Vijayan said the effort should be to make use of it properly.

The chief minister said the state government had asked for a special package to tide over the situation besides the compensation for the loss and damage caused in the devastating deluge.

However, he said there were limitations on part of the Centre to fully compensate the loss and damage suffered by the state.

"So the state has to find resources to overcome the shortage of funds for taking up the rehabilitation and rebuilding exercise," Vijayan added.

Alluding to the cabinet decision to appoint KPMG as project consultant partner for rebuilding the state, Vijayan said, "We will not restrict the consultancy to one agency. We will ensure that we get the assistance of all."

As part of the fund mobilisation initiative, the cabinet has decided to seek financial aid from abroad through non-resident Keralites, from major cities in the country and also from educational institutions in the state.

As many as 483 people have lost lives in the state since the onset of the monsoon on May 28 and 14 were still missing.  -- PTI
18:13  Gita 'non-religious', nothing wrong in distributing it: Tawde:  
Terming the Bhagwad Gita a 'non-religious' text and 'a way of life', Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde said on Saturday there is nothing communal in distributing the text in educational institutes.

Tawde also said the copies of holy books of other religions can also be given to colleges, provided they are made available for free.

Nowadays, even if anyone thinks of distributing the Gita in educational institutions, the move is seen as Bharatiya Janata Party's attempts of saffronising the education system, he alleged, blaming the media for 'projecting it that way'.

"Today, distribution of the Bhagwad Gita means one is communal. When will we come out of this mentality? Even a Class 1 child can be taught several aspects of life through the Gita," Tawde said at the launch of Bhaktivedanta Vidyapitha Research Centre at Girgaum in south Mumbai.

"The Gita, Vedas and Upanishads are not religious texts, but philosophical and scientific in nature and these texts should not just be confined to temples, but be made available to common man as they are a way of life," he said.

"If copies of the Quran and the Bible are provided free of cost, they will also be distributed in colleges," the minister said.

In July this year, the office of the Joint Director, Higher Education for Mumbai region had issued a letter asking NAAC 'A' and 'A+' ranked colleges in the city to collect the copies of the Gita from its office.

The letter, however, did not mention which group or organisation gave the copies for distribution.

The move had kicked up a row with the opposition Congress calling it an effort to 'saffronise' the education system.

"If anyone thinks of distributing Bhagwad Gita (in educational institutions), it is termed as BJP's attempts of saffronising the education system by newspapers and television channels," Tawde said.

He said when Bhaktivedanta Trust of Bhiwandi in adjoining Thane district wanted to distribute the copies of the Gita in colleges, he informed them that the government itself cannot do so, but it could give a list of colleges to which the copies of the Gita could be provided.

"I asked the officials to help them (the Trust). But, the Gita bhakts (people of the Trust) themselves went to the colleges and distributed the copies," he said.

Tawde said the key question concerning the education system today is whether students were being imparted knowledge or just information was being passed on to them.

The minister said that between 2020 and 2045, India will be the youngest country in the world and the aim should not just be to supply human resource to the world, but also to give the country's immense knowledge on Vedas to transform the world.  -- PTI
17:29  PM blames Cong for NPAs, says every penny will be recovered:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday blamed 'phone-a-loan' scam of the previous United Progressive Alliance government for the bad loans in the banking sector and said every penny given at the behest of 'namdars' (dynasts) will be recovered.

Speaking at a function to launch the payments bank of the postal department, he said a majority of bank funds during the previous regime were reserved only for rich who were close to a particular family.

Against Rs 18 lakh crore loans given since Independence to 2008, the figure rose to an astronomical Rs 52 lakh crore in six years thereafter, he said.

"Loans were given on phone calls made by 'namdars' (dynasts)," he said without taking anyone's name.

Banks lent crores of rupees in contravention of rules to businessmen who were referred by the 'namdars', he alleged.

"Knowing fully well that loans will not be paid back, banks lent money on orders of a family to a few," he said adding the lenders were forced to restructure the debt when the borrowers defaulted.

He charged the previous UPA government of hiding the extent of NPAs.

Since coming to power in 2014, the National Democratic Alliance government has analysed the enormity of the situation and asked banks to strictly recover dues, he said.

"Congress had put the economy on a landmine," he said.

"Our government brought out the true picture of NPAs and the scam of the previous government."

During the last four years, all loans in excess of Rs 50 crore have been reviewed and ensured that terms are strictly complied with, he said.

Modi said 12 of the biggest loan defaulters have an outstanding of Rs 1.75 lakh crore. Another 27 have Rs 1 lakh crore.

"We never gave any loans to any of the 12 big defaulters," he said.  -- PTI
17:20  SC to witness all-women bench on Sept 5:  
The Supreme Court will repeat history this week as an all-women bench comprising Justices R Banumathi and Indira Banerjee will hold court on September 5.

The apex court had seen a women alone bench for the first time in 2013 when Justices Gyan Sudha Misra and Ranjana Prakash Desai sat together for hearing a case.

With the swearing-in of Justice Banerjee in August, the Supreme Court for the first time in its history has three sitting women judges.

She is the eighth woman judge in the apex court since Independence. Among the three sitting women judges, Justice Banumathi is the senior-most and was elevated to the apex court on August 13, 2014.

Justice Fathima Beevi was the first ever woman judge in the top court.

Her appointment was followed by those of Justices Sujatha Manohar, Ruma Pal, Gyan Sudha Misra, Ranjana Prakash Desai, R Banumathi, Indu Malhotra and the latest addition to the lot, Indira Banerjee.

Out of these, Justices Beevi, Manohar and Pal served their entire tenure in the Supreme Court as sole women judges.

It was only in 2011 with the elevation of Justice Desai that the Supreme Court witnessed two sitting women judges. Justice Beevi was appointed in 1989, 39 years after the Supreme Court was set up in 1950.

She was elevated to the apex court after her retirement as a judge of the Kerala High Court.

Justice Manohar started her career as a judge of the Bombay high court and rose to become the chief justice of Kerala high court. She was elevated to the apex court where she remained from November 8, 1994 till August 27, 1999.

Justice Pal followed Justice Manohar after a gap of almost five months and became the longest-serving woman judge i.e. from January 28, 2000 to June 2, 2006.

After her retirement, it took four years to appoint the next woman judge in the top court. Justice Misra was elevated to the Supreme Court from the Jharkhand High Court where she was the chief justice.

Her tenure in the apex court was from April 30, 2010 to April 27, 2014.

During her stint, she was joined by Justice Desai, who served in the apex court between September 13, 2011 and October 29, 2014.

After the retirement of Justice Desai on October 29, 2014, Justice Banumathi was the lone woman judge in the apex court till the appointment of Justice Malhotra on April 27 this year.

Justice Banumathi will retire on July 19, 2020.  -- PTI
16:51  4 hospital staff suspended for 'taking selfie' with body of Harikrishna:  
A super-speciality hospital near Hyderabad has suspended four staff members who allegedly took a selfie with the body of actor-politician Harikrishna, who died in a major road accident on August 29.

A complaint has also been lodged with police against the four people for allegedly infringing on the privacy of the patient, a hospital official said on Saturday.

Police said a complaint was received on the incident and investigation was on. The selfie was allegedly taken by the staff members, including nurses, with the body of late Harikrishna, they said.

Nandamuri Harikrishna, son of Telugu cinema giant and thrice chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh N T Ramarao, died in a car crash in Telengana's Nalgonda district on August 29.  -- PTI
16:16  PM launches India Post Payments Bank:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches India Post Payments Bank (IPPB).

IPPB will have 650 branches and 3,250 Access Points across the country.

All the 1.55 lakh Post Offices in the country will be linked to the IPPB system by December 31.

"Through India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) we will reach to every nook & corner of the country. Bank and banking services will be available at every person's doorstep," Modi said.  -- ANI
16:09  Pak temporarily shuts Jalalabad consulate in Afghanistan:  
Pakistan has temporarily shut its consulate in Afghanistan's Jalalabad city due to alleged interference by a local governor.

The Pakistan Embassy in Kabul has informed Afghan authorities that the consulate will remain closed until Nangarhar Province Governor Hayatullah Hayat stops his interventions.

Diplomatic sources said the embassy has also informed the Afghanistan government that the undue interventions by Hayat was a complete violation of the Vienna Convention of the Consular Relations, 1963.

Pakistan demanded authorities improve security around the consulate and stop interference in the consulate general's functioning, otherwise it will not be opened.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan are under stress and despite efforts, the two sides have not completely eliminated the mistrust towards each other.

The two sides also accuse each other of harbouring militants who carry out attacks across the border.  -- PTI
15:56  Don't touch Stalin's feet, avoid garlands: DMK to cadre:  
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has asked its cadres not to touch the feet of party chief M K Stalin as it went against the ideals of self-respect and instead greet him saying 'Vanakkam,' with love.

Deprecating touching the feet of Stalin, the party said, "Let us give up the servitude of touching the feet to grab attention and cooperate to foster a good political culture."

"We urge the cadres to not cause unease to party president M K Stalin by touching his feet...let us guard the principle of duty, dignity and discipline," the party headquarters said in a release in Chennai.

A gesture of respect can be a simple greeting of 'Vanakkam,' with love.

It may be recalled that DMK had for years ridiculed the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders for falling at the feet of late J Jayalalithaa as a mark of their 'servitude'.

Against this backdrop, DMK said Stalin had appealed to cadres to avoid the practice when he took over as the party's working president last January itself, DMK said.

When Stalin took over as DMK chief on August 28, a lot of functionaries showered him with a range of gifts and touched his feet at party headquarters 'Anna Arivalayam'.

Ideals like self-respect, dignity and rationalism were nurtured by the Dravidian movement and the following it meant avoiding a gesture like touching the feet of party chief.

Also, the party reiterated that instead of presenting Stalin or other senior leaders with showy garlands and shawls, books could be presented to him which were being distributed to libraries across Tamil Nadu for use by students and the public.

Similarly, ostentatious banners and flex boards to disseminate information on party events that disrupt traffic and inconvenience people must be avoided.  -- PTI
15:44  India submits another letter for Choksi's extradition:  
India has submitted second extradition request to Antigua and Barbuda government for the extradition of Indian fugitive Mehul Choksi, who has acquired the citizenship of the Caribbean country.

Indian High Commissioner in Guyana, Venkatachalam Mahalingam, visited St John's, capital of Antigua and Barbuda on August 30, for the third time in recent weeks to meet senior government officials on the Choksi's extradition matter, Antigua media reported.

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne received Mahalingam and both held extensive discussions on the extradition of fugitive Indian businessman.

Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, was accompanied by the senior officials of his country, including Attorney-General, Hon. Steadroy 'Cutie' Benjamin, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anthony Liverpool; and Ambassador Colin Murdoch who is a senior advisor to Browne, reported the news portal, Antigua News Room.

The website claimed that High Commissioner Mahalingam submitted the second extradition request from the Indian authorities, with amended charges.

The Attorney-General assured Mahalingam that the documents would be put in the hands of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Mahalingam, who also had extensive discussions with the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was assured of the full support of the Antigua and Barbuda government by the prime minister.

The high profile meeting came after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), through the Ministry of External Affairs, wrote a letter to the authorities in Antigua, asking them to arrest the fugitive diamantaire.

The multi-crore rupees scam was detected by the Punjab National Bank officials earlier this year, after Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi, allegedly cheated the bank to the tune of two billion dollars.

India has been trying hard to bring back Choksi from Antigua and Barbuda under the provision of a law of the island nation, which provides for extradition of a fugitive to a designated Commonwealth country.  -- ANI
14:53  Gonsalves' son terms police charges 'laughable':  
The son of Vernon Gonsalves, one of the five activists arrested for alleged Maoist links, on Saturday rejected the police charges against his father and termed them as 'laughable'.

Vernon Gonsalves, a Mumbai resident, is one of the prominent activists and lawyers whose homes were raided by the Pune Police on August 28 on suspicion they had links with Maoists.

He and four others were later arrested.

His son Sagar Gonsalves said charges against him were false.

The police claimed to have 'conclusive proof", including letters seized during the raids, to link the arrested Left-wing activists to Maoists.

"I was present when searches and raids were conducted at our home and I know what police have seized," said Sagar Gonsalves.

He said allegations against his father, made by a top police officer while addressing a press conference Friday, with regards to alleged letters was like 'talking in the air'.

"I could not stop laughing, when the police were levelling false charges with so called letters," he said.

Besides Vernon Gonsalves, the other arrested are Varavara Rao (Hyderabad), Arun Ferreira (Mumbai), Sudha Bharadwaj (Faridabad) and Gautam Navalakha (New Delhi).

The Supreme Court has ordered that the five be kept under house arrest till September 6.

The raids were carried out as part of a probe into the Elgaar Parishad, an event organised in Pune on December 31, 2017, which allegedly triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima village in Pune district the next day.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Additional Director General (Law and Order) Param Bir Singh said an email exchanged between Rona Wilson, an activist, and a Maoist leader, speaks of ending 'Modi-raj' with a 'Rajiv Gandhi-type incident'.

Wilson was arrested in Delhi in June in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence in Maharashtra in January.

Besides Wilson, other activists-lawyers arrested in June by the Pune Police.

They were Sudhir Dhawale (from Mumbai), Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut (all from Nagpur).

All the activists arrested in June and early this week had links with Maoists, Singh had said.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Vernon Gonsalves being taken by cops to his home in Mumbai. Photograph: PTI Photo
14:06  Virat rested, Rohit to lead India in Asia Cup:  
India captain Virat Kohli was on Saturday rested from the Asia Cup with the selectors naming Rohit Sharma as captain of the 16-member squad for the tournament to be held in United Arab Emirates.

Rajasthan left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed is the only new face in the team. Asia Cup is scheduled to start from September 15 in Dubai.

India will open the tournament against Bangladesh on that day.

The Squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan (vc), K L Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Khaleel Ahmed.  -- PTI
13:59  BJP collects data on temples, Hindu priests in poll-bound MP:  
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has collected data on temples, Hindu priests and mutts across Madhya Pradesh ahead of the year-end assembly polls.

However, the purpose of this entire exercise is not clear in the state, where the BJP is seeking a record fourth term in office.

"Yes, we have collected data on temples, mutts along with their priests and sadhus (ascetics)," state BJP spokesman Rajnish Agrawal said Friday.

The BJP has also collected details of activists, social organisations and influential people of the state from the party's booth-level teams, he said.

However, Agrawal did not disclose what the party is going to do with the collected information.

"We will contact them. We will neither disclose when we will contact them nor our strategy in this regard," he added.

The BJP took up the data collection drive after an opinion poll in mid-August said the saffron outfit may fare badly in the upcoming polls.  -- PTI
13:51  Luxury vehicles of Pak PM House to be auctioned on September 17:  
Pakistan government has decided to go ahead with the sale of luxury surplus vehicles of the Prime Minister House under the austerity drive of the new government, said a report on Saturday.

A list of the luxury vehicles has been prepared to be sold during an auction set for September 17 at the Prime Minister House.

The fleet of luxury vehicles includes eight BMWs, three cars of 2014 model, three 5000cc SUVs and two 3000cc SUVs of 2016 model, the Dawn reported.

The list also contains four Mercedes Benz cars of 2016 model.

Two of them are 4,000cc bullet-proof vehicles. There are 16 Toyota cars. One of them is 2004 Lexus car, one 2006 Lexus SUV and two 2004 Land Cruisers.

Eight cars range from 2003 to 2013 models, the report said. Apart from these, four bullet-proof Land Cruiser vehicles of 2015 model are also up for auction.

There is one Honda Civic 1800cc car and three Suzuki vehicles, including two Cultus cars and one APV, all of them are of 2013 model.

The list also includes a 1994 model Hino bus, it said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, after his swearing on August 18, moved into a modest three-bed room house of his military secretary along with two servants.

He had announced that he would not be staying in the sprawling PM House which has a staff of 524 and fleet of 80 vehicles, keeping his pledge to cut down the expenditure of the cash-strapped government.  -- PTI
13:02  Inmate of Patna shelter home dies, two others missing:  
A 27-year-old inmate of a shelter home for mentally challenged women died at a hospital in Patna on Friday, a day after two other women went missing.

Anamika, an inmate of the Aasra shelter home in Patna, was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition Thursday, Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) Superintendent Rajeev Ranjan Prasad told PTI.

"She had been complaining of breathlessness and was severely anaemic. She died at 8 pm on Friday," he said.

Two other inmates, both in their early 30s, went missing Thursday and an FIR was lodged at the Rajeev Nagar police station in this connection, SHO Rohan Kumar said.

The Aasra shelter home had hit the headlines earlier this month when two of its inmates had fallen ill and were declared brought dead at the PMCH.

Following the deaths, which took place in the intervening night of August 10-11 and evoked an outcry, Manisha Dayal and Chirantan Kumar, who ran the NGO entrusted with running the shelter home, were arrested and remanded to jail custody.

Following the arrests, the Bihar Social Welfare Department deputed its own personnel at the shelter home for its upkeep as an interim measure.

A decision was also taken by the Nitish Kumar government to phase out awarding of contracts to NGOs for running such care units.  -- PTI
12:17  Drunk man urinates on woman passenger's seat in AI international flight :  
An intoxicated man allegedly urinated on the seat of a woman passenger on board an Air India international flight, prompting the Civil Aviation Ministry to seek a report from the national carrier.

The incident took place on August 30 when Air India flight AI 102 was on its way to New Delhi from New York.

Indrani Ghosh, daughter of the woman passenger, tweeted about the incident Friday evening.

'@Suresh Prabhu, @Sushma Swaraj @Air India. 30th Aug AI102 JFK to Delhi, seat36D. My mother travelling alone had to face extreme shock and trauma when a drunk passenger post dinner service fumbled across to her seat, removed his pants and urinated on her seat! Please look into urgently,' she said on Twitter.

Accusing Air India of only changing her mother's seat after the incident, she said in response to a tweet from activist Kavita Krishnan, 'My mother while waiting in her wheelchair at Delhi airport (for her connecting flight), saw him (the accused passenger) walk away.'

Following the incident, junior aviation minister Jayant Sinha directed Air India to follow up the matter immediately and report back to the ministry and aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

'@airindiain please follow up immediately and report back to MoCA/DGCA. Very unfortunate that your mother had to go through this harrowing experience,' Sinha said in his tweet.  -- PTI
11:45  Indian CEO arrested on visa fraud charges:  
An Indian citizen, who was the CEO of two information technology companies in the United States, has been arrested in connection with a multi-year visa-fraud scheme involving forged and fraudulent documents to get visas such as H1B for over 200 foreign workers.

Pradyumna Kumar Samal, 49, was taken into custody as he arrived from an international flight at Seattle airport.

The criminal complaint describing the visa-fraud scheme was filed under seal in April 2018, soon after Samal fled the United States while the investigation was ongoing.

He remained out of the country until this week when he was arrested by law enforcement.

The criminal complaint describes how two companies incorporated by Samal in 2010 and 2011 in Washington state engaged in a scheme sometimes referred to as a 'bench-and-switch' scheme, to exploit foreign-national workers, compete unlawfully in the market, and defraud the US government.

According to the investigation that began in 2015, Samal served as the Chief Executive Officer of 'Divensi' and 'Azimetry' in Bellevue, near Seattle.

Both companies were in the business of providing information-technology workers, such as Software Development Engineers, to major corporate clients.

The complaint alleges that Samal submitted, and directed his employees to submit, forged and false application materials to the United States government, making it appear as if two corporate clients already had agreed to use several foreign-national employees named in the applications. However, neither client had agreed to do so.

The forged documents included forged letters and fraudulent statements of work, which appeared as if they had been signed by senior executives at the two clients.

After the US Citizenship and Immigration Services relied on the false representations and approved the work visa applications, Samal's companies 'benched' the foreign nationals, leaving those foreign nationals unpaid unless they were able to place those employees at actual end clients.

Nearly 200 workers may have been brought in under the phony applications.

The employees were forced to pay Samal's companies a partially-refundable 'security deposit' of as much as $5,000 for the visa filings, regardless of whether they were assigned to any projects that provided them with income.

Visa Fraud is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  -- PTI
10:52  Letter 'concocted' to criminalise me, rights activist: Sudha Bharadwaj:  
Sudha Bharadwaj, one of the five activists arrested in multi-city raids by the Maharashtra Police, has outrightly rejected the claims made by the investigating agency and said a purported letter implicating her was "totally concocted" to criminalise her and human rights organisations.
   
The police had Friday claimed that Bharadwaj had written to one "Com Prakash". 
 
Reacting to this in a handwritten statement, Bharadwaj, who is under house arrest, Friday said the purported letter shown by the Pune Police is a "mixture of innocuous". 
 
She claimed a number of human rights lawyers, activists and organisations were deliberately named to cast a stigma over them, obstruct their work and incite hatred against them.
 
"It is a totally concocted letter fabricated to criminalise me and other human rights lawyers, activists and organisations," the letter said.
 
The activist-lawyer said the "fabricated letter" had not been brought before either before the Pune Court or the Faridabad Chief Judicial Magistrate while seeking to "whisk" her to Pune. 
 
In a media briefing Friday, the police had released details of seized letters related to five activists arrested in June in connection with the Bhima Koregoan violence that took place in January.
 
Early this week, the police raided the homes of activists and lawyers from five states -- Varavara Roa in Hyderabad, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, Bharadwaj in Fariadabad and Gautam Navalakha in Delhi. -- PTI 
10:23  Trump to travel to France and Argentina in Nov, skip ASEAN summit :  
United States President Donald Trump will visit France and Argentina this November, while giving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Singapore a miss, the White House has announced.
Trump will participate in a November 11 event in Paris commemorating the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, and would then travel to Buenos Aires to attend the G-20 Summit, the White House said on Friday.
The US president will, however, skip the ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit in Singapore, and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in Papua New Guinea. He has asked Vice President Mike Pence to attend these, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
The vice president will, in these meetings, highlight the United States' vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, based on respect for sovereignty, the rule of law, and the principles of free, fair and reciprocal trade. 
"The vice president looks forward to meeting with our allies and partners from across the region to advance security, prosperity and freedom for all," Sanders said.
The president will also visit Ireland after attending the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of World War I in Paris, she said.  
"The president's participation in this event will highlight the sacrifices that Americans have made, not only during World War I, but also in the century since, in the name of liberty. While in Europe, he will visit Ireland to renew the deep and historic ties between our two nations," Sanders said.
Later in November, Trump will attend the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. "The G20 Summit will be an opportunity for the president to highlight his pro-growth economic policies on an international stage and meet bilaterally with other key world leaders," Sanders said. 
Trump will also travel to Colombia to discuss opportunities for greater collaboration in security, counter narcotics, and regional affairs with the Duque administration, the White House press secretary said. -- PTI
10:02  2 arrested, hundred liquor cartons seized in UP:  
Two men were arrested and a hundred cartons of liquor worth Rs 7 lakh seized in Shamli district, police said Saturday.
   
Circle Officer Rajesh Tiwari said a truck was intercepted last evening in Jhinjhana Police Station area Friday evening.
 
The truck was smuggling over one hundred cartons of  liquor worth Rs 7 lakh from Haryana to Uttar Pradesh. Parveen Kumar and Vishal from Ambala were arrested, he said. -- PTI 
09:29  Jain monk Tarun Sagar passes away:  
Jain Monk Tarun Sagar passed away this morning in Delhi. 

He was 51. 

Sagar had a massive following in the Jain community. 

According to reports, he was admitted to a private hospital few days ago after he was diagnosed with jaundice.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tarun Sagar will be "remembered for his rich ideals and contribution to society".

"Deeply pained by the untimely demise of Muni Tarun Sagar Ji Maharaj. We will always remember him for his rich ideals, compassion and contribution to society. His noble teachings will continue inspiring people. My thoughts are with the Jain community and his countless disciples," he tweeted with pictures of the monk.

In 2016, Bollywood music composer Vishal Dadlani was criticised for his scathing remarks questioning Tarun Sagar's lecture at Haryana assembly.

After a barrage of criticism and a court case, Dadlani had tendered an apology to the Jain monk.

Image: PM Narendra Modi with Jain monk Tarun Sagar. Photograph: Kind courtesy: @narendramodi/Twitter
09:01  US to stop aid to Palestinian refugee agency:  
The Trump administration has announced an end to all funding to the United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency, alleging it to be "irredeemably flawed".
"The administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said on Friday.
"The fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years tied to UNRWA's endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years," she said.  
"The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation, Nauert said. 
In January, it had made a USD 60 million contribution to the UNRWA. 
At the same time, she said the US was very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children, of the failure of the UNRWA and key members of the regional and international donor community to reform and reset the body.
These children are part of the future of the Middle East. Palestinians, wherever they live, deserve better than an endlessly crisis-driven service provision model. They deserve to be able to plan for the future, she said.
As such, the United States will intensify dialogue with the United Nations, host governments, and international stakeholders about new models and new approaches, which may include direct bilateral assistance from the United States and other partners, that can provide today's Palestinian children a more durable and dependable path towards a brighter tomorrow, Nauert said.
The United Nations regretted the US decision in this regard. -- PTI
08:29  BJP may lose 30-40 seats in 2019 LS polls: Union minister:  
Union minister Ramdas Athawale has said that the Bharatiya Janata Party's number of seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls may go down by "30-40" seats but the National Democratic Alliance will still return to power.
 
He also said he was ready to act as a mediator between Patidar leader Hardik Patel and the BJP in Gujarat to resolve the issue of reservation. Patel is on an indefinite fast to press the demand for reservation for the Patidar community in education and government jobs.
"The BJP's tally may go down by 30-40 seats but the NDA will return to power," the Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment said.
Athawale warned that if the Patidar stir is not resolved in time it could cost the BJP two to three Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat in next year's elections.
"Since Patidars turned against the ruling party, the BJP lost around 15-20 seats in the last Gujarat elections. If the situation persists, the BJP may lose two-three Lok Sabha seats in 2019," he told reporters.
"I will try to talk to Hardik over phone to convince him. Only talks can resolve this issue. I am also ready to become a mediator between him and the BJP at the Centre. If he agrees, I will take him to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss this issue," Athawale said.
"I once told Hardik that he can get the desired results if he remains by the BJP's side. I told him that he will not get anything by joining hands with the Congress. I think he needs to talk to BJP leaders to resolve this issue," he added.
Speaking about quotas, Athawale said all communities falling in the general category, like Patidars in Gujarat, Marathas in Maharashtra and Jats in Haryana, should be granted reservation.
"Since there is a cap of 50 per cent (on reservations), Parliament needs to first amend the Constitution to allow an additional quota of 25 per cent. We can exclude those who earn over Rs 8 lakh. I even suggested this to the prime minister in a meeting of NDA allies," he said.
Replying to a question on the Ayodhya Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute, the Union minister claimed that the site once housed a Buddhist temple.
"You will find Buddhist-era statues if you excavate. There was a Buddhist temple there. Then Hindus built a temple which was destroyed by Mughals to build a mosque," he said. -- PTI 
00:14  ISIS man jailed for life over plot to assassinate Theresa May:  
A British Bangladeshi Islamic State (ISIS) follower was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey court in London on Friday after he was found guilty of hatching a terror plot to behead Theresa May in a suicide attack on Downing Street.

Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman had been convicted of preparing acts of terrorism at the end of a trial in July after it was claimed he wanted to bomb the gates of 10 Downing Street, kill guards and then attack the British Prime Minister with a knife or a gun.

Rahman's plans were foiled as a result of a joint undercover operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States and MI5 and Scotland Yard in the United Kingdom.

"I want to do a suicide bomb on Parliament. I want to attempt to kill Theresa May," the 21-year-old told undercover intelligence officers.

"There are lorries here with big gas tankers. If a brother can drive it next to parliament I will bomb," he unsuspectingly told an MI5 undercover officer.

At the sentencing hearing on Friday, Justice Haddon-Cave sentenced him to a minimum term of 30 years behind bars.

"I am sure that at all material times Rahman believed the devices to be real and capable of causing serious harm," the judge said, paying tribute to the way the 'extraordinary' case had been 'robustly investigated, prepared and presented'.

He said it would be 'extremely reassuring for the public as to how this remarkable investigation has been conducted'.

The plot was discovered after Rahman contacted an FBI agent who was posing as an ISIS official online.

His trial heard how he thought he was being helped by an ISIS handler when in fact he was talking to security officials as part of a major undercover operation mounted by counter-terrorism officers from the Metropolitan Police and MI5.

Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon said: "His intention was to go to the gates of Number 10. He was going to detonate one of the devices that would have killed police officers and members of the public.

"His intention was then to go on through the gates of Number 10, detonate potentially another device there which would get him into Number 10, then, having a knife or gun, attack the PM.

"He was expecting to die in the process and essentially commit martyrdom, detonating a bomb in central London at the heart of government.

"If he had got hold of a genuine bomb, a gun, or a knife, we would have been talking about an individual who could have killed, injured and maimed a number of individuals in Whitehall."

Rahman was arrested in London in November last year, shortly after the last of a number of meetings with undercover police officers posing as terrorists, and where he had been provided with what he was told was a suicide vest and a bomb.  -- PTI

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