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LIVE! People will teach KCR a lesson for not keeping poll promises: Congress

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September 06, 2018


23:38  People will teach KCR a lesson for not keeping poll promises: Congress :  
The Congress in Telangana Thursday slammed caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's for his comments against the party and said people would teach him a lesson for not delivering on poll promises.
The party also said the matter of the Election Commission holding discussions with Rao, when revision of voters list is taking place, was something unheard of and it should be taken seriously, Telangana PCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy said.
"Is the Election Commission in match fixing with him (KCR). Before dissolving the assembly what was Election Commission speaking to him," Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president N Uttam Kumar Reddy asked.
"This definitely creates suspicion as to what the Central Election Commission is doing. Because on September 1, they ordered a revision of voters list of Telangana and the due process was to end on January 1, 2019.
After that the chief minister says he spoke to the CEC and they are going to conduct elections," Reddy told reporters in New Delhi.
 Rao at a press meet said he spoke to the CEC and the Election Commission before he dissolved the Assembly, Reddy said.
"I am sure the Election Commission has a lot to answer for because if a chief minister is saying before dissolving the assembly he spoke to the CEC and the Election Commission what is he speaking to them and what are they speaking to him," he said.
Reddy said the next elections would not be about "Congress versus TRS. "But it will be KCR family versus people of Telangana."
"The people of Telangana will teach a befitting lesson to KCR for not delivering on his election promises," he said.
23:08  Boat capsizes in West Bengal, 7 persons missing:  
Seven persons went missing after a boat capsized in Bhairav river in West Bengal's Murshidabad district Thursday evening, a senior official said.
 
According to District Magistrate P Ulaganathan, two boats started off from Hariharpara to Vrindabanpur around 6.30 pm carrying 40 people. One of the boats capsized in the river in Garibpur.
"Some people have been rescued while some managed to swim to shore. There are possibly five to seven persons missing," he said.
"We have initiated a search operation for them. Adequate lighting arrangements are also being made for the operations as it's dark," he said.
Asked whether the missing persons could have drowned, Ulaganathan said, "They could have been swept away by the stream. We are trying our best to locate them." -- PTI 
23:04  UN chief welcomes SC decision to decriminalise gay sex with hashtag LoveWins:  
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres Thursday welcomed the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court to annul part of the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises consensual gay sex.
"Discrimination and prejudice are always irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary", as Chief Justice Misra says. I welcome today's decision by India's highest court #LoveWins," Guterres tweeted, quoting Chief Justice Dipak Misra's remarks.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Misra unanimously held Thursday that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community possess the same constitutional rights as other citizens of the country.
The bench termed sexual orientation as a "biological phenomenon" and "natural" and held that any discrimination on this ground was violative of the fundamental rights. The top court decriminalised part of the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises consensual gay sex, saying it was irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.
UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), also welcomed the historic decision, saying criminalization of consensual same-sex sexual relations is a violation of human rights and legitimizes prejudice and violence against LGBTI people.
"Today is a day of gay pride, a day of celebration, a day when respect and dignity was finally restored in India for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people," said Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS. 
"I applaud the brave activists, civil society organisations and community groups that have fought long and hard for this injustice to be reversed."
UNAIDS said that criminalisation hinders people from accessing and using HIV prevention, testing and treatment services and increases their risk of acquiring HIV.
In India, HIV prevalence among gay men and other men who have sex with men is 2.7% and among transgender people is 3.1%, compared to the national HIV prevalence among all adults of just 0.26%. Around three out of ten gay men and four out of ten transgender people in India who are living with HIV do not know their HIV status. Many LGBTI people living with HIV do not have access to HIV treatment, the UN agency said. -- PTI
22:23  India, US to set up hotline between their foreign, defence ministers:  
India and the US Thursday decided to set up a hotline between their foreign and defence ministers and closely monitor the implementation of the decisions taken at the first 2+2 dialogue between the two countries.
 
The announcement was made by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj after the 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi, during which she along with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held wide-ranging deliberations with US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis.
"We have decided to closely monitor the implementation of the decisions taken today. A decision has been take to establish a hotline between both the foreign ministers and defence ministers through which Secretary Pompeo and I, Secretary Mattis and Nirmala ji, will be able to stay in touch constantly," Swaraj said.
Besides the decision of setting up of the hotline, a long-negotiated defence pact - Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA) - was also inked, and key issues, including cross-border terrorism, India's NSG bid and the contentious H1B visa issue, were discussed during the dialogue. -- PTI
21:49  Pompeo, Mattis brief PM Modi on 2+2 dialogue:  
United States Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis Thursday briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the first 2+2 dialogue held between the two countries.
They conveyed greetings of President Donald Trump to Prime Minister Modi.
"The prime minister fondly recalled his interactions with President Trump and requested the secretaries to convey his greetings to him," a brief statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.
It said the two briefed the prime minister on the "fruitful and productive" 2+2 dialogue held earlier Thursday.
The prime minister congratulated both the secretaries and their Indian counterparts External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who were also present during the meeting, for holding the first 2+2 dialogue, the statement said.
India and the US Thursday held the first edition of the twice-deferred two-plus-two talks, covering the expanse of bilateral ties and looking to expand their global strategic cooperation, including in the strategic Indo-Pacific region. -- PTI
21:27  Avoid complex terms when using Hindi: PM:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today stressed on the use of Hindi language for official purposes and suggested to government officials that they avoid complex terms to make the communication simple.
 
The prime minister made the suggestion at the 31st  meeting of the Central Hindi Committee chaired by him.
He stressed that Hindi should be spread through day-to-day conversations and complex technical terms should be avoided or used negligibly for official purposes, according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.
Emphasising the need to reduce the gap between the usage of Hindi in government and the society, Modi said educational institutions can help in leading this campaign.
Referring to his experiences around the world, the prime minister told the members of the committee that India can connect with the world using all Indian languages, including Hindi.
The chief ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, participated in the meeting. -- PTI 
21:25  'Groundbreaking victory' for gay rights in India: World media hails SC verdict:  
The world media today hailed the overturning of a colonial-era law in India that criminalised gay sex, saying the landmark ruling was a boost for gay rights not only in the world's largest democracy but also across the world.
 
The Washington Post said India's top court's ruling was a landmark victory for gay rights in the world's largest democracy.    
It noted noted that activists have struggled for more than a decade to invalidate the section of the Indian Penal Code that prohibited consensual "carnal intercourse against the order of nature."
The leading American newspaper commented that the ruling  is also a boost for gay rights around the globe. 
"The judgment reflects rapid social change in India, where only five years ago, the top court upheld the same law. Since then, campaigners have mobilised a movement to spread awareness about gay rights," it said.
Economic and technological changes have spurred shifts in thinking too, it said while pointing out that conservative attitudes toward homosexuality still persist. 
The New York Times described the ruling as a "groundbreaking victory" for gay rights in India which has put to rest a legal battle that stretched for many years and burying one of the most glaring vestiges of India's colonial past.
It quoted Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director for Human Rights Watch as saying that the ruling could set a precedent for nations with similar colonial-era laws to end their "discriminatory, regressive treatment" of gay and transgender citizens.
"Though in recent years more and more Indians have come out, and acceptance of gay, lesbian and transgender people has grown to some degree, the fact that intimate behaviour was still criminalised created much shame and discouraged countless Indians from coming out," the influential paper said.
The decision to repeal the law is a major victory for India's LGBT activists and supporters after years of determined struggle, CNN commented.
"Thursday's historic ruling is the culmination of a lengthy and often fraught legal battle for equality in a country where homosexuality remains taboo," it said.
The decision appears to mark the end of a fraught path to legalising homosexuality in modern India, The Guardian newspaper of the UK said, noting that early cases filed in 1994 and then 2001 bounced back and forth for years between higher courts reluctant to rule on the issue.
Though describing the Supreme Court's ruling as "historic", the BBC noted that "in a largely conservative India, where leaders of all religions have consistently opposed gay sex, it will still be a while before attitudes change and the community finds full acceptance."
The Independent newspaper said the ruling will have a profound impact both in India and across the world.
The Telegraph newspaper noted that sexual minorities in India have lived in fear, hiding as second class citizens and the Suprme Court's decision to decriminalise gay sex has sparked jubilation among LGBTQ and human rights groups across the country. -- PTI 
21:19  Reducing air pollution biggest reason to buy electric vehicles, not rising fuel cost: Survey:  
About 87 per cent people believe reducing air pollution is the biggest reason for them to purchase an electric vehicle and not rising fuel prices, according to a new survey that comes amid an increase in government's efforts to promote eco-friendly vehicles.
 
The survey commissioned by Climate Trends and carried out by FourthLion Technologies was conducted online between August 21-24 among 2,178 Indian drivers, vehicle owners and those who plan to purchase, own or drive a vehicle in the next 10 years, the survey said.
"Transportation accounts for about 24 per cent of India's carbon emissions and is a major source of air pollution in several cities across the country. According to a recent WHO report, 14 of the top 20 most polluted cities of the world are in India," the study said.
The survey also revealed that most drivers and vehicle owners are personally affected by poor air quality.
Nearly 87 per cent of the people surveyed said for them, the rising air pollution is the biggest motivation to buy electric vehicles.
About 76 per cent said they -- along with their neighbours, friends or family -- suffer from poor air quality every day or are starting to show symptoms of being affected by air pollution, it said.
Delhi seemed to be worst affected with 91 per cent of its respondents saying they or someone they knew were suffering from poor air quality.
Similarly, high percentages were recorded in Hyderabad (78 per cent), Chennai (75 per cent), Mumbai (74 per cent), Bengaluru (71 per cent), and Kolkata (70 per cent).
Drivers and vehicle owners said they are 'much more likely' to consider purchasing an electric vehicle after learning that 'electric vehicles reduce air pollution through zero on-road emissions' (72 per cent), the survey said.
India is the third largest market for automobiles and the world's largest market when it comes to two-wheelers. 
More than four million internal combustion engine vehicles were sold in India in 2017, and 81 per cent of those sales (20 million units) came from the two-wheeler segment alone.
The government is promoting electric vehicles to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and protect the environment.
The government has decided to exempt electric vehicles and automobiles run on alternative fuel from permit requirements in a bid to boost such vehicles in the country, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
The government is also promoting eco-friendly vehicles through Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) India scheme, which was launched in 2015. -- PTI
20:32  LGBTQ's victory will inspire us to fight: Koregaon-Bhima accused's partner:  
The Supreme Court verdict, which said gay sex among consenting adults is not a criminal offence, has given us a "ray of hope" to continue our struggle against injustice, partner of Gautam Navlakha, Sabah Husain, one of the five activists who has been under house arrest in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence said Thursday.
 
On a day when the apex court extended the house arrest of five rights activists, including Navlakha till September 12, Husain said the struggle of LGBT community and today's victory is an inspiration for her and her partner to continue their fight for justice.
 
She compared the struggle which the LGBTQ community underwent before the Supreme Court verdict to the one they have been going through.
Husain pointed to the barricades placed outside her Nehru Enclave residence,  asserting those were her new meeting point.
 
"Just as we were waiting for a verdict for all of us, the Supreme Court gave the most historic judgement on decriminalising homosexuality. It is a moment of pride for all of us. Gautam and I feel this has been possible due to the relentless struggle and campaign of the LGBTQ community," she told PTI.
 
She said Gautam saluted the spirit of the LGBTQ community and the comrades who have fought all these years.
 
"Their struggle and today's victory is an inspiration for us to continue our fight for justice. We have learnt a lot from their persistence and perseverance and resistance," she added.
 
On the forthcoming verdict, Husain said "...We will wait as patiently as we have done till now and see what happens on September 12".
 
She claimed Gautam has not been able to meet his family after his house arrest.  
 
However, they are able to interact with each other freely as there is no police presence inside the house, she said.
 
Maharashtra police had raided the homes of prominent Left-wing activists in several states and arrested them, sparking a chorus of protests from human rights activists.
 
The raids were carried out as part of a probe into the violence between Dalits and the upper caste Peshwas at Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune after an event called Elgar Parishad, or conclave, on December 31, 2017. -- PTI  
19:58  Parrikar returns to Goa after treatment in US:  
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar returned Thursday evening to Panaji from the United States, where he had gone for medical treatment in the last week of August.
 
Parrikar, 62, arrived at Goa airport around 5.30 pm by a regular flight from Mumbai, where he had landed in the afternoon on his return journey from the US, an official in his office said.
He was seen walking out of the airport building before driving off.
Parrikar underwent treatment in the US for a pancreatic ailment for nearly three months earlier this year.
After returning in the last week of June, he flew to the US again on August 10 for what was described as a follow-up, and returned to Panaji on August 22.
But he had to be rushed to Mumbai the next day and was admitted to a private hospital. From there, he flew to the US for treatment for a third time on August 30.
During his three-month-long treatment in the US, Parrikar had formed a Cabinet Advisory Committee of ministers Sudin Dhavalikar, Francis D'Souza and Vijai Sardesai to look after governance.
No such committee was formed during his second and third visit to the US, but instead he delegated powers to the Chief Secretary to handle important issues.
Opposition Congress had alleged that administration had "collapsed" due to Parrikar's absence, and demanded that the BJP-led state government be dismissed and President's rule be imposed in Goa. -- PTI 
19:03  Congress to organise Bharat Bandh against fuel prices on Sep 10:  
The Congress will organise a nationwide shutdown on September 10 over rising fuel prices, party leaders announced today and asked other opposition parties and civil society groups to join their protest against the government.
The common man was bearing the brunt of the escalating prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas, Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said.
"The Congress party has decided that we will be giving a call for Bharat Bandh on September 10, Monday, in order to highlight the Rs 11 lakh crore fuel loot and to demand an immediate reduction in central excise duty as also excessive VAT in the state," he told reporters. 
Surjewala said the Congress will also demand petrol and diesel should be brought within the ambit of the GST so that the "common man whose budget has gone haywire is provided the requisite relief".
The Congress has also urged opposition parties to join the protest, he said.
"We also call upon other societal groups, NGOs... to join this people's movement," he said. -- PTI 
18:49  Interpol issues Red Corner Notice against Nirav Modi's executive:  
Interpol has issued a Red Corner Notice against Mihir R Bhansali, an executive of absconding billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, in connection with the alleged USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank money-laundering case, officials said Thursday.
 
The notice, which acts as an international arrest warrant, mentions that Bhansali  (40) is required on charges of "money laundering".
The RCN against Mihir Rashmi Bhansali, CEO of Nirav Modi's jewellery firm Firestar International, was requested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), they said.
The ED wants him in order to take its investigation in the case forward, they added.
It had told the global police body that Bhansali was "likely" to travel to the US, the UK, Hong Kong, China or the UAE.
In its RCN issued against a fugitive, the Interpol asks its 192 member countries to arrest or detain the person if spotted in their countries after which extradition or deportation proceedings can begin.
A similar Interpol notice was issued against Nirav Modi sometime back.
Bhansali is said to be operating from the United States of America as part of the overseas operations of Firestar International.
The case pertains to cheating the state-run Punjab National Bank through fraudulent issuance of Letters of Undertaking and Foreign Letters of Credit worth over USD 2 billion (about Rs 13,000 crore) by Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, both absconding since the first week of January. -- PTI 
18:17  'LGBT community would no longer feel like criminals, 2nd class citizens':  
One of the petitioners in the Supreme Court on the Section 377 issue said the apex court verdict is a new dawn for the LGBT community which would no more feel like criminals and second class citizens.
   
A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual unnatural sex, saying it violated the rights to equality.
 
Calling the change "historic", Ankit Gupta, an LGBT activist with the Humsafar Trust said the fight for equality continues and there is still a long way to go for it
 
Another activist with the Humsafar Trust said the change has come after 18 years of suffering and what the community has gone through in these 18 years could not be expressed in words.
 
"Tomorrow when we wake up we would be able to look in the mirror and not see ourselves as a second class citizen or a criminal," he said.
"This is an opportunity to fight further for equality," he added.
 The constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra termed the part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises consensual unnatural sex as irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary. -- PTI
17:15  Judgment closes door on dark chapter of Indian history: Amnesty:  Hailing the Supreme Court judgment decriminalising consensual gay sex, Amnesty International India Thursday said the verdict gave hope to everyone fighting for justice and equality.


The SC on Thursday unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual unnatural sex, saying it violated the rights to equality.


"The judgment closes the door on a dark chapter of Indian history. It marks a new era of equality for millions of people in India," said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director, Amnesty International India.


"The remarkable victory today is a milestone in the three decade old struggle by the LGBTI community and their allies in India,' she added. However, the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) community's struggle for their rights including marriage, adoption and inheritance will continue, Basu said.


"While today's judgement answers the constitutional invalidity of Section 377, the struggle for the rights of LGBTI people continues, including in relation to marriage, adoption or inheritance,' she said.


Amnesty said the landmark ruling "sends a message of hope not only to LGBTI people, but to everyone fighting for justice and equality. The court's unanimous verdict has upheld the right to equality, privacy, dignity and freedom of expression of all people regardless of their sexual orientation, it said. -- PTI


Image: People react after the Supreme Court verdict decriminalising consensual gay sex, outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi, today. Photograph: PTI photo
16:53  Kerala Min lauds Odisha skilled workers' help to flood-hit:  Kerala will never forget the support provided by the skilled workforce that came from Odisha to rehabilitate its flood-affected people, Labour Minister T P Ramakrishnan said today.


A team of skilled workers comprising electricians, plumbers, welders and carpenters have been carrying out rehabilitation works since August 23 in worst-affected areas of Aluva and North Paravoor in Ernakulam.


The 25-member team of volunteers visited hundreds of houses and establishments ravaged by floods and repaired their wiring, plumbing systems and electronic appliances such as televisions, washing machines, refrigerators and mixi and grinders.


The team also organised camps in Kozhikode and Wayanad districts to provide their service to the affected people. At least 5300 affected people have been so far helped by the skilled workforce from Odisha, officials said.
16:36  Bhima Koregaon: SC extends activists' house arrest till Sep 12 :  The Supreme Court on Thursday extended the house arrest of the five activists, who were allegedly involved in Bhima Koregaon violence, till September 12.


The five activists- Sudha Bhardwaj, P Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, and Vernon Gonsalves, were detained on August 28 by Maharashtra police, from various locations.


The Apex Court, in an earlier order on August 29, had directed the Pune police to keep the activists under house arrest till September 5.


During the last hearing, the Maharashtra Government, in an affidavit to the Supreme Court, stated that they "were members of banned terrorist organistaion Communist Party of India (Maoist)."


The action by the Maharashtra Police was taken in connection with the violence that erupted in Pune during an event which marked 200 years of the Bhima Koregaon battle, in January this year. The clashes killed one person and left several injured, including 10 policemen. -- ANI
16:27  Humsafar Trust takes out LGBT pride parade in Mumbai after Supreme Court legalises homosexuality.
16:25  Rahul Gandhi is the biggest buffoon: KCR:  Ending weeks of speculation, the Telangana government recommended the dissolution of the state assembly Thursday, official sources said. A resolution recommending the dissolution of the House was adopted at a meeting of the state Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao this afternoon. Shortly afterwards, Rao drove to Raj Bhavan and handed over the resolution to Governor ESL Narasimhan, who accepted the Cabinet's decision.

Addressing a press meet later, KCR said, targetted the Congress president, saying, "I am asking Congress leaders to come to ground and fight in the elections and public will give the reply. Everyone knows what Rahul Gandhi is... the biggest buffoon in the country. Whole country has seen how he went to Mr Narendra Modi and hugged him, the way he is winking. He is a property for us, the more he comes (to Telangana) the more seats we will win.


"We are going to contest the election alone but no doubt we are friends with MIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen). Before 2014 many issues were there in Telangana, like bomb blasts, electricity issues, communal violence but now we are free of all this. TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) is a 100% secular party. How can we join hands with BJP?"
16:02  Homosexuality not a crime, but same-sex marriage unnatural: RSS:   Homosexuality is not a crime, the RSS said Thursday, while maintaining that it does not support same-sex marriage as it was "not natural".


The comments came on a day the Supreme Court unanimously decriminalised part of Section 377, which criminalises consensual unnatural sex, saying it violated the rights to equality.


"Like the Supreme Court's verdict, we also do not consider this (homosexuality) as a crime," RSS 'prachar pramukh' Arun Kumar said in a statement.


'Prachar pramukh' is the designated spokesperson of the Sangh.


However, he maintained the Sangh's old stand and said gay marriage and such relationships were not "compatible with nature".  "These relationships are not natural, so we do not support this kind of relationship."


He claimed that Indian society "traditionally does not recognise" such relations. Humans usually learn from experiences, so this topic needs to be discussed and handled the social and psychological level, Kumar added.


Image: People react after Supreme Court decriminalises consensual gay sex outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/PTI Photo
15:37  'India was never, ever homophobic':  "It hurts and there has been lot of collateral damage.A lot of people like Navtej Johar (one of the co-petitioners in the case and Mehra's long-term partner) and me were protected by class, education, money and privilege, but that was not the case for a child growing in Sawai Madhopur, Madurai and other places. He is suffering. We need to create a society where people can realise they are full of selves, without fear, without dread, a society where violence can't be imposed upon."


Senior journalist Sunil Mehra, one of the petitioners who challenged Section 377, spoke to Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf in a telephone interview.  Do read

15:30  TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao announces candidates for 105 assembly constituencies of the total 119 in Telangana.
15:28  Sushma, Nirmala to get hotlines with US counterparts:  India and the US Thursday inked a long-negotiated pact under which critical and encrypted defence technologies will be provided to the Indian military by the Americans, officials said here. The 'Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA)' was signed after the first two-plus-two talks External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had with US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis.


The COMCASA will facilitate India to obtain critical defence technologies from the US, and access critical communication network to ensure inter-operability among the US and the Indian armed forces.



It will also allow the installation of high-security US communication equipment on defence platforms being sourced from the US, officials said. India and US have decided to work for New Delhi's NSG bid, Swaraj has said. "Given strong ties, India conveyed its expectation that US will not "act against" interests of Indians," the FM said on H1B visa issue. "We have decided to set up "hotlines" between External Affairs Minister and Defence Minister with their US counterparts," she said.  The issue of cross-border terrorism was also discussed during the talks.
14:43  SC asks TN Guv to consider mercy plea in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case:  The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Tamil Nadu Governor to consider the mercy petition of A G Perarivalan, a convict in the 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.


A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Naveen Sinha and K M Joseph disposed of the Centre's petition regarding a proposal for the release of the convicts, filed by the Tamil Nadu government.


The Centre had on August 10 told the apex court that it does not concur with the Tamil Nadu government's proposal to release the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, saying remission of their sentence will set a "dangerous precedent" and have "international ramifications".
14:16  KCR to remain caretaker CM till new Telangana govt is formed:  Telangana governor ESL Narasimhan approves the dissolution of the assembly as recommended by CM KC Rao. Governor has asked Rao to continue as caretaker Telangana CM till the new government is formed.

KCR had met the governor to inform him about the Cabinet's decision to dissolve the state Assembly.


Assembly elections in Telangana were scheduled to be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls next year.


The speculation about early assembly polls had gained ground with transfers of officials, including IAS officers, during the last several days.

The chief minister in a recent media interaction did not give a direct reply on reports of early assembly election, but had said the Election Commission has the discretion to conduct it within six months of the original schedule.

At Sundays meeting, Rao expressed hope of creating a better Telangana in future and hinted at increasing pension amounts and promised to address problems of unemployed youth.
14:02  Telangana Cabinet recommends dissolution of state assembly:  The Telangana Cabinet recommended the dissolution of the state assembly Thursday, official sources said. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao met Governor ESL Narasimhan shortly convey the decision. Speculation was rife for quite some time that Rao may go in for a snap poll. The decision on whether to hold an early election now rests with the Election Commission. In normal circumstances, election to the Telangana assembly would coincide with the Lok Sabha polls. -- PTI
14:00  LGBTQ activist Harish Iyer tweets his itinerary for the day. Clearly no time to celebrate.

8 am - 9. : CNN IBN.
9 - 1015 : Times Now
1015 - 12 : India Today.
1 - 2 pm : Mirror now.
2- 6 pm: guardian, BBC, NDTV
6-7 pm: India Today.
7- 8 pm:  ET now.
8-9 pm. : Times now
9-10 pm: Mirror now
10 pm: faints.
13:57  KCR to dissolve Telangana Assembly :  Telangana CM KC Rao meets Governor, informs him about Cabinet's decision to dissolve the state Assembly.


Amol Kale, an accused in Narendra Dabholkar murder case, has been sent to CBI custody till September 14 by Pune Session Court.
13:55  Thank the lawyers, judges who have worked on this, not me: Petitioner:  Keshav Suri, Executive Director of Lalit Group of hotels & petitioner in the Section 377 case: All the lawyers & judges who have worked on this are the people to be interviewed and thanked. I am a nobody but they are the people to be thanked. It is massive time to celebrate.
13:53  LGBTQ community celebrates 'historic' SC verdict on Section 377:  Celebrations broke out Thursday as the LGBTQ community and others welcomed the Supreme Court judgment decriminalising consensual gay sex, asserting that the "historic" verdict granted them a basic human right but also acknowledging that complete equality was still some distance away.


Activists, members of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer) community, authors and politicians welcomed the verdict -- which also said society cannot dictate a sexual relationship between consenting adults -- with many cutting cakes and unfurling the rainbow flag.


LGBTQ activist Anjali Nazia said the Supreme Court had paved way for bigger judgements ahead. "We were granted a basic human right today and we can't express just how happy we are," Nazia told PTI.


Describing the verdict as a landmark, Anjan Joshi, member of the Society for People, Awareness, Care and Empowerment (SPACE), said it would be help them in their quest for equality.


"It is a start. We know we have a long way to go in terms of right to adoption, right to marriage but it is a very welcome beginning," Joshi said.


For many activists, this was the harbinger of better days to come. A member of the gay community who requested anonymity said the decision was long due.


"I have suffered for 10 years because of my sexuality. Hopefully things will change," he said.


According to Alliance India CEO Sonal Mehta, it is a day of victory for love and law.


"We are finally not criminals and this minuscule minority has an identity now," is how gender and sexuality rights activist Arpit Bhalla put it.


The Congress also put out a Twitter post welcoming the judgement. "We join the people of India & the LGBTQIA+ community in their victory over prejudice. We welcome the progressive & decisive verdict from the Supreme Court & hope this is the beginning of a more equal & inclusive society," it said, adding intersex and asexuality to LGBTQ.


Expressing his happiness, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said the judgement "shamed" BJP MPs who had opposed him on the issue in the Lok Sabha.


"So pleased to learn that the SupremeCourt has ruled against criminalising sexual acts in private. This decision vindicates my stand on Section 377& on exactly the same grounds of privacy, dignity &constitutional freedoms. It shames those BJP MPs who vociferously opposed me in LS," he tweeted.


Writer Chetan Bhagat said India will survive and thrive only by accepting diversity. "India is a country where the culture changes every 100km. Accepting diversity has to be the core value of every Indian and frankly is the only way India will survive and thrive. Scrapping #Section377 is a step in that direction. It is a good day for India."


Saying that she was jubilant and emotional, feminist activist Rituparna Borah termed the verdict a stepping stone. "But there are issues like police violence, right to adoption and marriage that still stay," she told PTI. 
13:31  Pleased to welcome the SC decision: Tharoor :  Shashi Tharoor: I'm pleased to welcome the SC decision to decriminalise consensual acts of adults in private. In this country we've allowed govt to interfere in private lives of people to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation, but the SC stood up for equal treatment of citizens.

Tharoor had moved a private member's bill to do away with the entire section 377, but it was defeated on the floor of Parliament, with his own party members unwilling to stand by him.
13:28  UN: Welcome today's landmark ruling by SC:  Welcome today's landmark ruling by SC. Sexual orientation & gender expression form integral part of individual's identity the world over & violence, stigma & discrimination based on these attributes constitute an egregious violation of human rights: United Nations on #Section377
13:07  Section 377 of IPC is violative of Right to live with dignity: SC:  More details of the SC verdict:

Justices R F Nariman, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra write separate concurring verdicts.


--  Courts must protect dignity of an individual as right to live with dignity is recognised as fundamental right. 


--  Sexual orientation is a biological phenomenon, and any discrimination on this grounds is violative of fundamental rights. 


-- So far as consensual unnatural sexual act in private is concerned, it is neither harmful nor contagious to society. 


-- Govt, media must give wider publicity to SC judgement so that LGBTQ community doesn't face discrimination: Justice Nariman.


--  Members of LGBTQ community were targeted and exploited due to Sec 377 of IPC, says Justice Chandrachud. Members of LGBTQ community have Constitutional rights like that of other citizens.


-- Constitution nurtures dissent as safety valve of society, we can't change history but can pass way for better future.


--  Due to Sec 377 LGBT members forced to live in hiding and as 2nd class citizens while others enjoy right of sexual orientation.


-- History owes an apology to the LGBTQ community for denying them  rights and compelling them to live a life of fear: Justice Indu Malhotra.


--  India is signatory of international treaties on rights of LGBT and it is obligatory to adhere to treaties. 


-- Section 377 of IPC is violative of Right to live with dignity. 


-- Justice Chandrachud says denial of right to sexual orientation is akin to denial of right to privacy. 


-- Society cannot dictate sexual relationship between consenting adults as it a private affair.


-- Homosexuality is not a mental disorder. It is a completely natural condition
12:50  Reactions on the decriminalisation of section 377:  vivek tejuja @vivekisms  And we aren't criminals. And we are free from the shackles of colonialism. Finally! Kisses and hugs and some more kisses and more in the bedroom.


Ramesh Srivats @rameshsrivats  #Section377
Well done Supreme Court.
You have finally got the government out of our bedroom.
Now, for the kitchen.


Karan Johar @karanjohar Historical judgment!!!! So proud today! Decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing #Section377 is a huge thumbs up for humanity and equal rights! The country gets its oxygen back!


Preity G Zinta @realpreityzinta If you have a heart you should be free to love who you want. So Happy to hear that the Supreme Court of India has abolished #section377 decriminalising Homosexuality #equality #lgbtrights #nodiscrimination #ting


Image: Filmmaker Karan Johar, tweeted this image after the SC verdict
12:39  History owes an apology to LGBT persons: SC :  Section 377: History owes an apology to LGBT persons for ostracisation, discrimination, says Justice Indu Malhotra.

LGBT community entitled to equal citizenship, equal rights under the Constitution, says Justice DY Chandrachud and said that the treament of homosexuality as a disorder/disease has a severe impact on mental health of such persons.

The SC said this judgment is to be considered in all pending prosecutions.
12:31  Celebrations at Delhi hotel whose owner is gay:  Delhi: Celebrations at The Lalit hotel after Supreme Court legalises homosexuality. Keshav Suri, the executive director of Lalit Group of hotels is a prominent LGBT activist.
12:29  We are finally azaad in azaad Hind: Ashok Row Kavi:  We have finally got justice. We are finally 'azaad in azaad Hind: Ashok Row Kavi, LGBT rights activist and founder of Humsafar Trust on Supreme Court legalising homosexuality.
12:27  SC verdict on 377:

-- Any kind of sexual activity with animals shall remain penal offence under Section 377 of the IPC.

-- Section 377 of the IPC was a weapon to harass members of the LGBT community, resulting in discrimination.

--  CJI Dipak Misra, speaking for himself and Justice A M Khanwilkar, says denial of self expression is akin to inviting death. 

-- LGBT community possesses same human and fundamental rights as other citizens.


Image: Emotional moment after the SC verdict in Chennai.
12:18  Take me as I am, end prejudice: CJI on 377 :   In a historic decision, the Supreme Court of India today decriminalised gay sex between consenting adults by reading down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).


The judgment titled Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. Union of India was delivered by a Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. CJI Misra and Justices Nariman, Chandrachud and Malhotra delivered separate, concurring judgments.


CJI Dipak Misra said there was a need to end prejudice and sexual orientation was natural. "Take me as I am. No one can take away from my individuality," Justice Misra said.


The court said, "Privacy is a fundamental right under the Puttaswamy case (Right to Privacy ruling)." The court also recognised that the logic that since LGBTQ community only forms a 'minuscule' part of the population is incorrect.

"Rights of the last man should also be preserved by the courts. Progressive interpretation of constitution and progressive realization of rights. The previous judgment was incorrect."
12:17  SC decriminalises homosexuality:   IN a huge victory for LGBTQ rights, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court in an unanimous verdict decriminalised Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that makes same-sex relations or gay sex, even if consensual, a punishable offence. In other words, homosexuality is no longer a criminal offence in India.


Chief Justice Dipak Misra read out the verdict on behalf of himself and Justice AM Khanwilkar. Misra spoke about the importance of individual identity with dignity, individual autonomy and equality for all without discrimination are cardinal corners of our constitution. The court ruled that consensual sex between adults in private is not an offence.


The CJI says LGBTQ community has the same fundamental rights as a citizen.


The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, also comprises Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.


The bench had reserved its verdict on July 17 after hearing various stakeholders for four days, including gay rights activists.


Section 377 criminalizes sexual intercourse that is penile and non-vaginal, deeming it "against the order of nature". The law affects the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population, in particular, but its provisions can also be applied to heterosexual citizens.


In 2009, the Delhi High Court had ruled in favour of decriminalising section 377 - a decision which was overturned only to by a two-judge Supreme Court bench in 2013, in the Suresh Kumar Koushal versus Naz Foundation case.
11:58  Sec 377 verdict: What the Supreme Court said :  SC verdict on Section 377:

-- Sexual orientation of an individual is natural and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of Freedom of Expression.


-- LGBTQ community has same rights as of any ordinary citizen. Respect for each others rights, and others are supreme humanity. Criminalising gay sex is irrational and indefensible, observes CJI Dipak Misra.


-- The provision of IPC had resulted in collateral effect in that consensual sex between LGBT person is criminalised and is violative of Article 14, Supreme Court.


-- Primary objective of having a Constitutional society is to transform the society progressively; Constitutional provisions should not be interpreted in literal sense.
11:44  Section 377 judgment underway in SC:   Section 377 judgement being heard in the Supreme Court now. CJI Dipak Mishra says the four opinions have been put forth by the five-judge bench are concurring. Early reports say it's a unanimous verdict.
11:28  The man who wants Section 377 scrapped:   So, who are the petitioners?

Navtej Singh Johar, a Sangeet Natak Akademi Award-winning Bharata Natyam dancer and yoga teacher, has petitioned the Supreme Court with four other private citizens to decriminalise homosexuality and protect the rights of the LGBTQ community under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which pertains to the right of life.

His co-petitioners are journalist Sunil Mehra, restaurateur Ritu Dalmia, architectural restorer and hotelier Aman Nath, and marketing professional Ayesha Kapur.

A re-look at an interview with Johar. Read it here.
11:08  Would ancient India have supported Section 377?:  Devdutt Pattanaik, who has simplified ancient Indian scriptures for millions of readers, highlights what our scriptures have to say about homosexuals and transgenders. Here's what he says.
11:05  Fight against Section 377: The journey so far :  The story of Section 377 dates back to 1861, when the British criminalised sexual activities against the order of nature, including homosexual sexual activities in India. As the five-judge bench gets set to deliver its verdict a few minutes, here's a chronology of events relating to proceedings on the issue. Read it here.
10:52  Section 377 verdict at 11:15 am:  The Supreme Court verdict on whether Section 377 of the IPC that criminalises same-sex relations, even if consensual, will be struck down is expected at 11:15 am. The verdict has been delayed; it was earlier expected at 10:30 am.  


Section 377 criminalizes sexual intercourse that is penile and non-vaginal, deeming it against the order of nature. The law affects the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population, in particular, but its provisions can also be applied to heterosexual citizens.


In 2009, the Delhi High Court had ruled in favour of decriminalising section 377 - a decision which was overturned only to by a two-judge Supreme Court bench in 2013, in the Suresh Kumar Koushal versus Naz Foundation case.


Today, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and also comprising Justices Rohinton Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra will pronounce the verdict.  


Section 377 is one of the few important cases that the Bench headed by Chief Justice Misra is expected to decide before his retirement on October 2.
10:45  'Demonetisation gives Modi a powerful narrative for 2019':  "If the Modi government is successful in extraditing a high-profile fugitive such as Vijay Mallya or Nirav Modi before the 2019 election, the government will be able to link demonetisation to this and turn it into a positive."

Costs of Democracy, edited by Devesh Kapur, director, Asia Programs, Johns Hopkins University, and Milan Vaishnav, director, South Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is a scholarly investigation into how money flows into Indian democracy.

Milan Vaishnav tells Rediff.com's Archana Masih, that given the Modi government's uneven economic record, demonetisation allowed them to change the narrative. It is no longer about growth, jobs, and investment. It is about launching the most ambitious attack on black money since Indian Independence. Read the interview here.
10:38  In love and gay in Mumbai:  Joel and Ajay have known each other for six years now, and it's been five years since they started living together.


"No one in the neighbourhood has really asked us questions. But, they might have an idea," hints Ajay who feels that it's an advantage for two men to be living alone.


Because "nobody thinks that bachelors can be a couple. I feel it's to the advantage of two single women who live together too, especially if they are a lesbian couple," he adds.


"I am sure our broker has an idea, but he doesn't ask. We don't tell. He finds us places that accepts us," explains Ajay.


Finding domestic help has never been an issue for them. "They (the maids) are rather more comfortable working with us because straight men sometimes do give a weird vibe," quips Ajay.


Their previous house help, who worked for them for four years, knew about their relationship. Ajay got to know about that through a neighbour.


The (the maid) used to talk to my neighbour and say 'Woh dono bahut close hain (They are very close)' and 'Jyada hi close hain (They are a little too close).'


"We don't sit with our maids and have a conversation that we are gay. Nobody does that! They probably figured it out through our body language."


According to Joel, "People come to know about a person being in love by the way they are fighting. Not by the way they show love.""We start bickering like a married couple," he jokes.


As the SC verdict on Section 377 is awaited today, Anita Aikara/Rediff.com met a couple to find out what it really is to be in love and live together when you are gay. Do read this beautiful piece here.
10:28  Kolkata bridge collapse: toll rises to three:  One more body was recovered Thursday from the debris of the collapsed Majerhat Bridge in southern part of the city, taking the toll in the incident to three, a police official said.


The body was identified as that of Goutam Mondal (45), a labourer hailing from Murshidabad district, who was missing along with another labourer Pranab Dey since the accident on Tuesday, he said.


Mondal was working as a cook in the extension of the Metro rail project going on adjacent to the Majerhat Bridge, he said. The area near the site had been dug up for the project and construction material is strewn all over the place.


The other deceased, whose body was recovered Wednesday was identified as Soumen Bag. Of the 24 injured, 11 were discharged Wednesday and 13 are currently under treatment in different hospitals, he said.


After Mondal's body was found, NDRF personnel left the spot, while State Disaster Management Department personnel continued their rescue work at the accident site with cranes, earth movers and drilling machines.


"We are closing our operations as it seems there is nobody stuck inside, an official of the NDRF said. The state government has constituted a committee under Chief Secretary Malay De to investigate the cause of the collapse. The bridge in Alipore area runs over the Majerhat Railway station and connects the city centre with the heavily populated Behala, vast areas of the south west suburbs and neighbouring South 24 Parganas district.


This is the third bridge collapse in the city since 2013. An under-construction flyover collapsed in the crowded Burrabazar area, the wholesale business hub of the city, on March 31, 2016, claiming 26 lives. On March 4, 2013, a road bridge collapsed in Ultadanga area in the northern part of the city. There was no casualty. -- PTI
10:12  Delhi: United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj hold bilateral meeting ahead of 2+2 meet.
10:10  Petrol, diesel prices break fresh records :  Fuel prices once again witnessed a hike on Thursday, with petrol being sold at Rs.79.51 per litre and diesel at Rs.71.55 per litre in New Delhi. The price of petrol has been increased by 20 paise per litre, while diesel saw a hike of 21 paise per litre, as compared to Tuesday's prices in New Delhi.In Mumbai, the price of petrol has surpassed the Rs 86 mark to be sold at Rs.86.91 per litre, while diesel is being retailed at Rs.75.96 per litre.


Fuel prices across four major cities remained steady on Wednesday, after recording an increase for 10 consecutive days. While petrol prices were selling at an unchanged price of Rs 79.31 per litre yesterday, the same was retailing at Rs. 86.72 in Mumbai, Rs. 82.41 in Chennai and Rs. 82.22 in Kolkata.The diesel prices also remained unchanged on Wednesday across the four metropolitan cities, as per the Indian Oil Corporation.


A litre of diesel was being sold at Rs 71.34 in Delhi, Rs 75.74 per litre in Mumbai, Rs 75.39 per litre in Chennai and Rs 74.19 per litre in Kolkata.Earlier, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan had said that the rise in fuel prices in the country was "temporary," adding that a rise in global crude oil prices was responsible for the price surge in India. -- ANI
09:59  Two Koreas agree to hold a summit in Pyongyang on Sept 18-20.
09:53  Indo-US bilateral meet begins :  United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hold a bilateral meeting in Delhi. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mattis arrived in Delhi on Wednesday, for the much-awaited two-plus-two dialogue with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman to be held today.


The two countries will aim to solidify their global strategic partnership in the dialogue, with a focus on significantly boosting military ties. The two sides will also seek to finalise a pact on encrypted defence technologies, deliberate on ways to boost counter-terror cooperation and try to resolve tariff-related issues.


Image: United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the bilateral meeting in Delhi.
09:45  On the shoulders of giants:  Rahul Gandhi @RahulGandhi tweets on his pilgrimage on the Kailash Mansarovar yatra. "It is so humbling to be walking in the shadow of this giant."
09:38  International exposure necessary for Indian sportsperson: Army Chief :   It is important for Indian sportspersons to get international exposure for in the run-up to Mission Olympics 2020, said Army Chief General Bipin Rawat after meeting Asian Games 2018 medal winners from Army.


Talking to media on the sidelines of the event organized on Wednesday to felicitate Asian Games players for the Army, General Rawat said, "I spoke to players and they want that they should get continuous International exposure. It enhances their confidence as well as relieves them from stage fright. It is important they continuously keep competing with the international sportsman. There is still two years in Olympics and we want to make sure that maximum international exposure is given to our players by that time."


He also motivated non-winners to keep working hard to win medals in future and said, "I want to congratulate the whole contingent and not only medal winners. Some have won this time and some might have not but they will keep working hard and I am sure they will bring more medals in the future." -- ANI
09:27  If Pak stops terrorism, we will also 'be like Neeraj Chopra': Army chief:  
If Pakistan stops terrorism, the army would also "be like Neeraj Chopra", Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said Wednesday, referring to the Asian Games javelin gold medallist's gesture of reaching out to his Pakistani competitor.
  
Rawat, while speaking at an event to felicitate Asian Games medallists from the army, also said the situation in Kashmir improved in 2017 as compared to the year before and in 2018, it was improving further.
Asked if there was any "sportsmanship" on display at the Indo-Pak border, Rawat said, "They should make the first move, they should stop terrorism. If they stop terrorism, we will also be like Neeraj Chopra."
It was quite a moment at the Asian Games when Chopra stood flanked by a Chinese and a Pakistani on the podium.
The picture of Chopra shaking hands with Pakistan's Arshad Nadeem, who won bronze, on the podium went viral on social media.
Rawat said that contrary to the figures that keep coming up in the media that terrorism was rising, local youngsters getting radicalised and taking up arms were getting killed by the security forces or arrested or surrendering in 1-2 months.
"This action (by the security forces) will continue, but I can say with confidence that among youngsters and their families there is a belief that this is not the right path.
"I see in many places that the mothers have urged their sons to come back and if this action continues, I am confident that we will be able to solve the problem of terrorism. And slowly the youngsters that have become radicalised, will come home," he said. 

-- PTI
09:18  Union minister to move SC against ban on 'Dalit' word usage:  
Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale  said the Republican Party of India would move the Supreme Court to challenge the ministry of information and broadcast's directive advising the media to refrain from using the word 'Dalit'.

The RPI chief said, "On behalf of the Republican Party, we will go to the Supreme Court and challenge the Bombay high court's decision to ban the usage of the word 'Dalit' because it isn't offensive. It is wrong to ban its usage."

"We respect the court, even our ministry had issued a directive to use the word 'Scheduled Caste' instead of 'Dalit' in official documents, but it is not right to stop the media from using the word," Athawale added.

He further stated that the 'Dalit' community had objections with the word 'Harijan', which was coined by Mahatma Gandhi, but the word was not banned.

-- ANI
08:59  It's a boy! Shahid and Mira welcome second baby:  
Congratulations are in order for Shahid Kapoor and Mira Rajput! The couple welcomed their second bundle of joy, a baby boy, at the Hinduja Hospital on Wednesday (September 5). 

Shahid and Mira are already parents to a two-year-old daughter, Misha.

Mira recently revealed in an interview that Misha was super-excited about being a big sister. "Being able to bring a life into this world, feel it grow inside, and being able to connect with the baby before it has actually even arrived is surreal. And this time it's been so interesting to see how Misha has been through the entire process. She knows there is a baby inside and she says, 'Hi Baby!' every day to my tummy," the 23-year-old had said.

On the work front, Shahid will be seen next on the big screen in Shree Narayan Singh's Batti Gul Meter Chalu. The film, which also stars Shraddha Kapoor, Divyendu Sharma and Yami Gautam, revolves around the issue of power shortage and huge electricity bills. It is slated to release on September 21.
08:30  "TREASON?" asks Trump after anonymous op-ed:  
US President Donald Trump responded with a one-word tweet to a damning New York Times op-ed on his presidency by asking if the anonymous piece by a "senior official" could be treasonous.
  
"TREASON?" Trump tweeted, in response to the piece entitled "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration" and claiming the US president's own staff see him as a danger to the nation.
08:04  Section 377 verdict by Supreme Court today at 10.30 am:  
The Supreme Court will pronounce its much-awaited verdict on a clutch of petitions seeking decriminalisation of a 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual gay sex.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had reserved its verdict on July 17 after hearing various stakeholders for four days, including gay rights activists.

Besides the CJI, the bench also comprised Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

The apex court had asserted that courts cannot wait for a "majoritarian government" to decide on enacting, amending or striking down a law if it violates fundamental rights.
  
It had made clear that it may not strike down the law completely and deal with it to the extent it relates to consensual acts between two adults.

"If Section 377 of the IPC goes away entirely, there will be anarchy. We are solely on consensual acts between man-man, man-woman. Consent is the fulcrum here. You cannot impose your sexual orientation on others without their consent," the top court had said while allaying apprehensions of those opposed to the decriminalisation of the penal provision.

"We would not wait for the majoritarian government to enact, amend or not to enact any law to deal with violations of fundamental rights," the bench had said while reserving its verdict.

Section 377 refers to 'unnatural offences' and says whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.

The Centre, which had initially sought adjournment for filing its response to the petitions, had later left to the wisdom of the court the issue of legality of the penal provision on the aspects of criminalising consensual unnatural sex between two consenting adults.

-- PTI
08:04  JUST IN:  Two Koreas agree to hold summit in Pyongyang on September 18-20: Seoul. 
00:12  Pak could be world's 5th largest nuke state by 2025: Report:  
Pakistan currently has 140 to 150 nuclear warheads and the stockpile is expected to increase to 220 to 250 by 2025 if the current trend continues, according to a latest report by authors keeping a track of the country's nukes.

The current estimate of 140 to 150 nuclear weapons exceeds the projection made by the US Defense Intelligence Agency in 1999 that Pakistan would have 60 to 80 warheads by 2020.

"We estimate that the country's stockpile could more realistically grow to 220 to 250 warheads by 2025, if the current trend continues. If that happens, it would make Pakistan the world's fifth-largest nuclear weapon state," Hans M Kristensen, Robert S Norris and Julia Diamond said in the  report 'Pakistani nuclear forces 2018'.

Kristensen, the lead author, is the director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in Washington, DC.

Over the past decade, the US assessment of nuclear weapons security in Pakistan appears to have changed considerably from confidence to concern, particularly as a result of the introduction of tactical nuclear weapons, the report said.

'With several delivery systems in development, four plutonium production reactors, and its uranium enrichment facilities expanding, however, Pakistan has a stockpile that will likely increase further over the next 10 years,' says the report.

Pakistan continues to expand its nuclear arsenal with more warheads, more delivery systems and a growing fissile materials production industry, it said.

'Analysis of a large number of commercial satellite images of Pakistani army garrisons and air force bases shows what appear to be mobile launchers and underground facilities that might be related to nuclear forces,' said the report.

The authors observe that the size of the increase will depend on many factors.

Two key factors will be how many nuclear-capable launchers Pakistan plans to deploy, and how much the Indian nuclear arsenal grows.

'Speculation that Pakistan may become the world's third-largest nuclear weapon state -- with a stockpile of some 350 warheads a decade from now -- are, we believe, exaggerated, not least because that would require a buildup two to three times faster than the growth rate over the past two decades,' the authors said.

According to the report, Pakistan is modifying its nuclear posture with new short-range nuclear-capable weapon systems to counter military threats below the strategic level.

'The efforts seek to create a full-spectrum deterrent that is designed not only to respond to nuclear attacks, but also to counter an Indian conventional incursion onto Pakistani territory,' it said.

'This development has created considerable concern in other countries, including the United States, which fears that it lowers the threshold for nuclear use in a military conflict with India,' the report added.  -- PTI

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