Tue, 13 December 2016
Dilip Ghosh apologises for remarks on Mamata

Timeline  Refresh

23:34   Dilip Ghosh apologises for remarks on Mamata
Bharatiya Janata Party West Bengal president Dilip Ghosh on Tuesday apologised to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for his remarks that they could have 'dragged her by her hair', saying he didn't intend to make any 'personal attack'.

"Never did I try to hurt feelings of any person or intended to make any personal attack against anyone. Whatever I said was out of emotion. I heard that some TMC leaders are shocked about my choice of words against the CM. If our CM feels insulted with the words I used, I am extremely sorry," Ghosh said in the state assembly.

Ghosh apologised in the House soon after government Deputy Chief Whip Tapas Roy strongly raised his voice against him.

The state BJP chief, however, expressed hope that fair politics would prevail in the state under the leadership of Banerjee.

Later, speaking at a press conference at the assembly press corner, Ghosh again apologised for his remarks about the chief minister. -- PTI
22:50   None of mobile payment apps in India fully secure: Qualcomm
While the government is pushing for digital payments through mobile phones, chipset maker Qualcomm said that wallets and mobile banking applications in India are not using hardware level security which can make online transactions more secure.

"You will be surprised because most of the banking or wallet apps around the world dont use hardware security. They actually run completely in Android mode and users password can be stolen. Users use fingerprint which might be captured ... in India that is the case for most of all digital wallets and mobile banking apps," Qualcomm Senior Director Product Management S Y Choudhury said.

He said that even most famous digital payment application in India is not using hardware level security.

Reason we are saying that none of them is using it because we work with OEMs (original equipment makers), Choudhury said.

As per market research firm Strategy Analytics, Qualcomm leads mobile chipset market globally with 37 per cent share. -- PTI
22:02   Cyclone Vardah: TN seeks Rs 1,000 cr for 'rehabilitation and reconstruction'
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting to depute a team to study extensive damages caused by the cyclonic storm Vardah.

He also sought Rs 1,000 crore as National Disaster Response Fund for the state.

'Request you to urgently sanction release of an 'on account' payment of Rs 1,000 crores from National Disaster Response Fund to the state government,' the TN CM wrote.

'Payment of Rs 1,000 crores requested to enable immediate relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction measures to proceed expeditiously,' Panneerselvam wrote to the PM. -- ANI
21:30   Sharif might like to attend Trump's inauguration: Report
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif might like to attend United States President-elect Donald Trumps inauguration with his government voicing optimism the new administration in Washington will provide it with 'a fresh opportunity to burnish its credentials' with the US, a media report said.

The Pakistani government had sent a special emissary Tariq Fatemi to Washington last week 'where he hinted broadly that Sharif might like to attend Trump's inauguration', said The Washington Post.

Fatemi said he believed the incoming Trump administration would provide Pakistan with 'a fresh opportunity to burnish its credentials' with the United States, the report said.

It added that senior Pakistani officials said they take the long view of their country's relationship with the US, which has been dominated by military and intelligence ties.

'Our relationship with the United States is almost as old as Pakistan itself. There have been ups and downs, but overall we have remained very close,' Sartaj Aziz, Pak PM's foreign affairs advisor, said in an interview.

'Through both Republican and Democratic administrations, there has been a broad continuity in policy, and we fully expect our relations will continue on an uphill trajectory,' he said.
20:41   Cyclone Vardah weakens into a low pressure
Cyclone Vardah has weakened into a well marked low pressure, a day after it wreaked havoc in the city and neighbouring districts, weather officials said on Tuesday.

"As of 8.30 am today, the cyclone which made landfall yesterday has weakened into a well marked low pressure and it is nearly 40 km away from Dharmapuri," Director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre, IMD, S Balachandran told reporters.

An IMD bulletin said the depression over north interior Tamil Nadu moved westwards and weakened into a 'well marked low pressure' area over area and adjoining south interior Karnataka at 8.30 am.

In its forecast for the next 24 hours, the Met office said rainfall may occur over north interior Tamil Nadu and adjoining areas of south interior Karnataka and North Kerala.

For Chennai and its neighbourhood, the sky was likely to be cloudy and light rains may occur in some areas in the next 24-48 hours, it said.

The maximum rainfall in the past 24 hours ending 8.30 am on Tuesday was recorded at nearby Sholinganallur at 38 cm, while Salem, Dharmapuri and Mettur recorded one cm each.
20:06   Net speed may be impacted as undersea cable hit by cyclone: Airtel
Internet and broadband subscribers of Airtel may experience slower speed in the country as one of undersea cable of the company has been hit by cyclone in Chennai.

"Due to the severe cyclone at Chennai coast yesterday, one of our international undersea cables has been damaged and Internet traffic has been partially impacted. As a result, customers in some locations may be experiencing slow internet/data speeds," Airtel spokesperson has said.

The company has sent out information to its customers as well.

"Our teams are working to normalize the operations at the earliest possible, and making alternate arrangements to divert international internet traffic," the spokesperson said.
19:59   SC dismisses BCCI review plea against Lodha committee reforms
Supreme Court has dismissed the BCCI's plea seeking a review of its July 18 verdict directing it to implement the recommendations of Justice R M Lodha panel on massive structural reforms in the cricket body. 

"We have examined the grounds urged in support of the prayer for review. We find no error apparent on the face of the record to warrant recall of our order dated July  18, 2016. The review petitions are, accordingly, dismissed," a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice S A Bobde said.

The order was pronounced in the chambers on November 10 but was made public on the apex court website recently. 

The Cricket Association of Bihar, through its secretary Aditya Kumar Verma on whose plea the apex court had decided to pass a slew of directions for massive restructuring of BCCI administration, has been opposing the Board.

In the review petition, BCCI had demanded an open court hearing and besides the cricketing body, several others, including veteran cricket administrators Niranjan Shah and Chandu Borde, have sought re-examination of the verdict. The BCCI had also contended that the judgement was "unreasoned" and "seeks to frame legislative measures for a private autonomous society in a field already occupied by legislations, both parliamentary and state".
19:54   Stalin rides pillion to visit cyclone-hit areas
DMK Treasurer and Tamil Nadu Opposition Leader M K Stalin today rode pillion on a two wheeler to visit cyclone Vardah-affected areas in his Kolathur assembly constituency.

Stalin hopped on to a party functionary's motorbike to visit areas where his car could not travel, DMK said. 

"He visited areas on the two-wheeler where his car could not go and inspected works like removal of uprooted trees," a party release said.

He also spoke to affected people and urged his party workers to aid the state government officials in relief work. 
19:44   India building atomic submarines: Pak official
India is developing atomic submarines and building up its atomic stockpile day by day, a top Pakistani official claimed on Tuesday, asserting that Islamabad has been forced to take measures to ensure its defence.

Additional Secretary (UN and Economic Cooperation) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tasnim Aslam also alleged that India was resorting to unprovoked firing on the Line of Control and simultaneously issuing irresponsible statements. 

"India is developing atomic submarines and also resorting to unprovoked firing on the line of control and the working boundary. In these circumstances, Pakistan has no option but to keep itself ready for defense," she said at a seminar in Islamabad. 

She said India was also building its atomic stockpile day by day. "In these circumstances Pakistan has no option but to keep itself ready for defense," Aslam said.

She said Pakistan was maintaining minimum deterrence, but was also ready to work for regional peace and stability. 

"We are prepared to hold negotiations with India for resolution of outstanding disputes," she said. 

The official said that the "irresponsible statements" by the Indian leadership posed a threat to regional peace. 
19:40   PM to be present in Parliament over next three days: Naidu
Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present in Parliament for the remaining three days of the winter session and accused the Opposition of "changing goalpost" to disrupt functioning of both the Houses.

"The Prime Minister, except when he was out, is in Parliament every day. He is the first man to come to the Parliament and the last man to go. He is sitting in his room and watching all that is happening. As and when there is a request, he comes to the House," Naidu said.

When asked specifically if the Prime Minister will be present in Parliament for the next three days, he said," He will be."

Naidu's remarks come in the background of Opposition's demand for Modi's presence in the House during the debate on demonetisation and discussion under a rule which entails voting.

The winter session of the Parliament has witnessed almost complete washout since it began on November 16. It will resume on Wednesday and conclude on December 16.
19:37   Retail inflation hits multi-year low of 3.63% in Nov
Retail inflation eased to multi-year low of 3.63 per cent in November on account of sharp drop in prices of food items, reflecting weak demand as consumers grappled with cash crunch following demonetisation. 

This is the lowest level at least since January 2014 and the consumer inflation was seen near this level at 3.66 per cent in August 2015.

The Consumer Price Index-based inflation stood at 4.20 per cent in previous month October, the data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation showed.

Retail inflation was at 5.41 per cent in November 2015. 

Inflation in vegetables category slipped further in the negative territory at (-)10.29 per cent indicating deflation, as against (-) 5.74 per cent in October. 

However, inflation in fruits came in at 4.60 per cent, slightly up from October's 4.42 per cent. Cereals and products at 4.86 per cent too showed a rise in inflation print during the month against 4.40 per cent.
19:37   Cyclone Vardah cripples telephone services
Telecommunication network services were hit the most by cyclone Vardah that barrelled through Chennai yesterday, leaving many people without any means to contact their near and dear ones. 

Mobile services, including of Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, were affected in the city and its neighbouring districts, bringing back memories of the deluge last year.

BSNL landlines were operating at some places but its network services were disrupted.

Several people took to Twitter expressing anguish over the disruption of services. Telecommunication companies could not be contacted for a comment. However, the state government has asked them to restore their "full network" at the earliest.

"All telecom companies are told to restore their full network as quickly as possible and its being monitored," State Disaster Management Agency said in a tweet.
19:34   Swaraj shifted out of ICU, discharge within 10 days: AIIMS
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who underwent a kidney transplant three days ago, was on Tuesday shifted out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at AIIMS in New Delhi and was recovering well.

The 64-year-old minister is likely to be discharged in another seven to ten days, senior hospital officials said. 

"The minister has been shifted out of the ICU to a private ward of the Cardio-Neuro Centre. Her post-surgery recovery is on the expected lines," AIIMS Director Dr M C Mishra said. 

He said her recovery is being closely monitored by a team of transplant surgeons, physicians (endocrinologist, nephrologist, cardiologist and pulmonologist) and anaesthesist besides critical care expert, physiotherapist and transplant specialists.

"She is likely to be discharged in another seven or 10 days," Mishra added.
18:10   MP: 4 school kids among 12 dead in road mishap
12 people, including four school children, have been killed after a bus rammed into an auto-rickshaw in Madhya Pradesh's Rajgarh, ANI reported.

MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced 2 lakh each for kin of those dead and 25,000 for those injured.
Child born out of rape is entitled to compensation, independent of any such relief granted to the mother, rules Delhi HC
CBI registers case against officials of Bank of Baroda, Kolkata, for allegedly illegally converting Rs 50 lakh post-demonetisation, PTI reports
Tamil Nadu government clarifies that 18 people have been killed in rain-related incidents during Cyclone Vardah in the state.
17:42   Preserve CCTV footage to spot currency hoarders: RBI to banks
RBI has asked banks to preserve CCTV recordings of operations at bank branches and currency chests to help law enforcement agencies in identifying people engaged in hoarding of new notes post demonetisation. 

The Reserve Bank, in a notification issued today, said banks should "preserve CCTV recordings of operations at bank branches and currency chests for the period from November 8 to December 30, 2016, until further instructions". 

The central bank said the move will "facilitate coordinated and effective action by the enforcement agencies in dealing with matters relating to illegal accumulation of new currency notes".

Earlier in October, the RBI had asked banks to cover the banking hall/area and counters under CCTV surveillance and recording and preserve the recording to help identify people abetting circulation of counterfeit notes.
CBSE Board to meet by December end over making 10th Board Exams compulsory from 2017-18, ANI reports.
17:38   Notes worth 4.61 lakh crore issued to people since demonetisation: RBI
Deputy RBI Governor R Gandhi on Tuesday gave an assessment of monetary dealings since demonetisation.

He says, "From November 10 till December 10, banks have issued notes worth 4,61,000 crore to the public over their counters and through ATMs."

"RBI also issued to public through banks and branches, total in terms of quantity 21.8 billion pieces of notes of various denominations. Of which 20.1 billion pieces belong to small denominations of Rs 10/20/50/100."

"CBI has so far registered 10 cases pertaining to fraudulent exchange of currency post."
17:32   Trump to name ex-Texas governor Perry as energy secretary: media
Rick Perry, the former governor of oil-rich Texas who once vowed to eradicate the Energy Department if elected president, is Donald Trump's pick for energy secretary, US media reported. 

The Texas native, who participated in the Republican primary but was crushed by President-elect Trump early on, was seen Monday afternoon entering and exiting Trump Tower in Manhattan.

Perry once assailed Trump as a "cancer on conservatism" and threw his support behind Texas Senator Ted Cruz after dropping out of the race in September 2015, but he has long been rumored to be one of Trump's main contenders for the energy post.

NBC and CBS news both reported late Monday that Trump had chosen Perry for the job, citing two sources familiar with the transition process.

The 66-year-old former governor, who also ran for the Republican party's 2012 nomination, famously fumbled a debate when he vowed to abolish three US departments -- but could only remember the names of two.
16:56   24 hours after Vardah, parts of Chennai remain power-less
Twenty-four hours after Cyclone Vardah slammed into Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, citizens in Chennai are picking themselves up after the storm left 10 dead and thousands displaced in both the states.

Reports say that no shops in Chennai have been accepting card payments citing network failure (the government's cashless drive hasn't accounted for acts of God) and people are unable to buy essentials.

Moreover, banks are shut today as well, for the fourth consecutive day. While the rest India brought in Eid-e-Milad yesterday, Tamil Nadu celebrates it today. So bottom line:

-- Flights have resumed in Chennai.
-- Power has been restored in some parts of the city, some remain without power for over 24 hours. Large swathes of the city which are still powerless will be connected tonight. 
-- 10 people are dead, thousands displaced.

The cyclone has weakened after crossing land, but the Met office has forecast heavy rain in the next six hours and schools and colleges are closed for a second day today in Chennai and neighbouring districts.
16:14   ATMs in Muslim areas not functioning: Owaisi strikes communal note
Attacking the Modi government over demonetisation, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi claimed that adequate bank network was missing from Muslim areas.

"In many Muslim areas, banks are not present in the manner they should be. The proportion of loan distribution is also less (compared to other areas)," Owaisi said, after a meeting at Udgir in Latur district of Marathwada region on Monday.

"ATMs are not there. This is what is happening. People in the entire country are facing problems,' he said."ATMs in Muslim-dominated areas were not functioning. If a bank is open (in Muslim areas), it is declared 'red zone'," the MP from Hyderabad further said.
16:01   Ex-gratia for militant Burhan Wani's kin
The Jammu and Kashmir Government has cleared ex-gratia to next of kin of 17 persons, including Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani's brother, killed in militancy-related incidents in the Valley, while giving one week's time for filing of any objection before formal orders are issued. Burhan Wani's killing by security forces in an encounter in south Kashmir's Kokernag area on July 8 this year triggered unrest in the Valley which has left as many as 86 people dead. Among the 17 names in the list of persons killed in militancy-related incidents is Wani's brother, Khalid Muzaffar Wani, who died in firing by security forces in Buchoo forest area of Tral on April 13 last year.
15:53   13 women who should run for US prez elections in 2020
From the New Yorker: Hillary Clinton will not be the first woman president of the United States. But Americans are ready to elect one: despite the real misogyny that Clinton faced, this was a close election. And they should do it soon. Here is a list of potential candidates to get started. Nikki Haley, Kamala Harris and Tulsi Gabbard (pictured alongside) feature! Take a look.

15:18   Uma's balancing act
Minister of Water Resources Uma Bharti speaks at a youth conference in Jhansi, even as an aide holds on to the stool she is precariously perched on. 
14:55   Rijiju 'graft' tapes: Cong says BJP slogan now is, khao pio
Congress releases a 28-minute audio tape on MoS Home Kiren Rijiju and his cousin Goboi's dealings, and says it want a probe into the allegations against Rijiju.

The PM should depute an agency to investigate the Rijiju tapes and he should step down. Satta mein aane se pehle PM ne naara diya tha, 'na khaunga na khane doonga'. Naya nara hai khao pio. Kiren Rijiju's role in this issue is under a cloud of suspicion. So he should be sacked or asked to resign till probe is complete."

Rijiju, his distant cousin, a contractor in Arunachal Pradesh, Goboi Rijiju, and several other officials of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) have been alleged of corruption in the construction of two dams for one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh.

Their names, including the names of Chairman and Managing Editor of NEEPCO, have been mentioned in a 129-page report submitted by the Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) Chief Vigilance Officer.
INS Shivalik and INS Kadmatt at Chennai this morning off-loading relief material for the cyclone-hit city and the Tamil Nadu. 
14:13   IM's Yasin Bhatkal convicted
Yasin Bhatkal and four others convicted by Hyderabad court for Dilsukhnagar blasts in the 1st conviction of Indian Mujahideen cadre.
14:00   Significant amounts of cash will be injected in next 3 weeks: Jaitley
Finance minister Arun Jaitley rebuts P Chidambaram on note ban.

"There were two striking features of the two Congress regimes (UPA), no steps against corruption or black money.

"So its understandable that they are uncomfortable with this strong step by Modi Government.

"Corruption scams peaked in Congress period. Given this scandalous record it is uncomfortable with anti-corruption steps.

"Kuch log is paristhithi ka duropyog bhi kar rahe hain, har ek ko pakda jayega aur phir kanoon apna kaam karega.

"I urge my opposition friends, we are ready to debate this issue in Parliament. Please rise above slogans and join this campaign.

"Future transactions will be substantially digital and once they are substantially digital they get caught in the tax net. We are now rapidly completing the demonetisation scheme, significant amounts will be injected in next three weeks." 
13:34   Centre rushing team to oversee Vardah damage
A team from the Centre is likely to reach Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to oversee the extensive damage caused by Cyclone Vardah. The team will be headed by a Joint Secretary in the Home ministry, while the rest of the team will be drawn from three union ministries. Once constituted, the team will be rushed to these two states.
13:25   World Bank 'pauses' Indus treaty processes of India, Pak
In a significant development, the World Bank has paused the separate processes initiated by India and Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty to allow the two countries to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements.

"We are announcing this pause to protect the Indus Waters Treaty and to help India and Pakistan consider alternative approaches to resolving conflicting interests under the Treaty and its application to two hydroelectric power plants," World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said.

The pause was announced by Kim in letters to the finance ministers of India and Pakistan. It was also emphasised that the Bank was acting to safeguard the Treaty.

Pausing the process for now, the Bank would hold off from appointing the Chairman for the Court of Arbitration or the Neutral Expert -- appointments that had been expected on December 12 as earlier communicated by the Bank.

India had taken strong exception last month to the World Bank's decision to set up a Court of Arbitration and appoint a Neutral Expert to go into Pakistan's complaint against it over Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir.

Surprised at the World Bank's decision to appoint a Neutral Expert, as sought by the Indian government and at the same time establish a Court of Arbitration as wanted by Pakistan, India had said proceeding with both the steps simultaneously was "legally untenable".

Both processes initiated by the respective countries were advancing at the same time, creating a risk of contradictory outcomes that could potentially endanger the Treaty, the Bank noted.
13:18   Senior RBI official arrested for allegedly money laundering a crore
A senior Reserve Bank of India or RBI official has been arrested in Bengaluru for allegedly helping convert banned notes. Eight men have also been arrested in a series of raids in which crores in new notes have been found.

K Micheal, a senior special assistant with the RBI Bengaluru, has been arrested by the CBI. He was allegedly involved in helping convert black or untaxed money. More than Rs. 1.50 crores was involved in one case.

Investigators pretended to be customers to catch the eight middlemen allegedly involved in laundering black or untaxed money for a price. Around Rs 93 lakh in new notes was found on them in raids over the weekend.
-- NDTV.

Image: New notes of Rs 2000 and Rs 500 seized at a raid in Karnataka
13:06   BJP minister's 'joote khayenge' comment on corruption allegations
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday brushed aside all allegations of corruption levelled against him and his distant cousin, saying that the ones planting such news would be beaten up with shoes if they come to Arunachal. "Ye jo plant kar rhe hain news,hamare yahan ayenge to joote khaynge,logon ki sewa krna corruption hai?" Rijiju told ANI.

Rijiju pushed aside all the blame, calling it "shameful" and asked if helping one's own people be termed as 'corruption'. "To help your own people is corruption? Is helping people corruption?" said Rijiju.

"This news is nothing but a mischief. I did write a letter but there's nothing suspicious about it," he added.

Rijiju, his distant cousin, a contractor in Arunachal Pradesh, Goboi Rijiju, and several other officials of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) have been alleged of corruption in the construction of two dams for one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh.

Their names, including the names of Chairman and Managing Editor of NEEPCO, have been mentioned in a 129-page report submitted by the Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) Chief Vigilance Officer.
12:50   Let them eat laddoos, Delhi BJP's answer to long ATM queues
In an attempt to remove some of the bitter taste left by the demonetisation exercise, the Delhi BJP has asked its cadres to distribute laddoos to every household in the city -- one laddoo per family -- to "thank' them for their "patience'.

The Indian Express reports that the newly appointed Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched this revolutionary step to tackle black money. Despite facing some inconvenience, people supported the move. Now, it is our turn to thank them and show our appreciation and respect for their patience."

He said the cadres have been told to knock on every door, from January 1 to January 10, to distribute sweets in their areas. "We will encourage our workers to reach out to people. Logon ka dhanywaad karna to banta hai (We should express our gratitude). If people can stand in queues and not complain, can't we give them a laddoo as a token of our appreciation,' said Tiwari.

"One laddoo to your neighbour will not hurt. Rather, it shows how grateful we are to them for the patience they have shown by supporting the Prime Minister's decision' We will request our workers to come forward and buy at least one laddoo for their neighbour. If they want to buy five laddoos for five households, it will be even better," he said.

The details of whether laddoos will be made centrally, or the cadres will have to buy these from the shops in their areas, are yet to be worked out.
12:33   PMO wants 'balanced' coverage on demonetisation
The Prime Minister's Office is peeved with the information and broadcasting ministry as well as the Press Information Bureau  over the television coverage of the fallout of demonetisation, reports senior journalist Rajeev Sharma.

The PMO feels that most television channels are now highlighting the public sufferings and long queues at banks and ATMs whereas earlier the same channels were giving a 'positive' coverage.

Senior PMO officials have pulled up key officials of the I&B ministry and PIB and instructed them to get in touch with the channels and impress upon them to give 'balanced' coverage.

Flummoxed I&B and PIB officials are not sure how to implement the PMO's instructions. 
12:08   Day after cyclone, devastated Chennai awaits electricity, but flights resume
A day after Cyclone Vardah slammed into Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, partial services on Chennai Suburban rail have resumed. After a night without electricity, Chennai will have to wait till this evening for supply to be restored. State Minister KC Veeramani said it may take longer in the suburbs.

It is only after electricity is completely restored that the suburban rail network to Tambaraam and Velachary will resume, it was announced.

Meanwhile the damage from Cyclone Vardha in Tamil Nadu is estimated to be at Rs 1000 crores.

Flights have resumed in Chennai.

The cyclone left 10 dead and forced thousands to flee their homes. The cyclone weakened after crossing land, but the Met office has forecast heavy rain in the next 12 hours and schools and colleges are closed for a second day today in Chennai and neighbouring districts.

Four people have died in Chennai, two each in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, one in Villupuram and one in Nagapattinam.

Tamil Nadu chief minister O Pannerselvam has announced compensation. In Andhra Pradesh,  two people have died in Chittoor district as heavy rain lashed the region, news agency IANS quoted officials as saying. Authorities in Nellore district declared holiday for educational institutions on Tuesday.

Pannerselvam said more than 10,000 people have been evacuated from near the sea. Over 9,000 people were moved to relief camps in Andhra Pradesh.

Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu said he instructed the revenue, police and state disaster response force and other departments not to lower their guard against cyclone Vardah.

Chennai health minister C Vijay Baskar flagged off medical camp vehicles to all zones in Chennai from Omundurar multispeciality hospital. These vehicles will travel across the city and help people with fever and water-borne disease.

The city presented a scene of devastation with thousands of uprooted trees, broken billboards and snapped telephone and power cables besides low-lying areas reporting waterlogging. Flight operations resumed this morning in the storm-hit city which was limping back to normalcy. The storm, which was the most intense to have hit the Tamil Nadu capital in  two decades and left four persons dead, snapped communication lines, flattened homes, and threw into disarry rail, road and air traffic as it crossed the coast yesterday. However, with the rains having abated since morning, people came out on the streets and some of them queued up at roadside tea stalls.

Image: Sand artiste Sudarshan Patnaik lends support to citizens of cyclone-affected Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
11:34   Note ban biggest attack on poor, says former fin min Chidambaram
Former Finance minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday hit out at the Union government terming the demonetisation move as the "biggest scam of the year' and demanded that it be investigated."This is an absurd move by the government. No one has any good word to say on this. It's a thoughtless move, and no one in the world has a good word for it. Every major newspaper and economist has condemned it," Chidambaram said.

He said there was an illusion created that the move would hurt the rich and help the poor, but no rich person is concerned. He asked how were hoarders getting new notes and said the suffering in rural India was indescribable and that the government was punishing farmers.  He said that bribes were now being paid in Rs 2000 notes.

The former finance minister added, "The government should have consulted at least Yashwant Sinha (former finance minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet), he is their own man. They could have consulted Mr Manmohan Singh. Are you suggesting that the former PM if consulted by the present PM, will betray a secret?  India is going through a phase of tepid growth. Absurd move, which country in the world has a cashless economy!"
11:12   MH370 search ship leaves Australia for perhaps final time
A lone survey vessel has left an Australian port for perhaps the final time to search for the Malaysian airliner that mysteriously crashed into the southern Indian Ocean two years ago.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester's office said Tuesday that the Dutch survey ship Fugro Equator left Fremantle on Monday night to continue the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 alone.

His office says whether the voyage is the ship's final month-long deployment from Fremantle before the search is completed will depend on the weather. Chester thanked China for the services of a Chinese ship that joined the search in February of a 120,000-square-kilometer area where authorities calculate that the Boeing 777 crashed with 239 people aboard in 2014. The Chinese ship left the search this month.
10:57   PM, MPs pay homage to martyrs of 2001 Parliament attack
The nation on Tuesday paid homage to those who sacrificed their lives while defending Parliament House from the dastardly terror attack on this day in 2001. PM Narendra Modi and Members of Parliament and leaders from different political parties paid homage to the bravehearts at the plaque in Parliament House in the morning.

Two persons from the Parliament Security Service of the Rajya Sabha, five Delhi Police Personnel and a woman constable of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) laid down their lives while preventing the entry of terrorists inside the Parliament House Building. A gardener of CPWD also lost his life in the attack.
10:31   Will leave my businesses before Jan 20: Trump
President-elect Donald Trump confirmed in a tweet a few minutes ago, that his sons and his executives would run his business empire. He pushed back charges that he would continue to run his vast real estate holdings after he assumes office as the US President on January 20.

@realDonaldTrump tweeted: Even though I am not mandated by law to do so, I will be leaving my busineses before January 20th so that I can focus full time on the Presidency. Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office. I will hold a press conference in the near future to discuss the business, Cabinet picks and all other topics of interest. Busy times!"

Ps. Mr Trump's doesn't bother with spell check.

Image: Donald Trump with his children, Eric, Don and Ivanka.
10:16   Cyclone Vardah: Death toll rises to 10
The death toll due to cyclone Vardah rose to 10 in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday.

Four persons have died in Chennai, two in Kancheepuram, two in Tiruvallur, one in Villupuram and one in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu.

In the wake of the cyclone, the government and private schools, colleges and other educational institutions in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur will remain closed today.

Chennai Airport has now become operational after the services were temporarily suspended yesterday in view of the cyclone.

Director General of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) R.K. Pachnanda told ANI that the situation is being monitored closely by concerned authorities and they are working to restore normalcy as fast as they can.

Thousands of people were evacuated as Vardah pounded Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts with heavy rain and squall.

Image: More than ten thousand people were rescued by the NDRF.The NDRF was tasked with clearing hundreds of uprooted trees from all over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
10:03   Somebody fighting against corruption will be saluted: KV Kamath on demonetisation
Few know the Indian financial system as well as KV Kamath does. The former ICICI Bank chairman sees enormous benefits from demonetisation, though he says short-term pain is inevitable. In an interview with MC Govardhana Rangan, Kamath, now president of the New Development Bank established by the BRICS states, says creation of black money would be a lot harder in future. Readthe interview to the Economic Times.
09:44   Recount efforts end: Trump wins in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania
Presidential election recount efforts have come to an end in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with both states certifying Republican Donald Trump as the winner in contests that helped put him over the top in the Electoral College stakes. Trump's victory in Wisconsin was reaffirmed following a statewide vote recount that showed him defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton by more than 22,000 votes. Meanwhile, a federal judge issued a stinging rejection of a Green Party-backed request to recount paper ballots in Pennsylvania's presidential election and scan some counties' election systems for signs of hacking.
09:42   White House backs Congress probe of election hacking
The White House today threw its support behind a Congressional investigation into Russian meddling in the US election, saying lawmakers had a "special responsibility" to investigate such an explosive issue.

"We have long supported the principle of congressional review of this matter," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, saying one was "certainly warranted."

Dismissing President-elect Donald Trump's doubts about Moscow's role, Earnest added: "You didn't need a security clearance to figure out who benefited from malicious Russian cyber activity."
09:39   Dense fog engulfs north India, transportation paralysed
With dense fog enveloping the national capital and the region around, the connectivity of the place is getting hampered almost every day with transport services either getting cancelled or delayed.

The thick fog making the visibility very low has lead to disruption of rail, road and air services.

A total of 81 trains are running late with 10 rescheduled and five cancelled due to foggy weather conditions.

In air services, five international and eight domestic flights have been delayed, whereas two have been cancelled.

The visibility on the national highways being low has led to delay in bus services also.

Delhi's neighbouring state, Uttar Pradesh, experiencing the chill of cold, is also witnessing connectivity issues.

Several trains have been delayed in Kanpur due to low visibility.

Other states such as Bihar, Punjab, Haryana are also witnessing the same issue with thick blanket of fog enveloping various cities of these states.

The entire North India is presently witnessing the cold wave which will intensify in the coming days.
09:22   Trump picks Rex Tillerson as secretary of state
United States President-elect Donald Trump has settled on Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, to be his secretary of state, The New York Times reports.

Trump announced the selection on Tuesday morning.

Tillerson, a deal maker, has spent the past four decades at Exxon, much of it in search of oil and gas agreements in troubled parts of the world. 

A native of Wichita Falls, Texas, who speaks with a strong Texas twang, Tillerson, 64, runs a company with operations in about 50 countries, cutting deals to expand business in Venezuela, Qatar, Kurdistan and elsewhere.
Fire that broke out inside car shade area of Kolkata's Dum Dum metro station at around 7am, is now under control, reports ANI.
08:34   Cyclone Vardah: Chennai Airport resumes operations
As cyclonic storm Vardah crossed Chennai, the Chennai Airport has resumed operations. 

The flight services were temporarily suspended yesterday in view of the cyclone.   

All schools and colleges in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur will remain closed today.
08:10   Cristiano Ronaldo wins Ballon d'Or for the 4th time
Cristiano Ronaldo was named winner of the Ballon d'Or for the fourth time, organisers France Football said, capping a terrific year for the Real Madrid star.
The 31-year-old Portuguese, who won the Champions League with Real and European Championships with Portugal in recent months, inherits the title of the best player in the world from his long-time Barcelona rival Lionel Messi.
00:27   Position on India's NSG bid, Masood Azhar unchanged: China
China has said that its position on India's entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group as well as designating Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the United Nations remains unchanged.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said, "As for India's application to join the NSG and the listing matter of the UN Security Council 1267 Committee, China's position is very clear and unchanged."

He made the remark when asked about Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar's statement that both China and India should respect each other's legitimate aspirations, and that China should not give a political colour to India's efforts to access civilian nuclear technology.

The spokesperson added that in recent years, the strategic partnership for cooperation between India and China has made all-around progress and that it is normal for the two big countries who are also close neighbors to differ on some issues.

"But the main theme for the bilateral relationship is friendship and cooperation, while differences are secondary," he added.

India's bid to join the NSG in June was backed by the US and France but faltered after China, South Africa, New Zealand and Austria opposed the application. Beijing and its allies say only countries that have signed a global arms control pact -- the NPT -- will be allowed entry. India refuses to sign the pact because it would mean shutting down the country's nuclear defence programme.