Thu, 08 September 2016
Not against dialogue but 'meaningless exercise', says Geelani
23:48 Pak govt washes hand off row over Indian envoy's Karachi event
Pakistan has said that Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industries, which cancelled Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale's public engagement at the last minute, is an independent body, a day after India summoned Pakistani envoy to lodge a strong protest over the incident.
Asked about Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit being summoned by Ministry of External Affairs, Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said, "Yes, he was called in by the Indian Foreign Office and given a demarche. We are gathering more information related to this episode. However, let me point out that Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) is an independent body."
Basit was called to the South Block by MEA Secretary Sujata Mehta, who conveyed government's concern over discourtesy shown to Bambawale, whose address at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce was called off without any reason being given.
Bambawale was told about the cancellation just half an hour before the event, invite for which was received and accepted by him a couple of weeks ago.
India and Pakistan are engaged in a fierce verbal battle over terrorism and the situation in Kashmir. While India has accused Pakistan of supporting cross border terrorism, Pakistan, on its part, has been trying to internationalise Kashmir, alleging New Delhi of human rights violations.
22:44 Not against dialogue but 'meaningless exercise', says Geelani
Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who literally shut the doors of his residence on a group of MPs few days back, on Thursday said he was not against dialogue but will not participate in any "meaningless exercise" which is not aimed at solving the Kashmir issue.
The separatist hawk said the Kashmir issue needs to be addressed through dialogue.
"We were never against dialogue in the past nor will be in future. However, we do not want to be part of any meaningless exercise which is not aimed at finding a solution to the Kashmir issue," Geelani said, addressing public gatherings at Panzan-Chadoora and Nasrullahpora in Budgam district by telephone from his Hyderpora residence where he is under house arrest.
Only four days back, he had literally shut the door of his residence to four MPs who wanted to meet him and have talks on how to end the ongoing unrest in Kashmir.
"..Home Minister visited Kashmir twice (before leading an all party delegation) but did not talk about the steps for resolution of Kashmir issue," he said while terming the visit of Rajnath Singh as an exercise to pass the time.
He accused the Centre and the PDP-BJP government of unleashing a "rein of terror" on the people instead of taking into account the "unmatched sacrifices" rendered by them.
22:42 Rahul's statement is politically immature: Godse's family
As Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi faces a case of defamation over his statement that RSS killed Mahatma Gandhi, a relative of Nathuram Godse on Thursday claimed that the Mahatma's assassin was a member of the saffron organisation "till the last moment of his life".
However, Nathuram had maintained that he alone was responsible for the assassination, said Satyaki Savarkar, grandnephew of both Godse and Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
"After the assassination the Sangh did boycott Nathuram and condemned the killing. However, neither was he expelled, nor did he leave the organisation till the last moment of his life," Satyaki said in Pune.
"Rahul Gandhi's statement is politically immature because after the assassination the court awarded death to Nathuram and sentenced others to life imprisonment. Nathuram had clarified that the decision to kill Gandhi was his own and RSS did not have any role in it," he said.
If Rahul Gandhi still thought that RSS killed Gandhi, it also amounted to contempt of court, said Satyaki, a software engineer and son of the late Himani Savarkar, daughter of Nathuram's younger brother Gopal. Himani was also the daughter-in-law of Narayan Savarkar, the younger brother of Vinayak Savarkar.
Gopal was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Gandhi assassination case.
22:26 Drugs found from Sanatan Sanstha ashram, says SIT in Pansare case
The special investigation team of Maharashtra police probing CPI leader Govind Pansare murder case, today told a court in Kolhapur, Maharashtra that it has during a search at the ashram of Panvel-based Sanatan Sanstha found some drugs which could affect the nervous system.
It also said that Vinay Pawar, an absconding accused who the CBI has said was the shooter in Narendra Dabholkar murder case, was a suspect in this case too.
The SIT produced ENT doctor Virendra Tawde, earlier arrested by the CBI in the Dabholkar case, before Kolhapur magistrate V B Kalpagar who extended his custody till September 16.
The CBI had yesterday filed a charge sheet in a Pune court against Tawde, alleging that he was a main conspirator in the 2013 murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.
It has already arrested Sameer Gaikwad, a Sanatan Sanstha 'disciple', in the case.
Seeking Tawde's further custody in Pansare case, the SIT said that Pawar is a third suspect.
Pansare, a rationalist, and his wife were shot while on morning walk in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015. Pansare died four days later while his wife survived.
22:18 Sidhu's new outfit a 'B-team' of the RSS: AAP
AAP today hit back at Navjot Singh Sidhu, alleging that his political outfit 'Awaaz e Punjab' was the 'B-team' of the RSS, and said his attack on the Badal family was a diversion, as his real target was Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
AAP's Punjab co-incharge and Delhi MLA Jarnail Singh also said that by forming the new party, the cricketer-turned-politician has finally accepted that he harbours chief ministerial ambitions.
"Navjot Singh Sidhu's press conference has made it clear that he is the B Team of the RSS. We were suspicious of him from the very beginning. He first wanted that the BJP should first contest polls all alone, but when it was not possible, he got separated with the blessings of the RSS," Singh said.
Sidhu had resigned from the Rajya Sabha last month. He held parlays with AAP soon after, but nothing had come of the discussions.
Rumours flew thick and fast that he wanted AAP to project him as the chief ministerial face for the Punjab polls and also demanded a ticket for his wife. However, Kejriwal in a tweet, had later denied it.
Singh, MLA from Rajouri Garden who was recently elevated as party spokesperson in Punjab, said during the launch of his party, Sidhu did not utter a single word against the BJP, which has been in power with the Akalis since that last 10 years.
21:00 PM hails ISRO over INSAT launch
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today applauded the ISRO scientists for the launch of advanced weather satellite INSAT-3DR onboard GSLV-F05, terming it as an exemplary achievement which made India proud.
"Congratulations to @isro scientists for time and again demonstrating top-notch skill, unparalleled dedication & remarkable determination," Modi tweeted.
"Our space programme keeps making us proud with the exemplary achievements. Successful launch of INSAT-3DR is a moment of immense joy," he added.
Today's mission, the 10th flight of GSLV, assumes significance for the Indian Space Research Organisation as it is the first operational flight of the rocket fitted with the indigenous cryogenic upper stage.
INSAT-3DR, with a designed mission life of ten years, will provide service continuity to earlier meteorological missions and further augment the capability to provide various meteorological, search and rescue services.
20:54 Sikkim cleanest state in India, Guj ranks 14th
Sikkim has been adjudged the cleanest state while Jharkhand comes last in the list on the condition of sanitation in rural areas of 26 states in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat is ranked 14th.
The results of survey carried out last year by National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) was released today by Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar in New Delhi.
It has listed Kerala, Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Meghalaya among the top 10 states.
The states which fared poorly in the NSSO study include Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir. NDA major BJP is ruling or sharing power in five of the states that have been placed at the bottom of the list.
Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, where BJP is sharing power with other parties, have been placed at 15th and 16th positions respectively.
The NSSO conducted the survey in May-June 2015 covering 73,176 households in 3,788 villages across the country. The ranking given on the basis of percentage of households having sanitary toilets and using them (either household or community toilets).
20:53 Obama: Americans will reject Trump's 'wacky' ideas
President Barack Obama said today that Republican Donald Trump proves he isn't qualified to be president "every time he speaks," adding that he was confident Americans would ultimately reject the brash billionaire on Election Day.
Obama, closing out his final presidential trip to Asia, said his meetings with foreign leaders during the trip had illustrated that governing is "serious business" requiring knowledge, preparation and thought-out policies that can actually be implemented.
He urged Americans not to allow the "outrageous behavior" seen amid the campaign-season din to become the new normal.
"The most important thing for the public and the press is to just listen to what he says and follow up and ask questions to what appear to be either contradictory or uninformed or outright whacky ideas," Obama said.
Throughout the campaign, Obama has repeatedly denounced Trump and deemed him "unfit" to serve as commander in chief, arguing that he's pulling the Republican Party in a dangerous and unprecedented direction.
Obama has endorsed Hillary Clinton and has said he plans to campaign full-force for the Democrat ahead of the November election.
20:51 Armed groups playing spoiler to peace efforts globally: India
India today said armed groups and non-state actors were playing 'spoilers' to peace efforts globally and sought qualitative improvement in the performance of UN peacekeeping contingents, staff and mission leadership.
Addressing the Defence Ministers' meeting in London, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre referred to the pledge of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York last year that India will provide troops for UN peacekeeping purposes.
He drew attention to the challenges being faced by UN peacekeeping operations with armed groups and non-state actors playing 'spoilers' to peace efforts, an official statement said.
United Nations peacekeeping missions are no longer benign and humanitarian tasks are a major facet of current missions, he said.
Bhamre exhorted the UN to work in sync with host governments as otherwise it could lead to greater turbulence.
He also stressed the need of bringing about qualitative improvement in the performance of United Nations contingents, staff and mission leadership.
20:03 ISRO plans to make two-three GSLV-MkII launches every year
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has drawn up plans to make two-three GSLV missions every year, a top official said today.
The space agency registered a hat-trick of success on launch of geosynchronous launch vehicles with today's GSLV- 05 flight carrying advanced weather satellite INSAT-3DR and placing it in GTO successfully.
"We had a very successful flight of GSLV-Mk II. This is third consecutive GSLV-Mk II launch with indigenous cryogenic upper stage. Last August (2015) we had successful launch of GSLV-D6. Our intent is to launch two-three GSLV-MkII missions every year in the coming years," ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar told reporters here.
20:00 Chaos at Amit Shah's patidar meet as Hardik supporters cause ruckus
BJP chief Amit Shah's meeting with the leaders of the Patidar community in Surat turned into chaos today as supporters of Hardik Patel went on a rampage, chanting his name and vandalising the furniture.
Shah was in Surat to attend a huge rally by the BJP to honour the new Patel ministers in the government led by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
The rally was seen as not only a show of strength by the BJP but also a gesture to the Patidar community, which had been on a collision course with the government over their demand for quota in jobs and education.
19:49 Post-Brexit hate crimes still high in UK
Hate crime incidents logged by British police in the wake of Brexit surged in the second half of July, nearly a month after the EU referendum vote, and still remains at significantly higher levels than a year ago,
according to latest statistics.
The latest set of figures released by the UKs National Police Chiefs Council on Wednesday show a 49 per cent rise in incidents to 1,863 in the last week in July, when compared with the previous year. The week after saw a record 58 per cent increase in logged incidents to 1,787.
The spike links directly to Britains vote in favour of an exit from the European Union in the June 23 referendum.
19:34 China fails to put a high-tech satellite into orbit
In a rare setback, China today failed to put one of the most advanced satellites into orbit resulting in the loss of the satellite, a media report said.
A Long March 4C rocket blasted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Shanxi but aihangtian.com, a website run by Chinese professional astronautic experts and space enthusiasts, said it failed to insert its payload, the Gaofen-10 satellite into its designated orbit, in what would be the first such failure since 2013.
There is no official announcement about it so far.
19:30 Forces to start using PAVA shells in Kashmir shortly
Security forces will shortly start using chilly-filled shells PAVA in crowd control in Kashmir, replacing the pellet guns that had caused injuries to a
large number of injuries, especially the loss of vision of several people.
This follows the report of an expert committee which was set up amid an uproar over use of pellet guns by security forces in dealing with stone-pelting during the current unrest. Following an uproar, the committee was set up to suggest an alternative to the pellet guns.
Every day, around 1000 PAVA shells are reaching Kashmir since September 5, sources said here today.
19:28 Army chief to visit J-K tomorrow
Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag will be visiting Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow to review the security situation in the unrest-hit Valley, Army sources said.
There was no official word on the development either in Kashmir or in the national capital.
19:16 Cauvery issue: Pro-Kannada outfits call for bandh tomorrow
A dawn-to-dusk Karnataka bandh called by pro-Kannada outfits tomorrow to protest against the Supreme Court's direction to release Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu is likely to throw normal life out of gear.
This is the second bandh that the state is bracing for in less than a week's time and the fourth this year.
Officials said with the bandh on the emotive Cauvery issue is being supported by several organisations, unions and political parties.
Public transport may be affected as state transport buses will stay off the roads, and autorickshaw and cab unions are extending their support to bandh. Metro services is also likely to be hit.
Keeping security of students in mind, schools and colleges have declared a holiday tomorrow and attendance at government offices will not be compulsory, according to officials.
19:05 Mehbooba should consider quitting if alliance doesn't work: Baig
A senior PDP leader and MP Muzzafar Hussain Baig today suggested that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti should consider resigning if she feels the 'Agenda of Alliance' between PDP and its ruling partner BJP is a "paper of fraud and not a paper of good faith".
Baig, a founder member of the PDP, expressed the hope that Mehbooba will be able to take control of the situation but cautioned her that in case she feels that the two "alliance partners are incompatible", she is left with only one option and that is to resign.
The PDP leader said he had no two opinions that their party president will live up to expectations and bring the situation in the restive Kashmir Valley under control.
However, "if she comes to a conclusion that she is not getting enough support and she cannot deliver on the promises that she made to the people, of course, the only course left for her will be to resign.
18:55 Kerala govt to issue circular banning arms training at temples
Moving ahead with its resolve to check the activities of the Sangh Parivar outfits at the temples of the state, the CPI-M-led LDF government in Kerala is all set to come out with a circular banning any type of arms-training drills at the shrine complexes.
The state Devaswom department has taken the initiative to issue the circular under relevant sections of the Kerala Police Act in the wake of complaints that the RSS was holding drills at the temple premises, office of the state Devaswom Minister, Kadakampally Surendran, said here.
The circular, which has got the Law department's nod, has been sent to the Home department for its consideration, sources said.
An order, banning any type of arms-training drills at the shrine complexes, would be issued after getting the consent of the Home department, they added.
The order will not target any organisation. It will be a "general order" to put an end to any type of arms-training at the temple premises, sources said.
Meanwhile, state BJP president Kummanom Rajasekharan criticised the move and claimed that the RSS conducted its 'shakhas' as per law and after getting due permission and sanction from the authorities concerned.
18:26 Sidhu attacks Kejriwal, Badals at the launch of new front
Unveiling a new front in poll-bound Punjab, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu today launched a no-holds-barred attack on Akali-BJP combine and Congress, and dubbed AAP as "anarchy in the garb of democracy" led by Arvind Kejriwal who wants only "yes-men".
Addressing a press conference on the formal launch of "Awaaz-E-Punjab"-- a non-political front for "betterment" of Punjab, the former BJP leader, who quit his Rajya Sabha seat in July, said its aim is to hand over the power of democracy to people after ending "the rule of one family" in the state.
Sidhu said that in the next 15-20 days he will come out with the front's future plan.
Launching a frontal attack on the Badals, who have been in power for a decade, he said the kaale Badal (dark clouds) have overshadowed Punjab and people are keen to see sunlight".
"People elect government for themselves and not for a family," he said, alleging that Badals have made Punjab and the party as their family fiefdom.
18:16 JNUSU polls: Aspirants debate on Vemula, Ambedkar, nationalism
The night-long event, conducted in the US presidential debate-style and considered a deciding factor for the polls, was held here yesterday with five candidates battling it out for the post of JNUSU president presenting their views.
Rohith Vemula's suicide, sedition row, nationalism and B R Ambedkar's vision were some of the topics that were part of the high-voltage JNU presidential debate ahead its students' union election.
The night-long event, conducted in the US presidential debate-style and considered a deciding factor for the polls, was held here yesterday with five candidates battling it out for the post of JNUSU president presenting their views.
While all the candidates claimed a stake in the movement following Hyderabad University Dalit scholar Vemula's suicide, there was a fight over who follows Ambedkarite politics for installing the visionary's statues on campus.
Mohit Pandey, candidate of the "Left unity" alliance, spoke of the celebrated "Stand with JNU" movement and "Occupy UGC" protests.
17:54 Obama says Trumps wacky ideas show hes unqualified for presidency
Outgoing President Barack Obama condemned Donald Trump as unsuitable to be commander-in-chief Thursday, after the Republican nominee blasted US military brass and praised Vladimir Putin.
"I don't think the guy's qualified to be president of the United States and every time he speaks, that opinion is confirmed," Obama said in unusually caustic language while overseas.
Obama is in Laos for a summit with South East Asia leaders and his final trip to east Asia.
"I can tell you from the interactions I have had over the last eight or nine days with foreign leaders that this is serious business," Obama said.
"You actually have to know what you are talking about and you actually have to have done your homework. When you speak, it should actually reflect thought out policy you can implement."
17:51 Japan confirmed Netaji's death to US within weeks: UK website
Japan had confirmed to the US within weeks about the death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in a plane crash in Taiwan in 1945, a UK website set up to document evidence on the circumstances of the freedom fighter's demise claimed today.
Bosefiles.info says Japan's communication to the US in 1945 was an interim report and a prelude to the final report handed over to the Indian government in 1956.
The information had been sought by Lord Louis Mountbatten as commander of Allied Forces in India (then under British rule) and South East Asia.
The Commander of the Allied Land Forces in the South West Pacific, US General Douglas MacArthur, through the Yokohama Division of the Japanese Army sought information from Japan on 'Reported Death of CHANDRA BOSE" on behalf of Mountbatten on August 30, 1945 12 days after Netaji is believed to have been killed on August 18.
The latest disclosure is attributed to 91-year-old US-based Govind Talwalkar, the former chief editor of 'Maharashtra Times' who had received the documents from the National Diet (Parliament) Library of Japan on December 23, 2015.
17:40 British MPs to vacate Parliament for 6-year-long repairs
Britain's MPs and peers may have to move out of their historic Palace of Westminster Parliament complex after a senior parliamentary committee recommended essential repairs this week.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to officially give the go-ahead for the plans drafted by the Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster, which had been studying the options of bringing the 19th century complex up to modern standards.
The report suggests parliamentarians be relocated to nearby buildings by as 2020 to enable the 4-billion restoration project expected to last up to six years.
It recommends the Department of Health's headquarters for MPs, and Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre across the road from the Palace to house the Lords temporarily.
17:32 Scotland Yard arrests 3 terror suspects
Three men have been arrested today inthe UK on suspicion of being involved in terrorism and a religiously aggravated offence.
Two of the men, aged 19 and 20, were arrested at an address in west London as part of a pre-planned, intelligence-led investigation by Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command, supported by the South East Counter Terrorism Unit.
"They were arrested on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006," a Metropolitan Police statement said.
The 20-year-old was held on suspicion of funding of terrorism and failure to disclose information regarding an act of terrorism under Section 16 and Section 36B of the Terrorism Act 2000.
The third suspect, 19, was arrested in south-east London on suspicion of a religiously aggravated offence in relation to a separate matter.
17:17 Bulandshahr gang rape case: Supreme Court lifts stay on CBI probe
The Supreme Court on Thursday lifted its order staying the Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the Bulandshahr gang rape case.
The top court modified its order after the investigative agency, on Tuesday, moved to the court asking to vacate its stay on the ongoing probe.
The top court had in August stayed the CBI probe until the issue of transfer of trail is decided.
The Supreme Court had issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh Government and senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan over the Bulandshahr rape survivor's plea seeking a transfer of the case out of the state.
Khan had earlier hinted at a political conspiracy behind the gang-rape of the mother-daughter duo in Bulandshahr.
The incident took place earlier on the intervening night of 29-30 July when a 35-year-old woman and her daughter were allegedly gang-raped by a group of robbers in Bulandshahr district.
17:16 ISRO launches advanced weather satellite
ISRO launched the advanced weather satellite INSAT-3DR on-board GSLV-F05 on Thursday.
The launch of the GSLV-F05 marks the tenth flight of India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, designed to inject 2 to 2.5 ton class of satellites in geostationary orbits.
The rocket is almost 49 meters high -- as much as a 17-floor building. It weighs 415 tons -- as much as the combined weight of 80 full grown elephants.
India took 20 years to master this technology after Russia reneged on a deal to transfer the technology in the early 1990s at the behest of the US.
16:43 GST Bill ratified by Arunachal assembly
Following its passage as law after being assented to by the President, the GST Constitution Amendment Bill was also ratified by the Arunachal Pradesh assembly.
The GST will replace more than a dozen levies central and state levies, including central excise duty, service tax and central sales tax as well as VAT on sale of goods and entry tax, to make movement of goods seamless across 1.3 billion market.
16:40 PM Modi concludes ASEAN, EAS visit; leaves for India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi emplaned for Delhi after meeting several world leaders during and on the sidelines of the ASEAN-India and East Asia Summits.
16:37 When Urjit Patel was asked for his ID card
This incident best illustrates the kind of person the new RBI governor Dr Urjit Patel is -- unassuming, non-fussy, and polite to a fault.
On Tuesday, Patel's first official meeting was at the NITI Aayog office in New Delhi.
Necessary arrangements had been made by the Aayog authorities to receive Patel, and the designated official saw a gentleman alight from a luxury car and, presuming him to be the RBI governor, duly accompanied him inside.
A little while later Dr Patel, carrying files in his hand, reached the Aayog's gates where he was accosted by the security guard and asked for his ID card. Without demur, or that throwaway Delhi line 'Jaante ho mein kaun hoon?', Patel complied, produced his ID card and was allowed inside.
16:32 GST gets President's assent
The Goods and Services Tax is now a law after President Pranab Mukherjee signed the bill which had been cleared by Parliament and 15 state governments.
The GST bill had been approved by the Rajya Sabha to replace a raft of different state and local taxes with a single unified value added tax system to turn the country into world's biggest single market this August.
The GST will replace more than a dozen levies central and state levies, including central excise duty, service tax and central sales tax as well as VAT on sale of goods and entry tax, to make movement of goods seamless across 1.3 billion market.
Instead of the good being taxed multiple times at different rates, under the new GST regime goods would be taxed at point of consumption.
16:14 Chikungunya on rise, AIIMS tests 885 blood samples positive
Chikungunya is refusing to let go of its grip on Delhi with patients swamping the hospitals including AIIMS which itself has tested nearly 890 blood test samples positive for the vector-borne disease in the last two months.
Several hospitals in the national capital are reporting increasing cases of chikungunya, including at Safdarjung Hospital where three deaths due to dengue and one due to malaria have taken place this season.
16:07 Sensex closes above 29,000-mark after 17 months
The Sensex closed above the 29,000-mark after 17 months, gaining 118.92 points to 29,045.28 and the NSE index Nifty ended higher by 34.55 points at 8,952.50.
The landmark was earlier reached in January 2015 where it hit a record high of 29,047.20
The launch of IISRO's GSLV rocket postponed by 40 minutes
15:56 Sidhu launches new party, says 'Punjab, Punjabiyat Punjabis will win'
Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu launched a new political front, the Awaaz-e-Punjab, ahead of assembly elections in Punjab.
"The resurrection, and revival of Punjab is the aim of Awaaz-e-Punjab," he said, adding, "One good person is better than a hundred bad people...Our slogan is Punjab will win, Punjabiyat will win and Punjabis will win," the 52-year-old said, making a strong attack on BJP ally, the ruling Akali Dal.
The new Sidhu front was announced last week via a bright poster that featured him with his close friend and former hockey great Pargat Singh, suspended by the Akali Dal, and two brothers from Ludhiana, Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjeet Singh Bains, both independent lawmakers in the Punjab assembly.
JUST IN: Fire breaks out on the 20th floor of Express Towers, Nariman Point, Mumbai. All employees have been evacuated
15:14 Preeti Rathi case: Convict Ankur Panwar given death sentence
The Mumbai sessions court has awarded the death sentence to convict Ankur Panwar in the Preeti Rathi acid-attack-murder case. On Tuesday, the court had found Panwar guilty of sections 302 (murder) and 326 B (Voluntarily throwing acid) of the IPC.
Panwar had thrown acid on Preeti, who had come to Mumbai to join as a nurse in a defence hospital in May 2013.
A month later, she died of multiple organ failure.
15:08 The equality of entry
The Haji Ali Dargah case verdict was arrived at by hewing closely to the Constitution, to law, and to the task of defending individual rights. It is admirable for resisting the temptation of interpretive adventurism.
Read full column HERE
14:42 Ashutosh brings up 'Snoopgate', attacks PM in response to women's panel
Asked to justify his column in which he discusses a colleague accused of a sex scandal, Ashutosh, senior leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, obeyed an order this morning to meet with Lalitha Kumaramangalam, the chief of the National Commission for Women.
He said he told the country's top women's rights body that it is encroaching upon his right to free speech. "I said that if you want to hang me for what I have written, fine. But the constitution guarantees my right to freedom of speech," Ashutosh, a former editor, said.
In a two-page reply to the commission, which he has tweeted, Ashutosh has also asked the commission to look into what is called "Snoopgate," pivoted around allegations that a young woman was spied upon by top police officers when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chief minister of Gujarat and BJP president Amit Shah was home minister.
The AAP leader has detailed what he called allegations made in the case against PM Modi and Shah and asked the women's panel to "summon them to the NCW office for an explanation and further investigation just as you have sent a notice to me for writing a column".
13:53 Rahul good human being, we can forge a 'friendship': Akhilesh
As Rahul Gandhi undertakes his 2,500-km yatra in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today termed the Congress scion as a good human being and said they can forge a "friendship" if he spends more time in the state, setting off speculation about a political realignment.
Akhilesh, however, shrugged off a question on possible alliance between Congress and the Samajwadi Party in run-up to the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.
"Rahulji bahut acche insan hain, bahut acche ladke hain. UP me jyada rahenge to hamari bhi dosti unse hogi...do acche log mil jaye to kya kharab baat hai? (Rahul is a good human being and a good boy. If he spends more time in UP, we can
also have friendship with him...If two good human beings meet, what's wrong in that)," he said.
During his ongoing 'Kisan Mahayatra' in the state, Gandhi has been aggressively attacking Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi but has taken only veiled jibes at the Samajwadi Party government in the state.
When Akhilesh was asked about chances of SP-Congress coalition, he said, "Aap isme rajniti kyun dekh rahe hain (Why are you seeing politics in it?"
13:25 All smiles! Modi, Obama meet for 8th time in 2 years
Check out the smile on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The PM couldn't hide his joy on meeting his 'bestie' US President Barack Obama.
The two are in Laos for the regional ASEAN summit.
This is Modi's eighth interaction with the US president in the two years that the PM has acquired office.
12:44 Modi meets Chinese Premier Li on sidelines of East Asia Summit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today had a "pull aside" meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit, days after he held talks with President Xi Jinping in Hangzhou.
"Moving forward with China. PM Narendra Modi has quick pull aside with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on sidelines of EAS," External Affairs Ministry Vikas Swarup tweeted.
Modi's meeting with Li came just four days after he met Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hangzhou.
In that meeting, Modi had told Xi that the two countries need to be "sensitive" to each other's strategic interests.
Asserting that fight against terror should not be motivated by "political considerations", Modi had said it is of "paramount importance that we respect each other's aspirations, concerns and strategic interests" to ensure durable bilateral ties.
12:29 Another blow to Kejriwal government in high court battle
JUST IN: The Delhi high court has set aside the Delhi government's order appointing 21 AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.
In June, President Pranab Mukherjee had refused to sign a bill that allowed the 21 AAP MLAs to hold a second paying position as parliamentary secretary, leaving their fate hanging in balance.
The AAP had earlier defended its decision in high court, saying the move does not amount to creation of a "public office".
After coming to power in February 2015, the AAP government appointed the parliamentary secretaries, saying this would facilitate smooth functioning but made it clear that they would not receive any remuneration or perk from the government, that is, no burden on the exchequer.
The order, however, permitted them to use government transport for official purposes and earmarked space in the ministers' offices to help them in the official work.
A public interest litigation filed by NGO Rashtriya Mukti Morcha had sought scrapping of the appointments as these were "unconstitutional, illegal and without jurisdiction".
Also please read: EXPLAINED: AAP's 21-MLA headache
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11:41 Modi appoints 4 ministers to brief media on Kashmir unrest
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appointed Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers Anath Kumar to brief the media about the government's efforts to bring peace to troubled Kashmir.
The development comes after the one-sides news presentation after the all-party delegation meet in Kashmir.
It has been learnt that from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm, senior editors and anchors of TV channels have been called for an off camera briefing on Kashmir. Similarly, around 30 top editors from the print media have been asked to assembly at Shastri Bhawan from 2.30 pm to 3.30 pm.
11:25 PIL filed in SC against government funding to separatists
A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking to stop funding to separatists for foreign travel and other expenses. The PIL states that more than Rs 100 crore is spent on separatists by the government and that they misuse this money for anti-India activities.
The PIL comes in following reports that suggested that the Centre will be scrutinising the bank accounts of the separatists and that foreign trips made by them will likely be banned.
In addition to this, the Z-scale security provided to them will also be scaled down.
11:14 Be careful about Indians, Pakistanis in London, warns Air China magazine
China's national carrier Air China has stirred outrage with a racist travel warning in its in-flight magazine targeting "Indians, Pakistanis and black people".
An article in its in-flight magazine 'Wings of China' cautioned travellers to London, a popular destination for China's booming outbound tourism market, with a warning that read: "London is generally a safe place to travel, however precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people".
The article was noticed by journalist Haze Fan, a Beijing-based producer with CNBC, who posted an image online.
The article further added, "We advise tourists not to go out alone at night, and females always to be accompanied by another person when travelling."
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10:40 8 people drown during Ganesha immersion in Karnataka
At least eight people have drowned in Tungabhadra River in Karnataka, when a coracle in which they were sailing overturned and capsized, police has said. Four others are missing.
The group, from Hadonahalli village, had gone to immerse a Ganesha idol in the afternoon. They had got into a coracle to immerse the idol and it overturned.
Search operations are still on for the missing men.
The district authority has banned swimming, sailing and immersion of Ganesha idols in the river to prevent any such accident.
10:23 Anna Hazare threatens stir against Kejriwal
The agitation for Lokpal bill had brought them together. But alleged wrongdoing of Arvind Kejriwal's ministers is distancing him from Anna Hazare.
The social crusader said he would start an agitation against his one-time most trusted colleague --Delhi chief minister Kejriwal -- in the national capital if he got concrete evidence of wrongdoing against Aam Aadmi Party ministers.
Hazare said he did not have doubts about Kejriwal's character. "But his reputation has been damaged because of the people he took in his party to win power. If he wishes to win over the confidence of people again, he should give up power and serve the nation again," he said.
09:55 Navjot Singh Sidhu to launch new party today
Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu along with former Indian hockey team captain Pargat Singh will formally launch 'Awaaz-e-Punjab', the new political front today, which will contest the Punjab assembly elections next year.
Elections to 117 assembly seats are likely to be held in January or early February next year.
A press conference will be addressed by Sidhu along with two independent legislators, Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjeet Singh Bains. While the Bains brothers were independent candidates who were leaning towards the Aam Aadmi Party, Pargat Singh was recently expelled from Shiromani Akali Dal on charges of indulging in anti-party activities.
Sidhu had resigned from the Rajya Sabha on 18 July, fueling speculation that he may join the AAP.
09:45 26/11 attack: Pakistani court issues notice to mastermind Zakiur Lakhvi
An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan issued notices to seven accused of 2008 Mumbai attack case, including Laskhar-e-Tayiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, and the government on a plea to examine the boat used by the 10 LeT terrorists to reach the Indian coast.
"The Anti-Terrorism Court Islamabad on Wednesday held Mumbai case hearing at the Adiala Jail Rawalpindi and issued notices to seven suspects and the prosecution to present arguments regarding inspection of Al-Fauz boat parked at the port city of Karachi," a court official said after the hearing.
He said both prosecution and defence lawyers would present their arguments on next hearing on September 22.
LeT operations commander Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum are accused of abetment to murder, attempted murder, planning and executing the Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead.
Lakhvi, believed to be the mastermind of the attacks, is living at an undisclosed location after getting the bail a year ago. Other six suspects are in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi.
09:20 Cauvery river row: A dispute of the poor monsoon year
In years when southern Karnataka gets its full quota of monsoon rain, generally not a whisper is heard about the Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. But when rains are less than bountiful in the catchment areas of the river, leaving four key Cauvery basin reservoirs less than full, trouble has always erupted over the sharing of water between the states.
Read full story HERE
09:00 Kejriwal jostled by protesters at station, security breach says AAP
Arvind Kejrwal was jostled by a crowd of protesters this morning at the railway station in Delhi, from where he took a train to Punjab for a five-day visit.
As the CM boarded a Shatabdi train to Ludhiana, women activists shouted slogans and protested against sacked AAP minister Sandeep Kumar, who has been accused of rape by a woman who featured in a sex tape with him.
Images showed Kejriwal surrounded by policemen and supporters amid protests at a platform. AAP has alleged a security breach and accused the Delhi Police of failing to protect the CM.
Reports have quoted the Delhi police as saying it will not be able to provide security to Kejriwal during his Punjab tour, as it does not have jurisdiction there.
"We have not refused him security. He is leaving Delhi for Punjab for five days. As per the security norms, if he travels by train or car, we are supposed to drop him at the first destination in that state and thereafter, the state police takes over," a senior Delhi Police official was quoted as saying.
"He was given security during previous trips as we had no time to write to the state police concerned and also because they were short visits. This is a long visit and we cannot keep any component with him for that long," the officer said.
08:33 In Dalit flogging, Una police fudged facts, looked other way: Chargesheet
The Gujarat Criminal Investigation Department has accused local policemen of fudging facts in the case related to the July 11 flogging of Dalits in Una.
Its chargesheet, filed Wednesday against 34 accused, alleged that police twisted the skinning of a dead cow by Dalits into a case of 'beef being found'.
The CID also arrested four policemen, including former police inspector of the Una police station, for negligence, wrong reporting and taking a case that wasn't in their jurisdiction.
According to the chargesheet, the CID found that when the four Dalit youths from Mota Samadhiyala village were forcibly taken into custody by the accused, a group of villagers had come to their rescue but had to return after the accused threatened them. These villagers called the police control rooms in Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad.
08:04 Terrorists attack Pulwama police station
Terrorists attacked a police station in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, late Wednesday night. This comes after militants attacked an army convoy in Kupwara district of Kashmir on Wednesday morning and injured two soldiers.
Militants fired on the army convoy at Handwara in Kupwara district, resulting in injuries to the two soldiers, the officials said. They said the militants fled the scene after carrying out the attack. An operation was launched to track down the militants, they added.
More details about the late night attack are awaited.
03:38 US says Russian jet flew 10ft from plane over Black Sea
A Russian fighter jet flew dangerously close to a US spy plane over the Black Sea today, the Pentagon said, although Moscow quickly insisted the encounter was within "international rules."
A Russian Su-27 Flanker jet made an unsafe, close-range intercept of a US P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine and intelligence plane conducting "routine operations" in international airspace, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said.
A US defense official, speaking earlier on condition of anonymity, told AFP the Russian plane flew within 30 feet (9 meters) of the P-8A before closing to just 10 feet.
"These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions, and could result in a miscalculation or accident," Davis said.
However, Moscow said the intercept was conducted "in strict accordance with international rules" because the Americans were trying to snoop on Russian army exercises.
The Russian defense ministry said in a statement that it dispatched Su-27 jets to check out US P-8 Poseidon planes as they "twice tried to get close to the Russian border over the Black Sea without their transponders turned on."
03:33 John Malone's Liberty Media buys Formula One
John Malone's Liberty Media buys Formula One for $4.4 billion (Rs 29,254 crore).
It is understood Liberty Media will initially buy a stake in Formula One of up to 20% before taking full control later in the year.
The future of Bernie Ecclestone, the chief executive of Formula One Group, will be one of the key decisions facing the new owner.
Chase Carey, a key lieutenant of Rupert Murdoch at News Corporation and a non-executive director of Sky, is being lined up to become chairman of Formula One.
Malone and Murdoch have a long-running rivalry in the media industry. Malone has built up a global empire that includes Discovery Communications, the owner of the Discovery and Eurosport channels, Virgin Media and the Atlanta Braves baseball team.
He was nicknamed Darth Vader by Al Gore, the former US vice-president, for his aggressive dealmaking.
02:40 Questions we all have about Apple's new wireless earbuds
Apple unveiled their new iPhone 7 on Wednesday and with it comes a plethora of new features, including a water-resistant design and a dual camera system.
But perhaps the most game-changing news is the removal of the headphone jack, paving the way for Apple's new wireless earbuds called "AirPods".
Now before you start filling your cargo shorts with beef jerky in preparation for the line at the Apple store, there are important questions regarding these new wireless earbuds.
Read more HERE
01:52 Taliban threaten to overrun another Afghan city
The Taliban today toppled security outposts on the edge of the southern Afghan city of Tarin Kot, officials said, threatening the third provincial capital in recent weeks.
The insurgents crept within seven kilometres of the capital of the restive poppy-rich province of Uruzgan, prompting urgent calls from officials for reinforcements and air support.
The Taliban advance comes as the insurgents threaten to capture Lashkar Gah in neighbouring Helmand province, and northern Kunduz city, which the militants briefly seized last year in a stinging blow to Afghan forces.
"Some security checkpoints fell to the Taliban without much resistance from security forces," said Haji Baridad, a tribal elder in Tarin Kot, raising a concern echoed by other local residents.
"If they continue to flee, local people will be forced to take up arms ourselves to defend the city."
But Dost Mohammed Nayab, the provincial governor's spokesman, dismissed the charge, insisting the Taliban will not be allowed to breach Tarin Kot's outer defences.
Tennis: US Open women's match in betting alert
New York, Sep 7 (AFP)
The US Open first round match between Russia's Vitalia Diatchenko and Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland is under investigation for suspicious betting patterns, it was confirmed today.
The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) said that a match alert for the August 30 encounter had been received from betting organisations.
"The TIU will assess, make a judgement and take appropriate action on the alert information received and obtained for the first round singles match between Vitalia Diatchenko and Timea Bacsinszky played at the US Open on 30th August," a spokesman said in a statement.
Bacsinszky, the 15th seed, won the match 6-1, 6-1 against the world number 87 from Russia.
The TIU insisted that the setting up of an investigation does not automatically indicate corruption.
01:26 Newly crowned Miss Japan proud of Indian roots
The newly-crowned Miss World Japan is hardly a typical Japanese woman. Being half-Indian is only part of it.
Priyanka Yoshikawa, crowned Monday after outshining more than 6,900 other applicants, has a certificate in elephant training, teaches English to children, enjoys kickboxing and volunteers as a translator at medical meetings.
The 22-year-old is preparing for the worldwide pageant in Washington, DC, in November.
Being fitted for a couture gown for the event is part of the programme, but fashion plays a small role in Yoshikawa's life.
And she doesn't want to fit into any stereotype.
She told The Associated Press today that being in a beauty contest is a way to achieve her ambitions: Go to Bollywood, while pursuing her goal of building a children's home in India.
A national debate was sparked in largely homogeneous Japan last year when Ariana Miyamoto, a half-American of African descent, was chosen Miss Universe Japan, another international beauty contest.
01:23 Obama meets Philippines prez Duterte after 'whore' slur
Barack Obama briefly met with Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte today, Manila said, two days after the firebrand politician branded the US president a "son of a whore".
The encounter took place just before a dinner during a summit of regional leaders in Laos, according to the Philippine delegation.
"They met at the holding room and they were the last people to leave the holding room. I can't say how long they met," Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, travelling with Duterte, told reporters shortly afterwards.
"I'm very happy that it happened."
Senator Alan Cayetano, one of Duterte's close aides travelling with him, also said the meeting took place.
However the White House had no immediate comment and the Philippines did not elaborate on what was said.
01:22 Mexican finance minister resigns amid Trump scandal
Mexico's finance minister Luis Videgaray stepped down today, a surprise move that follows his reported key role in Donald Trump's controversial meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Pena Nieto said he had accepted Videgaray's resignation and replaced him with Social Development Minister Jose Antonio Meade, a former foreign minister who held the finance job between 2011-2012.
Pena Nieto, flanked by both men at the presidential residence of Los Pinos, praised Videgaray as a public servant who has been "committed to Mexico and loyal to the president."
The Mexican leader made no mention of reports that Videgaray played a crucial role in setting up US presidential candidate Trump's August 31 meeting with Pena Nieto, which drew scorn in the country.
The Washington Post, citing Mexicans familiar with the deliberations, reported last week that Videgaray was a leading advocate for the sitdown at Los Pinos.
Videgaray, an economist who earned a doctorate from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), saw the meeting as a political risk that was worth taking, in case Trump was elected, the Post said.
01:13 Facebook has a massive gender divide in India
India has been experiencing exploding growth in all manner of waysincluding internet literacy. There are now 462 million active internet users, up 90% from March 2015.
While 153 million people in the country are now active social media users, women make up a dismal share.
Typically, women dominate social media the world over but India is a different story. For every woman using Facebook, there are three male users on the platform, according to a recent report from UK consultancy We Are Social.
Comprised of 24% women, the country's Facebook user base gender ratio is one of the worst in the Asia-Pacific Region, joining its neighborsPakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladeshat the bottom of the list.
Read more HERE
00:27 Advanced iPhone7 comes with a steep price
* The price remains the same with $649, $749 and $849 with the 32GB storage, which is now the base storage option.
* The iPhone7 Plus will ship with 32GB, 128GB and 256GB storage variant costing $749, $849 and $949 respectively.
* The Apple Watch Series 2 will be available in India from October 7, starting at Rs 23,900 for the Series 1, Rs 32,900 for the Series 2 with sports band and goes up to Rs 1,10,900 for the Apple Watch Edition Series 2.
* The new AirPods will cost $159.
00:19 Hey Apple, didn't HTC launch the dual camera feature a year ago?
Our in-house expert says that the dual camera feature that Apple released on its new iPhone was already released by HTC a year ago on its HTC One (M8) model.
Click HERE to read about that
00:16 iPhone7: It's packed with features
More features of the new iPhone:
* Forget tethering your devices with cables that tangle themselves. Apple AirPods announced. New W1 chip is the heart behind it. It comes with 24 hours listening.
* Apple Pay will use Felica technology, NFC alternative in Japan.
* New Apple processor A10 Fusion with quad-core CPU with two high-performance cores that is 40 per cent faster than the A9 chip. The other two are high-efficiency core that use 1/5th the power of the high-power core.
* Another Apple designed performance controller will decide which core will run when. New 6-core graphics chip that used 2/3rd the power of A9 with 50 per cent faster than the A9 making it the most powerful Apple processor ever.
Click HERE to read more updates on the iPhone7