Sat, 22 April 2017
Hema to take action against MLA who said she 'drinks everyday'

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21:18   Lalu family has Rs 115cr benami property: Sushil Modi
In a fresh salvo against Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Yadav's family, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushil Kumar Modi today alleged that it had amassed 'benami property' worth Rs 115 crore in a posh area of New Delhi through a shell company.

The RJD, however, dismissed the allegations and dared Modi to get all the charges probed by a central agency.

"Lalu Prasad's family got control over A B Exports Pvt Ltd, Mumbai, which owned a land and an under construction house on it, valued together at Rs 115 crore at New Friends Colony in New Delhi. The company's entire share holding, directorship and properties have been given to Prasad's family," Modi alleged showing documents purportedly supporting his claim.

One Ashok Kumar Banthia's A B Exports got interest free loans of Rs 5 crore - Rs one crore each from five diamond jewellers of Mumbai - and bought an 800 sq metre plot (no D- 1088) in New Friend's Colony in 2007-08, he claimed.

"At present, the value of the plot is estimated to be around Rs 55 crore on which a four-storied building is being constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 60 crore," he said.

As per the balance sheet of A B Exports', it did not have any employee and did no business in the past 15 years, and later all the shares and directorship of the company were handed over to Prasad's family, Modi claimed.

Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav was made a director of the company in January 2011, followed by his elder brother minister Tej Pratap in June 2014, he claimed.

However, the two brothers were no more directors of the company, though Tejashwi held 98 per cent of its shares, the BJP leader said, adding that at present, Lalu's daughters Ragini Lalu and Chanda Yadav were the directors.

He demanded a thorough probe and asked why Banthia handed over the company to Prasad's family, whether Banthia was a genuine or fake person and why did five jewellers give interest free loans to the company.

RJD spokesman Mritunjay Tiwari said that Modi has been 'running an old cassette with the help of his 56 inch of tongue. Everything is in accordance with the law and available in public domain'.

"Our leader Lalu Prasad has already said that the BJP could get all the rubbishes uttered by Sushil Modi be probed by a central agency or even by UNO," he said.  -- PTI
20:00   Hema to take action against MLA who said she 'drinks everyday'
Actress and Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament Hema Malini has said she will take action against Bacchu Kadu, an independent MLA from Maharashtra, for his derogatory comments.

Kadu courted controversy last week with his comments over farmer suicides.

"Hema Malini drinks everyday, but does she commit suicide?" he said, seeking to counter the claims that farmers commit suicide because of alcoholism.

"75 per cent MLAs, MPs, journalists drink... even Hema Malini drinks heavily... but have they committed suicide?" he asked.

The actress said at an event here last night that at first she felt she should keep quiet.

"Initially I decided to keep quiet about this man's antics, because I didn't want to give him publicity. But then everyone close to me thought it was wrong to let him get away with it," Malini said.

"I will take action so that no one will do such a thing with me or any other celebrity again," she said.

The Lok Sabha member from Mathura, however, did not specify what action she intended to take against Kadu.

The actress also said she was happy with the Union cabinet's decision to get rid of beacon lights on VIP vehicles. -- PTI
19:06   Budgam: Two terrorists killed in ongoing encounter
Two terrorists have been gunned down by security forces in an encounter in Budgam's Hayatpura area of Jammu and Kashmir.

The encounter is still underway.

More details awaited.

Representative image only.
18:37   Canada's defence minister visits Western Naval Command
Canada's Minister for National Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan visited the Western Naval Command headquarters in Mumbai today.

Sajjan interacted with Vice Admiral Girish Luthra,Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command, a Defence spokesperson said.

"The minister highlighted areas of congruence between India and Canada and the need to further enhance cooperation between both nations. The discussions looked at continuing the current level of military interactions and the possibilities of increased cooperation," he said.

The current Regional and Global Security environment and the opportunities it afforded both India and Canada to work together formed part of the talks, the spokesperson said in a statement.

Enhancement of maritime and naval cooperation and visit of Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Winnipeg were also discussed.

HMCS Winnipeg will visit India in mid May 2017 and will carry out professional interaction and Passage Exercise with Indian ships, the spokesperson said.

'The minister also visited the Indian Navy's indigenous guided missile destroyer, INS Kochi. He was taken on a conducted tour of the ship and expressed his deep appreciation of the strides being made by India in their indigenisation efforts," he said.

"India and Canada are poised to enhance defencecooperation in fields of counter terrorism, cold climatewarfare, peace keeping and Naval cooperation," the spokesperson said.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan visits Indian Navy's indigenous guided missile destroyer INS Kochi in Mumbai on Saturday. Photograph: @indiannavy/ Twitter
18:10   DMK asks farmers to defer Delhi stir, participate in TN bandh
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam working president M K Stalin today urged the farmers from Tamil Nadu staging a protest in Delhi to defer their agitation and take part in the April 25 bandh called by the opposition parties in the state in support of the drought-hit farmers.

"They (the farmers protesting in Delhi) should take part in the bandh and support the other steps we are to going to take on behalf of all the political parties," he said.

Speaking to reporters after holding a meeting of leaders of various political parties, including the Congress, to discuss the agenda of the proposed bandh, Stalin said are solution has been adopted urging the farmers to postpone their protest in Delhi.

On April 16, it was decided at a meeting of political parties, chaired by Stalin, to observe a statewide bandh on April 25.

The Congress, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Communist Party of India, the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, the Makkal Manadu Katchi and the Indian Union Muslim League are among the parties that have pledged support to the bandh.

A key demand of the parties is that the drought situationin Tamil Nadu be declared a 'national disaster' by the Centreand adequate relief provided as per law.

Also, the Centre and the state government should accede to the demands of farmers and farm labourers in view of the drought and related protests, the parties had said.

Stalin said employees in the transport sector, traders and members of the film fraternity were among those who had pledged their support to the proposed shutdown.

To a question, the Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly said efforts to get the protesting farmers in Delhi an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi had yielded no result so far.

Today marks the 40th day of the ongoing protest of the Tamil Nadu farmers in Delhi. -- PTI
17:32   Dragging incident stops United CEO's promotion
United Airlines says its Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz lost the opportunity to be promoted to the post of chairman after his handling of the forced removal of a doctor from a flight which was overbooked.

According to CNN Money, Munoz will not take broader control of the company as previously planned after the high profile incident that damaged the company's reputation.

The airline's parent company, United Continental Holdings, said in a public filing on Friday that Munoz asked that his employment agreement be changed to remove terms that would have made him chairman of the board of directors.

Munoz is currently a member of the board and was scheduled to take on the role of chairman at the company's 2018 annual stockholder meeting.

"The Board believes that separating the roles of chief executive officer and Chairman of the Board is the most appropriate structure at this time. Having an independent chairman of the Board is a means to ensure that Mr Munoz is able to more exclusively focus on his role as Chief Executive Officer," according to the filing.

The company also revealed that a new 2017 compensation programme for Munoz, along with that of other executives, will be more closely tied to improved customer satisfaction.

United said it wants 'directly and meaningfully progress in improving the customer experience'. -- ANI
17:05   Rahul takes dig at PM over advise to babus on social media use
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his advice to bureaucrats asking them not to use social media for self-promotion, saying he should lead them by example.

'Leading by example is clearly overrated,' the Congress vice-president said on Twitter, after Modi told babus yesterday not to use social media for self-promotion or spend too much time online.

The prime minister actively uses the social media to connect with the public and is the most followed leader on Twitter and Instagram in the country.

Modi had said yesterday that he does not lack the political will required to carry out reforms and rather has an 'extra bit' even as he exhorted bureaucrats to break silos andwork together as a team to perform and transform the country.

Addressing civil servants, Modi had said they do not needto be afraid of any consequences for taking fast decisions ashe will stand behind the officers taking honest decisions inpublic interest.  -- PTI
16:12   Dinakaran appears before Delhi Police in bribery case
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader T T V Dinakaran today appeared before police in New Delhi for questioning in connection with an alleged attempt to bribe an Election Commission official for retaining the 'two-leaves' party symbol.

Dhinakaran arrived after 3 pm at the Crime Branch Inter-State Cell office in Chanakyapuri. There was heavy security outside the office and mediapersons weren't allowed to enter the premises.

The controversial AIADMK leader had earlier been served summons by Delhi Police at his Chennai residence in the case.  -- PTI
15:45   Bajrang Dal leader found dead in Mangaluru
A local Bajrang Dal leader was found dead close to an estuary at Alivebagilu near Mangaluru, police said.

The body of Jagadish Suvarna, 35, convenor of Bajrang Dal's Bengre unit was found with injuries yesterday and he was suspected to have been killed, police said.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters. Jagadish had left home on April 20 night to attend a Mehendi function and did not return. He was working for a passenger boat, police said.  -- PTI
15:02   After protesting naked, TN farmers drink urine
Grabbing eyeballs with their novel way of protest, Tamil Nadu farmers today drank urine in another desperate bid to draw the government's attention towards their plight.

Over the last 39 days, they have shaved half of their moustache and head, kept mice and snakes in their mouth, conducted mock funerals, flogged themselves and carried skulls of other farmers, who had committed suicide due to debt pressure.

The farmers, whose protest entered the 40th day today, drank urine even as police tried to stop them. They have been demanding a loan waiver, a revised drought relief package and better support prices for their produce.

P Ayyakkannu, who is leading the protest, said: "The Union government is not giving us water. So we are consuming urine."

The protesters had yesterday said they would drink urine if the Centre failed to offer a solution to their problems within a day.

On April 10, they had stripped in front of the prime minister's office in New Delhi to press for their demands.  -- PTI
13:46   Afghan Army base attack death toll rises to 140
The death toll from Friday's Taliban-led terror strike on an Afghan military base in Mazar-i-Sharif is said to have risen from 50 to about 140 soldiers, local media reports said.

The Express Tribune quoting other media said many others have been wounded and that the toll is likely to be higher.

The final death toll, however, is yet to be confirmed.

As many as 10 Taliban fighters, dressed in Afghan army uniforms and driving military vehicles, talked their way onto the base and opened fire on soldiers eating dinner and leaving a mosque after Friday prayers.

The attackers used rocket-propelled grenades and rifles.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement on Saturday said that the attack was retribution for the recent killing of several senior Taliban leaders in northern Afghanistan. -- ANI

IMAGE: Afghan national Army troops near the site of attack on army headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif . Photograph: Anil Usyan/ Reuters
12:58   Pro-Kannada activists withdraw protest against Baahubali 2
Pro-Kannada activists have withdrawn protests and called off bandh against movie Baahubali 2, Vattal Nagraj of Karnataka Rakshine Vaikeke informed on Saturday.

However, in a veiled warning to actor Sathyaraj, whose alleged comments had triggered the protests, Nagraj said, "Ensure you don't use derogatory terms against Kannadigas. If you do, your future movies will be banned in Karnataka."

On Friday, the actor, who plays Kaatappa in the Baahubali series, appeared on TV and apologised for his comments which were made several years ago when some people in Karnataka reportedly assaulted Tamilians in the state over the Cauvery issue.

He was in the middle of a storm in Karnataka as pro-Kannada groups were blocking the release of the film.

'I have got to know that what I had spoken during the Cauvery water crisis has created a lot of tension among the people of Karnataka. I am not against Kannadigas or Karnataka,' the actor said, in a statement. -- Agencies
12:20   New UP DGP promises crackdown on 'gau rakshaks'
Newly appointed Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Sulkhan Singh on Saturday said strict action will be taken against those indulging in vigilantism in the name of 'gau raksha'.

Addressing his first press conference, DGP Singh assured people that the state police would work with total impartiality and added that Chief Minsiter Yogi Adityanath had issued clear instructions that will not spare anyone involved in criminal activities.

"We have zero tolerance towards corruption. Anybody indulging in criminal activities will not be spared, whether from ruling party or not. We have strict orders from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister YogI Adiyanath," Singh said.

Speaking about the anti-Romeo squads, the UP DGP said, "Personnel will be in plain clothes, this does not include questioning people. The personnel on duty for anti-Romeo squads will act and take action only on people with objectionable behavior."

In a major reshuffle, the Uttar Pradesh government yesterday, transferred 12 IPS officers including, state DGP Javeed Ahmed and seven IAS officers.

Other IPS officers include Surya Kumar, Jawahar Lal Tripathi, Alok Prasad, Aditya Mishra, Bhavesh Kumar Singh, Vijay Kumar, Daljeet Singh, Alok Singh, Sanjay Singhal and Navneet Sikera. -- ANI
12:01   PM to meet all BJP CMs; presidential polls, pro-poor policies in focus
Archis Mohan/Business Standard reports:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet all the 13 chief ministers of the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states and five deputy chief ministers.

The meeting is expected to discuss the party's preparations for the upcoming Presidential polls, besides the need for the BJP-ruled state governments to implement pro-poor policies more effectively.

The electoral college for the election of the President comprises elected members of both Houses of Parliament and elected members of all the legislative assemblies.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance is marginally short of the majority mark and hopes to cross the line comfortably with the support of some of the regional parties.

The meeting will also be attended by senior Union Cabinet ministers Rajnath Singh, M Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari. This is the second such meeting. The first was held in August 2016.
11:42   Baghdadi's aide involved in Istanbul attack killed in Syria
An Islamic State terrorist, linked to the deadly New Year's eve attack on Istanbul's Reina nightclub, was killed in Syria last month by the American forces, United States' Middle East command confirmed.

Abdurakhmon Uzbeki was killed by American forces near the eastern Syrian city of Mayadin on April 6, reports Anadolu.

Uzbeki was a close associate of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Central Command spokesman Col John Thomas said.

Uzbek is said to have helped carry out the deadly attack that killed 39 victims at the nightclub.

'We've clearly linked him with the Istanbul' attack, Thomas said.

Thomas further said that Uzbeki was a key facilitator of IS' funds and foreign fighters. -- ANI
11:03   5 including 9-year-old girl attacked by cow vigilantes in J-K
At least five people including a nine-year-old girl have been injured in an attack by 'gau rakshaks' in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The incident took place when a nomad family was moving with their livestock at Talwara area. They were intercepted by a large group of gau rakshaks and beaten up.

The victims say the attackers took away their entire flock including goat, sheep and cows. 

The injured have been shifted to hospital. Police say an FIR has registered and five of the attackers have been identified.
10:43   India-US ties more stronger, matured: Jaitley
India-US ties have significantly improved over the last few decades, becoming more "stronger" and "matured" and defying changes in governments in both the countries, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today. 

Jaitley, speaking at a reception hosted by India's Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna, said the Indian government is looking forward to working with the Trump Administration to strengthen the various dimensions of the bilateral ties. 

Stressing that India-US relationship has bipartisan support in both the countries, he said, "In one sense it is a bipartisan relationship. I am sure it would be a great privilege for us to continue with the new administration to strengthen the various dimensions of this relationship. 

"The US-India relationship over the last few decades has significantly improved. It is far stronger, far matured. It defied the changes in the government whether in the US or in India," he said. 

"There is a little more optimism this year than I have seen in the last three years. This seems to be the good news, as far as these meetings are concerned," he said.
10:15   PM condemns terror attack on Afghan military base
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today condemned the terror attack on a military base in northern Afghanistan. "Strongly condemn the cowardly terror attack in Mazar-i- sharif. Our prayers and condolences to the families who lost loved ones," he said in a tweet. 

Over 50 Afghan soldiers were killed when the Taliban attacked the base near the Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif yesterday. The attack targeted soldiers at prayer in a mosque and others in a dining facility. The Taliban had claimed responsibility for the operation.
10:01   Tamil Nadu deal closer: OPS back as CM and EPS as AIADMK chief
Setting the stage for a unified AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, the two rival factions in the party are said to have agreed upon a deal to reinstate rebel leader O Panneerselvam as the chief minister while current CM E K Palaniswami will take charge as the organisation's general secretary in place of the jailed V K Sasikala.

"The merger deal has been sealed and formal talks will begin now between the senior leaders of both factions to finalise and announce the decision. Palaniswami will step down for Panneerselvam, and become the party chief. Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, whose properties were raided by Income Tax officials, may be dropped from the cabinet. Former minister and MLA Senthil Balaji may be inducted along with one or two more faces from southern Tamil Nadu," a senior AIADMK leader was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

According to sources, what forced the ruling faction to give up the post of chief minister was the "vulnerable state of the government'. "A revolt by just six of the 122 MLAs currently with the ruling faction will bring down the government,' said sources, referring to the majority mark in the assembly.
09:45   US surgeon general Vivek Murthy dismissed by Trump government
US'surgeon general Vivek H Murthy was on Friday dismissed by the Trump administration, and replaced by his deputy, Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams.

The US department of health and human services issued a statement saying Murthy was asked to step down "after assisting in a smooth transition into the new Trump Administration," USA'Today reported.

Murthy, an Obama administration holdover, was the 19th surgeon general, heading the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. He is expected continue to as a member of the corps. 

His deputy, Trent-Adams, who took over as acting surgeon general, is one of the first nurses to serve in the position.
09:17   Rajinikanth's '2.0' release postponed to Jan 25, 2018
The makers of Rajinikanth's "2.0" have postponed the film's release date from Diwali this year to January 25, 2018. 

"We are working on world class VFX, and it is taking time. An extensive portion of the visual effects work will be carried out in the USA, and our team is working in full swing now. So, we have zeroed in on January 25th, 2018 as the worldwide release date," Raju Mahalingam of Lyca Productions said.

Also featuring Bollywood star Akshay Kumar in the role of an antagonist, "2.O", which is directed by Shankar, is a sequel to his 2010 blockbuster "Enthiran." 

Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman has scored the music for the project, which also stars Amy Jackson, Sudhanshu Pandey and Adil Hussain in important roles.

Tipped to be India's most expensive project at a budget of Rs 450 crore, "2.O" has national award-winning visual effects supervisor Srinivas Mohan managing the VFX work.
09:09   2 cases against BJP's Raghav Lakhanpal for Saharanpur violence
Two FIRs were registered against 12 persons and over 300 unnamed people in connection with two incidents of violence in Janakpuri on Friday late night, police said. 

SSP Love Kumar said a FIR was registered against over 300 people in connection with the stone-pelting by members of two communities yesterday during a rally to mark Ambedkar Jayanti at Sadak Dudhali village. 

The charges include IPC section 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others) among others.

The second FIR has been registered in connection with the protest outside the Senior Superintendent of Police's residence in which a CCTV camera was damaged and his "nameplate removed", he said, adding the FIR was registered with charges similar to the first one.

The SSP further said in both the FIRs it has been mentioned that local MP Raghav Lakhanpal Sharma was present at both the spots. No arrest has been made in this connection so far, the SSP said.

The rally on Thursday taken out to mark BR Ambedkar's birth anniversary in Sadak Dudhali village was allegedly objected to by members of a community who started pelting stones. MP Raghav Lakhanpal Sharma and SSP Kumar were among several people who suffered injuries in the ensuing stone pelting from both the sides. Some other policemen were also injured.
08:49   Power outage cripples San Francisco for 7 hours
A massive power outage threw San Francisco into chaos for most of the work day, knocking out traffic signals, paralysing businesses and halting the city's famed cable cars.

The power outage, which was triggered by a fire in a PG&E Corp utility substation, disrupted San Francisco's normally bustling financial district, home to banks and technology companies.

The blackout at one point affected nearly 90,000 customers, according to PG&E. The cause of the fire was a circuit breaker failure at the substation, PG&E spokesman Paul Doherty said.

Office workers unable to access elevators or use their keycards spilled out onto the sidewalks, some wandering the streets in search of an open cafe or sunny spot to enjoy a rare warm San Francisco day. Others simply went home, with long lines forming for ferries. For many, there was little to do but wait.
08:38   Dinakaran leaves for Delhi to appear in bribery case
AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran leaves for Delhi to appear before the police in the bribery case. 

The Delhi Police had on Wednesday night served summons to him in the case. Assistant commissioner Sanjay and another official served the summons to Dinakaran at his Besant Nagar residence in Chennai. The Delhi Police had also issued a lookout notice against Dinakaran on Wednesday. 

The crime branch had on 16 April arrested an alleged middleman, Sukesh Chandrashekhar, in New Delhi in connection with the case. 
He claimed that he had told Dinakaran that he will get a favourable verdict from the Election Commission of India in the party symbol case, he said.

It has been learnt that he had allegedly struck a deal for Rs 50 crore for helping the AIADMK faction keep the "two leaves" symbol.
00:19   Taliban kill dozens at army HQ in northern Afghanistan
Dozens of Afghan soldiers were killed or wounded on Friday when Taliban gunmen disguised in Afghan army uniform talked their way past checkpoints and attacked a military base, officials said.

A United States official in Washington put the toll at more than 50 killed and wounded. Afghan officials offered conflicting numbers of casualties in the incident, at a major headquarters in northern Afghanistan often used by foreign military advisers.

The Western-backed Afghan government is locked in a prolonged war with Taliban insurgents and other militant groups.

The attack was launched near a mosque on the base in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, as soldiers were leaving Friday prayers, said army spokesman Nasratullah Jamshidi.

Six attackers in two military vehicles told guards at the gates that they were carrying wounded soldiers and urgently needed to enter, he said.

Representative image