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Tue, 22 August 2017
Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif's wife Kulsoom diagnosed with throat cancer

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23:33   Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif's wife Kulsoom diagnosed with throat cancer
Kulsoom Nawaz, the wife of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has been diagnosed with throat cancer, a report has claimed.

Quoting sources, the Express News reported that Kulsoom was diagnosed with the disease in London last week.

Doctors, however, said the type of cancer Kulsoom is suffering from is treatable, saying she will undergo treatment soon.

Kulsoom might not contest elections in NA-120 constituency, the seat vacated by Nawaz Sharif on the orders of the Supreme Court.

Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) insiders said Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz will lead the campaign, adding that Kulsoom may also join the drive in the last week prior to the polls
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23:14  
JUST IN: White House placed on lockdown for suspicious package investigation
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23:07   Mark Wahlberg named 2017's highest-paid male actor with $68m
Mark Wahlberg has been named the highest paid male actor in Hollywood, earning an estimated $68m in the past 12 months.

The annual list, assembled by Forbes, places the 46-year-old in top position after paychecks for Transformers: The Last Knight and forthcoming comedy sequel Daddys Home 2. 

Last years top-ranked star, Dwayne Johnson, is in second place with $65m after leading the big screen adaptation of Baywatch. 

His Fast & Furious 8 co-star, Vin Diesel, placed third with $54.5 million and Adam Sandler was close behind, making $50.5 million, thanks to his deal with Netflix. 

Marvel stars Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt and Chris Evans are also featured on the list.
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22:34   US slaps sanctions on Russian, Chinese entities for supporting N Korea
The US today slapped sanctions on 10 Russian and Chinese companies and six individuals for helping in advancing North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons programme by conducting business with the reclusive nation.

As a result of today's action, any property or interests in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of US persons or within the United States must be blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them, the US Treasury Department said in a statement.

"It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia, and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilise the region said Treasury Secretary Steven T Mnuchin.
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22:06   India releases 7 Pakistani prisoners
India today released seven Pakistani prisoners and stressed the need to address all humanitarian issues, including early and full consular access
to Kulbhushan Jadhav and Hamid Nehal Ansari, who are in Pakistan's custody.

The external affairs ministry in a statement also said that release of 300 Indian prisoners, including 295 fishermen, has been secured during 2017 so far.

Seven Pakistani prisoners, who have completed their sentence and whose nationality has been confirmed by Pakistani authorities, were repatriated to Pakistan via Attari/Wagah, the ministry said.
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21:28   Dawood on UK asset freeze list with 3 Pak addresses, 21 aliases
India's most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim remains the only "Indian national" on an updated list of financial sanctions released by the UK which also listed 21 aliases for the underworld don.

The mafia boss appears on the UK Treasury department's 'Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets in the UK' with three recorded addresses in Pakistan, where he is reportedly based.

"Kaskar Dawood Ibrahim" is recorded to have lived at: House No 37, 30th Street - Defence Housing Authority, Karachi, Pakistan; Noorabad, Karachi, Pakistan (Palatial bungalow in the hilly area); and White House, Near Saudi Mosque, Clifton, Karachi, Pakistan.

A fourth address on record until last year House no 29, Margalla Road, F 6/2 Street no.22, Karachi, Pakistan is no longer part of the records.

Ibrahim is the main accused in the 1993 serial bomb blasts case in Mumbai in which around 260 people were killed, and more than 700 suffered injuries. He fled the country post the bombings and is understood to be hiding in Pakistan. 

Pakistan has repeatedly denied his presence in the country.
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20:58   Shah to take oath as Rajya Sabha MP on August 25
BJP President Amit Shah will take oath as Rajya Sabha member on August 25.

Sources in the Rajya Sabha secretariat said the Chairman, M Venkaiah Naidu, will administer the oath to Shah on Friday.

The BJP chief is making his debut in Parliament. He was elected to the upper house from Gujarat earlier this month.

The BJP lacks majority in the house. Shah's entry into the Rajya Sabha is likely to give a a boost to the party.

Shah has been a five-term MLA in the Gujarat assembly.
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20:53   Gorakhpur infants' death: Probe panel submits report
The high-power committee probing the Gorakhpur hospital tragedy today submitted its report to the Uttar Pradesh government.

The committee headed by chief secretary Rajive Kumar submitted the report to the government this evening, an official spokesperson said.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had formed the committee on August 12 to probe the incident, a day after deaths of scores of children in the state-run BRD Medical College was reported.

UP Medical Education minister Ashutosh Tandon had said that action would be taken against those found guilty in the probe.

As the first action, the government had suspended the college principal Dr Rajiv Mishra, who subsequently put in his papers accepting moral responsibility for the tragedy.
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20:29   Barcelona attack: Suspect says bigger attack was planned
One of the alleged Barcelona assailants has admitted in court that a bigger attack was planned, say judicial sources.

Mohamed Houli Chemlal was testifying in the Madrid high court, where the four surviving suspects are appearing.

He was injured in an explosion that reduced a house to rubble in the town of Alcanar last Wednesday.

Fifteen people were killed and more than 100 injured in a series of attacks in and around Barcelona.

Eight members of the alleged cell are dead - two were killed in the Alcanar explosion, and six were later shot by police.

The last suspect was killed in a vineyard west of Barcelona on Monday.
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19:57   After verdict on instant talaq, activists urge SC to act on Section 377
As the Supreme Court today banned instant triple talaq, activists urged the apex court to also take steps to decriminalise homosexuality and penalise marital rape.

The triple talaaq verdict should open people's minds to more progressive laws, gay rights activist Harish Iyer said.

"Any step in the direction of liberty for the most marginalised should be seen as a wave that all allied causes could ride on. The verdict should open our minds to more progressive laws, including on Section 377," Iyer said.

While the issue of Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalises homosexuality, is pending before the top court, it has been reluctant to make marital rape a criminal offence.

"SC rightly held instant triple talaq unconstitutional, didn't pass the buck to Parliament. Isn't it a shame SC didn't do the same on Section 377 (of the Indian Penal Code)," tweeted Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association.
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19:32   'Look forward to food cooked by mother, joining work': Lt Colonel Purohit
As army officer Lt Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit was released from jail, he said, ""I want to join my family and my organisation. I come from a family of soldiers. I am an individual and the army will decide what to do next."

He was suspended in 2008 after his arrest but the suspension was revoked, according to his lawyer following the court of inquiry. Lt Col Purohit will report in uniform; the army will review his suspension after examining the court order.

On Monday, the Supreme Court granted bail to Lt Col Purohit pointing out that there were "variations" in the chargesheets filed by Maharashtra's Anti-Terror Squad and the National Investigation Agency, which later took over the case and had argued against bail. The court observed that the officer has already spent a long time in jail and that the trial is likely to stretch too.
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19:06   Rahul Gandhi welcomes SC verdict on triple talaq
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today welcomed the Supreme Court verdict setting aside instant triple talaq and congratulated the women who fought for justice.

"Welcome the Supreme Court decision setting aside instant triple talaq. I congratulate the women who fought for justice," he said on Twitter.

The Congress party has welcomed the Supreme Court's verdict setting aside the practice of divorce through 'talaq-e-bidat' among Muslims, saying it was an "affirmation of women rights" and would give them relief from discrimination.

Chief Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the apex court quashed the practice of instant triple talaq or 'talaq-e-bidat', which by itself was "an aberration and adulteration" of talaq.

A five-judge Constitution bench, by a majority of 3:2 in which Chief Justice J S Khehar was in minority, said in a one line order: "In view of the different opinions recorded by a majority of 3:2, the practice of 'talaq-e-biddat' instant talaq is set aside." 
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18:26   Lee Chong Wei loses in first round at Badminton World Championships
A big upset at the Badminton World Championships. 

France's Brice Leverdez shocks Malaysian Lee Chong Wei 21-19 22-24 21-17 in the first round. 
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18:15   'Muslim women have got the courage to fight injustice'
Noorjehan Safia Niaz, co-founder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, was one of the petitioners in the instant triple talaq case before the Supreme Court. She was ecstatic when the apex court in a 3:2 verdict banned instant talaq on Tuesday, August 22.   Soon after the court ruling, Noorjehan spoke to Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

Read the interview here.
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18:11   Talaq verdict: Will I get justice now, ask victims?
The message from the Supreme Court of India had travelled far and wide, but Razia was unaware of the verdict that could pave way for that long-elusive justice she had been fighting for.

A local reporter broke the news to the 26-year-old resident of a hamlet in Uttar Pradesh's Shahjahanpur, about 350km from Delhi. And since then she has been grappling with the import of the top court's verdict today, banning the practice of instant divorce.

"Does that mean my case will finally be taken up for hearing? Does that mean the policemen who turned me away from the station will be acted against? Kya mujhe ab nyay milega (will I get justice)," she asked.

Nearly two years ago, Razia's world turned upside down when her husband of eight years allegedly moved to Saudi Arabia after giving her an instant divorce, over the birth of their two daughters, including one with a physical handicap.

"When I approached the local police station, I was turned away. The police said my case was related to the Muslim Personal Law. I was asked to move court," she said.

Razia did so, but it was a slow process. "There has been no progress in the local court," she told PTI over the phone from Shahjahanpur. Hasina Khan of Bebaak Collective, who was among the petitioners against triple talaq in the Supreme Court, said the challenge now was to spread awareness on the momentous decision, on how it would strengthen the case of thousands of women like Razia.

"For the first time, the issue has been viewed through constitutional lenses. It will take time for it to percolate down to the lowest level. But apart from the judicial process, including in ongoing cases, it will have a deep impact on deep-rooted prejudices in society," Khan said.

The verdict has come as a saviour for those who have been harassed and threatened with instant divorce, said one such victim of the practice, Rubina from Lucknow.

"We have been harassed in the name of Muslim laws. With this verdict, men will find it hard to divorce women as earlier it was easy for them to do so. But now the law will be in our favour. The thought of going through a legal procedure for talaq will make them think twice about divorce," she said.

Rubina, 24, had married an affluent man double her age but was soon harassed for dowry and was forced to undergo an abortion under the threat of a triple talaq.

The triple talaq issue had come to the fore in February last year when Shayara Bano, divorced through the practice, petitioned the Supreme Court for a ban on instant divorce, on polygamy and nikah halala, under which a woman divorcee seeking to re-wed an ex-husband has to first consummate a marriage with another man.

Subsequently, thousands of Muslim women across the country formed pressure groups and spearheaded signature campaigns demanding that triple talaq be abolished.

According to experts, Islam views marriage as a civil contract based on consent, unlike Hinduism, for instance, where it is a sacrament. At the core of the controversy was the dispute over the forms of dissolution of that contract. Under talaq-ul-sunnat, there has to be a three-month period called iddat between the pronouncement of talaq by a husband and a lawful separation. Talaq-e-bidat authorises a man to do so in a single sitting.

The Court has outlawed talaq-e-bidat. "All personal laws are gender-biased. And it isn't only about triple talaq. The Muslim personal law is problematic in terms of divorce, property rights, inheritance, adoption rights. We maintained that triple talaq is unconstitutional," Khan said.
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17:21   News updates
Terror funding case: Delhi Court dismisses bail application of separatist Shabir Shah.


All India Muslim Personal Law Board to hold its first meeting after triple talaq judgment on September 10th, in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh).
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17:11   Sharif, sons, daughter fail to appear before anti-graft body
For the third consecutive time, ousted Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his sons today failed to appear before the country's top anti-graft body which is to interrogate them over the money laundering and corruption charges revealed by the Panama Papers.


The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had issued summons to Sharif and his sons -- Hussain and Hasan, daughter Maryam, son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar and finance minister Ishaq Dar -- to interrogate them in its Lahore office in connection with their offshore properties revealed by the Panama Papers case.


The watchdog, irked over the Sharif family's non- cooperation, was considering writing to the interior ministry to place their names on the Exist Control List (ECL), stopping them from leaving the country.
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16:27   Removing Blue Whale: Delhi HC seeks response from Facebook, Google, Yahoo
Delhi HC seeks Facebook, Google, Yahoo's response on plea to remove links of Blue Whale challenge that has been linked to number of suicides.   

HC also seeks response of Centre and Delhi police on plea seeking a direction to Internet firms to immediately remove links of the online game.
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16:25   Aberrations in personal law can now be rectified: Jaitley
Majority view of the Supreme Court will be the law of the land, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday following the apex court ruling barring instant talaq.   

The SC judgement on triple talaq is a great victory and a welcome step, Jaitley said, and after the SC judgment on triple talaq, aberrations in personal laws which infringe constitutional guarantees can be rectified.
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16:20  
Mumbai Police posts this photo on Twitter of a 17-year-old girl, who was found after six days, with her family at the Andheri police station.

'Emotional moment for family on reuniting with their 17 year old, missing since 6 days.Andheri police worked relentlessly to make this happen,' says the tweet.
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16:17   Terrorist killed in Handwara encounter
A terrorist was killed today in an encounter with security forces in Handwara area of north Kashmir's Kupwara district, an Army official said.

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation at Hongnikote in Haphruda forest area of Handwara, 85 km from Srinagar, following information about presence of terrorists there, the official said.

He said during searches, the terrorists opened fire on security forces who retaliated, triggering a gunbattle.

The official said one terrorists has been killed so far and the operation was still in progress.  -- PTI

Representative image.
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15:56   Stalin says 22 MLAs withdraw support from EPS govt; seeks trust vote
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam acting president M K Stalin on Tuesday claimed that 22 MLAs have withdrawn their support given to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

In a press release, Stalin said that Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao has received identical letters from 22 MLAs expressing 'lack of confidence' on EPS.

"An unprecedented constitutional crisis has erupted in which the present government headed by Chief Minister EPS has lost the majority," Stalin said.

He further wrote that any inordinate delay in asking the chief minister to prove his majority in the case will pave the way for continuance of an 'unconstitutional' government and will destabilise the democratic norms and precedents established in demonstrating the confidence of the House.

The DMK leader further asked the EPS government to prove their majority in the Tamil Nadu assembly in a trust vote.

"As a leader of the opposition, I therefore request the Governor to direct EPS to prove his majority inTamil Nadu Legislative Assembly immediately," he said.

Stalin, while earlier talking to the media, had said, "My information is that three more AIADMK MLAs have also withdrawn support, making the count of resigned MLAs to 22 MLAs in total. We demand a trust vote." -- ANI
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15:15   Malegaon blast accused Col Purohit calls wife ahead of release today
The National Investigations Agency Special Court allows Lt Col Shrikant Purohit to make a call to his wife Aparna. Speaking to ANI outside  the Special NIA Court, the army officer said, "I'm very happy. Now, I want to go back to my two families -- first is my service, second is my wife, sons and dogs.

The army officer, accused in the Malegaon blasts case, is expected to walk out today from Mumbai's Taloja jail, where he has spent nearly nine years. The officer, against whom charges are yet to be framed, got bail on Monday. The Supreme Court, which was hearing the case, said, "When personal liberty is involved there must be minimum interference by court".

Pointing out that there were "variations" in the chargesheets filed by the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad and the National Investigation Agency, which later took over the case, the court reasoned that the officer had already spent a long time in jail. The trial is likely to take a long time, the court added. 

The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, who has been languishing in jail for almost nine years for his alleged role in 2008 Malegaon blast case, observing there were contradictions in the chargesheets filed by different investigating agencies.

The top court also said it cannot deny the relief to him merely because sentiments of community was against him.

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14:58   BJP welcomes verdict on triple talaq as mark of Muslim women's equality
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday, welcomed the 'historic' verdict on triple talaq and said, its not about anyone's victory or loss, rather it is about a Muslim woman's sense of equality in the country.

"I welcome the historic verdict on behalf of the party. This verdict is not about anyone's victory or loss. This verdict is about a Muslim woman's equality and democracy in the country," BJP chief Amit Shah said.

"The triple talaq is illegal in many other countries. The Supreme Court, with this verdict, has given the Muslim women in this country a way to live with a sense of equality and self respect," he added.

Shah, while addressing the media, further congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre for putting forward the issue before the Supreme Court.

"I congratulate Prime Minister Modi and the BJP-led Central Government for putting forward the issue of the Muslim women before the Supreme Court with utmost wisdom and sensitivity," he said.
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14:25   Triple talaq verdict grants equality to Muslim women: PM
PM Narendra Modi tweets on the historic instant triple talaq verdict. @narendramodi "Judgment of the Hon'ble SC on Triple Talaq is historic. It grants equality to Muslim women and is a powerful measure for women empowerment."


The Supreme Court by a majority verdict on Tuesday set aside the practice of instant divorce through triple talaq among Muslims, saying the practice was void, illegal and unconstitutional. The apex court held that the triple talaq was against the basic tenets of Quran.


"In view of the different opinions recorded by a majority of 3:2, the practice of talaq-e-biddat -- triple talaq is set aside," a five-judge constitution bench said in a 395-page order.  


While Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer were in favour of putting on hold for six months the practice of triple talaq and asking the government to come out with a law in this regard, Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman and U U Lalit held it as violative of the Constitution.


The majority verdict said any practice including triple talaq which is against the tenets of Quran is unacceptable. The three judges also said the practice of divorce through triple talaq is manifestly arbitrary and violative of the Constitution and must be struck down.


The minority verdict by CJI Khehar and Justice Nazeer, which favoured keeping on hold the practice of triple talaq for six months, asked the political parties to set aside their differences and help the Centre in coming out with a legislation.


The judges in the minority verdict said that if the Centre does not bring a law within six months, then its injunction on triple talaq will continue.


CJI Khehar and Justice Nazeer in their minority verdict expressed hope that the Centres legislation will take into account the concerns of Muslim bodies and the Sharia law.


The bench, made up of judges from different religious communities -- Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Hindu and Muslim, had heard seven pleas, including five separate petitions filed by Muslim women challenging the prevalent practice of triple talaq in the community.


The petitioners had claimed that the practice of triple talaq was unconstitutional.


Image: File pic of Narendra Modi when he was the Gujarat CM during rakshabandhan.
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13:47  
I can say with satisfaction this was the last case which I did before I decided to quit: Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on triple talaq.
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13:44   AIMPLB demands women's security until law on triple talaq is made
With the Supreme Court asking the Union Government to formulate a new legislation in connection with the triple talaq practice, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Tuesday said that the Board supports the judgement, adding security should be provided to the Muslim women until a law is made.

"I am thankful to the Supreme Court for this judgement that a law is to be made immediately in this issue. I hope that the top court will monitor this issue and provide security to the Muslim women until a law is made. The victims should get relief from this malpractice," AIMPLB member Shaista Amber told ANI.

She further said that the apex court should advise the Parliament to make a law for the Muslim marriage like there is one for the Hindu marriages.

"A law regarding divorce should be implemented which is in light of the Quran. Also, a fine and a punishment for the culprits should also be decided upon so that the cases of 'talaq' are reduced," Amber added.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court struck down the Triple Talaq practice as 'unconstitutional' by a 3:2 majority.The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S. Khehar, deciding on the verdict, was seemingly split on the legality of the practice.
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13:31   Want strong law against instant talaq like Sati: Muslim women's board
The All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board and the All India Shia Personal Law Board today welcomed the Supreme Court judgement on triple talaq, terming it as a victory of Islam and Muslim women in the country. The decision, they said, has given new hope to Muslim women.

"The Supreme Court decision is historic, it is the victory of women in the country. But more than that, it is the victory of Islam," said President of the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board Shaista Amber, who has been fighting for the rights of Muslim women.

"We hope that triple talaq will be banned once and for all in times to come," she said, adding it causes immense hardships to Muslim women even though "there is no provision of triple talaq in Islam".

"This discriminatory arrangement is made by so-called religious leaders and it has harmed the lives of lakhs of women... the decision has given new hope to Muslim women," she said.

The Supreme Court by a majority verdict today ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims is "void", "illegal" and "unconstitutional" and held that it is against the basic tenets of Quran.

Asking the government to enact a new law without harming the Sharia, she hoped that a new legislation will be brought without any pressure to ensure welfare and prosperity of Muslim women.

The All India Shia Personal Law Board spokesperson Maulana Yasoob Abbas too welcomed the decision, saying it will help end harassment of Muslim women in the name of triple talaq.

"There was no arrangement of triple talaq in the times of Holy Prophet...We want a strong legislation against triple talaq...A law similar to the one against the practice of Sati," he said.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board General secretary Maulana Wali Rehmani, however, refused to comment on the verdict saying, the board will sit together and decide on the future steps in this matter.
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13:16   The full text of the SC verdict on triple talaq
The Supreme Court verdict on instant triple talaq: Read it here.
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12:55   Trump rejects US pull-out from Afghanistan, warns Pakistan
In other news, ruling out a hasty withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, President Donald Trump today issued the sternest warning yet by an American leader to Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists and sought an enhanced role for India to bring peace in the war-torn country.


Trump, in his first prime-time televised address to war- weary Americans as commander-in-chief, laid out his South Asia policy saying a "critical part" of it was to further develop US' strategic partnership with India.


He said after a "comprehensive review", it was decided that the American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically and American troops will "fight to win" America's 16-year-old war.


"From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al-Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over the country, and stopping mass terror attacks against Americans before they emerge," he said of his new Afghanistan strategy.


Trump said his instinct was to pull out of Afghanistan but following months of discussion, he concluded that "the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable" and would leave a vacuum that terror groups -- including ISIS and al-Qaeda -- would instantly fill. -- PTI
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12:36   Reactions to triple talaq verdict
Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development: It's a good judgement and its another step towards gender justice and gender equality.

Congress party: Welcomed the Supreme Court decision striking down instant triple talaq.

Yogendra Yadav:  A victory for Muslim women and womens movement in general. Kudos to organisations like Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan for courage and consistency. Muslim leaders, 'secular' political parties must focus on real Muslim issues: educational lag, job and housing discrimination, false detentions, not triple talaq.

Subramanian Swamy, BJP leader: Happy that the majority of  judges have struck down triple talaq. Now it's time for comprehensive uniform civil code.
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12:32   Triple talaq judgment will be considered: AIMPLB
Reactions on the instant triple talaq judgment: Zafar Jilani, member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board has maintained that it is unconstitutional for the judiciary to interfere in the religious practices of Muslims. The board also said that there cannot be any uniform civil code in India.

Jilani said today: "Have respected Supreme Court's judgements in the past, today's judgement on triple talaq will also be considered by us.  Our grievances and apprehensions whether they have been addressed by the judges or not can be said after seeing judgement. What will happen to those Muslim women who even after judgement will accept 'Talaq', all issues have to be addressed."
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12:18  
The Supreme Court by a majority verdict today declared that triple talaq was void, illegal and unconstitutional. Following is the chronology of events:

*Oct 16, 2015: SC bench asks chief justice of India to set up an appropriate bench to examine if Muslim women face gender discrimination in divorce cases while dealing with a case of Hindu succession.

*Feb 5, 2016: SC asks then Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to assist it on the pleas challenging constitutional validity of 'triple talaq', 'nikah halala' and polygamy.

*Mar 28: SC asks Centre to file report of a high-level panel on 'Women and the law: An assessment of family laws with focus on laws relating to marriage, divorce, custody, inheritence and succession'. SC impleads various organisations, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), as parties in the suo motu matter.

*Jun 29: SC says 'triple talaq' among Muslims will be tested on "touchstone of constitutional framework".

*Oct 7: For the first time in India's constitutional history, Centre opposes in SC these practises and favours a relook on grounds like gender equality and secularism.

*Feb 14, 2017: SC allows various interlocutory pleas to be tagged along with the main matter.

*Feb 16: SC says a five-judge constitution bench would be set up to hear and decide the challenge to 'triple talaq', 'nikah halala' and polygamy.

*Mar 27: AIMPLB tells SC pleas were not maintainable as the issues fall outside judiciary's realm.

*Mar 30: SC says these issues are "very important" and involve "sentiments" and says a constitution bench would start hearing it from May 11.

*May 11: SC says it would examine whether the practise of triple talaq among Muslims is fundamental to their religion.

*May 12: SC says the practise of triple talaq was the "worst" and "not desirable" form of dissolution of marriages among Muslims.

*May 15: Centre tells SC that it will bring new law to regulate marriage and divorce among the Muslim community if triple talaq struck down. SC says it would examine whether triple talaq was an essential part of religion under Article 25 of Constitution.

*May 16: AIMPLB tells SC that matters of faith cannot be tested on grounds of constitutional morality, says triple talaq a matter of faith for last 1,400 years. Equates the issue of triple talaq with the belief that Lord Rama was born in Ayodhya.

*May 17: SC asks AIMPLB whether a woman can be given an option of saying 'no' to triple talaq at the time of execution of 'nikahnama'. Centre tells SC triple talaq is neither integral to Islam nor a "majority versus minority" issue but rather an "intra-community tussle" between Muslim men and deprived women.

*May 18: SC reserves verdict on triple talaq.

*May 22: AIMPLB files affidavit in SC saying it would issue an advisory to 'Qazis' to tell bridegrooms that they will not resort to triple talaq to annul their marriage. AIMPLB lists out in SC guidelines for married couples. These include "social boycott" of those Muslims who resort to triple talaq and the appointment of an arbitrator to settle marital disputes.

*Aug 22: SC by majority verdict of 3:2 rules that divorce through triple talaq is void, illegal and unconstitutional and against basic tenets of Quran. Three judges favour putting on hold for six months the practise, asking the government to come out with a law in this regard.


Image: CJI JS Khehar who headed the five-judge bench hearing the triple talaq petitions. He ruled for upholding instant triple talaq.
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12:12   Welcome the historic judgment, says petitioner Shayara Bano
In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court by a majority of 3:2 today ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims is "void", "illegal" and "unconstitutional". The apex court held that the triple talaq is against the basic tenets of Quran.

First reactions from triple talaq victim Shayara Bano (pictured), one of the petitioners in the case said it was a historic day for Muslim women.

"Muslim samaj mein auraton ki stithi ko samjha jaye, is judgement ko accept kiya jaaye aur jaldi se jaldi kanoon bane. Judgement ka swagat aur samarthan karti hoon. Muslim mahilon ke liye bahut etihaasik din hai," she told ANI.

Bano had approached the Supreme Court for justice after her husband divorced her over an instant triple talaq. Her petition demanded a ban on the practices of nikah halala and polygamy as well, which the court has set aside for now. 

Shaista Amber, president of the All India Muslim Womens Personal Law Board, has also spoken out unequivocally against triple talaq, "We wanted this. We want the Parliament to uphold this. We have been waiting for this judgment."

While Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer were in favour of putting on hold for six months the practice of triple talaq, asking the government to come out with a law in this regard, Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman and U U Lalit held it as violative of the Constitution.

The majority verdict said any practice including triple talaq which is against the tenets of Quran in unacceptable. The three judges also said the practice of divorce through triple talaq is manifestly arbitrary and violative of the Constitution and must be struck down.
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11:45   What is bad in Quran can't be good in Shariat: Justice Kurian Joseph
Justice Kurien Joseph, one of the five judges in the bench hearing the petitions: There are four sources of Islamic law. Only the Quran is the first source of law, therefore sources other than the Quran are supplement to what is in it. Therefore, there can be nothing more than what is written in the Quran. Quran attributes permanence to matrimony. Triple talaq against tenets of Quran, therefore, violates Shariat. As held in shamimara, talaq must be after having tried to resolve issues. What is bad in theology is bad in law. What is bad in Quran can't be good in Shariat. -- News18.


Justice Kurien ruled against instant triple talaq.
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11:33   Bar on instant triple talaq will continue even if govt doesn't act: SC
Triple talaq verdict updates: The SC refers to abolition of triple talalq in Islamic countries and asks why can't independent India get rid of it.  If law doesn't come in force in six months, then SC's injunction on triple talaq will continue. The court said instant triple talaq unworthy and retrograde.
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11:17   No Constitutional validity for instant talaq which is not from Quran: Judges
The SC struck down triple talaq by a majority judgment of 3:2. In the majority verdict, the three judges striking down instant triple talaq quoted extensively from Quranic verses and Hadith. The judges said one cannot seek constitutional protection for a practice for which the primary source is not the holy Quran.

So, while the court upheld the talaq-ul-sunnat -- where the husband pronounces talaq over a three-month iddat period to factor in three menstrual cycles of the woman, it barred instant talaq.
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11:10   SC bars instant triple talaq in 3:2 verdict
The bench is being led by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, the first Sikh to hold the post. Justice Kurian Joseph, only the sixth Christian to be elevated to the Supreme Court, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit of the Hindu community, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman of the Parsi community and Justice Abdul Nazeer, a Muslim, are the other four judges on the Bench.

Justice Nariman, Lalit and Kurien say instant triple talaq is unconstitutional, and has no backing in the Quran. They and oppose the view of Justice Nazir and CJI Khehar.
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11:02   CJI Khehar: Instant talaq integral part of Sunnis
Triple talaq: The Supreme Court says it hopes the legislature will consider Muslim law while bringing in the new law. Chief Justice of India JS Khehar said that all parties must keep politics aside while deciding the law. One of the five judges also said that triple talaq is unconstitutional. Justice K Joseph, one of the five judges, hearing the case said, that triple talaq is bad in law. The court has also asked the government to bring legislation within 6 months.

CJI Khehar however said Talaq-e-biddat is an integral part of the Sunni community practiced since 1000 years.  He also said that Talaq-e-biddat is not in violation of articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the constitution. Talaq-e-bidat has allowed men to pronounce talaq thrice in one sitting, sometimes scrawled in a written talaqnama, or even by phone or a text message.
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10:47   SC bars instant triple talaq for 6 months, asks Parliament for law
Just in: The Supreme Court bars instant triple talaq and asks Parliament to bring in a legislation on it. Instant triple talaq has so far been legal for Muslims according to the Constitution, but several Muslim women who have been divorced because of it, including on Skype and on WhatsApp, have appealed to the top court to end the practice.

The court said that instant triple talaq is injuncted or barred for a period of six months.
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10:16   Trump looks directly at the sun during solar eclipse
The United States witnessed a total solar eclipse, but instead of savouring each moment of the grand spectacle, social media was more focussed on trolling President Donald Trump as he looked "directly at the sun".

The US president was 'mocked' online for 'appearing' to look directly at the Sun, despite people being warned that looking at it directly could damage one's eyes.

The Twitterati could not help but post comments tearing into him.

One user tweeted, "Scientists: Don't look straight at sun during eclipse. Trump: Hold my glasses." -- ANI
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10:08   Triple talaq verdict: Judgment will be in my favour, says petitioner
The Supreme Court will on Tuesday pronounce the verdict on the controversial issue of triple talaq. As the victims hope for a favourable judgment, they plan to protest if the verdict doesn't come in their favour.

Talking to ANI, Shayara Bano (pictured alongside), the petitioner said, "I feel the judgement will be in my favour. Time has changed and a law will certainly be made."

Shayara Bano's husband divorced her by writing "talaq" three times on a piece of paper.

The verdict is being delivered by a panel of five judges from different major faiths - Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. Arguments concluded in May.

Another victim said, "If verdict comes in favour of us, then this will be the victory for those fighting against triple talaq. If in any case, the verdict comes against us, then we all women will protest because then it will be victory for exploiters not for us."

Another victim said, "We hope that the judgment will come in favour of us. We were waiting for this day since long. We want complete justice, proper punishment for the culprits and enacting of new law."

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar had reserved its verdict on May 18 after a six-day marathon hearing.

During the hearing, the Centre had assured the apex court that it would come out with a law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if triple talaq is upheld as invalid.

"The government will come out with law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if court holds triple talaq as invalid," Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the bench.

Rohatgi also conveyed to the apex court bench that triple talaq violates Muslim women's right to equality within the community, and also within the country.

Earlier in the hearing, the apex court refused to hear all the three cases of polygamy, nikah and halala at once, saying it will focus on one matter at a time.

The Attorney General and top law officers representing the Central government told the five judge Constitution bench that apex court should hear other cases also, besides triple talaq.

However, the top court said that they have limited time, so all the matters could not be covered at present.

The Centre, earlier on May 11, told the apex court that it opposes the triple talaq practice and wants to fight for women equality and gender justice.

However, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) counsel Kapil Sibal told the apex court that Triple Talaq is a matter that comes under the Muslim Personal Law Board and therefore, in his opinion, the top court should not interfere in it.

While hearing several pleas filed by Muslim women challenging the practice of triple talaq, the apex court observed that it would examine whether the issue is fundamental to religion or not.

Relentless debates on the validity and plausibility of this practice were instigated soon after one petitioner, Shayara Banu, challenged the Muslim Personal Law over instantaneous application of triple talaq (talaq-e-bidat), polygamy and nikah-halala.

Supporting the stance of ending the practice of triple talaq, the Allahabad High Court had earlier asserted that the rights of any person, including Muslim women, cannot be violated in the name of 'Personal Law'.

In December last year, the Allahabad High Court termed the Islamic practice of divorcing a woman by uttering the word "talaq" thrice "unconstitutional"
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09:33   Inside jail, Saiskala uses a 'barricaded corridor' as 'private space': Ex-DIG Roopa
Ex-deputy inspector general of police (Prisons) D Roopa has claimed that a corridor of about 120 ft to 150 ft length is barricaded on both ends of the Parappana Agrahara central prison, heavily, and is used as private space by jailed All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary V K Sasikala.

'A corridor of about 120 ft to 150 ft length is barricaded on both ends heavily and is used as private space by Sasikala. In this corridor, there are five cells completely at her disposal. In these cells, her personal belongings such as clothing, bedding, vessels for cooking, water-dispenser, an electric induction stove with a table are kept,' the letter, which Roopa has submitted to the IGP, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Bangalore, said.

Roopa said that giving special treatment to any prisoner, in an unauthorised manner, without the court orders is not only a contempt of court, but also violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

She also claimed that there is a separate, comfortable meeting room where she meets her visitors and the proofs can be collected by examining the recordings of CCTV cameras number 6 and 7.

'There is a separate, comfortable meeting room where she meets her visitors. In this room there is a revolving chair, table, four other chairs and curtains in a way that what happens inside the room cannot be seen outside. The proof that Sasikala meets her visitors in this room can be corroborated by examining the recordings of CCTV cameras number 6 and 7,' the letter said.

'She has been provided a luxurious bed and a cot along with a brand new LED TV. This has not been brought to the notice of Hon'ble Court and no permission by Court taken even if it is for health reasons,' the letter further read.

She further said that 'it is an offence under section-13(1)(C) of Prevention Of Corruption Act, because the jail cells/corridor and other resources such as LED TV/material for preparation of separate food etc are properties belonging to the state and entrusted to the DG and the IG Prisons for custody'.

'He has dishonestly/fraudulently allowed it to be unauthorisedly used/misappropriated by another person.'

'Therefore, Offence under section 13(1) (C) and punishable under 13(2) of Prevention Of Corruption Act 1988 is made out.'

Yesterday, a video footage was submitted to the ACB allegedly by Roopa showing Sasikala and her relative Ilavarasi, convicted by the Supreme Court in the disproportionate assets case, walking into the main entry area of the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in civilian attire.

Roopa submitted the footage yesterday as part of her statement to the ACB of the Karnataka Police.

Following the summons by the ACB, Roopa had submitted 74 enclosures as evidence to substantiate her charges.

She received summons on July 31, the day Director General (Prisons) G Sathyanarayan Rao retired.Earlier last month, Roopa grabbed headlines when she, in a report, said that Sasikala availed VIP treatment in the prison by bribing jail officials.

Roopa, in a report to the Director General (Prisons), had said there are speculations that Sasikala paid bribe to prison officials to get special facilities for herself with rumours also of the DG being a beneficiary himself. -- ANI
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08:53   India will be important partner in ensuring peace: Tillerson
United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday that the Donald Trump Administration 'looks to Pakistan to take decisive action against militant groups based in Pak that are a threat to region'.

After President Donald Trump announced America's new strategy in Afghanistan, Tillerson said India will be important partner in effort to ensure peace and stability.

"We welcome India's role in supporting Afghanistan," Tillerson said.

Earlier, Tillerson spoke to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani to discuss how they can help in shaping Trump's new South Asia strategy. -- PTI, ANI
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08:19   Trump warns Pak on terror; seeks India's help in Afghanistan
The United States on Tuesday ruled out a hasty withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan as President Donald Trump warned Pakistan of consequences if it continues to provide safe havens to terror groups and sought an enhanced role for India to bring peace in the war-torn country.

Trump, in a prime-time televised address to the nation, laid out his South Asia policy saying a 'critical part' of it was to further develop US' strategic partnership with India.

He said after a 'comprehensive review', it has been decided that the American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically.

"A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. I've said many times how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance, the dates we intend to begin, or end, military operations," Trump said in his address.

"We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities," Trump said as he announced his South Asia policy in front of about 2,000 people from all five services and top officials of his administration.

Trump slammed Pakistan for its continued support to terrorist groups and warned Islamabad of consequences if it continues to do so.

"We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond," Trump said.

"Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbour terrorists," he said, in a apparent warning to Pakistan.

The US President reached out to India seeking an enhanced role for New Delhi, especially in the economic field, to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan.

India, the world's largest democracy, is a key security and economic partner of the United States, he said.

"We appreciate India's important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development," Trump said.  -- PTI
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00:16   Trump travel leaves Secret Service cash-strapped
The US Secret Service is facing a strain on its budget due in part to President Donald Trump's large family and multiple properties.

Secret Service Director Randolph "Tex" Alles said some 1,100 agents will hit their overtime allowance caps for the year.

Under Trump, 42 people receive protection, an increase from 31 people during the Obama administration.

Among those protected are 18 members of the Trump family, who have required security on international business trips to promote Trump properties as well as family holidays.

Some of the more costly bills include:
1) Estimated $3m per visit to Mar-a-Lago
2) Some $60,000 on golf cart rentals alone at both Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster
3) Nearly $100,000 on hotels to protect the president's son, Eric Trump, during a business trip he took to Uruguay

In a statement released, Alles said the agency struggled with a "similar situation" last year that led to legislation allowing Secret Service employees to exceed overtime allowance caps.