Wed, 06 December 2017
Fortis case: Girl's father accuses hospital officials of offering bribe

Timeline  Refresh

22:51   Fortis case: Girl's father accuses hospital officials of offering bribe
Hours after a panel probing the allegations of overcharging against Gurugram's Fortis hospital found 'several irregularities' in a case related to the death of a seven-year-old girl, the child's father has accused senior officials of the group of attempting to bribe him.

"Senior members of Fortis met me, offered me a cheque worth Rs 10,37,889 refunding the entire amount," Jayant Singh, father of the deceased girl, told ANI.

"They also said they will be offering me Rs 25 lakh cash on top of this, said that I will have to sign, enter into a legal agreement assuring to stop my social media campaign, or going to court and taking legal action against them," Singh said.  -- ANI
21:57   Tremors felt in Delhi, North India as 5.5-quake hits Uttarakhand
Tremors were felt in several parts of North India, including New Delhi, as a medium-intensity earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter Scale hit Uttarakhand's Rudraprayag district today, the India Meteorological Department said.

According to the IMD's National Seismological Centre, the quake occurred at 8.49 pm.

There were no reports of loss of property or life so far.

Uttarakhand, a part of the Himalayan region, falls under a high seismic zone.  -- PTI

Image only for representation.
21:16   Time names sexual abuse 'Silence Breakers' as Person of the Year
Time magazine has named 'The Silence Breakers', representing people who came forward to report sexual misconduct, as its Person of the Year.

'The Silence Breakers' designates a broad range of people, mostly women, from this year's first public accusers of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein to those who shared their stories of abuse using the hashtag #MeToo and its foreign language equivalents.

'These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought,' said the Time story.

President Donald Trump was runner-up of the prestigious ranking, ahead of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
21:04   Putin seeks new term as Russia president in March vote
Russian President Vladimir Putin today said he would seek a new six-year term in the country's March elections in a move that would make him the longest- serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin.

Putin, who has been in power for the past 18 years, is expected to sail to victory, with only token opponents competing against him.

"I will offer my candidacy for the post of president of the Russian Federation," he said at the GAZ factory in Nizhny Novgorod.

Putin has sought to appeal to the country's youth after thousands of young Russians took to the streets earlier this year to protest alleged corruption among the elites, targeting Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev among others.

The demonstrations were sparked by a documentary fronted by top Putin critic Alexei Navalny.

Putin, who first became president after Boris Yeltsin sensationally resigned on New Year's Eve 1999, handed power to his ally Medvedev in 2008 at the end of his second term.  -- Agencies
20:31   Sibal says never represented Sunni Board; petitioner retracts rebuke
Kapil Sibal reacts to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement on his plea before the Supreme Court to postpone Ram Temple Hearing and Sunni Waqf Board's reaction to it.

"Our PM comments without knowing things sometimes. Amit Shah and he said I represented Sunni Waqf Board. I was never a Sunni Waqf Board lawyer," Sibal said.

"The PM did not check the fact that actually I never represented the Sunni Waqf Board in the Supreme Court. And yet he thanked Sunni Waqf Board for a statement on the basis that I represented them. I request the PM to be a little more careful," he said.

"Will discussion on my going to the court and representing someone solve serious problems in the country? If yes, then the PM should say so. Issuing statements won't help India in anyway. It'll just take the nation towards controversies," Sibal said.

On the issue of building temple, he said, "We believe in the Lord, we don't believe in you Modi ji. You are not going to build that temple. It will be done when God wants it. The court will decide."

"Please address the concerns of India. Don't divide the people of our country like this. You may win perhaps in your mind, but you will lose badly and India will lose if you only care about yourself not India," Sibal said to the PM.

Meanwhile, Haji Mehboob, petitioner of the Sunni Waqf Board, changed his statement after remarks from the PM and Zafaryab Jilani, convenor of the Babri Masjid Action Committee.

"If Jilani saab is saying that what Kapil Sibal said yesterday was right, then I agree with him. Don't want to say anything else," he said.  -- ANI
JUST IN: Time designates 'Silence Breakers' who triggered sexual harassment revelations as Person of the Year, says ANI.
19:19   Child's death: Haryana govt finds Fortis guilty of criminal negligence
A committee formed by the Haryana government has found criminal negligence on the part of Gurugram's Fortis hospital, causing the death of a seven-year-old girl suffering from Dengue.

The statement came after a committee of senior doctors, formed by the state government, gave its recommendations.

The committee has alleged several irregularities, including refusal of appropriate ambulance service to the patient, not following leave against medical advice protocol, and overcharging.

"The girl was on ventilator in the hospital, but she was provided with an ordinary ambulance. The ventilator system was withdrawn and an ambu bag was also not provided. This eventually led to the girl's death," Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij said on Wednesday.

According to the protocol by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), if a patient is discharged against medical advice then the hospital arranges or advises for an ambulance that could provide similar conditions.

"The ambulance in which the girl was being transported had no such facilities. An Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance should have been used. But Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance was provided which had no such facilities," he added.

The Haryana government will file an FIR against the Fortis Memorial Research Institute under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for death due to negligence and will also ask the Medical Council of India to take an action against the hospital which may include cancelling of its licence.

The committee also found the Fortis Hospital guilty of overcharging for medicines and platelets and has sent a notice for cancellation of its blood bank's licence.

"Costly medicines were used even when its substitute was available, violating the IMA's regulation. Also platelets were given 25 times. Out of which Rs 400 per unit was charged 17 times while Rs 2,000 per unit was charged for the remaining eight times. Overall profit margin in medicine is 108 per cent and few consumables 1,737 per cent," Vij added.

Moreover, a notice has been sent to the Fortis Hospital by the committee for violating the Epidemic Act by not notifying the dengue case to the concerned local authority.

If found guilty, the hospital authorities could be imprisoned for a period ranging from a month to six months and may have to pay a fine of Rs 200 upto Rs 1,000.

It was also found by the committee that the hospital did not provide 20 per cent RBD to the patient's family, violating a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Haryana Urban Development Authority.

The parents had also alleged forgery of their signatures on consent form multiple times, Vij added.Parents of the seven-year old girl, who died on November 21 of Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS), had alleged the Fortis Hospital for charging Rs 16 lakh for the 15-day treatment.

The hospital, however, had denied the allegations.  -- ANI
18:37   Politicisation of military should stop: Gen Rawat
Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat today said there was a politicisation of the armed forces and the military 'should be somehow' kept away from politics.

The army chief also said the norm in the 'good old days' was never to discuss women and politics in the forces.

However, these subjects were gradually 'inching' their way into the discourse and this should be avoided, the army chief added.

"The military should be somehow kept out of politics. Of late, we have been seeing that politicisation of the military has been taking place. I think we operate in a very secular environment. We have a very vibrant democracy where the military should stay far away from the polity," he said.

Rawat was speaking at an event organised by the United Service Institution.

In the 'good old days', the norm was that women and politics were never discussed in the forces, he said.

However, these subjects were gradually 'inching' their way into the discourse and this should be avoided, the army chief added.

"Whenever (any) issue (of) linking any military establishment or military personnel where political entity comes in then...that is best avoided," he said.

The army chief declined to elaborate on the statement.

The defence forces, he asserted, do best when they don't meddle in the political affairs of the nation.

Responding to criticism over the Army being asked to build foot overbridges following the stampede at Mumbai's Elphinstone railway station in October, Rawat said there is a charter of aid to civilians under which the armed forces help out in times of crises like floods and earthquakes.

Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, who is also chairman of the powerful chiefs of staff committee (CoSC), has taken up the issue of capping educational assistance with the defence ministry, he said.

There has been some resentment in the three services of the armed forces over the defence ministry's decision to cap the educational assistance it gives to children of martyrs or those disabled in action at Rs 10,000 per month.

Rawat added that there was a 'misunderstanding' on the issue and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had assured that addressing the problem was a priority, Rawat added.

The Army chief also noted that there was radicalisation among the youth by terror outfits and the issue was being addressed.  -- PTI
18:20   Woman passenger 'molested' by Ola cab driver in Bengaluru
A woman was allegedly molested by a driver working with cab aggregator Ola en route to her residence in Bengaluru recently. Ola said in a statement today that it had zero tolerance to such incidents and the driver had been suspended on receiving the complaint. It said the customer has been asked to lodge a formal complaint with the authorities.

As per her complaint to the Ola Cabs safety team, the driver, Rajashekar Reddy, misbehaved with her on Outer Ring Road and held her "hostage" for quite sometime by locking the car doors, during the ride from Indiranagar on Sunday night. She twisted his arm and started banging on the door following which he stopped misbehaving and drove to her house located in BTM Layout, the woman said.

According to the complaint, the driver warned her that she would face dire consequences if the matter was reported to the police or Ola Cabs management. She said she complained only to the Ola Cabs safety team and did not lodge any complaint with the police.

Asked why she has not lodged a police complaint, she said she was not a resident of Bengaluru and wanted to avoid "legal hassles" as she was leaving the city next month. Ola Cabs has told her that Reddy has been suspended, she added.  -- PTI
18:14   Virushka shaadi? We told you in October!
Now is a good time as any to blow our trumpet. Even as reports abound, as yet unconfirmed from the couple, had reported way back in October that speculation was rife that the reason India's cricket Captain Virat Kohli has sought a break in December was to get married. Read Harish Kotian's report here.
18:11   Final probe report of Max Hospital twins case in 2 days
The final report of the ongoing probe into alleged medical negligence by Max Hospital in the twins case is expected in two days and based on that strictest action will be taken, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain today said.

He was addressing a press conference, hours after the baby boy, who was wrongly declared by the upscale hospital a week ago, died at a nursing home in Pitampura.

"The preliminary report has found them guilty in certain aspects and the final report is expected in next two days. Once we get that we will take strictest possible action according to law," he said.

Jain reiterated that on November 22, a notice was sent to Max Hospital for allegedly violating norms related to services to be given to EWS patients.
"These two cases have been clubbed and we will take action accordingly," he said.

The case relates to the birth of twins (a boy and a girl) on November 30. The parents alleged the babies were declared dead by the Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh but they later discovered that the boy was alive. The parents said they were told by the hospital that both the babies were stillborn. The infants were handed over to them in a polythene bag, they said. -- PTI
18:01   Milan wedding for Virushka on Dec 9-12?
Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma, who have been dating for years now, may be getting married between December 9 and 12 this year, reports India Today. The couple may be tying the knot in Milan, Italy.

India's cricket captain has sought a break in December and speculations are rife that the break is to get married.

Citing fatigue, Kohli asked BCCI to excuse him from the ODI and T20 series against Sri Lanka that will begin on December 10.
17:59   Shameful posturing by Cong on Ram Temple issue: Shah
BJP chief Amit Shah today stepped up his attack on the Congress over the Ram temple issue by accusing it of "shameful posturing".

"Now that the Sunni Waqf Board has said that they don't agree with what Kapil Sibal said in court, it is certain that Sibal spoke in his capacity as a Congress leader, with the blessings of their high command. Shameful posturing by Congress on Ram Temple issue!" he said in a tweet.

Sibal, a Congress MP and lawyer, is representing the Sunni Waqf Board in a legal dispute over the matter in the Supreme Court and yesterday sought deferment of the case until after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

There are reports that the board has said it did not agree with Sibal's views. Locked in a keen contest with the Congress in the Gujarat polls, the BJP has latched onto Sibal's view to target the Congress over the emotive issue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also attacked the opposition party on the matter in his public meetings today. -- PTI
17:54   I am hitting balls in Tests the way I do in ODIs: Virat
And while on Virushka, Indian skipper Virat Kohli today said he discovered a new facet of his batting in the drawn third Test against Sri Lanka - that hitting the ball in a five-day game is no different from an ODI.

Kohli struck 243 off just 287 deliveries with the help of 25 boundaries in the final game against Sri Lanka. He said it was a revelation that he can play at a fast pace in Test cricket, just like he does in ODIs.

"On the personal front, I was hitting the ball very well and it was kind of a revelation that I can play and hit balls in Tests the way I can do in ODIs. That was something I always hesitated to do but this made me realise that you can push the game forward even in Test cricket," Kohli said after the match. -- PTI
17:48   Taj Mahal 2nd best UNESCO world heritage site
The Taj Mahal, India's iconic ivory-white marble mausoleum in Agra, is the second best United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation world heritage site in the world, an online travel portal has said.

With over 8 million visitors per year, the monument of love built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, is rated after Cambodia's Angkor Wat.

Based on the reviews and ratings of national and international travellers, Trip Advisor has brought out a list of the best UNESCO Cultural and Natural heritage sites from around the globe.

'You can find hundreds of tours and experiences to visit this mesmerising site, from a private tour with guide and visit at sunset or sunrise, to a visit including a home cooked meal at a local home in Agra,' the travel portal said.

Best toured with a knowledgeable guide, Angkor Wat has in store fascinating facts about its building process as well as history.

"The best views are at dawn or dusk, when the crowds have gone and the lighting reveals its true majesty," Trip Advisor said.

Other popular heritage sites on the list include the Great Wall of China built by Xu Da of Northern Qi Dynasty in 1368 AD.

Machu Pichu in Peru in South America has bagged the fourth spot with a five-day hike of the Inca Trail, the 15th century Inca citadel and much more on offer.

Iguazu National Park in Brazil, Italy's Sassi of Matera, Auschwitz Birkenau and historic Krakow in Poland, the old city of Jerusalem in Israel and the historic areas of Istanbul in Turkey have also made to the list.  -- PTI
17:37   Congress promises free sanitary pads for Gujarat's girl students
The Congress will provide sanitary napkins to girl students in Gujarat free of cost by abolishing GST if voted to power, All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev announced in Vadodara today.   

Dev also attacked the Narendra Modi government for imposing "12 per cent" GST on sanitary napkins, which she said "runs contrary" to the government's "Beti Bachao Beti Padhao" campaign for girls.   

"Imposition of 12 per cent GST on sanitary napkins is a big shocker for poor girls and women. The Modi government did not slash the tax (on sanitary napkins) despite demands raised by various NGOs and women's group though it reduced the tax on other items," Dev said while addressing reporters.   

The campaigning for the first phase of polls, slated for December 9, will end tomorrow.   

If voted to power, Congress will provide sanitary napkins to girl students of schools and colleges in the state free of cost, she said.   

Dev said not reducing the GST on sanitary napkins is "contradictory" to the "Beti Bachao Beti Padhao" campaign of the Central government.   

"At one end, the government is promoting healthier menstrual hygiene practices among girls and women while on the other hand they are increasing the cost of sanitary napkins," said Dev, who represents Silchar seat in Assam.   

She said the imposition of 12 per cent GST on sanitary pads is a "regressive move in the menstrual health discourse", which will take a toll on health of poor girls and women who lack the access to sanitary napkins. 

Dev sought to link the "rising girls school dropout ratio in Gujarat" with costlier sanitary pads.   

"I am afraid that higher price (of sanitary pads) on account of GST might push girls back to adopting unhygienic menstrual practices," the Congress leader said.

Image used for representational purpose only. Photograph: Uttam Ghosh/
17:00   PM lauds Sunni Waqf Board for dissociating themselves from Sibal
The Prime Minister lauded the Sunni Waqf Board "for their brave stand" on the Ayodhya issue. PM Modi congratulated the Sunni Waqf Board for disassociating themselves from the statement of Kapil Sibal.

The Sunni Waqf Board on Wednesday disassociated itself from senior lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who had been representing it in the Supreme Court in connection with the long-standing Ayodhya matter.

Sibal had, yesterday, demanded for the next hearing in the case to be held only in July 2019 after the completion of the next Lok Sabha polls, citing political ramifications.

Speaking to ANI, Haji Mehboob,Sunni Waqf Board said, "Yes, Kapil Sibal is our lawyer, but he is also related to a political party. His statement in the court yesterday was wrong. We want a solution to the issue at the earliest. We have got nothing to do with his statement."

The Supreme Court yesterday deferred hearing in the case for February 8, 2018. 
16:42   January 1, 2018 deadline to rename Dadar station
Ashok Kamble, the president of Bhim Army in Maharashtra said that the organisation has given a deadline of January 1, 2018, to the state and Central government, to rename Dadar terminus to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Terminus.

Speaking to's Prasanna D Zore, Kamble said that many Dalit organisations sent resolutions to the Railways Ministry for renaming the station but nothing came of it.

"We are now fed up of sending pleas and have decided to intensify our agitation,' Kamble said. "We have vowed to disturb any and every meeting of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held in Maharashtra if our demand is not met before January 1," he said.Dalits in Maharashtra celebrate January 1 as Vijay Diwas.

Explaining the significance of the day, Kamble said, "On January 1, 1818 only 800 jawans, mostly Mahars, of the British East India Company defeated a 28,000 strong army of the Peshwa Bajirao II on the banks of Bhima river at Koregaon Bhima, in Pune district."

January 1, next year will be the 200th year of this celebrated Battle of Koregaon, Kamble said.
16:14   Bhim Army wants Dadar station named after Ambedkar
On the 61st death anniversary of Bharat Ratna Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the newly-minted Bhim Army has demanded that Mumbais Dadar train terminus be renamed Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Terminus.

In an attempt to catch the attention of the Railway ministry and the government, Bhim Army workers have plastered the Dadar station with posters of 'Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Terminus'.

We want to bring it to the notice of the Railway Minister and so we chose this day to demand that Dadar Terminus be renamed, Raju Zanke, Bhim Armys Maharashtra Pradesh Core Committee told's Prasanna D Zore on the phone.

Zanke said that lakhs of Ambedkars followers visit Dadar Station every day on their way to Chaitya Bhoomi, where Dr Ambedkar was cremated on December 6, 1956.

He lived in Raj Gruha, in Dadar Central and Dadars Ambedkar Bhavan too has been a centre of Dr Ambedkars agitation for the rights of Indias Dalits, Zanke said underlining the importance of Dadar to the followers of Dr Ambedkar.

Zanke said Bhim Army volunteers have plastered posters of 'Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Terminus' all over Dadar Terminus including the ticket windows, entrances to the station and at a number of platforms in the station.

The Bhim Army and its leader Chandrashekjhar Azad shot into prominence in Uttar Pradesh after it spearheaded a campaign against the violence against Dalits in Uttar Pradeshs Saharanpur District on May 5. Azad, who was arrested soon after this agitation was released on bail on November 2 by the Allahabad High Court but was charged under the stringent National Security Act.

Image: Bhim Army volunteers at Dadar station with a poster showing the name they want it changed to.
15:48   Army Chief details Myanmar surgical strike, leaves govt. red-faced
At a book release function in Pune on Friday, General Rawat elaborated on the cross-border raid carried out by the Army on NSCN-K militant hideouts in Myanmar. While India is working to improve ties with Myanmar, comments by Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, confirming for the first time that Indian troops crossed into Myanmar in 2015 for operations, are being seen as a cause of concern, officials in the Home and External Affairs Ministries have told The Hindu. Read more
15:46   Almost half of BJP candidates in UP civic polls lost their deposits
Contrary to the perception of a landslide win for BJP in the UP civic elections, the number of seats in which the party lost its deposit (3,656) was significantly higher than the number of seats it won (2,366). That means about 45 per cent of all the candidates it put up in the elections failed to secure their deposit. The numbers were even worse in the case of the other major parties. Read more
15:39   Shashi Kapoor: Four Amazing Decades
A face as gorgeous as Shashi Kapoor's is what makes us look at cinema as magic and dream.What he made us realise is beauty without soul is no beauty at all. In his four decades as an actor and artist, believer and benefactor, he reached out to a variety of viewers across the globe with cinema that entertained, surprised and provoked. Here's looking at Shashi Kapoor through his movies over the years. On
15:17   RBI retains economic growth projection at 6.7% for FY'18
The The Reserve Bank today retained economic growth projection for 2017-18 at 6.7 per cent saying that the risks are evenly balanced. In its Fifth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2017- 18, RBI said that the second quarter growth was lower than the one that was projected in the October review, and the recent increase in oil prices may have a negative impact on margins of firms and Gross Value Added growth.

"The projection of real GVA growth for 2017-18 of the October resolution at 6.7 per cent has been retained, with risks evenly balanced," the central bank said. It said shortfalls in kharif production and rabi sowing pose downside risks to the outlook for agriculture. On the positive side, RBI said there has been some pick up in credit growth in recent months.  -- PTI
15:05   Never asked Sibal to get Ayodhya case postponed: Sunni Board
A day after Kapil Sibal pleaded in the Supreme Court that the hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case be postponed till after the general elections in 2019, the Sunni Waqf Board whom Sibal represented in the court virtually disowned the lawyer on Wednesday.

The Sunni Waqf Board said, "Yes, Kapil Sibal is our lawyer but he is also related to a political party. His statement in the Supreme Court yesterday was wrong... we want a solution to the issue at the earliest, Haji Mehboob of the Sunni Waqf Board said.

Haji Mehboob's remarks lend credence to the Bharatiya Janata Party's allegation that Sibal behaved as an agent for the Congress party in the Supreme Court rather than as an agent for the Sunni Waqf Board who was seeking a resolution of the long-standing dispute.

The Congress party, too, had yesterday said that Sibal's remarks did not represent its views.
14:42   RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 6%
Just in: The Reserve Bank of India keeps policy repo rate under liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.0 per cent. Consequently, reverse repo rate under the LAF remains at 5.75 per cent and marginal standing facility rate and the bank rate at 6.25 per cent.

Repo rate is the rate at which the RBI lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds. Repo rate is used by monetary authorities to control inflation.

The consensus in the market that the six-member monetary policy committee won't change the policy repo rate in their two-day meet that concludes on Wednesday has not been unfounded.

Not only rising inflation, but hardening bond yields, and tightening liquidity also reduce the scope for the central bank to go lenient on rates for now. As such, the policy repo rate is expected to stay at 6 per cent.
14:35   SC asks to conduct examination of witnesses in Tarun Tejpal rape case
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Bombay High Court to conduct a trial and examination of the witnesses in the rape case against former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal.

The apex court has also asked the state high court to decide on Tarun Tejpal's plea seeking discharge.Earlier on September 28, a Goa court charged Tejpal with rape, sexual harassment and outraging the modesty of a woman.

Public Prosecutor, Fransisco Tavora informed that charges against Tejpal have been farmed under section 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-B (assault or use of criminal force on a woman with intent to disrobe), 341 and 342 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 376 (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).Tavora also informed "Tejpal has pleaded not guilty."

Earlier, 54-year-old Tejpal couldn't get any relief from the Bombay High Court at Goa.

The High Court refused to stay the process of framing of charges against Tejpal at a lower court in Mapusa in North Goa.This is the first case in recent times in which the probe has relied on "position of trust" as a crucial aspect in an allegation of rape.

Tejpal is indicted of sexually assaulting a junior woman colleague inside a lift at Hotel Grand Hyatt during an event organised by the Tehelka magazine in Goa in November. (ANI)
14:30   Congress linking Ayodhya Ram Temple with 2019 elections: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the Congress party now wanted to link Ram Temple in Ayodhya with 2019 elections.

Addressing a rally in Gujarat, Prime Minister Modi trained his guns on the Congress calling out Kapil Sibal's arguments in the Supreme Court in the Ramajanambhoomi-Babri Masjid case.

"Yesterday in the SC, a Congress MP Kapil Sibal was arguing (which is his right) for the Babri Masjid. He is entitled to do that but is it right for him to say: postpone hearing till 2019? Why does he have to link a Ram Mandir with elections? Is such thinking proper," the Prime Minister asked.

Coincidentally, today is the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya.

He further added, "Now Congress is linking Ram Mandir with elections. They are least bothered about the nation.

"While representing the Sunni Waqf Board in the Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid case on Tuesday, Sibal urged the court to take up the matter after 2019 general elections as "the case was being used to polarise the electorate with an eye on the polls".

The court didn't accept his appeal and set the final hearing for February 8, 2018.  -- ANI
14:11   Sharad Yadav's disqualification from RS illegal: Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today condemned the disqualification of JD(U) rebel leader Sharad Yadav from the Rajya Sabha as "illegal" and a "political vendetta".

The disqualification must be revoked, Kejriwal said. "Disqualification of Sharad Yadavji is completely illegal and unconstitutional. It is political vendetta. We strongly condemn it and demand that disqualification be revoked," Kejriwal tweeted.

Rebel JD(U) MPs Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar were disqualified from the Rajya Sabha on Monday night.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu agreed to the JD (U)'s contention that the two senior leaders had "voluntarily given up" their membership by defying their party's directives and attending events of opposition parties.

The JD(U) had sought their disqualification on the grounds that they had attended a rally of opposition parties in Patna in violation of its direction.

Yadav had joined hands with the opposition after JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kuamar dumped the Grand Alliance in Bihar and tied up with the BJP. Yadav was elected to the House last year and his term was scheduled to end in 2022. Anwar's term was to expire early next year. -- PTI
13:47   Baby declared dead by Max hospital dies today
The baby, who was declared dead in Delhi's Max Hospital last week, dies today.

The case pertains to the birth of twins (a boy and a girl) on November 30. The parents alleged the babies were declared dead by the Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi, but they later found the boy was alive.

The Delhi health minister had on December 2 said if the hospital was found guilty of medical negligence in its probe, its licence could be cancelled.

The parents had earlier said they were told by the hospital that both the babies were stillborn. The infants were handed over to them in a polythene bag, they said. Just before their last rites, the family discovered that the baby boy was breathing, the police said. "We rushed the baby to a nearby nursing home in Pitampura, where he is on life support," the father had said.

A panel formed by the Delhi government to look into the case of a premature baby wrongly declared dead has found the hospital guilty of not following prescribed medical norms in dealing with newborn infants.

13:30   Bombay High Court upholds validity of RERA
The Bombay High Court today upheld the validity of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA). A bench of Justices Naresh Patil and Rajesh Ketkar pronounced its judgement on a bunch of petitions filed by by real estate developers and individual plot owners, all challenging the constitutional validity of the Act that was brought into effect earlier this year.

The Act, among other things, mandates that all developers register themselves under a common regulatory authority. It also allows buyers to claim compensation for delay in possession, and envisages cancellation of a developer's registration in case the developer fails to complete the project within stipulated deadline. -- PTI
12:57   British govt must apologise for Jallianwala massacre: London mayor
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is currently on a visit to India, paid tributes to the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar on Wednesday and said it is time for the British Government to apologise for the tragedy.

Khan wrote in the visitor's book at the Jallianwala Bagh that the British Government must apologise for the tragedy that took place at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919.

He wrote that it was incredibly moving for him to visit Jallianwala Bagh and one can never forgot the tragedy that took place. The mayor also visited the martyrs well at the historical site.

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place on 13 April, 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer fired machine guns into a crowd of unarmed protesters, along with Baishakhi pilgrims, who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. -- ANI

Image: Sadiq Khan at London's famous Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in 2016
12:39   Uniform code: Law panel may recommend piece meal amendments to family laws
The Law Commission will recommend religion-wise "piece meal" amendments to family laws if it finds it difficult to come out with a composite uniform civil code, its chairman Justice B S Chauhan said.

He also said that the civil code cannot be violative of any provision of the Constitution. The commission is in the process of segregating the nearly 45,000 suggestions its has received on its questionnaire on the uniform civil code.

"The commission will start examining the issue from January... If a composite code is difficult, we will suggest religion-wide amendments to the various family laws in a piece meal manner," Chauhan told PTI.

He, however, made it clear that the law panel has so far not taken any decision. "We have to first examine the issue," he pointed out. He said whatever the panel suggests to the government will be within the framework of the Constitution.

"No fundamental right of any person following any religion will be violated," the former Supreme Court judge said. While examining the issue of a single code, the panel will have to keep in mind issues such as the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. -- PTI
Bengaluru: An Ola cab driver allegedly harassed a woman and tried holding her hostage inside cab by activating the child lock in the car. More details awaited.
12:13   Unlike Narendrabhai, I'm human. We make mistakes: Rahul
The first mark of a leader -- admit your mistakes, learn from them and move on.

Congress vice-president and soon-to-be president, Rahul Gandhi, committed an embarrassing mathematical faux pax with regard to the prices of essential commodities.

Realising his mistake soon after, Rahul deleted the tweet and posted a corrected one.

Directly blaming the Prime Minister for the price rise of essential items like cooking gas, vegetables and fuel, Gandhi highlighted the difference in rates as they existed in 2014 when general elections were last held, and rates as they exist or prevail now in 2017.

Gandhi said that cost of one cylinder in 2014 was Rs 414, whereas in 2017, it had gone up to Rs.742. Instead of saying that there had been an increase of 79 per cent, he erroneously said it as a 179 percent increase.

Rahul tweeted today saying, "For all my BJP friends: unlike Narendrabhai, I am human. We do make the odd mistake and that's what makes life interesting. Thanks for pointing it out and please do keep it coming, it really helps me improve. Love you all."

Since May 2017, the Congress Vice-President has added close to two million followers on Twitter. The social media presence of his party has seldom been more vibrant. The credit goes to Divya Spandana. Read more about her here.
11:49   Sensex down 78 points, Nifty below 10,100 late morning
The benchmark BSE Sensex was trading down by 78.86 points in late morning deals due to selling in rate-sensitive stocks ahead of the key RBI policy announcement.

Investors were awaiting RBI policy outcome due later in the day during market hours, a broker said. Buying interest in index heavyweights like energy and IT sectors cushioned the losses.

The 30-share index was trading lower by 78.86 points or 0.24 per cent at 32,723.58 at 1045hrs. The broader Nifty was trading below the key 10,100-level, down by 33.30 points or 0.33 per cent at 10,084.95. -- PTI
11:46   Monetary policy meet: RBI likely to maintain status quo today
There is a consensus in the market that the six-member monetary policy committee wont change the policy repo rate in their two-day meet that concludes on Wednesday.

Not only rising inflation, but hardening bond yields, and tightening liquidity also reduce the scope for the central bank to go lenient on rates for now. As such, the policy repo rate is expected to stay at 6 per cent, said a 10-member BS poll of economists and bond dealers.

While the policy stance would likely remain at neutral, many economists say it could be the end of rates easing cycle.

The Reserve Bank of possibly cannot lower its rates at a time when global central banks are tightening their monetary stance. The interest rate spread has to be maintained for foreign investors to put their money in Indian stocks and bonds.

The central argument against the rate cut continues to be rising inflation. The retail inflation in October was at 3.58 per cent, and according to many economists polled, the reading could be around 4.5 per cent for the rest of this financial year. While Moodys did upgrade India, other rating agencies are yet to change their stance and therefore the RBI would unlikely consider the better rating by one agency to justify a rate cut, economists said.

-- Business Standard

Rape case against Tarun Tejpal: Supreme Court asked the lower court in the state to conduct the trial and to conduct examination of the witnesses in the case.
11:29   Search operation in Poonch
Security forces had launched a search operation in Jammu and Kashmir's Mendhar belt yesterday following reports of suspected movement of militants in the area, police officials said. The Army and the police had launched the operation after receiving information about movement of militants in Poonch district's Beri Rukh forest belt, they said today. However, nothing was found and the operation was called off, they added.
10:58   Rahul is 'Babar bhakt' and 'kin of Khilji': BJP attacks Gandhi
Bharatiya Janata Party leader GVL Narasimha Rao on Wednesday accused Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi of colluding with Babri Masjid Action Committee convenor Zafaryab Jilani and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi to oppose the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Taking a dig at the Gandhi scion, the BJP national spokesperson said Rahul Gandhi is certainly a "Babar Bhakt" & a "Kin of Khilji".

Rahul Gandhi has teamed up with Owaisis, Jilanis to oppose Ram temple in Ayodhya. Rahul Gandhi is certainly a "Babar Bhakt" & a "Kin of Khilji". Babar destroyed Ram temple & Khilji plundered Somnath. Nehru dynasty sided with both Islamic invaders. Travesty & Perversity of dynasty! Rao tweeted.

The BJP leader's controversial remark comes a day after Congress leader and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, while arguing for the Sunni Waqf Board in the Babri Masjid case, told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that since the court's decision in the case would have "very serious ramifications", hearing be deferred till July 2019 by which time the general election would be over.

"Please fix the matter in July 2019 and we assure that we will not seek any adjournments... Justice should not only be done, it should seem to be done," Sibal had told the court.
10:29   Weinstein's Complicity Machine
Harvey Weinstein built his complicity machine out of the witting, the unwitting and those in between. He commanded enablers, silencers and spies, warning others who discovered his secrets to say nothing. He courted those who could provide the money or prestige to enhance his reputation as well as his power to intimidate.

Read full HERE
09:52   Children of Mumbai riots, 25 years on
Twenty five years on, conversations with about 20 children of the Mumbai riots revealed a more positive picture. Far from mistrust, the predominant feeling was one of good neighbourliness, especially in localities that are home to both Hindus and Muslims, writes Jyoti Punwani in The Scrollhere.
09:49   Withdraw order capping educational aid to martyrs' kids: Rajya Sabha MP to Sitharaman
Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar has written to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking the reversal of a government order that has capped educational expenses paid to children of martyrs or disabled soldiers at Rs 10,000 per month.

The cap was imposed earlier this year following the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission report.

"The services and sacrifices of our soldiers cannot be repaid ever and it is our moral obligation to ensure their families do not face any hardships and difficulties," Chandrasekhar wrote in the letter.

The letter further read "capping the fund goes against the very principle by which this scheme was implemented".

Amid demands not to go ahead with the decision, a letter dated September 13, issued by the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, capped the fee for tuition and hostel at Rs 10,000 per month, as per the recommendations.

According to sources, the defence ministry was apprised of the matter, indicating that a decision on the issue could be taken soon.

-- ANI
09:04   Plot to kill British PM Theresa May foiled
A terror plot to assassinate British Prime Minister Theresa May has been foiled, according to Sky News.

The law enforcement agencies have arrested Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman, 20, from north London and Mohammed Aqib Imran, 21, fromsouth-east Birmingham.

They will be produced before Westminster Magistrates' Court on terror charges on Wednesday.

"The plan was to launch some sort of improvised explosive device at Downing Street and in the ensuing chaos attack and kill Theresa May," the report quoted Sky's Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt as saying. 

-- ANI
08:46   700 security personnel deployed in Ayodhya on Babri demolition anniversary
Security has been tightened ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition on Wednesday.

As is the annual practice, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad will celebrate the day as Shaurya Diwas (bravery day) while Muslim groups mark it as Yaum-e-Gham (day of sorrow) and Yaum-e-Syaah. However, residents are confident that the day will be marked by no untoward incident.

The authorities, however, are leaving nothing to chance. Uttar Pradesh had asked for eight companies of Central Armed Police Force. While the other companies are to be deployed in other cities of UP, at least two companies of Rapid Action Force, a component of CRPF were deployed Faizabad district, where Ayodhya is located.

High level sources said that, Ayodhya is already well protected with six companies approximately 500 men and women personnel deployed. This includes 5 CRPF and one Mahila Wing of the force deployed at the disputed site.

Meanwhile in a communication, MHA has written to the states and union territories, urging them to deploy adequate security forces at sensitive places and to maintain extra vigil.

The demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, was followed by riots in which hundreds of people were killed.

08:23   Modi emerges as the 'most tweeted about leader' after Trump
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as the "most tweeted about world leader" after US president Donald Trump in 2017, micro-blogging site Twitter said on Wednesday.

Twitter said Trump with 44.1 million followers and Modi with 37.5 million followers are respectively the first and second "most tweeted about world leaders" for the year 2017.

Other world leaders to figure in the top 10 list are Nicolas Maduro from Venezuela, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Emmanuel Macron from France, Enrique Pena Nieto from Mexico, Mauricip Macri of Argentina, Britain's Theresa May, Columbia's Juan Manuel Santos and Akun resmi Joko Widodo of Indonesia.

Two postings of former US president Barack Obama were among the top three most-liked tweets of 2017.

Obama's tweet "No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion..." was the second-most re-tweeted tweets of the year.
07:55   Cyclone Ockhi not to hit Gujarat coast, PM's rally changed
Cyclone Ockhi, which was expected to make landfall near Gujarat's Surat, is gradually weakening and will not hit the coast as predicted earlier, the Meteorological Centre has said. 

Gujarat is on alert, with rescue and relief teams stationed at its coast. Several top leaders were forced to cancel their election rallies in the state, which saw rain in several parts through the day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election rally in Surat, which was to take place on Wednesday, has been moved to Thursday.

Ockhi passed by Mumbai on Tuesday bringing mostly light showers, but caused no damage to life or property, officials said. 

It earlier caused havoc in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep islands. The Kerala government has intensified the search operations to trace the fishermen who have been missing since November 29. 

"As of now, 10 people died in Tamil Nadu and 29 others in Kerala. The whereabouts of 74 fishermen in Tamil Nadu and 93 fishermen in Kerala is not known yet," senior home ministry official Sanjeev Kumar said.
00:07   Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for doping
The International Olympic Committee has decided that Russia will not be allowed to compete in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics for systematic doping. Its a punishment without precedent in Olympic history.

The countrys government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound. Any athletes from Russia who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform, and the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals.

The ruling cemented that the nation was guilty of executing an extensive state-backed doping program. The scheme was rivaled perhaps only by the notorious program conducted by East Germany throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s.