Tue, 19 December 2017
Can't tolerate nuclear armed North Korea: US NSA

Timeline  Refresh

22:51   Can't tolerate nuclear armed North Korea: US NSA
The United States cannot tolerate a nuclear armed North Korea, America's national security advisor said today, asserting that such a development would pose a grave security threat to the countries in the region and the world. 
"I don't think we can't tolerate that risk. The world can't tolerate that risk. I mean, if North Korea has a nuclear weapon, I mean, who are you going to try to prevent getting one? Look at the behavior of this regime, the hostility of this regime to the whole world," US National Security Advisor Lt Gen H R McMaster told CBS News.
The United States, he said, is applying maximum pressure to North Korea to convince Kim Jong-Un that this is a dead end, this pursuit of nuclear weapons and an intercontinental ballistic missile -- long range ballistic missile which of course poses a grave danger to the whole world.
"So what you've seen is an effort led by the President worldwide really though to isolate that regime, to cut off not just what is restricted by the current national -- the current UN Security Council resolutions but to do more," he said. 
President Donald Trump has asked all nations to cut off all trade with this rogue regime which has never met a weapon it didn't use or proliferate or sell to somebody else, he said.
"You saw that with the cyber attacks you just discussed and you saw it with the murder of Kim Jong Un's brother in a public airport with a banned nerve agent. So this is a regime that can't get this - this destructive capability," he asserted.
McMaster said Trump wants all nations to do more. It just doesn't make sense that Russia would increase trade and alleviate any pressure on the North Korean regime, he added.
"Of course, North Korea poses a grave direct threat to all nations including China and Russia, but what happens when North Korea gets this capability? What if other nations in the region arm in this way and that's going to be even more destabilizing and of course, as I mentioned, North Korea has never met a weapon it didn't try to sell to somebody else," he said.
Responding to a question, McMaster said this is not the time to hold talks with the North Koreans.
"What he means is, there can't be negotiations under these current conditions. The north has to show initial steps toward denuclearization and the reason for this is previous approaches to negotiating with North Korea have failed miserably," he said. -- PTI
21:54   Over 500 Indians in Pakistani jails: Report
More than 500 Indians, mostly fishermen, are languishing in various jails in Pakistan, according to an official report.
The Interior Ministry said there were a total of 996 foreign nationals, including 527 Indians, in Pakistani jails for allegedly being involved in various crimes, including terrorism, murder, drug smuggling, and for illegally entering
into the country. 
Most of the Indian prisoner are fishermen who have been arrested for fishing illegally in Pakistan's territorial waters in the Arabian Sea, it said.
Fishermen from Pakistan and India are frequently taken in to custody for illegally fishing in each other's territorial waters since the Arabian Sea does not have a clearly defined marine border and the wooden boats, used by them, lack the technology to avoid them from drifting away.
Last month, 55 Indian fishermen were arrested by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency for fishing in the country's territorial waters.
Among the other foreign prisoners are, a Saudi national and two Chinese, the ministry said.
On the other hand, a total of 9,476 Pakistani nationals were in prisons in 100 countries, a Foreign Ministry official told the Lahore High Court yesterday.
While hearing a plea by families of prisoners incarcerated in the Gulf countries, the official said, majority of Pakistani prisoners abroad are in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The high court then ordered the government to place before it within two months the country's consular protection policy.
Under the policy, Pakistani missions abroad would be tasked with providing consular access to Pakistani citizens in foreign jails. -- PTI 
21:28   Kohli is not a patriot because he got married in Italy: BJP MLA
A Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Madhya Pradesh today questioned the patriotism of cricketer Virat Kohli for preferring Italy over India to get married to Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma.
While inaugurating a 'Skill India Centre' in Guna, the legislator from from Guna, Panna Lal Shakya, told a gathering: "Virat earned money in India... But he didn't find any place to marry in the country. Is Hindustan untouchable?"
He went on to add, "Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Vikramaditya, Yudhishthir got married on this land. You all must have got married here. None of us goes to a foreign country to get married ... (Kohli) earned money here and spent billions there (Italy)... (he) doesn't have any respect for the country. This proves he is not a patriot."
The Indian cricket captain and Anushka got married at a private ceremony in Tuscany, Italy, last week.
Shakya said that the training (imparted at Skill India Centre) would be useless, if the trainees would not work here.
"After getting trained, you all should work here in the country. This would be the biggest national service. Otherwise, earn money and go to Italy to marry like Virat, enjoy picnic and come back," he said.
He even said that dancers from Italy become millionaires in India.
"If you think minutely, then you will know that the dancers of Italy become millionaires here and you are taking country's money there. Then what will you give to the country? Howsoever big one may be, he can't become our ideal person. Our ideal person is one who is honest to the country and earns money through hard work," Shakya said. -- PTI
21:11   Secularism safe in India as it is in people's DNA: VP Naidu
Secularism is "safe" in India because it is in the DNA of its people, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said today and stressed on telling the new generation about Indian culture of living in harmony.
He also said the duty of the majority community is to win over minorities and the duty of the minority community is to think in terms of nation first.
Delivering the 10th annual lecture of the National Commission for Minorities, he said India has no history of attacking any country, while there were countries which attacked and looted it.
Noting that Indian civilisation has survived despite such attacks and invasions because it always believed in harmony, he said the new generation should be reminded about the Indian culture and heritage.
The theme of the lecture was 'Minorities in Nation Building'.
"Let me make it very clear and share my thoughts. Secularism is safe in India not simply because of the Constitition... Secularism is safe in India because secularism is in the DNA of Indian people," Naidu said.
He said when he was in politics, he had always said that one should keep the interest of the the nation first, party next and self last.
Naidu, however, said unfortunately for some people the last has become the first.
The vice president said there should be "no feeling of minority and majority". "We are all one... duty of majority community is to win over minority and the duty of the minority community also is to think in terms of nation first," he said.
Stressing that "development with dignity" of all the people must be the agenda of the nation, he said bringing a bill in the Parliament won't change much unless there is political will and administrative skill.
The vice president said the notion of pluralism, inclusion and peaceful co-existence have to be the cornerstones of Indian governance.
He said the minority commission is mandated to suggest and devise appropriate measures for their socio-economic development of minorities. -- PTI
21:01   New Gujarat govt may take oath on Vajpayee's b'day on Dec 25: Report
The new BJP government in Gujarat is likely to be sworn in on December 25, party sources said today amid speculation that a new leader could be chosen to helm the state where it secured a narrow victory in the assembly polls.
BJP president Amit Shah had announced during the campaign that the party was fighting elections under Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his deputy Nitin Patel. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was, however, the face of the party in the keenly contested elections.
"Due to the thin margin of victory this time, the party leadership may think of changing the chief minister," sources said.
Modi and the central parliamentary board of the party will take the final call, they said.
Asked who will be the next chief minister, Rupani told reporters, "The BJP fought this election in Gujarat with my face. But the final decision will be taken by the party's parliamentary board."
The BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member assembly, securing seven seats more than the 92 needed for a simple majority, while the Congress and its allies won 80.
December 25 is the likely date for the swearing-in as it is the birthday of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, sources said.
After the 2012 elections, Narendra Modi had taken oath of office for the fourth time on December 25.
The state's chief secretary, J N Singh, inspected the Sardar Patel stadium in Ahmedabad, the likely venue of the ceremony, today. "We have come here to inspect the stadium as the oath-taking ceremony is likely to be held here," Singh told reporters.
He, however, said the team will also inspect other venues like Mahatma Mandir and Sabarmati Riverfront, which has been the showpiece of the BJP's development politics. Modi had personally escorted Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, besides Japanese premier Shinzo Abe and his spouse to the Sabarmati Riverfront.
Sources in the BJP said Modi, party chief Amit Shah as also chief ministers of BJP-ruled states are likely to attend the swearing-in ceremony. -- PTI
20:13   IPL 11 auctions to be held on January 27, 28 in Bengaluru
The mega auctions of the Indian Premier League's 11th edition will be held in Bengaluru on January 27 and 28.

The news was confirmed by a senior BCCI official.

"Since most of the capped players will be back in auction, it will be a mega auction that will be held in Bengaluru on January 27 and 28. Since Bengaluru has been hosting all previous auctions, that was the choice of franchises," a senior BCCI official told PTI today. 

This year's auction will see teams having an increased budget of Rs 80 crore from previous Rs 66 crore. In all five players can be retained by a franchise, which includes two Right to Match cards.
19:50   Pak violated ceasefire 881 times along LoC, IB
Pakistan violated the ceasefire a total of 881 times along the Line of Control and the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir this year, killing 30 people, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said Pakistan has violated the ceasefire along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir 771 times till December 10, and 110 times along the IB till November-end.
In these incidents of firing from across the border, 30 people -- 14 Army personnel, 12 civilians and four BSF personnel -- were killed.
No cross-border firing has been reported in other states except Jammu and Kashmir along the border with Pakistan, he said replying to a written question.
The truce between India and Pakistan along the International Border, the Line of Control and the Actual Ground Position Line in Jammu and Kashmir came into force in November 2003.
India shares a 3,323-km-long border with Pakistan, of which 221 km of the IB and 740 km of the LoC fall in Jammu and Kashmir.
In 2016, there were 449 incidents of ceasefire violations in which 13 civilians and 13 security personnel were killed and 83 civilians and 99 security personnel were injured. -- PTI
18:48   Undersea tunnel for bullet train to conclude by 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream project of bullet train is underway in Mumbai Thane, and the under the sea tunnel may finish completion by August 15, 2022, the MD of National High speed rail corporation Ltd.  Achal Khare said.

"Our mission is to complete tunnel till 15th August, 2022. Currently we are doing static refraction survey on the sea with Japanese. We are facing challenges like high tide; this survey is possible on high tide. Our survey says total sea bed is 10-15 meter depth and our tunnel will construct 25 to 40 meters depth from sea bed," Khare told ANI during the work inspection for the project. "We are hoping to start our tunnel work next year," he added.

The data acquisition work on the tunnel project started from December 11, and is expected to be finished by December 24.Presently both the Japanese and Indian professionals are working diligently on ensuring to build a tunnel inside the creek near Thane.

The Japanese professionals from Kawasaki Geological Engineering co. ltd are to submit report on the data acquisition to their lab in Japan and final report will be submitted in January 2018.The bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will run a total length of 508 km, of which 21 km will be covered in the tunnel under sea.

The cost of the tunnel is estimated at Rs 3,500 crores.The cost of the total train project is Rs 1.10 trillion, and Japan is giving a loan of Rs. 88,000 crores for the same at a minimal interest of 0.1 per cent, which has to be repaid over 50 years. - ANI
17:57   Justice Karnan to be released from jail tomorrow
Justice CS Karnan, former judge of Calcutta High Court to be released tomorrow from Presidency Jail, Kolkata. He was arrested on 20th June and later found guilty of contempt of Court.
17:52   Won't support India's rally for rivers
"I have rejuvenated nine rivers in my lifetime. I haven't seen any of them rejuvenate with a missed call," said well-known water activist Rajendra Singh, criticising Isha Foundation's 'Rally for Rivers' campaign. Read more
17:41   Rahul posed wrong questions during Gujarat campaign: BJP minister
Union Minister of State (MoS) Dr. Jitendra Singh on Tuesday said Congress President Rahul Gandhi posed wrong questions during the Gujarat Assembly elections.

Talking to ANI, Singh said, "Rahul Gandhi had asked those 14 questions whose answers were already there. Questions can be answered but what answer could be given to those questions which were framed from the answers.

"The MoS in Prime Minister Office said Rahul Gandhi posed wrong questions during the Congress campaign in Gujarat.

"Rahul himself withdrew seventh question out of his 14 questions because its figures were wrong. The figures given in the sixth question over unemployment were also wrong. It was alleged that unemployment had increased manifold in Gujarat whereas they don't know that the unemployment average in Gujarat has always been below one percent against the national average of five percent," Singh said.

He further added that Rahul Gandhi also lied about women security in Gujarat."Rahul's fifth question alleged that women were highly unsafe in Gujarat, whereas the whole world knows that how safe women are in Gujarat," the MoS said.

He advised the Congress to accept its defeat in Gujarat as well as in Himachal Pradesh with humility.

"The people of the country have to come to know about reality of the Congress and the way the BJP has humbly accepted the win, the Congress should also accept its defeat in the same way," Singh asserted. - ANI
The PM holds a review meeting of the Ockhi Cyclone with Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswami. 
17:00   Over 500 Indians in Pakistani jails: report
More than 500 Indians, mostly fishermen, are languishing in various jails in Pakistan, according to an official report. The Interior Ministry said there were a total of 996 foreign nationals, including 527 Indians, in Pakistani jails for allegedly being involved in various crimes, including terrorism, murder, drug smuggling, and for illegally entering into the country.

Most of the Indian prisoners are fishermen who have been arrested for fishing illegally in Pakistan's territorial waters in the Arabian Sea, it said.

Fishermen from Pakistan and India are frequently taken in to custody for illegally fishing in each other's territorial waters since the Arabian Sea does not have a clearly defined marine border and the wooden boats, used by them, lack the technology to avoid them from drifting away.

Last month, 55 Indian fishermen were arrested by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency for fishing in the country's territorial waters. Among the other foreign prisoners are, a Saudi national and two Chinese, the ministry said.

On the other hand, a total of 9,476 Pakistani nationals were in prisons in 100 countries, a Foreign Ministry official told the Lahore High Court yesterday. -- PTI
Yemen rebels say fire missile at Riyadh palace.
Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar met Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma over Parliament impasse.
16:37   BJP had a narrow escape in Gujarat elections: Akhilesh
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party over the Gujarat elections verdict and said the saffron party has had a narrow escape on their win, adding that a little more conversion of anger into votes could have changed the result.

While addressing a press conference in Lucknow, Yadav said "BJP has had a narrow escape in the Gujarat elections; if a little more anger would have transformed into votes, the results could have been different."

Lashing out at BJP, Yadav said the saffron party could only talk about development but their election campaigns have always been about caste and religion."BJP's (election) campaigns are always about caste and religion. It is only on these two bases that they win votes.

During the Uttar Pradesh election too, they won it on caste and religion and not 'vikas' (Development)," the Samajwadi Party leader said.Despite Congress' defeat, Yadav lauded the party for stringing alliance with Patidar, OBC, and Dalit leaders - Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jigesh Mevani.

He also urged Congress to counter BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections by repeating this strategy at national level and thereby forming alliances with all regional stakeholders.In Gujarat, the BJP continued its winning streak by bagging 99 out of 182 seats in the state assembly while, in Himachal Pradesh, the party overthrew Congress from the government by claiming 44 out of 68 seats. - ANI
15:58   No proposal to link Aadhaar-property deals, govt tells Parl
There is no proposal to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory for property transactions, Parliament was informed today. In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, however, said the rural development ministry had advised the states and union territories to explore the possibilities of using consent-based Aadhaar authentication for registration of properties under the provisions of the Registration Act, 1908.

The comments assume significance in the backdrop of Puri reportedly stating last month that seeding Aadhaar to property transactions was a great idea and as the government was linking Aadhaar with bank accounts, it might take some additional steps for the property market also.

To a query on the issue, the minister said, "At present, there is no proposal to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory in property transactions." To questions, including one on whether the government had set any time-frame for linking the unique identification number for property dealings, he said, "(The questions) do not arise."

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hinted at a crackdown on "benami" properties and thus, there was a speculation that linking Aadhaar with property transactions could be a step in that direction. A "benami" property is one which is held by the owner in someone else's name. -- PTI
15:44   Virbhadra resigns as Himachal CM
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh tendered his resignation to Governor Acharya Devvrat today, a day after his Congress party suffered a drubbing in the assembly polls.

The governor accepted the resignation and asked Singh and his cabinet to continue in office till a new government was formed. Faced with a strong anti-incumbency wave, the Congress managed to bag only 21 seats in the 68-member assembly. The BJP won the polls by sweeping 44 seats.

The CPI(M) bagged one seat while two seats were won by Independent candidates. A scion of the Rampur-Bushahr royal family, Singh, 83, won for the eighth time in a state Assembly election from Arki, defeating Rattan Singh Pal of the BJP by a margin of 6,051 votes.

Singh began his political journey at an early age and became the youngest Lok Sabha member in 1962. --  PTI
nikhil wagle @waglenikhil Now that Gujarat election is over Modi should consult a good psychiatrist. His habit of lying and twisting is disgrace to the post of Prime Minister.
15:27   Muslims have to consider Hinduism as their own religion: RSS
In the wake of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat's statement -- Muslims in India are also Hindus -- row, organisation's ideologue MG Vaidya said on Tuesday that one did not have to leave his or her religion to become a Hindu.

"Muslims don't need to leave Quran to become a Hindu. They just have to consider Hinduism as their own religion," MG Vaidya told ANI.

He added that a person not going to the temple was also a Hindu and one should remember the meaning of Hindu.Addressing a public function in Tripura on Sunday, Bhagwat said, "The Muslims in India are also Hindus. We have no enmity with anyone. We want welfare of all."

The statement has created a furore especially among religious leaders. While some Hindu saints welcomed it, others opposed it and said such a statement should not have been made. -- ANI
15:11   Gujarat results warning bell to those who believe in autocratic rule
The Shiv Sena today launched a stinging attack on its ally BJP, saying "the much-touted Gujarat model has shaken" and the poll outcome in the state was a "warning bell" to those who believe in an autocratic rule.

The Sena said Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Patidar leader Hardik Patel had been ridiculed as "monkeys" but "these 'monkeys' have slapped the 'lion'".

The Sena attack on the BJP came in an editorial in its mouthpiece 'Saamana', a day after the BJP retained power in Gujarat with a reduced tally of 99 seats against 115 last time.

The Congress increased its tally from 61 seats last time to 77 this time. The Sena said the BJP had "barely managed to pass" the electoral exam but was pretending to have passed with distinction.

The BJP won Gujarat and Himachal, but the Congress also did not lose, the editorial said. "The dream of a 'Congress-Mukt Bharat' (Congress-free India) remained unfulfilled," the Shiv Sena said. This election result in Gujarat is a "warning bell for those who believe in an autocratic rule", the Sena said.

"The BJP may have won the election but the discussion is about the strides Rahul Gandhi has taken. It was said that we (BJP) won't get a single seat less than 150 in Gujarat, but it proved to be a tough task even to reach the 100 mark," said the editorial.

The party asked the BJP to pay heed to the "sterling performance" of Rahul Gandhi and Hardik Patel in Gujarat.
14:27   Speaker disallows Cong MPs to protest Manmohan-Pak link allegations
Congress members' protest over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's attack on his predecessor Manmohan Singh during the Gujarat polls drew condemnation from the government, which accused it of holding "mock proceedings" in the House in violation of the Chair's rulings.

Members of the opposition party trooped into the Well during the Question Hour after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan disallowed their demand to raise the issue. She said whatever had happened in an election campaign should not be used to disrupt the proceedings.

"The elections are over and the results are out. I cannot allow you to raise the issue here," she told the protesting members. It had little effect on them as they persisted with their protests raising slogans like 'Pradhan Mantri maafi mango' (Prime Minister apologise), even as Mahajan continued with proceedings in the din. She was later forced to adjourn the House for about half an hour due to the continued protests, which continued when the Lok Sabha met again for the Zero Hour.

With Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi looking on from their seats, its members turned to addressing the Speaker from the Well one by one even as they could not be heard.

The Speaker continued with the Zero Hour proceedings during which members from ruling BJP and other parties raised various issues. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge then said something to the Chair, who did not allow him to speak. This was followed by the members of his party to stage a walk-out.

It prompted Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar to slam the opposition party, saying the conduct of the Congress was "shameful and condemnable".

"They entered the Well, which is itself condemnable. They then tried to conduct mock proceedings. One senior Congress leader after another kept speaking defying the Chair. Entire House condemns it," he said. At one time during the Question Hour, Mahajan had warned Congress MPs that she would 'name' them. Naming of a member by the Chair generally leads to disciplinary action. -- PTI
14:16   Very good results for Congress in Gujarat: Rahul
Congress president Rahul Gandhi today said the Gujarat election results raise questions on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's credibility and the country is not listening to him. Gujarat had given a message to the BJP and Modi that the anger within them would not work, Gandhi said.

One can defeat opponents only with love and brotherhood, he said, a day after the election results were announced.

"A big question has been raised on Modiji's credibility. Frankly, Modiji has a credibility problem and he will find it very difficult... Because what he is saying, his forces and his organisation are repeating that. "But the country is not listening to that. This, the Gujarat election has shown. In the coming times, you will see this clearly," he said.

Gandhi also hit out at Modi's Gujarat model of development, describing it as "good propaganda" and marketing, but "hollow from within".

"I came to know there that people of Gujarat actually do not accept Modiji's model," the Congress president said. Discussing the result, he said it was a "very good result" for the Congress.

The BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member assembly, down from 115 it won in 2012, and far lower than the 150-plus seats it had hoped for. The Congress won 77, up by 16 seats. -- PTI
14:12   Farooq Abdullah believes neech remark lost Gujarat for Congress
Without naming Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah said on Tuesday that the grand-old party would have won Gujarat elections had some of its leaders avoided using the wrong words.

"I do not want to take any names, but if some people wouldn't have said certain wrong things then the Congress would have won in Gujarat," Abdullah said, suggesting that Congress lost due to Aiyar's "neech" remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Regarding Himachal Pradesh results, the NC president said it was nothing new for the state as it was a regular pattern there.

"In Himachal Pradesh, one party unseats the other every five years, it is nothing new," he told media before entering Parliament house to attend the ongoing winter session.

On being asked if a conspiracy to defeat Prime Minister Modi in elections was made in Pakistan, Abdullah said, "Pakistan never conspires."

The BJP stood victorious in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections with 44 seats while the Congress pocketed 20 in the total 68 constituencies. In Gujarat, the BJP won the election for the 182-member assembly with a clear majority of 99 seats. -- ANI
13:54   PM meets Ockhi victims in Lakshwadeep
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets families of victims affected by Cyclone Ockhi in Lakshadweep's Kavaratti. Modi will visit areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala that bore the brunt of the intense tropical cyclone, which claimed several lives, and caused immense damage to crops and property.

The PM is on a one-day visit to these regions and is headed to Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram, as well where he'll review the status of relief operations.

He reached Mangalore (in Karnataka) last night.The PM said yesterday his government "has been monitoring the situation round the clock and ensuring proper rescue and relief operation."
13:41   Enrique Iglesias, Anna Kournikova become parents to twins
Singer Enrique Iglesias has welcomed twins with former professional tennis player girlfriend Anna Kournikova after a secret pregnancy.

Kournikova, 36, gave birth to their children on December 16 in Miami, US Weekly confirmed.

The couple, who kept their pregnancy completely under wraps, is now proud parents to son, Nicholas and daughter, Lucy.

Known for being a fiercely private couple, the two have been in a relationship for 16 years now after they met on the sets of Eglesias' 'Escape' music video in 2001, in which the tennis star made an appearance.
JUST IN: Congress staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha over Modi's earlier remark on former PM Manmohan Singh and asked for an apology from the PM.
13:05   We have handed a massive jolt to BJP: Rahul Gandhi
A day after losing the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh polls, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has addressed the media. 

The new Congress president said, "Gujarat has given a message to Modi ji the anger they have will not work for them; love will defeat it."

He went on to add, "There is a question on Modi jis credibility. Around four months back when we went to Gujarat it was said that Congress cannot fight BJP, 3-4 months we did hard work and you have seen the results BJP has suffered a massive jolt."

This is the first time Rahul has spoke since yesterday where he said the party had accepted the people's verdict. He also expressed gratitude to the people of the two states for the love they showered on him.
12:32   'BJP a formidable political force': Foreign media on BJP's twin wins
"In India, Modi's party shows its might in state elections," proclaimed the headline of the New York Times' report on the prime minister's newest electoral triumphs - in Himachal Pradesh, and his home turf, Gujarat.

The New York Times report said the Bharatiya Janata Party seemed to "continue to be a formidable political force." It won in spite of its rivals' "aggressive campaigning" and "talk about rising discontent over India's economy, unemployment and poor public services," the report added.

However, CNBC wasn't quite so kind. "India's voters bite back against Prime Minister Modi's economic reforms," it wrote above an article that quoted a top executive at London & Capital as saying "there had clearly been a "hangover" from the upheaval caused by the GST's implementation, which he expected to continue into the fourth quarter of this year." But the same executive told Bloomberg the nationwide tax was a "game-changer."
12:12   NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar retires
National Green Tribunal Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar today retired from the post after completing his five-year tenure.

His successor is yet to be appointed.

Justice Kumar resigned as Supreme Court judge after he was appointed NGT chairperson on December 20, 2012.

During his tenure as NGT chief, he passed several landmark orders and judgments. These include the ban on 10-year-old diesel and 15-year-old petrol vehicles, the slew of directions for rejuvenation of the Ganga and Yamuna, the demolition of illegal hotels in Himachal Pradesh and the ban on plastic items in Delhi, Haridwar and Punjab.

His recent order capping the number of pilgrims at Vaishno Devi to 50,000 per day and his direction to maintain silence at Amarnath invited ire from various quarters.

-- PTI
12:00   Congress played dirty: Amit Shah on why BJP failed 'Mission 150'
Celebrating the BJP's "historic victory" in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah accused the Congress for trying to sow the seeds of casteism in its hunger for power and asked voters to be vigilant of renewed attempt by "some people" to keep up the effort in future too.

Shah also explained the drop in the BJP's seats -- the party had 115 seats in 2012, had targeted winning 150 this time but ended up with only 99 seats -- to what he called the "caste politics" and the "low level of political discourse" of the Congress and its allies.

The BJP president who had set a target of winning 150 seats in Gujarat claimed he had not accounted for the Congress sinking the level of the discourse to "such a low" level.

"Congress brought the level of the campaign down, because of which our number of seats went down," the BJP president, who is widely seen as the party's chief strategist, said.

11:44   RK Nagar bypoll: Election campaign to end today
Campaigning for the high-stakes December 21 bypoll to the RK Nagar assembly seat will end this evening and the outcome of the hustings is likely to be seen as a report card of the 17-month old AIADMK government.

The political campaign will end by 5 pm and the Election Commission has made it clear that there will be no related activities afterwards as per rules.

The outcome of the by-election could serve as a report card of the ruling AIADMK which faced turbulence after late chief minister J Jayalalithaa's death.

The campaign witnessed the top leaders of various parties -- Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam of the AIADMK, DMK leader MK Stalin and sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran -- reaching out to voters with hectic campaign schedules.

All parties are keen to make a mark in the election which has become a battle of pride as Jayalalithaa represented the constituency earlier. Her death in December last year necessitated the bypoll.

-- PTI
11:17   Ivanka thanks KCR for warm hospitality during her Hyd visit
Ivanka Trump, the adviser and daughter of US President Donald Trump, has thanked Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for his hospitality during her recent visit to Hyderabad.

In a hand-written letter addressed to Rao, she described her visit as an "incredible and inspiring experience".

Last month, Ivanka Trump led a delegation of US administration officials and entrepreneurs at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Telangana.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also hosted a gala dinner for her at the famous Falaknuma Palace Hotel in the city.

Ivanka Trump, in her letter to the chief minister, said she was touched by the warmth of the people of Telangana. "I also want to thank you for the exquisite gift that you presented to me at the Falaknuma Palace. I am deeply touched by your thoughtful gesture and by the warmth of the
people of Telangana," she said in the letter.

She further said that she looks forward to coming to India in the near future.

Ivanka Trump, who is also an entrepreneur, was invited by the prime minister during his visit to the White House in June to speak at the GES.

-- PTI
11:06   Gujarat model shaken, hope BJP doesn't crumble in 2019: Sena
Shiv Sena on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on its ally BJP over the Gujarat election results and said the Gujarat model has been shaken.

In an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, Shiv Sena said it is pathetic that the BJP had to resort to emotional issues and Hindu-Muslim divide to garner notes in Gujarat. None of the BJP leaders were willing to speak about vikas attained in 22 years.

The Sena said this is a warning bell for the BJP. The Gujarat model has been shaken. Our best wishes to BJP that it doesnt crumble in 2019, the editorial said.

The bickering ally of the BJP said in spite of a BJP win in Gujarat everybody is talking about the leaps of Rahul Gandhi.

Reacting to the Gujarat election results, Sena had said on Monday that the Congress which had emerged as the "real winner".

Coming to power was no "big thing", Sena leader Sanjay Raut had said, adding that the Congress might have lost the polls, but had "defeated" the BJP.

"Although you see the BJP coming to power, the real winner is the Congress party. They may have lost, but have defeated the BJP," Raut said. He pointed out that the Gujarat had been in power for over 20 years in Gujarat. "Coming to power is not a big thing," Raut said.
10:56   TMC protests outside Parliament
Delhi: Leaders of Trinamool Congress hold protest at Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament demanding withdrawal of Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill.
10:47   J-K: Bodies of 3 soldiers missing after snowfall recovered
Search and rescue teams recovered bodies of three of the five soldiers who went missing along the Line of Control in the Gurez and Naugam sectors following heavy snowfall in Kashmir last week, defence sources said.

The bodies of two soldiers were recovered in the Gurez sector while the body of a jawan was recovered in Naugam sector yesterday, the sources said.

Two soldiers had slipped down a slope in Naugam sector of Kupwara district while three others went missing from a forward post in Kanzalwan sub-sector of Gurez of Bandipora district after heavy snowfall on December 12.

The search for the two missing soldiers--one each in the Gurez and Naugam sectors--is still going on, the sources said. -- PTI
10:37   Rupee spurts 7 paise against dollar after BJP wins polls
The rupee today climbed a bit to 64.17 against the dollar as the dust settled on the political landscape in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and the BJP gets ready to form the next government in both states. The BJP returns to power for the sixth straight term in Gujarat and unseats the Congress in Himachal Pradesh. In the opening session, the domestic currency bounced 7 paise to 64.17 against the dollar. Yesterday, it had lost 20 paise to 64.24.
10:31   Sensex builds on gains, climbs 143 pts as BJP bags Gujarat, HP
Buoyed by the BJP's electoral success in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the Sensex today rallied 143 points as it moved closer to an all-time high. Firm Asian stocks on bets that US tax reforms Bill will go through supported the uptrend. The NSE Nifty wrested control of the crucial 10,400-mark.

In the sectoral space, all indices were up, driven by auto and consumer durables, with gains of up to 1.22 per cent. The 30-share BSE Sensex advanced 143.22 points, or 0.42 per cent, to 33,744.90. The gauge had rallied 548.64 points in the previous three sessions.

The 50-share NSE Nifty also went up 39.45 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 10,428.20. Analysts said buying picked up after assembly elections results showed that BJP will return to power for the sixth straight term in Gujarat and topples the Congress to form government in Himachal Pradesh. Major gainers were Tata Motors, M&M, ICICI Bank, ONGC, Bajaj Auto and Maruti Suzuki, rising up to 1.59 per cent. -- PTI
10:29   Jaitley, Sitharaman among 4 observers for Himachal, Gujarat
Minutes after Bharatiya Janata Party leaders along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the parliamentary meeting; the party announced that their leaders will go to Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh to discuss the formation of government.

Briefing the media after the meet, JP Nadda, BJP's Parliamentary Board Secretary said, "Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and General Secretary of the party Saroj Pandey will go as observers to Gujarat and discuss about the leadership in the state. Similarly, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will go to Himachal Pradesh to discuss about the leadership there."

"The Parliamentary Board of BJP had appreciated the increase in vote in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The Board has also thanked the people of both states for voting supporting BJP," added Nadda.

Earlier in the day, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the party will hold a meeting to decide on the new chief minister of Gujarat.He added that to win an election for the sixth time straight is "no small feat".

He assured that "the BJP will live up to the expectations more than ever before". While the BJP has snatched the control of Himachal Pradesh from Congress, it is poised to form the government for the fourth consecutive term in Gujarat.

The assembly polls in the two states, especially Gujarat, were a battle of honour and prestige for the BJP and Congress. Both parties pulled no stops in establishing their supremacy in the states during the course of campaigning.

Himachal Pradesh went to polls on November 9, while elections were held in two phases in Gujarat on December 9 and 14. -- ANI
09:55   Yes, Modi Won - But Gujarat Shows 2019 Is Wide Open
"I don't see this result as a vindication of Rahul Gandhi's leadership of the Congress - after all, he hasn't exactly won an election yet. It's tough to deny, however, that he is not as much of a public joke as he was. Objectively, we are also beginning to see the signs of how he intends to differentiate himself from the enormously popular Prime Minister - by playing up the notion that he is a "nice guy" and the Congress is a "nice" party. He underlined that in his tweet after the verdict, in which he said that the Congress "fought anger with dignity" and that "the Congress' greatest strength is its decency and courage".I don't know if this will work going forward. After all, this election was special: in this differentiation, he was aided by the nature of the BJP's campaign in Gujarat, which descended to new lows of polarisation when the prime minister himself implied that his predecessor in 7 Race Course Road was in cahoots with Pakistan to install Ahmed Patel as chief minister of Gujarat. Rather hilariously, Amit Shah in his post-poll press conference called the BJP's victory one for "development" over "polarisation". Somebody or the other said something along the lines of if you tell a lie, make it a big one, and Shah clearly took that advice to heart."

Read the full column here.
09:34   Will do whatever party decides, says man likely to be HP's next CM
BJP leader Jairam Thakur, who is one of the chief ministerial candidates for Himachal Pradesh, said on Tuesday that he would do whatever the party decides and would work for the development of the state.

"Whatever the party will decide I will do. I am very happy that there is going to be BJP government in Himachal Pradesh. I thank all the people of the state for voted for us. We will work for the development of the state. The party will also improve the law and order situation in Himachal Pradesh," Thakur told ANI.

Thakur won from Seraj constituency by defeating Chet Ram of the Congress. Thakur was a cabinet minister in the BJP ministry in the hill state. He was Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.

He was elected to Himachal Pradesh Assembly from Mandi and had won his first election in the year of 1998.

Prem Kumar Dhumal, the original chief ministerial candidate, lost to Congress' Rajinder Rana.

Dhumal won 18,559 votes while Rana bagged 21,492. The BJP has won 44 seats, while the Congress won 21 seats in the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly.

Meanwhile, with BJP CM nominee Prem Kumar Dhumal ending in a defeat in the assembly polls, the coveted post of the state is likely to see a toss up between Thakur and Union Health Minister JP Nadda. -- ANI
09:00   Trump asks Pakistan to take 'decisive action' against terror groups
US President Donald Trump has asked Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorist groups operating from its soil, as he unveiled Americas new National Security Strategy. 

Mandated by the Congress, Trump released his first NSS, according to which the US seeks a Pakistan, that is not engaged in destabilising behaviour and a stable and self-reliant Afghanistan. We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help, Trump said in his remarks as he announced his NSS.

Pakistan has received more than $33 billion from US since the 9/11 terror attacks. We will press Pakistan to intensify its counterterrorism efforts, since no partnership can survive a countrys support for militants and terrorists who target a partners own service members and officials, it said.

The US will also encourage Pakistan to continue demonstrating that it is a responsible steward of its nuclear assets, the NSS said. The US will continue to partner with Afghanistan to promote peace and security in the region, it said. We will continue to promote anti-corruption reform in Afghanistan to increase the legitimacy of its government and reduce the appeal of violent extremist organisations, it added.
08:12   PM to visit cyclone Ockhi-affected Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep today
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today visit Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, to take stock of the situation left behind by cyclone Ockhi.

He will review the status of relief operations at Kavaratti, Kanyakumari, and Thiruvananthapuram. During his visit, he will also meet officials and public representatives, and victims, including fishermen and farmer delegations.

The cyclone, which made landfall on Lakshadweep on December 2, has so far claimed 71 lives in Kerala and 14 in Tamil Nadu.
Thousands of houses and large areas of standing crops were damaged due to the cyclone.

The rescue and relief operations have helped in the evacuation of over 2,391 people from Tamil Nadu and 8,566 from Kerala, while over 600 fishermen of both the states are still missing after the cyclone rampaged through parts of south and western India.

A house-to-house verification process is underway to estimate the number of the missing fishermen.

The government has so far set up 112 relief camps for the affected people. It also deployed 13 ships, 4 aircraft and 1 helicopter of Coast Guard, 10 ships, 4 aircraft and 5 helicopters of Navy and 1 aircraft and 3 helicopters of Air Force for rescue and relief.

Image: PM Modi being welcomed on his arrival at Mangaluru, Karnataka. He will visit cyclone affected areas today. Photograph: PIB
07:55   Passenger train on new route derails in Washington, killing at least 3
An Amtrak train derailed during its inaugural run on a faster route from Seattle to Portland, Oregon, sending passenger cars tumbling from a bridge onto a major highway, killing at least three people and injuring about 100 others.

Thirteen of the train's 14 cars jumped the tracks near the town of DuPont, Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova said. Officials said 77 passengers and seven crew were aboard.

Five vehicles and two trucks were involved in the accident, and the highway was littered with fragments of the bridge and tree branches. Some motorists were injured but none died, authorities said.

"We have been told there are three casualties at this time," Bova told a news conference, adding about 100 people were transported to area hospitals. "There are a lot of critical injuries."

She said all of the train cars have been searched, and emergency efforts would likely extend through the night and into the morning.
00:19   US vetoes UN resolution rejecting Trump's Jerusalem decision
The United States today vetoed a draft United Nations resolution rejecting President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, after all 14 other Security Council members backed the measure.

The lone veto cast by US Ambassador Nikki Haley highlighted Washington's isolation over Trump's announcement that the US embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively ignoring Palestinian claims on the city. -- Agencies