LIVE
Wed, 22 November 2017
Saeed is terrorist leader designated by UN and US: Trump admn

Timeline  Refresh

23:44   Saeed is terrorist leader designated by UN and US: Trump admn
Mumbai attack mastermind and banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed is a terrorist leader designated by both the United Nations and the United States, the Trump administration said today, hours after a Pakistani court ordered his release from detention.
The banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah head, who carries a bounty of USD 10 million announced by the US for his role in terror activities, has been under detention since January this year. 

"The US is aware of media reports that Pakistan (court) ordered release of Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed from house arrest," a State Department spokesperson told PTI when asked about the decision of the Judicial Review Board of Punjab province which refused to extend Saeed's detention.
As such, Saeed is all set to be released from house arrest after the expiry of the detention order tomorrow.
Responding to a question, the State Department was quick to express its displeasure over the potential release of Saeed from house arrest.
In May 2008, the United States Department of the Treasury designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224, the spokesperson said.
"Saeed was also individually designated by the United Nations under UNSCR 1267 (UN Security Council Resolution) in December 2008 following the November 2008 Mumbai attack," the official said. -- PTI
22:56   Pak 'hoodwinking' global community: India on Saeed's release
Mumbai terror attacks mastermind and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed's release order by a Pakistani judicial body shows how Pakistan is "hoodwinking" the international community on the issue of terrorism, government sources said today.
It is also reflective of Islamabad's "duplicity" in tackling terrorism, they said and asked Pakistan to "walk the talk" on its assurances to the international community over dismantling terror infrastructure and not allowing its soil to be used for terror acts.
The sharp reaction came within hours of the Judicial Review Board of Punjab province comprising judges of the Lahore High Court ordering Saeed's release on the expiry of his 30-day house arrest which is going to expire in a couple of days.
Saeed's release may also coincide with the anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in which at least 166 people were killed.
"The release order only shows that Pakistan provides free space to terrorists to indulge in acts against other countries. And in case of Saeed, a designated terrorist, it also shows how Pakistan is hoodwinking the international
community on the issue of terrorism," a source said.

Pakistan keeps giving assurances to the international community that it is making all efforts to tackle terrorism but it never implement its assurances in reality and this (Saeed) is one example, another source asserted.
The banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah head, who carries a bounty of USD 10 million announced by the US for his role in terror activities, has been under detention since January. -- PTI
22:32   Congress calls Modi a 'serial abuser'; PM is a victim, says BJP
The Congress on Wednesday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "serial abuser" and the Bharatiya Janata Party "mother of crass statements", drawing a strong rebuttal from the ruling party which insisted Modi was a "victim" of abuses.
With political discourse often getting reduced to vituperative outburst, senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi targeted Modi and the BJP over it, and sought apology.
"The BJP is mother and producer of derogatory, insulting, foul language...the sheer brazenness with which the BJP escapes any blame after indulging in crude, crass and coarse language is appalling...we demand the BJP apologise for lowering quality of public discourse," Singhvi told reporters.
Singhvi listed several cases where the prime minister allegedly made derogatory remarks by calling his predecessor Manmohan Singh a "night-watchman", Congress president Sonia Gandhi a "jersey cow" and the party's vice president Rahul Gandhi a "hybrid calf" in the past.
Singhvi also said the prime minister recently called the Congress a "termite".
The BJP mounted a spirited counteroffensive with Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore insisting: "If somebody has been abused the most after independence, it is Narendra Modi. He is a victim."
He cited a host of "abusive" comments made by Congress leaders, including its president Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi, in the past to target Modi.
Sonia Gandhi called Modi 'maut ka saudagar' (merchant of death), while her son accused him of 'khoon ki dalali' (broker of blood), Singh said, adding that Priyanka Gandhi had used the word 'neech' (despicable) against the prime minister. He also cited several others abusive comments made by Congress leaders to make his point.
A bitter war of words broke out between the two parties after the Congress' youth wing on Tuesday circulated a meme about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'chaiwala' past, provoking a backlash from the BJP, and prompting a red-faced Congress to distance from it.
The meme that unleashed a political firestorm contained photograph of Modi, United States president Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May engaged in a conversation.
Modi is seen telling the two leaders about the opposition's memes targeting him. He mispronounces the word as "mainmain". Trump corrects him, saying the word is pronounced as "meem", while May tells him to go and sell tea. -- PTI 
22:15   Cricket needs to grow to be an Olympic sport: Sehwag
Former India opener Virender Sehwag feels cricket needs to played in more countries if the game has to make its way into the Olympics.
     
The International Cricket Council comprises 105 members but only 12 are full members. The world governing body is pushing for the game's inclusion in the 2024 Games. The only time cricket was part of Olympics was way back in 1900.
     
"I think it is ICC's call. They need more nations to play cricket, then it can be part of Olympics. Twelve teams (full members) are not enough," said Sehwag on the launch of St. Moritz Ice Cricket in New Delhi today.
     
One way of spreading the game would be to take it to uncharted territories including Switzerland, where Sehwag will be playing in February alongside other former players such as Mahela Jayawardene, Shoaib Akhtar, Daniel Vettori, Mohammad Kaif and Graeme Smith.
    
"It will be great if we can inspire somebody (to take up the game in Switzerland," said Sehwag.
    
Switzerland is not a member of the ICC but St. Mortiz, which has hosted Winter Olympics twice, will host Ice Cricket on February 8 and 9.
     
The organisers claim that the event has been sanctioned by the ICC. -- PTI 
22:09   Large number of terrorists are waiting along LoC to infiltrate: Army
A top army official today said that a large number of terrorists were trying to infiltrate along the Line of Control but the security forces were "alert" to foil the designs.
General Officer Commanding 16 Crops, Lt Gen Saranjeet Singh said, "The army was alert and would not allow any attempt (of infiltrating militants) to succeed."
"There are a large number of people (terrorists) staged at the launching pads to come to this side (along the LoC)," said Lt Gen Singh, who commemorated the day by wreath laying ceremony at the Naman Sthal, the War Memorial at Poonch.
"As you know our neighbouring country (Pakistan) is aiding terrorism by providing them arms support. They are using them against us," he said in response to a question about the support of Pakistan to terrorists.
The army commander said that they were giving a befitting reply to the Pakistani Army in response to their increased ceasefire violations along the LoC.
"We have given a befitting reply. There will be no leniency," he added.
"They are engaged in ceasefire violations. This year, they have violated (ceasefire) in large numbers without any reason," Lt Gen Singh said.
White Knight Corps joined the people of Poonch to celebrate the historic 'Poonch Link Up Day' with gaiety and fervour here.
The day marks the link-up carried out by Brig Pritam Singh's forces with Brig Yadunath's forces from Rajouri at the Danna Ka Pir on November 21, 1948.
Lt Gen Singh was joined by veterans, senior army officials, civil administrators, local politicians and the people of Poonch along with school children in the wreath laying ceremony at the war memorial. -- PTI
21:38   Not joining politics right now: Rajinikanth
Will he or won't he? Superstar Rajinikanth, often asked if he was going to take the plunge into politics, has said he won't -- not yet, that is.
There was no "pressing need" for him to join politics at this moment, the actor told reporters at the Chennai airport.
"There is no pressing need for a foray into politics right now," said the lead actor of several Hindi and southern blockbusters.
Rajinikanth, who commands a huge fan following, also said he would meet his supporters after his birthday next month.
"I will meet my fans only after my birthday (December 12)," the actor said on returning to the city yesterday after visiting the Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt in Mantralayam in Andhra Pradesh.
The 66-year-old star has in recent times hinted at the possibility of joining politics. On an earlier occasion, while addressing his supporters, he had urged them to be "ready for war" when the time came, and said the "system is rotten".
His cinema colleague Kamal Haasan has also spoken about a possible political career. He said he would be willing to work with Rajinikanth if the superstar ever decided to enter politics. -- PTI
21:01   Padmavati's reel will be burned in the flames of 'jauhar': Karni Sena
Amid a raging controversy over "Padmavati", a self-styled Rajput group today vowed to stop the release of the movie at any cost.

"Its reel should be consigned to the flames of 'Jauhar'," Lokendra Singh Kalvi, chief of Rajput Karni Sena, told reporters in New Delhi.
'Jauhar' was a Hindu custom of self-immolation by women to escape foreign invaders.
Kalvi said the makers of the period drama were forced to defer its release due to public pressure and "directions of the government" even as he appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop its release for good.
The film starring Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmavati, Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Sultan Alauddin Khilji was earlier scheduled to release on December 1.
On Sunday, Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the studio behind "Padmavati", had announced in a statement that they were voluntarily deferring the release of the film out of "respect and regard for the law of the land" including the Central Board of Film Certification".
Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have already announced that they will not allow the screening of the movie in their states.
Kalvi, whose outfit has threatened Padukone with physical violence over her assertion that no force can stop Padmavati's release, said the launch of its trailers without clearance from the censor board amounted to violation of the Cinematograph Act.
"Who is Deepika Padukone? Is she the president or the prime minister? This film will not be released at any cost. Its reel should be consigned to the flames of Jauhar," he told a press conference, repeatedly harping on Rajput valour and his "royal lineage".
Asked on what basis was he was claiming that the film has distorted history, Kalvi said he was basing his "assumption" on an alleged statement of Ranveer Singh.
Kalvi, who claimed he belongs to the "37th generation" of a dynasty that ruled the Mewar kingdom, was non-commital on whether he will change his position if the film is screened for him.
Amid rumours that there was a romantic dream sequence between Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji's characters, various Rajput and other groups have been protesting against the film, alleging it hurts the sentiments of the people.
 
Historians are, however, divided on whether Rani Padmavati even existed. -- PTI 
20:33   High probability of a major quake in Uttarakhand: Scientists
A two-day national workshop on disaster resilient infrastructure in the Himalayas concluded in Dehradun today with scientists highlighting the high probability of a major earthquake in the region.
Scientists participating in the event were unanimous in their view about the high possibility of a devastating earthquake in Uttarakhand, where the last major tremor occurred at least 600 years ago, and asked the state
government to work towards building tremor-resilient infrastructure.
In his keynote address, Vinod K Gaur, a professor at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bengaluru, emphasised on the need to create awareness so that quake resistant building techniques are adopted by the people at the grassroot level.
Handbooks can be published for general category houses and made available to all the people, he said.
Noting that Utttarakhand was in the Central Seismic Gap where exists a high probability of a major earthquake, they said it was imperative for disaster mitigation agencies and the state government to take proactive steps for the amelioration of any impending disaster.
The objective of the workshop was to provide a platform to the scientists, research community officials of various departments and professionals to share information, knowledge and suggestions on the subject of disaster resilient construction.
Professor M L Sharma from IIT-Roorkee informed about the status of the current earthquake early warning system that was deployed in Uttarakhand and also underlined the need for expansion of this network.
Scientists also spoke about the extra care that needs to be taken for the design of structures in hill slopes and the implications of wrong design or construction practices. They also stressed on requirement of specific construction guidelines for hilly regions.
In the concluding session, it was decided that the state would work to the best of its ability to ensure disaster resilience with special emphasis on earthquake resilience. Scientific and academic institutes would collaborate and assist the state government in this effort.  -- PTI
20:32   Congress, Hardik deceiving each other on Patel reservation: Jaitley
The BJP today questioned the agreement reached between the Congress and Patidar leader Hardik Patel over reservation for the Patel community, saying the two are deceiving each other over what is legally untenable.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters in New Delhi, "The Congress-Hardik club is one of mutual deception. Legally and constitutionally that (breaching the 50 per cent cap on reservation) is not possible as the law stands today."
He said that in elections, only promises which can be implemented should be made to each other and the public.
Jaitley said the law of the land is very clear and that is laid down by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court in its verdict in the Mandal Commission case ruled that the total reservation for SC/ST and other backward classes or special categories should not exceed 50 per cent.
Referring to the failed bid for awarding quota to Gujjars in Rajasthan, he said the judiciary has re-affirmed that the 50 per cent cap cannot be increased.
"So let them continue to deceive each other and deceive the public by saying that they will device a methodology to breach the gap," he said.
He said that by citing Article 31 C of the Constitution, one can claim that reservation can be put in the IXth Schedule. But, he cautioned, that the entry in the IXth Schedule is also subject to judicial review and can be struck
down.
Responding to a question on "chaiwala" meme aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the Youth Congress, Jaitley said it is the strength of the Indian democracy which allowed a person from a humble background defeat the "mightiest; those who do politics in the name of family and dynasty".
"There is no big or small family in democracy today. If the Congress has not learnt this lesson, it will never learn it," he said. -- PTI  
19:37   Rahul is following Aurangzeb, Khalji in Gujarat: BJP
Launching a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi over his visits to temples in poll-bound Gujarat, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader G V L Narasimha Rao today accused him of following in the footsteps of medieval sultans like Alauddin Khalji and Aurangzeb.

"Aurangzeb (a Mughal emperor) had destroyed many temples during his rule. However, when the common people opposed him, he promised to build two-three temples. Alauddin Khalji did the same...And now Rahul Gandhi is going in the same direction," Rao said.

During his campaign trail, Gandhi visited a string of temples in Gujarat, including the famous Akshardham shrine.

The BJP has accused him of playing the soft Hindutva card in a bid to attract the majority community.

Talking to reporters, Rao termed as 'good' the proposal of the Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board on resolving the Ayodhya issue and asked Gandhi to clarify the party's stand by breaking his 'silence'.

He also asked the Congress to explain how its viewed 'invader' Mughal emperor Babur, who is believed to have constructed the mosque in Ayodhya in 16th Century.

"Gandhi's visits to temples is a drama. Gandhi is trying to mislead the people by embarking on temple visits, which has become a compulsion for the Congress vice president in view of the elections," the BJP leader said.

He said the Congress' 'dream' of celebrating 'Muhammad Ghazni Jayanti' in Gujarat would never become a reality as the party would never win the polls.

"The Congress is celebrating Tipu Sultan 'jayanti' in Karnataka, and is now dreaming of celebrating Muhammad Ghazni Jayanti in Gujarat," Rao said. -- PTI
18:42   Soldier killed, two other injured in Kupwara encounter
One soldier lost his life and two others were injured on Wednesday in an encounter between the security forces and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara district.

One terrorist was also killed in the encounter.

The encounter broke out at Choken Post in Keran sector near the Line of Control at about 7.30 am.

A search operation is still underway to locate remaining terrorists.  -- ANI

Representative image
17:47   Gujarat will not screen Padmavati
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Wednesday said his government will block the release of the Bollywood movie, Padmavati, in the state, because "we cant allow our history to be distorted".

This makes Gujarat the fourth state to oppose the film's release, after Rajasthan, UP and MP, all BJP-led states.


"The Government of Gujarat will not allow #Padmavati a movie hurting sentiments of Rajputs to get released in the State. We cant allow our history to be distorted. We believe in freedom of speech & expression but any foul play with our great culture is not tolerated, Rupani tweeted.


Rajputs and other fringe groups have been staging protests across the country demanding for a ban on the period film.


On Tuesday, Yogi Adityanath accused filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali of playing with publics sentiments.


Adityanath said the director was no less guilty than those issuing threats of beheading to actors involved with the film. He asserted that if there was any action, it will be against both the sides.


Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had previously shot a letter to Information & Broadcast Minister Smriti Irani, asking her to release the film only after making necessary changes.


The CBFC is yet to certify the film. Film producers Viacom, however, had voluntarily deferred the release date.
16:55   Immigration rush: IB to hire 550 ex-CAPF personnel at airports
In a unique move, the Centre has decided to hire 550 ex-paramilitary personnel to bolster manpower of short-staffed immigration counters at airports, including the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.


The Intelligence Bureau has written to various Central Armed Police Forces seeking nomination of their recently retired officials in the rank of sub-inspector.


Officials privy to the move said the aim of the first-of-its-kind move is to boost the strength of Bureau of Immigration as passenger traffic sees a rise every day at international airports.


Passengers have to stand in long queues for obtaining immigration clearance, especially at IGI, one of the most busiest airports. Ten new immigration counters were recently made operational in the departure area of the IGI airport after passengers complained of arduous queues. The home ministry subsequently had to make an intervention in the matter.
16:37   Mladic, the Butcher of Bosnia, guilty of genocide
Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military general known as the "Butcher of Bosnia," has been found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.


Mladic, the Serb warlord who terrorised Bosnia in the 1990s, was on Wednesday forcibly removed from court after a shouting outburst delayed the reading of the verdict in his trial for the last genocide committed in Europe. The long-anticipated verdict was previously delayed for half an hour after Mladic asked the judge if he could take a short bathroom break, reports the Guardian.
16:08   'Efforts being taken up to bring Kashmiri youth back to the right path'
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir on Thursday said efforts were being taken up by the government to bring the youth back to the right track in Jammu and Kashmir.


Ahir's statement has come in the wake of reports of the Ministry of Home Affairs asking the Mehbooba Mufti-led government in Jammu and Kashmir to consider withdrawing cases against first-time offenders involved in stone-pelting incidents in the valley.


Ahir told ANI, "We are taking up measures so that the youth, who have digressed from their paths come back on the right track. Those who have resorted to stone-pelting for the first time will be brought to mainstream.


"This is not hidden that Pakistan provokes the youth of Kashmir and funds all the wrongdoings. Since the NIA raids were conducted in various offices of the separatists, these people have not been funded," added Hansraj.


It was reported yesterday that the Centre was keen on announcing the amnesty scheme for stone-pelters in the Kashmir Valley on the suggestion of its special representative Dineshwar Sharma, and reportedly, over 4,500 cases against the youth involved are likely to be dropped.  -- ANI


Image: Majid Arshid, the footballer-turned militant, being presented before the media last week during a joint press conference at Awantipora in Pulwama district of south Kashmir. Photograph: S Irfan/PTI Photo
15:59  
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film, Padmavati, has now been banned in Gujarat. 
15:57   Ahead of 26/11 anniv, mastermind Hafiz Saeed to be released
the Pakistan's Punjab Judicial Review Board orders release of Mumbai terror attack mastermind and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed. Saeed has been under house arrest since January 31. He was detained along with his four aides - Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain - by the Punjab government for 90 days under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and the Fourth Schedule of Anti- Terrorism Act 1997.


The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba, which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack. The US has offered a $10 million bounty for Saeed for his alleged role in the Mumbai attack.


The 2008 attacks lasted four days across Mumbai. The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday, 26 November and lasted until Saturday, 29 November 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 30.
15:26   Sentencing in infamous Kopardi gang-rape, murder case on Nov 29
A sessions court in Ahmednagar will pronounce the quantum of sentence for the three convicts in the Kopardi rape and murder case on November 29. The court had convicted three men for raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl in Kopardi village in 2016, sparking a huge outcry across the state, especially from the Maratha community.


Jitendra Babulal Shinde, Santosh Gorakh Bhawal and Nitin Gopinath Bhailume were held guilty of rape, murder and criminal conspiracy. Bhawal's lawyer Balasaheb Khopade pleaded that Bhawal may not be given the capital punishment.


However, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam argued that this was a "rarest of the rare case" and hence the tree convicts should be awarded the death sentence.


The victim, who belonged to the Maratha community, was found murdered after being raped on July 13 at Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district. District and Additional Session Judge Suvarna Kevale today said she would pronounce the quantum of sentence on November 29. -- PTI
15:19   India successfully tests world's fastest supersonic 'BrahMos' missile
In a major milestone, the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile was on Wednesday test- fired for the first time from a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jet of the Indian Air Force. The missile hit a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal from the combat jet. "The successful maiden test firing of Brahmos Air Launched Cruise Missile from Su-30MKI will significantly bolster the Indian Air Force's air combat operations capability from stand-off ranges," the defence ministry said.
15:08  
Two injured in a knife attack inside court room in Mumbai's Bhoiwada District Court. Culprit has been arrested
15:06   Tamil film producer commits 'suicide'
A Tamil film producer allegedly committed suicide at his house, with a suicide note recovered from the spot blaming a Madurai-based film financer for pushing him to take the extreme step, police said.


The alleged suicide of Ashok Kumar has shocked the industry, bringing back grim memories of the alleged suicide of well-known producer G Venkateswaran, brother of ace director Maniratnam.


A purported suicide note of Kumar, a relative of well-known actor-director Sasikumar, blamed a Madurai-based film financier for allegedly pushing him to the extreme step, police said.


Kumar reportedly accused the financier of charging exorbitant interest on some loans obtained by him, and harassing him over the same. Kumar was found hanging at his house in Chennai. -- PTI
15:00   After DSC Prize, Sri Lankan author bags Shakti Bhatt award
Sri Lankan author Anuk Arudpragasam, who won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature on Saturday, has now bagged the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2017 for his debut novel "The Story of a Brief Marriage", set in the backdrop of the civil war.


The jury of Kamila Shamsie, Rohini Mohan and Margaret Mascarenhas chose Arudpragasam's book over Prayaag Akbar's "Leila", Hirsh Sawhney's "South Haven", "How I Became a Tree" by Sumana Roy, Tripti Lahiri's "Maid In India" and "These Circuses that Sweep Through the Landscape" by Tejaswini Apte-Rahm.


Now in its tenth year, the prize was set up in 2008 in memory of young writer Shakti Bhatt to encourage authors from the sub-continent. The prize is a cash award of Rs 2 lakh and a trophy. The award ceremony will take place on December 20.  -- PTI
14:47   The Contrasting Telecom Fortunes Of Mukesh And Anil Ambani
Two billionaire brothers, two bonds, two very different fates. This isn't the plot of yet another sequel to Jeffrey Archer's Kane and Abel, though it could very well be.Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man, sold 10-year dollar notes at just 130 basis points over U.S. Treasuries on Monday. None of the existing debt of Indian nonfinancial issuers, including state-owned firms, was raised this cheaply, according to Bloomberg News reporters Carrie Hong and Neha D'silva. 
Read more
14:43   Soldier killed in gunbattle with militants in Kupwara
A soldier was killed today in an encounter between security forces and militants in Keran sector of Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said. The gun-battle broke out at Choken Post in Keran sector near the Line of Control at around 7.30 am, they said, adding a soldier was killed in the exchange of firing between the two sides. The operation was going on when reports last came in, the officials added. -- PTI
14:28   The quite quiet Mr Ramesh
The very erudite Jairam Ramesh has tempered his comments on his party. No sarcasm, no jibes, just facts.

Speaking at the Tata Litfest 2017 on 'Remembering Indira Commemorating Her Centenary', the Congress leader said the BJP is friendlier to Mrs Indira Gandhi than her father Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, as she was steeped in the Upanishads and Vedas.

Pandit Nehru would also do so but he was careful about his "public display of religiosity", Ramesh said.

That is a departure from his sharp criticism of his party in August when he said the Congress was facing an "existential crisis", and pitched for "a collective effort" by party leaders to "overcome" the challenges it faced from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.

Jairam has been maintaining a stoic silence since this statement and party watchers say he has fallen from grace.

There is also reason to believe that Ramesh may be out of the Ahmed Patel camp. In fact, after the Gujarat elections, if the Congress loses, Patel's political  future will be in question. 
14:16  
BrahMos supersonic cruise missile successfully tested from a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jet.
13:53   Winter Session of Parliament likely from Dec 15 to Jan 5
The Winter session of Parliament is likely to be held from December 15 to January 5, says CNN-News18.


Yesterday, parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said the government would call the session in December. The party also denounced the Congress for making it appear like the session was being delayed for the first time.


"Delay has happened on several occasions and on two occasions, the session took place after Christmas," Kumar said.


The minister said the Opposition party was suffering from 'selective amnesia' as the winter session was held in December in 2008 and 2013 as well.


Senior leader Ravi Shankar Prasad reiterated the party's stand that assembly polls often played a role in the timing of sessions and said Congress governments, including the UPA, had done so in the past.


"It has been an established tradition to schedule a session so that its timing does not clash with state polls. It also happened when Indira Gandhi and Chandrashekhar were PMs," he said.


Claiming that the winter session had twice started after Christmas in the past, Prasad said Congress had accepted defeat in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and was looking for an excuse.  
13:49   Shatrughan questions PM, Bachchan's silence on Padmavati
Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha has questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and megastar Amitabh Bachchan's silence over the "burning" issue of the film Padmavati.


"As 'Padmavati' becomes a burning controversy, people are asking why the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, most versatile Aamir Khan and most popular Shah Rukh Khan have no comments. And how come our I&B Minister or our most popular Honourable PM (according to PEW -- American think tank PEW poll) are maintaining stoic silence. High time!" Shatrughan tweeted on Wednesday.


The tweet also said that he will speak about the controversy keeping in mind the interest of filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and the sensitivity of the Rajputs.


"As for me, I would and should speak on 'Padmavati' issue only after the 'great filmmaker, producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali' speaks up. I speak only when I am spoken to and I will speak keeping in mind the interests of the filmmaker as well as the sensitivity, valour, loyalty of the great Rajputs," he added.


In Padmavati, actor Ranveer Singh plays Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji, which Bhansali says is a tribute to the valour of Rajput queen Padmavati, played by Deepika Padukone.A BJP leader has announced a reward of Rs 10 crore for beheading Bhansali and Deepika.


The film is in the eye of a storm following protests from conservative groups over alleged tampering with historical facts -- a contention Bhansali has denied repeatedly.The release of the film, which was earlier slated for December 1, has been deferred as the filmmakers are yet to secure a censor certificate.
13:39   Maitreyan hints at differences in united AIADMK
Unified AIADMK MP V Maitreyan today hinted at discontent among leaders of the erstwhile factions led by E K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam which merged over three months ago.


"It has been three months now since the merger of EPS-OPS faction. Months are passing by, what about hearts?," Maitreyan, who is a member of Rajya Sabha, said in his Facebook post.


Asked about his remarks, Maitreyan, who was in the OPS faction, said he had already expressed his views and did not wish to say anything more. Senior party leaders K P Munuswamy and Manoj Pandian refused to comment on Maitreyan's remarks.
13:33   Anita Desai on Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
"She was revealed to be a young woman of European descent -- German and Polish -- who was married to an Indian architect, Cyrus Jhabvala, and lived in rooms in a sprawling bungalow just off Alipur Road. When her mother, a German Jewish woman from London, visited her, Ruth searched for someone she could talk to."

Author Anita Desai on her literary apprenticeship with Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

Do read
13:28   US Navy plane crashes
US Navy aircraft carrying 11 crew and passengers crashes into the sea off Japan south-east of Okinawa, reports the BBC.
13:24   Zimbabwe to get new president today
Zimbabwe's recently fired vice president -- Emmerson Mnangagwa -- is set to return today to be sworn in as the country's new leader. 
12:53   Leh coldest place in J-K at 11.4 degrees Celsius
The minimum temperature in Kashmir division, including Ladakh region, continued its downward slide as Leh and Srinagar recorded the coldest night of this season so far. Leh, in Ladakh region, was the coldest recorded place in the state as it registered a low of minus 11.4 degrees Celsius last night, a decrease of over one degree from minus 10.2 degrees Celsius the previous night, an official of the MeT department said. Srinagar also saw the mercury dip slightly to minus 2.0. -- PTI

File pic
12:38   Top cooperation body okays CPEC long-term plan
The Joint Cooperation Committee of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor approved on Tuesday the Long-Term Plan envisaging broad parameters for future cooperation, but could not conclude agreements on development projects and special economic/industrial zones. Informed sources said the Chinese delegation complained about the political instability in Pakistan that would negatively impact on the pace of CPEC progress.  Read more
12:21   EC to decide on AIADMK's Two Leaves symbol tomorrow
The Election Commission is likely pronounce its ruling on the dispute over the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's symbol, Two Leaves, on Thursday. 

The verdict, keenly awaited by political parties in Tamil Nadu, will decide the future of three AIADMK factions belonging to O Panneerselvam, Edappadi K Palaniswami and TTV Dinakaran. For who gets the symbol will gain the upper hand in the internal power struggle in the party. 

 More importantly, the EC will also announce the dates for the RK Nagar assembly bypoll, whose outcome will indicate the ground-level support for the AIADMK. 

The bypoll was caused by the death of its sitting MLA, former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, on December 5 last year. The bypoll was originally scheduled to be held on April 12 this year but was cancelled after the EC found large-scale misuse of money power.   

The Madras high court, on Monday, directed the Election Commission to hold by the bypoll by December 31 this year.
12:11   Complaint filed against Javed Akhtar for inciting communal enmity
Poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar has insulted the Rajputs, the Karni Sena, a group that has been spearheading the protests against Bollywood film Padmavati, has alleged. 

The group has said he would be "banned" from Rajasthan and a complaint has been filed against Akhtar, asking that the police lodge a case against him for inciting communal enmity.

Akhtar's comment, to which the Rajput Karni Sena has taken exception, was made in the support of the movie. Defending Padmavati in an interview with a television channel at the Lucknow lit-fest, Akhtar had questioned why the Rajput rulers have served the British for 200 years and never fought against them.

The Karni Sena said his remarks mocked the history of the Rajputs. Mahipal singh Makrana, the official who had threatened physical harm to actor Deepika Padukone, said Akhtar was not welcome in Rajasthan any more.

The complaint filed against Akhtar said he had deliberately tried to insult and shame a particular community. It demanded that a case be filed under adequate sections that outline a maximum punishment of five years and a fine.
11:29   Love jihad:SC refuses urgent hearing for in-camera proceedings
The Supreme Court today refused to accord urgent hearing on a plea filed by the father of a Kerala-based woman, who converted to Islam before marrying a Muslim man, that interaction with the woman be conducted in-
camera.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that it will deal with this plea on November 27 itself when the woman would be brought before it for interaction.

The counsel for Ashokan K M, the father of the woman, sought an urgent hearing on his plea saying that it would become infructuous if the earlier order mandating open court interaction is not modified.

The apex court had on October 30 directed that the woman be produced before it on November 27 for an interaction in open court.

-- PTI
11:08   Congress has agreed to give quota to Patidars: Hardik Patel
Clearing his stand over Congress's quota proposal for the Patidars and whether the community would extend his support to the party, Hardik Pateladdressed a press conference this morning ahead of the crucial Gujarat assembly elections.

Here are the highlights from his presser:

>> Congress has accepted our issues. They have agreed to give Patidars reservations

>> Article 46 will be used by Congress to bring in a bill for non-reserved classes

>> Others will get exactly the same benefits like OBCs without increasing reservation limit

>> Draft has been prepared between us and Congress. Formula is not restricted to Patidar community alone 
10:43   The honour of Padmavati
The debate around the film Padmavati can never be confined to the honour of Rajputs or the people of Rajputana. It touches every Indians sense of honour and, cutting across party lines, people believe that the film tries to brutalise a memory they have cherished for generations. 

Censor Board chief Prasoon Joshis criticism of Sanjay Leela Bhansali trying to bypass the Board through selective previews of Padmavati speaks volumes about the not so noble motives of the director.

Read Tarun Vijay's full column HERE
10:18   60 calls, positive campaign: How Swaraj ensured Bhandari won ICJ polls
India's success in knocking UK off its perch at the International Court of Justice involved probably the most concerted and assiduous diplomatic offensive in recent times by India's foreign ministry headed by Sushma Swaraj, reports the Times of India.

As the UK decided to withdraw its candidate Christopher Greenwood, there was complete unanimity among government agencies and strategic affairs experts that for the first time India had successfully challenged 'the architecture of dominance' of P5 countries in the Security Council.

The foreign minister, in fact, made as many as 60 calls to her counterparts across continents in the past few days to boost the case of Indian judge Dalveer Bhandari  who finally prevailed over UK's Christopher Greenwood. 

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar meticulously coordinated India's outreach to the world ahead of the next round of voting which had been scheduled for Monday. 

On Tuesday, he called all MEA joint secretaries and other top officials to thank them for the effort everybody put in to convince countries around the world to vote in favour of India. MoS MJ Akbar also worked actively to garner support for India's candidate.

"This was a seminal day in Indian diplomacy marking a shift in global perceptions of India," said India's permanent representative to UN Syed Akbaruddin, who received a special mention from Swaraj for his efforts.
09:51  
JUST IN: Hardik Patel to hold press briefing at 11 am today
09:40   Voting for first-phase of local body election begins in UP
Voting for the first phase of local body elections in Uttar Pradesh has begun.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also reached a polling station in Gorakhnath and casted his vote.

In the first phase, polling is being be held for five municipal corporations, 71 nagar palika parishads and 154 nagar panchayats.

Shamli, Meerut, Hapur, Bijnore, Badaun, Hathras, Kasganj, Agra, Kanpur, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Chitrakoot, Kaushambi, Pratapgarh, Unnao, Hardoi, Amethi, Faizabad, Gonda, Basti, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Ghazipur and Sonebhadra districts are going to polls today.

The polling for 652 urban local bodies, which includes 16 Nagar Nigam, will be held in three phases on November 22, November 26 and November 29.

The counting of votes for all the phases and the results will be declared on December 1. 

-- ANI
09:16   US Secret Service turns Hyderabad into fortress ahead of Ivanka Trump's visit
In order to avoid any security breach ahead of Ivanka Trumps visit to Hyderabad, US Secret Service team is in the city touring venues and reviewing security arrangements.

In the run up to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, Telangana government has also stationed 1,000 security personnel to guard the IT corridor that will host US President Donald Trumps daughter and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ivanka, advisor to the President, is heading the US contingent to the summit that will host 1,500 young entrepreneurs from 150 countries.

Due to the high threat perception, the US and Indian agencies are taking special measures to ensure tight security for the event.

According to police officials, a multi-layer security will be put in place. "The most inner cordon, in close proximity to Ivanka Trump, will be looked after by US Secret Service, followed by the Special Protection Group and the intelligence security wing. The outer cordon will be taken up by Telangana Police, which will include highly trained Octopus, Greyhounds, task force, etc," said an official. 

Extra security arrangements have been made in the Old City area, where Ivanka and other delegates will proceed for dinner hosted by PM Modi at Falaknuma Palace, a Taj property.

The police have already conducted search operations in the locality and advised locals not to allow strangers till the completion of the summit.
08:51   US congrats Bhandari on re-election, but 'opposes' expansion of UNSC veto
The US has congratulated Justice Dalveer Bhandari for his re-election to the ICJ, but asserted that it is against any change in the current veto structure of the UN Security Council, even as it favours a modest expansion of the 15-membered body.

India's Dalveer Bhandari was yesterday re-elected to the International Court of Justice with more than two-thirds of the UN members backing him, forcing Britain to withdraw its candidate amidst high drama in the hard-fought race to the world court.

Responding to questions on reform of the 15-membered apex wing of the world body, a State Department spokesperson said: "The United States remains open in principle to the idea of UN Security Council reform, including a modest expansion of the Security Council.

"We believe a reformed council must reflect the realities of the 21st century and be able to meet the challenges of this century with enhanced -- and not diminished -- effectiveness and efficiency. To this end, we remain opposed to any alteration or expansion of the veto, the spokesperson said. 

-- PTI
08:36   UPDATE: Battle of the barbs: After 'chai-wala', now comes 'bar wala'
The Congress's chai-wala meme has started a battle of the barbs between the two national parties. 

On Tuesday night, Congress faced heavy flak when the official handle of the Youth Congress's online magazine, Yuva Desh, shared a meme that hit at PM Modi's 'chaiwala' beginnings. 

Top Congress leaders immediately apologised by the gaffe of the online magazine and called it out for being improper and crude. The tweet was deleted.

However, the BJP then responded with a crass tweet of its own.

Parliamentarian Paresh Rawal took to Twitter to write: "Our Chai-wala is any day better than your Bar-wala".

This tweet by Rawal was also deleted and he apologised for it in a later tweet.

The Congress has called out the BJP stating that it hypocritical of the ruling party to make such a ruckus about a tweet when they themselves spread fake news and mock others through trolls.

Image: A snapshot of the tweet posted by Paresh Rawal, which he deleted soon after and later apologised for it.
08:09   Cong's chaiwala tweet echoes Rahul Gandhi's mindset: Smriti Irani
As outrage poured after the Congress' youth wing first tweeted a meme insulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then deleted it, Union Minister Smriti Irani deemed it as an "insult to Gujaratis".

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting said that the tweet echoed "the mindset of Rahul Gandhi and the Congress".

"It is expected from the Congress. Youth Congress is demonstrating what their leader feels about Prime Minister Modi," the BJP leader said.

The tweet by Yuva Desh, Youth Congress' online magazine portrayed a photograph of PM Modi, US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May and took a dig at PM's Modi with depicting May as telling the Indian PM to limit himself to just "making tea".

After the massive uproar, the tweet was deleted with the Congress apologising for the same. Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "INC strongly disapproves & rejects such humour through memes. Differences in policy and opinion aside, Congress culture imbibes respect for the PM and all political opponents." 

However, Irani dismissed the apology saying, We dont take Congress apology seriously. We all know what Congress actually feels about PM Modi.
00:25   Rahul sat in temple like he was offering Namaaz: Yogi
After BJP's repeated jibes at Rahul Gandhi over his visits to temples in poll-bound Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath shot a barb at the Congress vice president, saying he does not even know how to
sit in a temple.
"I am saddened and amused at the same time when he (Rahul Gandhi) goes to a temple...The poor fellow does not even know how to sit in a temple," he said.
The priest-politician claimed when Gandhi visited Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi recently, he sat in a posture as if he were to offer Namaaz.
"The priest then told him it is a temple and not a mosque. If you have to sit in a temple, sit in the 'paalthi' (cross-legged) posture," Adityanath said at an event.
Adityanath said Rahul Gandhi was wandering from one temple to another in Gujarat, and he was happy that the Congress leader's mind will get "purified" in the process.
The Uttar Pradesh chief minister said he was saddened that the erstwhile Congress government, of which his mother Sonia Gandhi was the "super PM" had sworn an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying that Lord Ram and Lord Krishna were "kalpanik" (imaginary characters).
"If they were imaginary, what is Rahul Gandhi doing by visiting temples?" he asked.
When asked about the imminent elevation of Rahul Gandhi as Congress president, Adityanath took another dig at him, saying it would help fulfil Mahatma Gandhi's dream of a "Congress free" India. -- PTI

TOP STORIES