Mon, 23 October 2017
SIFCC urges PM, Irani to act against BJP leader for watching Mersal online

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22:59   SIFCC urges PM, Irani to act against BJP leader for watching Mersal online
The South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce today said it has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, seeking action against Bharatiya Janata Party leader H Raja for reportedly watching Tamil film Mersal online.

Referring to Raja's remarks reported in a section of media in this regard, SIFCC president L Suresh said that the BJP national secretary had 'confessed' this in a section of the media.

SIFCC is the apex body of studio owners, producers, distributors and exhibitors from all the southern states.

Raja 'confessed before a press reporter that he saw the aforesaid Tamil film on the internet, which is obviously a pirated version', Suresh said in a statement.

The BJP leader was 'liable to be prosecuted' for this under the Tamil Nadu Video Piracy Act, he said, adding SIFCC had already made a complaint to the grievances cell of the PMO.

'We have also written an official letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, requesting them to take suitable action against Mr H Raja for seriously violating the Piracy Act,' he said.

The complaint against Raja 'may be treated in a steadfast manner' by the PMO, he added.

He wondered what would happen to the cinema industry if leaders watched pirated versions of films.

On BJP's demand for deletion of mocking references to goods and services tax in Mersal, starring Vijay, he said as per 'several' court decisions, once a movie had been certified by the Censor board, a producer need not make any changes thereafter 'at the whims and fancies of any political party or community leaders'.  -- PTI
22:21   Our ties depend on Pak's action against terror safe havens: Tillerson
United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that he has 'made specific requests from Pakistan to undermine the support Taliban and other terror orginations receive in the country'.

During his surprise visit to Kabul, Tillerson said, "Pak needs to take a clear view of situation they are confronted with in terms of number of terror organisaions that find safe haven inside its boundaries."

"We want to work closely with Pakistan to create a more stable and secure Pakistan as well," Tillerson said.

"Our relation with Pakistan will also be conditions based, it will be based upon whether they take action that we feel as necessary to move process forward of creating opportunity for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan and also ensuring stable future for itself," he said.

The Secretary of State said he believes 'India has a very important positive role to play in the process to achieve a peaceful, stable Afghanistan'.

"They (India) are already providing important economic activity, creating jobs, which is important for future Afghanistan," he said.  -- ANI
21:40   Nobody starved to death, says Jharkhand CM; suspends PDS official
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das on Monday denied that deaths in Simdega and Dhanbad were due to starvation.

This comes after an 11-year-old girl died in Simdega and a 45-year-old man died in Dhanbad.

Various reports suggested that the two deaths were result of starvation.

Talking to ANI, Das said that these deaths have saddened the government, but it is not true that they died due to starvation.

"The investigation has revealed that the Simdega deceased's family had an Aadhaar Card since 2013 and was taking ration till this February. The thing which was missed was that the ration card was deleted, because it was not linked with the Aadhar card. The incident happened due to the laziness of the officials, who have been suspended," Das said.

He further claimed that the girl was suffering from Malaria which might have been the reason of her death.

"It has also been learnt that the girl was suffering from Malaria. There are also other four children in that family. Now, the question is that if there was no food in the family, how did others survive?" the chief minister questioned.

The girl died on September 28 after her mother was unable to feed her. The family was struck off from government welfare rolls for not linking their ration card with the Aadhaar card.

Das added that the Dhanbad incident was also blown out of proportion.

"The deceased's two sons used to jointly earn Rs 7,000-Rs 8,000 a month. He had been sick for one month."

The victim, identified as Baidnath Das, reportedly could not avail any of the government's schemes for the poor, and hence had no ration to fend his family, which allegedly resulted in his death on Saturday.

A rickshaw puller by profession, Baidnath allegedly underwent a three-year struggle in obtaining a ration card. Fed up after not receiving a response, he applied online for the card.

However, before he could complete all the formalities, he passed away, leaving the family behind in a poverty-stricken situation.

However, an official press note from the district administration noted that the cause for death was not starvation, but a prolonged illness.

The release also noted that the deceased's son and wife were both earning members of the family.

The Jharkhand Chief Minister also lashed out at the Congress and other Opposition parties by saying that they were doing politics on the dead bodies of poor.

"Years back, the Congress gave the slogan to remove poverty. Ask them that even after all this, who is responsible for all the poverty in India, because the Congress had been in rule for decades. The Congress is busy in family (Gandhi family) worship and the public is removing them from India.

"On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is doing worship of India, and seeing all this, the Congress is baffled," Das said.

He alleged that for last many decades, the Congress only eyed votes in the name of poor.

"I urge the Congress and other parties to not do politics on the unfortunate Simdega and Dhanbad deaths," he said.

He said that his government was using information and technology (IT) to bring transparency in providing the benefit of government schemes to the poor.

"The whole India knows that Jharkhand was known for corruption and middlemen. Our effort is that every government scheme should reach up to the last person of the society. In order to end corruption and role of middlemen in government schemes, our government is using IT to link all subsidy-related schemes with the Aadhaar card," Das said.

He further claimed that with the help of the Aadhaar linking, the government has managed to save Rs. 225 crore in public food distribution system.-- ANI
20:23   It's a big responsibility, says Centre's interlocutor in Kashmir
Former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma, who the Centre appointed as its representative for a 'sustained dialogue with all stakeholders' to find a political solution to the Kashmir issue, has said he hopes that he lives up to the expectations.

"It's a big responsibility. I hope I live up to the expectations," Dineshwar Sharma told ANI.

Earlier today, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the Centre has decided to start a sustained dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir and added that Sharma would be the representative from the Government of India.

Meanwhile, former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah has said that Pakistan is also one of the parties to the problems of the state.

"It's a political problem, it's not only talking to people of J&K, Ladakh they have to talk to Pak also," Abdullah said.  -- ANI

IMAGE: Former IB Director Dineshwar Sharma meets Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh after being appointed as Centre's representative in J&K on Monday. Photograph: ANI
19:41   Now plaint against Vijay for 'hurting Hindu sentiments' through Mersal
A police complaint has been filed against Tamil actor Vijay for allegedly hurting 'Hindu sentiments' through his latest film, Atlee's action romance Mersal.

Mersal was in the midst of a controversy after the Tamil Nadu unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party demanded the removal of certain dialogues, which take a dig at the Goods and Services Tax and Digital India programme

The issue got further communalised when a BJP member said that Vijay took an anti-GST stance only because he is a Christian.

Meanwhile, TN BJP president Tamilisai Soundararajan and Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan have been demanding that the 'incorrect' references be deleted from the big-budget flick.

However, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, his senior colleague P Chidambaram, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam working president M K Stalin, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, veteran actor Kamal Haasan and a host of Tamil cinema industry representatives supported the cast and crew of the film.

Mersal, directed by Atlee, also features Samantha, Nithya Menon and Kajal Aggarwal. The film released worldwide on October 18.  -- ANI
19:20   Rajasthan bill to ensure that there are no motivated complaints: Prasad
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday defended the Rajasthan government bill to protect judges, magistrates and public servants from being investigated without its prior sanction, saying the move seeks to stop motivated complaints and let honest officers work.

"What I have gathered is that the idea is that there should not be any motivated complaint. Officers were feeling harassed in discharging their duties," he told a press conference at the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters.

Prasad said he had returned from an overseas trip last night and had not studied the legislation in detail, and added that the state government had cited its reasons for introducing the bill.

He referred to a study offered by the state's BJP government, which said over 73 per cent of such cases were false.

Prasad also defended the appointments of BJP workers and leaders by the government in various positions, saying there was no harm if they had credentials for job.

During the UPA government, everything was reserved for damaad, a reference to Congress Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, and workers were ignored, he alleged.  -- PTI
19:09   Hope Centre admits that muscular approach in J&K failed: Chidambaram
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram today said he hoped the central government, by announcing a peace initiative in Jammu and Kashmir, was finally admitting that its 'muscular approach' to the Valley's problems had failed.

'With appointment of interlocutor, I hope government has finally admitted 'muscular approach' has failed in J&K,' Chidambaram tweeted after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said a sustained dialogue would be initiated by the government for a solution to the Kashmir issue.

Chidambaram, who as home minister in the United Progressive Alliance government had formed a three-member committee of interlocutors for a dialogue on Kashmir, said the movement from 'No talks' to 'Talks with all stakeholders' was a major victory for those who had argued for a political solution in Jammu and Kashmir.  -- PTI
18:54   Innocents were beaten-up in 72 braid-chopping incidents in Kashmir: DGP
In Kashmir, there were 72 cases of people beating up innocents on the suspicion of them being braid-choppers and cases would be registered against all those who took law into their own hands, Director General of Police Dr S P Vaid said today.

He also said if needed, those accused of beating up the innocent would be slapped with Public Safety Act, but no innocent person being branded as braid-chopper by the public on suspicion would be booked.

"In 72 cases (of braid chopping), people took law into their own hands and beat up the innocent (in Kashmir Valley)", Vaid told PTI today.

Asserting that FIRs would be lodged in all the 72 cases, he said, "The police will deal with miscreants sternly."

The DGP said police would not book any innocent person and in cases where an innocent person have been handed over to the police by the public on the suspicion of being a braid- chopper, police authorities should tell the facts to the media clearly.

Vaid said all districts now have Special Investigation Teams (SITs) and officials from Social Welfare and Health department have be involved in it.

The health department should depute teams to meet braid- chopping victims and probe the matter, he said.

The DGP said, "It (braid-chopping incidents) took place in many parts of northern India and then it was reported in Jammu. Such cases were also reported in south, central and north Kashmir".

"But the difference is that, in Kashmir, there are elements who do not want peace and normalcy," Vaid said, adding such elements were trying to exploit people's sentiments to trigger unrest.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Women block a road and shout slogans during a protest against the alleged braid chopping of a woman, at Khaniyar in Srinagar. Photograph: PTI Photo
18:09   BJP's Ghanshyam Tiwari opposes Rajasthan criminal laws ordinance
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari today joined the Congress and the National People's Party in opposing a Rajasthan government ordinance, and the corresponding bill, to protect judges and public servants from being investigated without its prior sanction.

"This is a kala kanoon (black law) and I am against it," the senior BJP MLA told reporters on the assembly premises.

Led by Leader of the Opposition Rameshwar Dudi, the Congress legislators, their mouths covered with black bands, took out a protest march from the MLA quarters to the assembly building.

Holding placards and shouting slogans against Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, the MLAs entered the assembly premises and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party government of patronising corruption.  -- PTI

Representative image.
17:56   Girl jumps out of train to avoid being molested
A 13-year-old girl jumped out of a moving local train near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in south Mumbai when a man entered the ladies compartment and refused to leave, railway police said today.

The incident took place at 10 am yesterday.

The girl, a class VIII student, was returning to Kalyan after attending tuition, an official attached to the CSMT railway police station said.

It being Sunday, there was nobody else in the ladies compartment where she was sitting.

As the train moved out of the CSMT, a man entered the compartment, and didn't disembark when the girl pointed out that he had got into the wrong compartment.

Instead, he asked her to keep quiet and started moving menacingly towards her, the official said, citing her complaint.

Scared, the girl jumped out and suffered injuries, he said.

Based on her complaint, a case was registered against an unidentified man under Indian Penal Code Sections 354 (molestation), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) as well as relevant sections of the Railways Act.

Police were examining the CCTV footage to identify the man, the official said.  -- PTI
17:43   SC asks Centre to consider regulating playing of national anthem
The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to consider amending the national flag code for regulating the playing of national anthem in cinema halls across the country.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said the Centre has to take a call uninfluenced by its earlier order on the playing of national anthem in the theatres.

During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said India was a diverse country and the national anthem needs to be played in the cinema halls to bring in uniformity.

The bench indicated that it may modify its order of December 1, 2016, by which the playing of the anthem was made mandatory for cinema halls before the screening of a movie, and it may replace the word 'shall' with 'may'.

The apex court had last year ordered the theatres across the country to mandatorily play the national anthem before a movie and the audience must stand and show respect, in a bid to 'instil committed patriotism and nationalism'.

It had said that 'love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the national anthem as well as to the national flag'.

The court had barred printing of the anthem or a part of it on any object and displaying it in such a manner at places which may be 'disgraceful to its status and tantamount to disrespect'.

The court's directions had come on a public interest litigation filed by one Shyam Narayan Chouksey seeking directions that the national anthem should be played in all the cinema halls before a film begins.

It had also said proper norms and protocol should be fixed regarding its playing and singing at official functions and programmes where those holding constitutional office are present.  -- PTI
16:53   Centre to start dialogue in J&K with ex-IB chief as interlocutor
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said that the Centre has decided to start a sustained dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir and added that former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma will be the representative from the government of India.

"The government has decided to start a sustained dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir. Former IB director Dineshwar Sharma will be government of India's representative. Rank of Dineshwar Sharma will be equivalent to that of a Cabinet Secretary," the home minister said while addressing a press conference in New Delhi.

He added that Sharma will initiate the dialogue with the elected representatives of Jammu and Kashmir, political parties, different organisations and the public.

"From the ramparts of Red Fort Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, 'Neither by bullet, nor by abuses but by embracing the people we can solve the problems in Jammu and Kashmir'," Singh added.

The home minister said that as the government's representative, Sharma will initiate the sustained interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Referring to the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said that Prime Minister Modi is determined to bring back peace to the Valley. -- ANI
16:33   Afghan president in Delhi tomorrow, will meet Modi, Swaraj
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will hold detailed talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow on furthering the shared objective of promoting security and stability in Afghanistan, and efforts to combat the menace of terrorism.   

The external affairs ministry said today that the Afghan president would be here on a one-day working visit at the invitation of the prime minister.   

The invitation was extended by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval during his Kabul trip on October 16.   

During his visit, President Ghani will meet with his Indian counterpart and have delegation level talks with the prime minister, who will also host a lunch in his honour, an official statement said.   

"Both sides will have the opportunity to review the entire gamut of multifaceted bilateral strategic partnership, including the New Development Partnership; hold consultations and coordinate on furthering the shared objective of promoting peace, security, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan and efforts to combat the menace of terrorism," it said.   

They will also discuss regional and global issues of mutual interest.   

The visit will build upon the recent high level bilateral exchanges between the two countries, including the recent visit of Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and that of Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani to India for the meeting of the bilateral Strategic Partnership Council, which was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.   

Swaraj will call on the visiting dignitary, who will also give a public address at Vivekanand International Foundation.  
16:04   When PM clicks a selfie, a Chinese youth gets employment: Rahul
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is addressing the 'Navsarjan Gujarat Janadesh' rally in Gandhinagar.  

- Every day 30,000 more youths go out to look for jobs. But Narendra Modi government can provide employment to just 450 of them

- For the last 22 years, there has been no people's government in Gujarat. It has been governments by industrialists.

- Not possible to silence the voice of Gujarat 

- People in Gujarat turned away from private hospitals as they cannot afford the costly treatment

-  When you click a selfie and click that button, every time a Chinese youth gets employment
15:58   Bihar inter-city train crushes 4 women to death
An intercity train ran over five women in Munger, Bihar, early this morning, four of whom died on the spot, prompting a protest by the locals that disrupted traffic for a few hours, a senior police official said.   

The incident took place around 6 am near the Adalpur Halt when the women were crossing the tracks on their way home after taking bath at a nearby ghat, Munger superintendent of police Ashish Bharti said.   

They might have failed to notice the approaching Bhagalpur-Danapur Intercity train due to heavy morning fog, the SP said.   "Four of them died on spot and another received serious injuries. 

The injured woman was taken to the Munger Sadar hospital," he said.   

Enraged over the incident, people from a nearby village gathered at the spot and squatted on the tracks, preventing the bodies from being removed, Bharti said, adding that train services were disrupted for a few hours.   

Jamalpur SP (railway) Shankar Jha said services were restored around 11 am after a police team reached the spot and pacified the locals.
15:41   Tendulkar sanctions Rs 2 cr from MP fund for Mumbai FOB work
Cricket icon and Rajya Sabha member Sachin Tendulkar has sanctioned Rs 2 crore from his Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme fund for revamp of rail foot overbridges in Mumbai in the backdrop of the Elphinstone Road station stampede.
On September 29, 23 people were killed in the rush-hour stampede on a narrow foot overbridge linking Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban stations during heavy rain.
Tendulkar, in a letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, said he is requesting the Mumbai suburban district collector to authorise Rs 2 crore for constructions.
He said Rs 1 crore each be alloted to Western Railway and Central Railway from his MPLADS fund "towards immediate revamp and construction of FOBs in as many high density, single bridge stations on the Western, Central (Main) and Central (Harbour) lines" that the official may deem urgent.
"The recent incident at the Elphinstone Road station on Western Railway where innocent lives were lost in a stampede was devastating and I am moved to offer immediate support for the improvement of services for our Mumbaikars," he wrote.
"For the millions of those affected, it is not a happy Diwali in any sense, we must do all we can as responsible citizens to ensure this never happens again on any network in
India," Tendulkar said in the letter dated October 16.
In the letter, also sent to the Mumbai suburban district collector, Tendulkar said he has asked the Railway Ministry, Railway Board and zonal heads "to study the possibility of creating two separate independent zones for the suburban services, a request that has been made by several experts, passenger and civil society groups."
"I think there is a merit in this request as it will bring dedicated manpower, funds and focus on the suburban network which ferries millions every single day," he wrote.
Every year, MPs are allotted Rs 5 crore under the MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development) Scheme, primarily to take up development projects in their respective constituencies.
The fund has been increased over time, starting from Rs 5 lakh in 1993-94 to Rs 5 crore at present. -- PTI
15:31   Only one party has 'unlimited money': Sena's dig at BJP
The Shiv Sena today lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party without naming it, claiming that "one party" possessed "unlimited money" and had come to power in Goa and Manipur despite being "rejected by the people".
It also claimed money was being used to "try and uproot" the Sena.
"Even if people face recession after demonetisation, one party is on an upturn and came to power in Goa and Manipur despite being rejected by the people," an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana said.
The BJP formed a government in Goa and Manipur in March this year.
The editorial said people were watching which party "indulges in horse-trading backed by the power of money".

"The same money was used to try and uproot the Shiv Sena as well," it said.
Referring to the senior ally, again without naming it, the editorial said the party kept "boasting" that the  government in Maharashtra would be stable even if the Senawithdrew its support to it.
"This boasting is being done on the back of unlimited money only. It is surprising that nobody approaches the  Enforcement Directorate to seek a probe against them," the Sena said.
It then went on to allege that attempts were also being made to seize power in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, riding high on the money of traders.
The Opposition Congress and NCP were not as disturbed as "the party with unlimited money" by the increased strength of the Shiv Sena after six corporators from the MNS joined it, the editorial said. -- PTI
14:55   Pak firing continues for 3rd day along LoC
Intermittent exchange of fire between Indian army personnel and Pakistani troops continued for a third day today in the Uri sector along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, forcing the authorities to shut down schools in the affected areas.
An army official said there were no fresh casualties on the Indian side in the exchange of fire. 
"Intermittent exchange of firing took place between our soldiers and Pakistani troops along the LoC in the Uri sector (in the Kamalkote area) till 6.00 am today," the official said.
Pakistani troops violated ceasefire by resorting to unprovoked firing on Indian posts and villages near the LoC in the Kamalkote area on Saturday, resulting in death of an army porter and injuries to two women.
They again violated the ceasefire in the same sector yesterday, which was retaliated by the Indian army.

Meanwhile, as a precautionary measure, the authorities have closed at least six schools close to the Line of Control, officials said.
They said the schools which have been closed for the time being are in Dolanja, Madya, Jabla, Kaman and Saki localities. -- PTI
14:36   Marriage behind Virat's break from cricket?
Speculation is rife that India captain Virat Kohli wants a break in December to get married, even though chairman of selectors MSK Prasad on Monday clearly stated that the India captain will take part in all three matches of the forthcoming three-Test series against Sri Lanka starting next month.    

"We are also monitoring his workload, he has been playing continuously right from IPL till today. We need to give him a break which we will consider after the Test series," Prasad in Mumbai on Monday after naming the team for the first two matches of the series against Sri Lanka, starting in Kolkata on November 16.   

Interestingly, Prasad & Co have named the team for only the first two matches of the Sri Lanka series, leaving ample room to give Kohli a break after the first two games.   

Reportedly, Kohli is taking time out to get married to Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma in December and hence wants a long break before the team embarks on the challenging tour to South Africa in January.   

-- Harish Kotian
14:12   Xi Jinpings thought to become compulsory school topic
Chinese schoolchildren will soon be studying President Xi Jinpings political ideology after it becomes official Communist Party dogma later this week.

Education Minister Chen Baosheng said the new ideology, unveiled at the start of the partys national congress last week, would be incorporated into curriculums across the country.

"[The thought will] go into textbooks, into classes, and into the brains [of students]," Chen said last week on the sidelines of the congress.

"We will design specific teaching methods that combine texts ... of various grades and subjects."

13:34   SC seeks Gujarat govt's reply in Bilkis Bano case
The Supreme Court sought a detailed reply from the Gujarat government within four weeks in connection with Bilkis Bano gangrape case.

The apex court also directed the Gujarat government to appraise it about the departmental action taken against the policemen found guilty of negligence of duty.

During the hearing the victim also submitted in the court that she wanted enhancement of compensation. To this the apex court directed her to file a Special Leave Petition (SLP).

In March 2002, Bilkis Bano was gang-raped and left for dead alongside 14 members of her family, including her 3-year-old daughter, during the Gujarat riots. She was then five months pregnant, when rioters attacked her in Vadodara.

She had approached the local police station to register a case against the assailants. However, the police dismissed her case and threatened her of dire consequences if she proceeded with the matter.

She then approached the National Human Rights Commission of India and filed a petition in the apex court.

The matter was later shifted to Bombay High Court following which charges were filed against 19 men, including 6 police officers and a government doctor.

In January 2008, 11 of them were sentenced to life imprisonment for gang-rape and murder. --  ANI
12:55   US Defence Secy to meet Sitharaman at ASEAN meet in Philippines
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis will meet his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman in the Philippines this week at a conference of ASEAN defence ministers, the top Pentagon leader said today.
The bilateral meeting between Mattis and Sitharaman would take place on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defence Ministers' Meeting in the Philippines that begins today and ends on October 25.
"I will have meetings while I'm in the Philippines at the ASEAN meeting with regional counterparts -- Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines of course, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia," Mattis told reporters travelling with him to Philippines.
This would be the first meeting between the two leaders after Mattis' successful trip to India last month.
Mattis said the ASEAN defence ministers' meeting will be an opportunity to recognise ASEAN for 50 years of promoting peace and stability in the region.
"They have done a very good job of it. Nations coming of age, many years finding, finding, basically a foundation where they can discuss things," he said.
ASEAN, he said, provides an international forum, giving voice to those who want relations between states to be based on respect, not on predatory economics or on the size of militaries, in an apparent reference to China.
"ASEAN nations have demonstrated that they can listen to one another, they identify opportunities to increase defence cooperation for their own security, and seek shared solutions to shared concerns," he said, adding that the US remains unambiguously committed to supporting ASEAN. -- PTI
12:41   Gujarat is priceless & can never be bought: Rahul on bribe charge
Gujarat is priceless and can never be bought, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said today, a day after Patidar leader Narendra Patel claimed in Ahmedabad that he was offered Rs 1 crore to join the BJP.
The activist of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti made his claim at a press conference last evening, hours after he announced that he was joining the BJP.
"Gujarat is priceless. It has never been been bought. It can never be bought. It will never be bought," Gandhi said on Twitter.
The BJP has rubbished Narendra Patel's charges and said it was a "drama" staged at the behest of the Congress.
"All these allegations are false. It was a drama (enacted) by Narendra Patel at the behest of Congress," Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said.
Congress leaders hold protest outside Rajasthan assembly against Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance. 
11:57   Rajasthan govt's controversial ordinance challenged in HC
The Rajasthan government's controversial order protecting ministers, lawmakers and government officials from investigations into complaints against them without sanction has been challenged in the Rajasthan high court. 

Senior Lawyer in Rajasthan HC, AK Jain has filed a PIL against the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, calling the proposed law "arbitrary and malafide" and against the right to "fair investigation as well as equality".

An ordinance put out last month by the Vasundhara Raje government bars courts from taking up complaints against public servants without the government's approval. 

It also makes it a crime to identify the minister, lawmaker or official against whom a complaint has been filed in the court.
11:40   Shreyas Iyer in T20 team vs NZ; Ashwin, Jadeja back for Lanka Tests
Mumbai youngster Shreyas Iyer was included in the Indian team for the upcoming three-match T20I series against New Zealand, while spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were named in the squad for the Sri Lanka Test series.   

Shreyas took the place of Kedar Jadhav, who was dropped from the T20I squad after the three-match series against Australia.   

As expected, senior spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja retained their places in the Test squad after being ignored for the limited overs squads in the last few series.   

Interestingly, the selectors named the team for the first two Tests of the three-match series against Sri Lanka, starting next month.   

Indian team for NZ T20Is: 

Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra (only for first match), Mohammed Sirajuddin.   

Indian team for first 2 Sri Lanka Tests: 

Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit  Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma.  

-- Harish Kotian
11:39   'PM-EC jugalbandi out in open': Sibal on Gujarat poll dates row
Congress leader Kapil Sibal today attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Election Commission for not announcing the Gujarat assembly poll dates and said that the 'jugalbandi' between the two is out in the open.

"PM , EC jugalbandi now in the open. Allow me time for jumlas, then announce election dates in Gujarat. First week December: Amit Shah ! (sic)," tweeted Sibal.

The former HRD Minister also referred to reports which quoted BJP party president Amit Shah claiming that Gujarat assembly elections will be held in the first week of December.

On Sunday, the PM  had hit out at the Congress for questioning the EC over the delay in announcing the poll schedule for Gujarat.

"Some of them (Opposition) are worried why Modi is coming to Gujarat after Diwali. They can't say anything to me, so they are targeting the Election Commission," the PM said and asked the gathering, "You tell me, should I not come to Vadodara?"

On October 12, the EC had announced assembly poll schedule for Himachal Pradesh but did not announce the dates for Gujarat, only saying that it would go to the polls before December 18.

This has been questioned by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, senior leader P Chidambaram and some others in the Congress party.
10:34   Pune horror: Two-and-a-half year old girl kidnapped, raped and murdered
A two-and-a-half-year-old girl, who was allegedly abducted from her home in Pune on Saturday night, has been found dead, 500 metres away from her residence, near Kudale Mala off Sinhgad Road.   

According to the police, the girl was sexually assaulted before she was strangulated to death.   

The police said the girl was kidnapped by an unidentified person, who allegedly barged into the house late in the night and kidnapped the girl, who was sleeping next to her mother.   

The girl was found dead in the early hours near Kudale Mala farm. Some residents living in the vicinity spotted the girl.   "Prima facie, it seems that the girl was allegedly murdered by strangulation as there are strangulation marks on her neck," said Shivaji Pawar, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Swargate division).   

"The investigation also revealed that the girl was sexually assaulted as the post-mortem report indicates that she was sexually abused," he said.   

Pawar said the girl's mother woke up to find her daughter missing from the bed. She went to her husband, who was sleeping in another room, and told him about their daughter's disappearance.   

"The girl's parents, with the help of people living in the vicinity, started the search for the girl, then called the police control room, and later approached the police station," Pawar said, adding, that since the girl was a minor, a case of kidnapping was registered immediately.   

"We have registered a case against an unidentified person under IPC sections 363 (kidnapping) and 302 (murder)," Pawar said.   

"The process of adding further sections under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, and the IPC is still going on," he added.   

The girl's parents are daily wage labourers. 
10:04   Government promotes 8 IPS officers; Asthan is spl director, CBI
Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana has been appointed the special director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.   

Asthana, a 1984-batch IPS officer, had been serving in the Central Bureau of Investigation as additional director.   

He is among eight senior police officers promoted by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, according to anotification by the department of personnel and training.   

Javeed Ahmed, a 1984-batch IPS officer who served as the director general of police of Uttar Pradesh and launched key police modernisation projects such as the 'Twitter Seva' in the state, was given the rank of special DG at the Centre.   

Ahmed, a former CBI joint director who was posted at the National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science under the home ministry, has been given the rank of special DG on 'in-situ' basis, the notification said. 

Officers from the 1984-batch Deepak Mishra, AGMU cadre, and Sudeep Lakhtakia, Telangana cadre, have been promoted as special DGs in the CRPF.   

 Both were serving in the force as additional DGs, it said.   A P Maheshwari, UP cadre, and Rajesh Ranjan, Bihar cadre, both 1984-batch IPS officers who held the posts of additional DG in the BSF, have been promoted as special DGs in the force.   

Two 1984-batch IPS officers posted as additional directors in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) -- Gurbachan Singh, Odisha cadre, and Arvind Kumar -- have been given the ranks of special director.   

While Singh has been given the position against an existing vacancy, Kumar has been granted the rank and pay of special director on 'in-situ' basis, it said.
09:56   US: Police may have found body of missing 3-year-old Indian girl
The police in the US today discovered the body of a child, which they say is "most likely" of a three-year-old Indian girl who went missing two weeks ago, reports Seema Kachru/PTI.   

Sherin Mathews, who has developmental issues and limited verbal communication skills, was last seen outside her family's backyard in Richardson city in Texas on October 7 after her foster father reportedly upbraided her and sent her alone outside late at night as punishment for not finishing her milk.   

The Richardson police announced that they discovered the remains of a child in a tunnel beneath a road, expressing apprehension that it was "most likely" of Sherin. They, however, did not confirm the identity.   

Sherin's body was found about half a mile from the house of her adoptive parents Wesley and Sini Mathews.   

As part of their search operation, officers blocked off an area near Spring Valley and Bowser roads, east of Central Expressway.   

The body was found in a culvert beneath a road around 11 am (local time) with the help of search dogs. Police have not released any details about how the child died.
09:46   'Mersal' addressed important issue, says Rajini amid row
Tamil superstar Rajinikanth lauded the crew of actor Vijay's starrer Mersal, saying the film has addressed an important issue.
However in a terse Twitter message, he did not explicitly refer to any specific issue, although the film has courted controversy over goods and services tax, with the Bharatiya Janata Party claiming that there have been incorrect references to the central taxation.
"Important topic addressed..... well done!!! congratulations team#mersal' Rajinikanth said in a brief tweet.
Diwali release Mersal has kicked up a row with the BJP taking exception to references on GST in the movie.
BJP leaders, including Raja, a national secretary in the party, state president Tamilisai Soundarajan and Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan, have been demanding that the "incorrect" references be deleted from the big-budget flick.
However, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, his senior colleague P Chidambaram, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam working president M K Stalin, veteran star Kamal Haasan and a host of Tamil cinema industry representatives had supported the film crew on the issue.      

The BJP had on October 20 objected to what it termed as "untruths" regarding the GST in just-released Mersal, and wanted dialogues on the central taxation to be deleted.      

Actor Vishal had earlier accused Raja of advocating piracy by watching the movie online, a charge rejected by latter. -- PTI
09:40   MRV thinks Adhia should be sacked
Chartered Accountant and economic commentator M R Venkatesh, who has otherwise been a champion of Prime Minister Narendra D Modi's policies, is a scathing critic of the Goods and Sales Tax regime.

Responding to Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia's remarks on Sunday that the GST rate structure needs changes, MRV tweeted: 'He he he. In any other country for botching it up many offers certainly would hv been sacked. Here? Promotions. Seventh pay'.

MRV's recent interviews to's Shobha Warrier are a must read. You can read them here and here.
09:28   Modi congratulates Shinzo Abe on re-election
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today congratulated his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on his re-election and said he looked forward to further strengthening the relations between the two countries.
Abe got a resounding victory in the snap polls held yesterday, with his LDF-led coalition winning two-thirds majority in the lower house of Parliament.
"Heartiest greetings to my dear friend @AbeShinzo on his big election win. Look forward to further strengthen India- Japan relations with him," Modi tweeted.
Modi and Abe share a great relationship and have met several times over the last three years.
Abe was in India recently for the annual summit meeting with Modi. -- PTI
09:04   Army's battle tank Arjun Mark II modified as per requirement: DRDO
The Defence Research and Development Organisation Chairman S Christopher has said that necessary modifications have been made to the advanced version of the indigenous Arjun Mark II main battle tank as recommended by the army.
The DRDO chairman expressed confidence that the tank will be accepted by the army.
The army had asked for 93 improvements to the tank which includes the capability of firing the anti-tank LAHAT missile, laser protection suite and improved armoured protection for the vehicle.
"We have done the modifications... it will go through the trials and there is a possibility that Arjun MK II (battle tank) will be accepted by army and two regiments have already agreed to induct the tanks," said DRDO Chairman, while talking to reporters in Pune.
Christopher was in Pune to inaugurate POINTS 21 Batch of  Post Induction Training School programme for newly inducted DRDO scientists at the Defence Institute of Advanced Technology.
As per DRDO, Arjun Mark II can fire missiles, has advanced explosive reactive armour panels, mine plough, automatic target tracking, advanced land navigation system, digital control harness and advanced commander panoramic sight among other features.
Arjun will have a better gun barrel with an equivalent firing charge (strength of the barrel to sustain firing) of 500 rounds against the T 72's 250 rounds.
The Chennai-based Combat Vehicle Research and Development Establishment has designed the Mark II version of MBT at its facility there. -- PTI
08:18   Was offered Rs 1 crore to join BJP: Patel leader's sensational claim
A member of the Hardik Patel-led group campaigning for reservations for the Patel community in Gujarat has alleged that he was offered Rs 1 crore for crossing over to the Bharatiya Janata Party. 

Narendra Patel, convenor for the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti in north Gujarat, had joined the BJP on Sunday evening in the presence of Hardik Patel's former aide Varun Patel who had crossed over to the BJP on Saturday.

However, late in the night Narendra Patel alleged that he had been offered Rs 1 crore by the BJP through Varun Patel to switch sides. The charge has been denied by Varun Patel.

Varun took me around in Gandhinagar and then took me to Shree Kamalam office of the BJP and introduced me to Jitubhai Vaghani and some ministers. He then took me to a room and handed over a bag of Rs 10 lakh cash as token and promised to pay me Rs 90 lakh tomorrow after a party function which I was required to attend, he said, dramatically spreading out the bundles of cash that he said were handed over to him, at a late-night press conference on Sunday.

"These people (BJP leaders) then immediately called a press conference, and made me say it (that I was joining the BJP)," Patel went on to say. 

"I, however, felt that this is wrong, and that the Patel community is being betrayed," Patel told a crowded a press conference.

He said that he had decided to take the money and parade it before the media to expose Varun Patel and the BJP.

These allegations come a day after Varun and Reshma Patel, another member of the PAAS, joined BJP, alleging that the Congress was trying to hijack the reservation stir.

"The allegations are baseless and motivated by the Congress as the party fears that Patidars are swinging back to the BJP after realising the Congress gameplan," Varun Patel said.