Mon, 30 October 2017
Rains lash several parts of TN, 1 killed in wall collapse

Timeline  Refresh

23:48   Rains lash several parts of TN, 1 killed in wall collapse
Rains lashed several parts of Tamil Nadu on Monday, partially disrupting normal life in some areas and claiming one life in Thanjavur district.
Though the showers, the first big spell after the North East Monsoon set in over the state last week, brought cheers in several parts hit by water scarcity, they also caused traffic snarls and inundation.
Several schools in Chennai closed ahead of schedule as the city experienced heavy showers.
A 38-year-old man died when a mud wall of his hut collapsed in Thinnaiyoor near Thanjavur district's Orathanadu which experienced heavy rains, police said.
The intermittent rains, under the influence of an upper air cyclonic circulation over South West Bay of Bengal, began last night in parts of the state, and intensified this morning.
The Met office forecast heavy to very heavy rains in some areas of coastal districts, including the capital city and its neighbourhood, in the next 24 hours.
"The upper air cyclonic circulation over Southwest Bay of Bengal near Sri Lanka yesterday continues to be positioned in the same region," Director of Area Cyclone Warning Centre here S Balachandran told reporters.
Due to this, coastal districts and many places in interior districts were likely to witness moderate showers in the next 24 hours, he said.
Some areas in coastal districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, and Ramanathapuram might experience heavy and very heavy rains as well, he added.

Traffic in Chennai came to a grinding halt in several locations like the arterial GST Road and Anna Salai, affecting traffic bound for airport and other outskirt areas. -- PTI

Image: A couple crosses the waterlogged service road near the Marina beach during heavy downpour in Chennai on Monday. Photograph: PTI Photo 
Another image from meeting of army personnel of India and China at Bum La Pass in Tawang. 
23:27   Army personnel of India, China hold meeting at Bum La Pass
Army personnel of India and China today held a meeting at Bum La Pass in Tawang and resolved to maintain peace and tranquillity along the Sino-India border.
A border personnel meeting was organised by the People's Liberation Army at the historic Bum La pass in Arunachal Pradesh, a senior army official said.
The Indian delegation was led by Brig M P Singh while the Chinese delegation was headed by Sr Col Liu Jiang Xun.
The meeting commenced with the hoisting of national flags and the rendition of national anthems of both countries.
The delegations interacted in a free, congenial and cordial environment and renewed commitments in maintaining peace along the Line of Actual Control. -- PTI
23:20   BJP is our main enemy, says Sena's Raut
Without mincing words, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut today termed the Bharatiya Janata Party his party's "principal enemy" and said it is part of the Maharashtra government "just for the sake of it".
His remarks came on the eve of the Devendra Fadnavis govenment's third anniversary.
Raut also praised Rahul Gandhi saying there has been a substantial change in him over the last three years.
"The BJP owns the government. We are (in the government) just for the sake of it. Instead of hitting out at the Congress and NCP, the BJP targets the Sena. They (the BJP) are thus our principal enemy," Raut told reporters in Nashik.
On Rahul Gandhi, the Rajya Sabha MP said, "A leader is one who is accepted by people. There is a substantial change in Rahul Gandhi since 2014. People like to listen to him now."
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has begun preparations for the Lok Sabha and assembly polls of 2019 and it is ready to fight elections whether or not there is an alliance with the BJP, Raut said.
To a question on the Sena's stand on encroachment by hawkers on the Mumbai streets, Raut said Bal Thackeray, the late Sena chief, was the first to raise the issue.
"Balasaheb was the first person to speak on this issue. Today, unless the chief minister provides police protection to corporation employees, the civic body cannot remove encroachments," he said.
Asked about former Congress leader Narayan Rane -- who started his career with the Shiv Sena before a bitter parting of ways -- joining the state cabinet, Raut said he had been hearing rumours of cabinet expansion for long, and he would comment on it only when it happens.
23:02   No one will benefit: India on Catalan independence
Days after Catalonia's unilateral declaration of independence, India said today that issues of identity and culture are best addressed within the constitutional framework and with respect for national integrity.
In response to a question on Catalonia's unilateral declaration of independence ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "We have noted the negative global reaction to this development. Neither Europe nor the world would benefit from instability."
"As a country that values and fosters unity in diversity, India would urge that issues of identity and culture are best addressed within the constitutional framework and with respect for national integrity," he said.
Catalonia's regional parliament proclaimed independence from Spain in a secret ballot on Friday. The Spanish government dissolved the legislature, fired the government and regional police chief and called a new election for December 21. -- PTI
22:32   Saudi Arabia to extract uranium for 'self-sufficient' nuclear program
Saudi Arabia plans to extract uranium domestically as part of its nuclear power program and sees this as a step towards "self-sufficiency" in producing atomic fuel, a senior official said on Monday.

Extracting its own uranium also makes sense from an economic point of view, said Hashim bin Abdullah Yamani, head of the Saudi government agency tasked with the nuclear plans, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy  

You can read the full report here.
22:16   Rahul should clear his stand on autonomy for Kashmir: Amit Shah
Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah today lashed out at the Congress alleging the party had "sullied" the image of 'Devbhumi' Himachal by turning it into a state where mafia thrived.
Addressing rallies in the poll-bound hill state, Shah latched on to former Union Home minister P Chidambaram's comments regarding more autonomy for Kashmir and demanded that Rahul Gandhi make his stance clear on the issue. He accused the Congress of speaking the language used in Pakistan.
"Himachal has become a land of the mafia with forest mafia, mining mafia, drug mafia, transfer mafia, liquor mafia and land mafia flourishing in the state," he alleged while addressing rallies at Banikhet in Dalhousie and Chwalra in Jwali.
Targeting Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, Shah alleged that there was not even a single member in the Congress leader's family who was not facing corruption charges.
He said the people of Himachal Pradesh would end the corruption and 'mafia raj' in the state.
The BJP has already announced starting a Gudiya help line for reporting all cases of crime and would take prompt action on all complaints to establish the rule of law and instilling a feeling of safety and security among the people, Shah said.

It is unfortunate that when you go to other states, people bluntly say that Himachal Pradesh was number one in corruption while the crime rate and mafia are flourishing, Shah alleged.
This "stigma", he said can be removed only if the BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is voted to power in the state. Modi's resolve was to provide a clean and responsive government in Himachal and rid the people of the mafia, Shah said.
The BJP was on a winning spree and now it was Himachal's turn to become Congress free, he added.
The BJP chief expressed confidence that his party would win even more seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and would also record a fourth successive victory in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls.
He hit back at Rahul Gandhi over his comments seeking accountability of the Gujarat government. Shah claimed that "accountability" was tradition of the BJP governments and asked the Congress vice president to give an account of the Manmohan Singh government.
He alleged that scams to the tune of Rs 12 lakh crore had surfaced during Manmohan Singh's rule and land, sky, sea or space, nothing was spared. -- PTI
22:06   UP madrassas to have NCERT books: Yogi govt
The Yogi Adityanath government has decided to introduce NCERT books in madrassas in Uttar Pradesh, apart from making mathematics and science compulsory at intermediate level in the Islamic schools.
The steps are intended to make madrassa students more competitive by providing them contemporary and quality education, according to Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma.

"The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to introduce National Council of Educational Research and Training books in the madrassas in order to make students studying there to come on a par with children of other schools," Sharma tweeted.
NCERT is the apex academic organisation for school education. In January, the state government had made NCERT books mandatory for all schools affiliated to the Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad (UP Board) from academic session 2018-19.
In August, the state government had launched a portal of UP Madrassa Board for online registration of all such Islamic institutions where they were asked to upload all relevant information pertaining to their managing committee, teachers, students etc.
As many as 2,500 madrassas had uploaded all their information by September 17, Minority Welfare Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary had said.
The aim behind the move was to stop irregularities in the madrassas and improve transparency, he had said.
Sharma today said mathematics and science will be made compulsory at Aliya (intermediate) level to make madrassa students more competitive.
The Madrassa Board is making preparations for introducing NCERT books in the institutions run by it after getting an approval from the state government, he said.
Registrar of Madrassa Board Rahul Gupta said there was a move to review the curriculum, although it was in the primary stages and changes were likely in the books of all classes.
The education related to the religious curriculum will remain as before, but a change is likely in other sections relating to academics in keeping with the demand of the times.
Modern subjects will be included in the curriculam, he said.
Meanwhile, Teachers' Association Madaris-Arbia Uttar Pradesh welcomed the decision of the state government and said that the change in the curriculum other than religious education in keeping with the present requirement was good.
Before the online registration, there were 19,000 recognised madrassas in the state. As many as 4,600 partially-funded madrassas were there in the state, while the number of 100 per cent funded madrassas in the state stood at 560.
Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh government had asked all madrassas to hold celebrations on Independence Day and videograph the event. -- PTI
21:05   Sharif to hold meeting with PM, party leaders in London
Pakistan's ousted premier Nawaz Sharif will hold a key consultative meeting with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz top leadership including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in London to decide the next steps of the party and the government in the Panama Papers scandal.
Sharif, 67, had to step down as the chief of the PML-N after he was disqualified as the prime minister by the Supreme Court on July 28 in the scandal.

Sharif is in London along with his family to be with his ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz who is still receiving cancer treatment in the British capital.
The top-level consultations in London come amid mounting legal pressure on Sharif and his family in the wake of the court proceedings, Pakistani media reported from London.
His daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain (retired) Mohmmad Safdar have already been indicted in corruption cases filed against them by the country's anti-corruption body National Accountability Bureau on the Supreme Court's instruction in the Panama Papers case.
Abbasi and Sharif's brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif left for London yesterday to meet the former premier, who landed here from Saudi Arabia along with his son Hussain.
Dismissing speculation about early general elections, Sharif said: "Rumours are always around but dont believe them".
He once again complained about his removal and said: "When a government is weakened, the country gets weakened".
Shahbaz said that: "Elections will be held on time and there are no differences in the party or family".

The PML-N party is trying to position itself for the 2018 elections. Both Sharif and his daughter have stated that the cases against them are politically-motivated.
Sharif reached London to be with his wife after concluding a week-long private visit to Saudi Arabia. -- PTI
20:45   Sena can't be in govt and opposition at same time: Fadnavis
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said that the Shiv Sena must realise that it cannot play the role of a ruling party and opposition simultaneously.
His comments came as the Bharatiya Janata Party-Sena coalition government completes its three years in office on Tuesday.
"Some Sena leaders have developed the habit of opposing everything our government does... One can understand opposition to a few things as they are a different party," Fadnavis said.
"How is it alright if you oppose everything? How can it be that you are in government and opposition at the same time? People do not like this," the chief minister said during an interaction at his official residence in south Mumbai.
Due to such statements by some (Sena) leaders, neither they nor their party benefits, Fadnavis, who was sworn in as chief minister on October 31, 2014, said.
"While being part of the government, if you want to take credit, you should also learn to take discredit ... It cannot happen that you claim credit and give discredit to others," the chief minister said.
"You should be able to tolerate criticism for a (government) decision. You cannot say you did all the good and the BJP did all that is not good," he said.
Asked about reports of some Sena leaders threatening to withdraw from the state government, Fadnavis said, "What is there to react? I will react openly if Uddhavji (Sena president Uddhav Thackeray) says something."
"There (in the Sena) are many who think they are very big leaders. We do not react to such leaders. From our side, leaders of their level react to what they say," Fadnavis said.
He denied reports about Milind Narvekar, an aide of Uddhav Thackeray, giving an him an "ultimatum" against inducting former Sena leader Narayan Rane in the state cabinet.
On the coalition, he said: "This will continue. There is not this much of tension (between the BJP and the Sena). The tension is seen (from) outside but inside there is no tension," he said. -- PTI
20:29   Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar takes charge as new vice chief of Navy
Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar today assumed charge as the Vice Chief of Naval Staff. 

He succeeds Vice Admiral Karambir Singh who will take charge as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command.

Vice Admiral Kumar, an alumni of the National Defence Academy, has had extensive operational tenures onboard frontline warships of the Indian Navy.

He had commanded six sea-going platforms including the guided missile corvette Kulish, the guided missile frigate Talwar, the guided missile destroyers Mumbai and Mysore.

He was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1981 and is known to be a specialist in missiles and gunnery. -- PTI

Image: Ajit Kumar, right, takes over charge as the Vice Chief of Naval Staff from Vice Admiral Karambir Singh. Photograph: Indian Navy
20:07   Rahul Gandhi's thinking in ICU: Modi's minister
Union Minister Giriraj Singh today lashed out at Rahul Gandhi, saying the Congress vice president's "thinking" was in the intensive care unit as he had failed to see the people's approval of demonetisation in the BJP's victory in Uttar Pradesh.
Asked about Gandhi's recent remark on the economy being in the ICU, Singh retorted, "The reality is that Rahul Gandhi's thinking is in the ICU. The Uttar Pradesh (assembly) elections were held after demonetisation and those residing in the state put their stamp of approval in a way on demonetisation."

He said while the BJP would celebrate November 8 -- when the note ban was put into effect -- across the country, Gandhi and his party "will observe the death anniversary (of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes)".
"Actually his thinking has gone to the ICU," he said while addressing an event in New Delhi.
The Congress vice president in a tweet last week said the economy was in the ICU, and added that "Dr Jaitley's" medicines were ineffective.
The micro, small and medium enterprises minister also took a swipe at "people who cannot see anything" while referring to the benefits of the Centre's MUDRA scheme, which provides small business units with access to institutional finance.
"According to data, the MUDRA scheme is providing employment to an average 10 crore Indians but many people can't see this. I wonder why they cannot see it. The power of the eyeglasses worn by some people has become such that they cannot see anything," Singh said, in an apparent reference to the Opposition.
The minister launched the MSME Samadhaan portal on the occasion, a Delayed Payment Monitoring System to enable micro and small enterprises to register their delayed payment grievances and for central PSUs involved in procurement to monitor the status of their payment.
MSE units and entrepreneurs can file cases regarding delayed payments and check the status of their payment online.  

The move is expected to improve the cash flow of small businesses. --  PTI
20:04   Vikram Singh appointed Private Secretary to President
Railway officer Vikram Singh was today appointed private secretary to President Ram Nath Kovind.

Singh is a 1997 batch officer of the Indian Railway Traffic Service.

The appointments committee of the cabinet has approved his appointment to the post for a period of two years, an order issued by the department of personnel and training said.

In another order, IAS officer P C Meena was appointed private secretary to Minister of State for Commerce and Industry C R Chaudhary. 

Meena is a 2004 batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre. -- PTI
19:44   Govt taking fresh look on appointing chief of defence staff
The government is considering appointing a chief of defence staff as head of the tri-services with a sense of urgency, defence ministry sources said on Monday.
They said government was revisiting the long-pending issue, indicating that a clear picture may emerge soon.
The defence ministry is attending to it with a sense of urgency, the sources said.
A high-level committee set up to examine the gaps in the country's security system in the wake of the Kargil war in 1999 had called for appointment of a chief of defence staff as a single-point military adviser to the defence minister.
A group of ministers analysing required reforms in the national security system had also favoured appointing a chief of defence staff.
However, successive governments were unable to take a call on the sensitive issue.
"Several steps have to be taken before the appointment (of the CDS)," a source said.
In 2012, the Naresh Chandra Task force had recommended creating the post of a permanent chairman of the chiefs of staff committee.
The CoSC comprises chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force and the senior-most among them acts as its chairman as per existing norm. -- PTI
19:21   Nawazuddin withdraws biography, apologises for 'hurting sentiments'
Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui announced that he is withdrawing his biography, An Ordinary Life: A Memoir, few days after its release, following the heavy criticism he received as repercussion of the affairs he has documented. 

The move has come soon after a Delhi based advocate Gautam Gulati filed a complaint against Nawazudding in the National Commission for Women for outraging the modesty of his Miss Lovely co-star, Niharika Singh. 

Nawazuddin has been accused of misrepresenting facts in his book by his former girlfriends Sunita Rajwar and his Miss Lovely co-star Niharika Singh.

In a tweet, the 43-year-old actor posted an apology for hurting sentiments, adding he regrets the inconvenience caused by the "chaos". 

"I m apologising 2 every1 who's sentiments r hurt bcz of d chaos around my memoir #AnOrdinaryLife. I hereby regret & decide 2 withdraw my book (sic)," Nawazuddin tweeted. 

Speaking to, Hemali Sodhi, Senior Vice-President, Marketing, Penguin India has confirmed that the publishing house has withdrawn the book but would make no further comment on the matter. 

An Ordinary Life: A Memoir, co-authored by the actor and Rituparna Chatterjee, was made available for online purchase on October 25.

In a statement issued to media, Niharika said, "Nawaz and I had a brief relationship during the making of Miss Lovely that lasted less than a few months. He obviously wants to sell his book and it would appear that he is willing to exploit and disrespect a woman just to do so. He has chosen to fabricate stories and manipulate a fleeting relationship. None of what he has written has been to my knowledge, let alone my consent. It is this very aspect of Nawaz that caused me to end my relationship with him in the first place."

Image: Nawazuddin Siddiqui with Niharika Singh. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/

19:03   Ex-Trump campaign manager indicted in Russia probe
Former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has been indicted in the first charges brought by the special counsel investigating Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election.

Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted Manafort on 12 counts including money laundering, false statements and conspiracy against the United States.

Manafort turned himself in to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Washington field office on Monday.

The 31-page indictment was filed on Friday, but unsealed on Monday. 

Along with Manafort, his business associate Rick Gates was also indicted by the federal grand jury.

In recent months, Trump has distanced himself from Manafort who ran his presidential campaign from June to August 2016, a period that included the Republican National Convention.

Image: US President Donald Trump can be seen in this file image with his campaign manager Paul Manafort and daughter Ivanka at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland  on July 21, 2016. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters
18:32   'T' for transgender in railway tickets soon
Transgenders will now have the option of identifying themselves as the third gender with the railway board modifying reservation forms to provide the option 'T', besides 'M' (Male) and 'F' (Female). 
The railway board in a letter to all zonal railways has said that ticket booking and cancellation forms will be modified from the current option of 'Transgender (Male/Female)' to just 'T'.
According to the letter, the social justice and empowerment ministry is at present dealing with various issues of transgenders and a proposed legislation on this -- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, is
being reviewed by a parliamentary standing committee.
"The matter has been reviewed and it has been decided that till such time the detailed modalities on this account are finalised by the ministry of social justice, a provision may be made in the system to capture the gender of transgender as 'T' instead of 'T(M/F)' as advised earlier," according to the October 17 letter.
In a landmark judgement in 2014, the Supreme Court created the 'third gender' status for hijras or transgenders. Earlier, they had to write male or female in gender column.
Following the order, many government documents such as passport, ration card, bank forms and voter identity cards have started providing 'TG' (third gender), 'Other' or 'T' (transgender) as options.
The railways introduced the option as 'T(M/F)' through an order in 2016 which, activists said, still forced them to choose between the binary genders -- male or female.
The railway board said in its review it had also taken into consideration directions of the Kolkata high court which had asked State Bank of India to allow the choice of third gender in its application forms for recruiting new employees. 
This case pertains to a case filed by Atri Kar, the first transgender from West Bengal to appear for the civil services exam, who sought the court's intervention to enforce her right to participate in the selection process of SBI as a transgender.
The railway board also said that the Centre for Railway Information Systems, an autonomous organisation under the ministry of railways, will make necessary changes in the software for giving the option of transgender (T) alongside the option of M/F in the passenger railway system under intimation to all zonal railways, the letter said. -- PTI 
17:59   Man arrested over bomb threat in Jet flight is a repeat offender
The Ahmedabad police has detained a passenger of a Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight which was forced to make an emergency landing at the Ahmedabad airport today after a note stating that there were hijackers and a bomb on board was found in the washroom, a police officer said.

The passenger, identified as Birju Prasad Salla, a jeweller hailing from Rajula town in Gujarat's Amreli district, was taken into custody based on suspicion after the plane landed in Ahmedabad, he said.

Salla, who now lives in Mumbai, had in the past too done such a mischief with the airline out of some grudge, the police official said.

"Salla wrote in Urdu and got the translation from Google. He had problem with Jet on food so he planned this. We have found a letter in English and Urdu. Investigation is on, only then we can report the motive," Deepan Bhadran, DCP Crime said.

Earlier, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the person responsible for the security threat on the Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight had been identified and should be immediately put on the no-fly list.

"Salla was detained by police after preliminary investigation. He was on board the flight which made an emergency landing this morning. It was revealed that Salla had put the threat letter in the plane's washroom. We will take necessary action against him," the official said.

"This is the second time when Salla did such a mischief with Jet Airways. A few months ago, he tried to harass the airline using some other trick. It seems that Salla has some grudge against the airline," he said.

He was being questioned by senior police officials at an undisclosed location. Flight 9W 339, which had taken off from Mumbai at 2.55 am with 115 passengers and seven crew members, landed without incident at Ahmedabad around 3.45 am.

The Boeing 737-900 plane was parked at a remote bay and all 122 safely deplaned, a Jet Airways spokesperson said. The printed note, in Urdu and English, said the flight had 12 hijackers on board and a bomb in the cargo area and should be flown straight to PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir).

 -- PTI
17:21   No leads on Sherin's death, body sent to funeral home
US authorities have sent the body of 3-year-old Sherin Mathews to a funeral home but a medical report on how the Indian girl, adopted by an Indian-American couple, died is yet to come out, according to a media report. The cause of Sherin's death is still pending, a spokesman for the police department in Richardson city, Texas, told Fox News.

Sherin's body, found in a culvert on October 22, has been sent to a funeral home by the Dallas medical examiner, the report said. A spokesman for the Dallas County Medical Examiner said the body of Sherin was released on Saturday but did not say who has custody of the body.

It is not clear if Sherin's foster mother Sini Mathews will have a role in handling the funeral arrangements since Sherin's foster father, Wesley Mathews, is under the custody of the Dallas County Sheriff's Department in connection with the child's tragic death.

An online petition had requested authorities not to release Sherin's body to her foster parents and allow the people to give her a proper burial that she deserves.

Sherin's body was found inside a culvert in Richardson city, nearly 1 km from her home. Her body was discovered by cadaver dogs over two weeks after she went missing from her home.

Sherin was adopted by the couple from India last year. Wesley, 37, has been arrested on a charge of felony injury to a child with bond set at USD 1 million. He told police that Sherin had choked to death while drinking milk in the middle of the night on October 7.

Mathews changed his story on Sherin's disappearance, initially claiming he left her outside at 3 am on October 7 as punishment for not drinking her milk. Mathews' latest claim is that he tried to "physically assist" Sherin in drinking her milk, but she choked on it and died. Sherin's foster mother, Sini, has denied any role in the girl's death and says she is cooperating in the investigation. But Richardson police say Sini Mathews has not been as cooperative as she has said, the Fox News report said. --  PTI
15:39   Did Gayle expose himself? Cricketer wins defamation case
The cricketer Chris Gayle has won his defamation case against Fairfax Media after a jury found a series of articles published in 2016 which alleged he exposed his penis to a masseuse were untrue. The jury at the supreme court in Sydney took less than two hours to answer no to all three questions it was asked to consider, including whether he had exposed himself and indecently propositioned her.  Read the full story here.

File pic.
15:35   India, Pak hold DGMO talks at Islamabad's request
Update: India and Pakistan hold DGMO-level talks on Islamabad'srequest, Army sources tell PTI. The Indian Director General of Military Operations tells Pakistani counterpart that support to terrorism by Pakistan Army is unacceptable.

In an unscheduled hotline interaction requested by Pakistan, Indian DGMO Lt Gen AK Bhatt spoke to his counterpart at 2 pm today. The Pakistan DGMO alleged that Indian security forces had resorted to unprovoked firing along the LoC. The Indian DGMO stated that retaliatory firing by Indian troops were only carried out in response to unabated support given by the Pak Army to terrorists. The Indian DGMO further clarified that the Indian Army always maintains impeccable standards of professionalism and does not target civilians.

The last DGMO meet between the two nations was held in July. Till June-end, 103 militants were killed in the Valley and on the LoC, while 72 terrorists were killed during the corresponding time last year. This year, till June end, over 260 ceasefire violations were reported, while last year it was just 14.
15:32   India-Italy ink six agreements
Talks between PM Modi and Italian PM are over; six agreements exchanged including ones on cooperation in railway safety, energy and investment.

PM Modi says the two countries discussed several aspects of cooperation between India and Italy in their detailed meetings today. "Both of us are committed to fight unitedly against terror and on the issue of cyber security. India and Italy are also committed to increase tourism and people-to-people ties between the two countries.
14:59   Trial in nun gang-rape case concludes, verdict on Nov 7
The verdict in the gang-rape case of a 72-year-old nun at Ranaghat in 2015 in Nadia district would be pronounced on November 7 after the trial of six accused concluded in a city court today.

The nun was gang-raped at a convent on March 14, 2015 allegedly by a group of suspected Bangladeshi nationals, who had then decamped with cash from the safe of the convent.

While six persons were arrested by the state CID which probed the case, one of the accused is absconding. The examination of witnesses and pleadings by lawyers representing the accused and the prosecution concluded before Additional District and Sessions Judge Kumkum Sinha here.

The judge said the verdict would be delivered on November seven. Investigation in the case was handed over to the CID by the state government soon after the incident.

The trial was shifted from a court in Ranaghat to the Kolkata sessions court in May 2016 by the Calcutta High Court on a petition by the nun. The nun, who had relocated to Delhi following the incident, had sought transfer of the case to Kolkata stating that she feared for her safety as the accused allegedly had strong links in Ranaghat.

The accused have been charged with and tried for gangrape, dacoity, attempt to cause death or grievous hurt, voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means and criminal conspiracy. The six accused, who are in judicial remand, are Milan Kumar Sarkar, Ohidul Islam, Mohd Selim Sheikh, Nazrul Islam, Khaledar Rahman and Gopal Sarkar. --  PTI
China hints at once again blocking resolution to list JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by UN.
14:26   Kanhaiya Kumar may fight LS polls from Bihar
Former JNU students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar is likely to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from the Begusarai seat in Bihar on a CPI ticket.

"The party is considering fielding Kanhaiya Kumar from the Begusarai Lok Sabha seat or any other seat in Bihar for the next Lok Sabha polls," CPI state secretary Satayanarayan Singh confirmed.

Kanhaiya hails from the Begusarai district, which is considered a stronghold of the CPI.

Singh clarified that the CPI has not formally decided to field Kanhaiya Kumar in the Lok Sabha polls, but the party is under tremendous pressure from the leaders and workers from different Lok Sabha constituencies including Begusarai, to field him.

"Kanhaiya is ready and has agreed to contest the polls as a CPI candidate," Singh said and added that Kanhaiya had visited his village and met party workers in his village.  At present, Bhola Singh is the BJP MP from Begusarai. Interestingly, both Kanhaiya and Bhola Singh belong to the powerful upper caste Bhumihars.

According to CPI leaders, the party is likely to join hands with the RJD and the Congress to contest the 2019 polls.

Last year, during his first visit to Bihar after his arrest in a sedition case booked against him, Kanhaiya Kumar hadf said that his roots are in Bihar. "I was born here. I am a son of Bihar and I know the state, an elated Kanhaiya had said after arriving in the state for the first time since his arrest in a sedition case booked against him.

Earlier,it was reported that Kanhaiya may contest from a Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala, a stronghold of left parties.

-- MI Khan in Patna/

14:05   Nov 8 is a sad day for India, Rahul says ahead of note ban anniv
"November 8 is a sad day for India," Rahul Gandhi said today after meeting Congress leaders ahead of first note ban anniversary. "The PM saying that November 8 will be celebrated conveys the message that he has not understood the pain and feelings of the people," the Congress vice-president said today. He added that the PM has hit the country's economy with two torpedoes of demonetisation and GST which have destroyed it.

Rahul chaired a meeting of party general secretaries to chalk out plans for the first note ban anniversary, being observed as a 'black day' across the country, by the Congress party.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced on November 8 last year that notes of higher denomination had been scrapped.
13:22   Kerala 'love jihad': SC says consent of girl is prime
The Supreme Court directs the father of a Kerala woman, who converted and
married a Muslim man, to produce her before it on November 27. The court says it will interact with the woman in an open court hearing at 3 pm on that day.

The National Investigations Agency tells the court that there is a well-oiled machinery involving radicalisation and love jihad cases in Kerala.

The court today said that the consent of the girl was prime. "The consent of the girl is prime. She is a major," the court said. "Marriage is a personal affair. There is no law stating that a person can't marry a criminal. Don't try to curb individual cases," the court said, while adding that it will examine if parental authority can be exercised on a major.

The NIA has maintained that people with hypnotic expertise are employed to manipulate young women and that consent is manipulated by indoctrination and radicalisation.

Akhila Ashokan or Hadiya, a 25-year-old Hindu girl, converted to Islam after marrying 27-year-old Shafin Jahan. The girl had married Jahan and converted to Islam without her family's consent.

The Kerala High Court had sent the girl with her family after annulling the marriage.
12:33   Hoax caller identified
I am informed that person responsible for Jet flt 339 (Mum-Del) incident causing landing at Ahmedabad, has been identified: Civil aviation minister A Gajapathi Raju.

A Jet Airways flight 9W 339, a Boeing 737-900 from Mumbai to New Delhi, was diverted to Ahmedabad in Gujarat on Monday due to the detection of an on board security threat.
12:31   1 dead, 57 injured in bridge collapse in Kerala
Just in: An old iron bridge used as a walkway has collapsed in Chavara near Kollam, Kerala. Rescue operations underway. One person is believed to have died, while the number of injured is pegged between 20 and 57.  Details awaited.

Image: ANI
11:57   Fly to PoK or people will die: Bomb threat on Jet Airways flight
A Jet Airways flight 9W 339, a Boeing 737-900 from Mumbai to New Delhi, was diverted to Ahmedabad in Gujarat on Monday due to the detection of an on board security threat.

The aircraft landed without incident at Ahmedabad at 4.25 a.m. and was parked at a remote bay, where all 115 guests and seven crew members were safely deplaned. The flight departed at 0255 hours from Mumbai.

"Jet Airways is extending full cooperation to the security agencies who are investigating the matter and is not in a position to comment further at this stagem. The airline regretted the inconvenience caused to its guests and is making efforts to bring them to Delhi at the earliest," Jet Airways spokesperson said.

Jet Airways flight 9W 339 BOM-DEL diverted to Ahmedabad as pilot in command was informed by the crew that a note was found in toilet stating, "9W 339 is covered by hijackers and a/c should not land and flown straight to POK. 12 ppl on board. If you put landing you can hear the noise of people dying. Don't take it as a joke. Cargo area contains explosive bombs and will blast if you land in DEL. Allah is great."

Soon after receiving the message, the Bomb Threat Action Committee (BTAC) assembled at the Ahmedabad airport and started the investigation process.  -- PTI
11:51   Tushar Gandhi moves SC opposing reopening of Mahatma's assassination case
Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, today moved the Supreme Court opposing a plea seeking reopening of the 70-year-old assassination case of the Mahatma.

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and M M Shantanagoudar questioned the locus of Tushar Gandhi in the case. Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for Gandhi, said she will explain the locus if the court moves ahead with issuing of notice.

The bench said there were several ifs and buts in the case and will like to wait for the amicus curiae (friend of the court) Amrender Sharan's report. Sharan sought four weeks time to file the report, saying he was yet to receive relevant documents from the National Archives.

Jaising said that she is opposing the reopening of the 70-year-old assassination case of Mahatma and also questioned the locus of the petitioner, Mumbai-based Pankaj Phadnis, a researcher and a trustee of Abhinav Bharat. The bench listed the matter after four weeks.

The apex court had on October 6 appointed senior advocate Sharan as amicus curiae to assist it in the matter. The bench had raised a volley of questions including how evidence could be collected now to order further investigation into the case which had led to the conviction and execution of Nathuram Vinayak Godse and Narayan Apte on November 15, 1949.

Gandhi was shot dead at point blank range in New Delhi on January 30, 1948 by Godse, a right-wing advocate of Hindu nationalism. Phadnis has sought reopening of the probe on several grounds, claiming it was one of the biggest cover-ups in the history. -- PTI
11:42   How 'Hindutva' recast India as the Hindu homeland
'Hindutva,' explained Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1923, is 'not a word, but a history.' It was introduced in a lengthy pamphlet, Essentials of Hindutva, which Savarkar wrote on the walls of his prison cell, and re-published in 1928 under the new title Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? 'A Hindu,' Savarkar declared, 'means a person who regards this land of Bharat Varsha''" a name for ancient India used in the Puranas, a set of foundational Hindu texts -- 'as his Fatherland as well as his Holy-Land, that is the cradle land of his religion.'  Read more
11:39   Remonetisation, or the Great Indian Hope Trick
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley plans to revitalise the countrys state banks with a 2 trillion rupee injection money he wants to raise by selling those exact same financial institutions special bonds. Will such sorcery pay off? Read more
The SC issues notice to Centre on separate plea challenging linking of mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar, seeks reply within four weeks.
11:20   Aadhar: SC says Mamata can't challenge Central Act
The Supreme Court responds to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee saying the state cannot challenge a Central Act. The court said she could challenge the Act as an individual but not as state.

Banerjee had challenged the mandatory Aadhaar rules in the Supreme Court and announced that she would rather have her phone disconnected than submit to the new rule requiring every citizen to link their Aadhaar card number to their mobile number.  

"I will not link #Aadhaar with my phone, if they want to disconnect my phone, let them," Banerjee said defiantly, addressing her Trinamool Congress party's core committee meeting.

All phone users have to link their Aadhaar card numbers to their mobile phones to avoid disconnection, a government notice said in March. The Aaadhaar number is also essential for subscribers going for new SIMs.
11:07   Tushar Gandhi moves SC reopening Mahatma's assassination case
Tushar Gandhi, great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, moves the Supreme Court opposing the reopening of the assassination case of the Mahatma. Amicus curiae Amrender Sharan seeks four weeks time, saying he is yet to receive documents from the National Archives.
10:09   China plans 1000-km tunnel to carry water from Tibet to Xinjiang
'Chinese engineers are testing techniques that could be used to build a 1,000km tunnel -- the world's longest -- to carry water from Tibet to Xinjiang, experts involved in the project say,' reports Stephen Chen in the South China Morning Post.   

'The proposed tunnel, which would drop down from the world's highest plateau in multiple sections connected by waterfalls, would "turn Xinjiang into California', one geotechnical engineer said,' he writes.   

You can read more on this engineering and technological marvel, here.
10:05   Was Washington, DC, behind Modi Sarkar's demonetisation move?
As we approach the first anniversary of a decision on whose efficacy the jury is still out, here's Norbert Haering, a German financial journalist and a PhD in economics, writing in 'George Washington's Blog' on    

'Not even four weeks before this assault on Indians, USAID had announced the establishment of "Catalyst: Inclusive Cashless Payment Partnership', with the goal of effecting a quantum leap in cashless payment in India. The press statement of October 14 says that Catalyst "marks the next phase of partnership between USAID and Ministry of Finance to facilitate universal financial inclusion'. The statement does not show up in the list of press statements on the website of USAID (anymore?). Not even filtering statements with the word "India' would bring it up. To find it, you seem to have to know it exists, or stumble upon it in a web search. Indeed, this and other statements, which seemed rather boring before, have become a lot more interesting and revealing after November 8.'   

Further, he writes: 'Who are the institutions behind this decisive attack on cash? Upon the presentation of the Beyond-Cash-report, USAID declared: "Over 35 key Indian, American and international organizations have partnered with the Ministry of Finance and USAID on this initiative.' On the ominously named website one can see that they are mostly IT- and payment service providers who want to make money from digital payments or from the associated data generation on users. Many are veterans of what a high-ranking official of Deutsche Bundesbank called the "war of interested financial institutions on cash' (in German). They include the Better Than Cash Alliance, the Gates Foundation (Microsoft), Omidyar Network (eBay), the Dell Foundation Mastercard, Visa, Metlife Foundation.'   

You can read the full post, here.
09:58   House of Cards' Kevin Spacey comes out as gay man, apologises for sexual advances
Kevin Spacey has come out as a gay man while simultaneously apologising to Anthony Rapp.

Rapp, the 46-year-old Star Trek: Discovery actor, accused the House of Cards actor actor of making a pass at him when he was only 14 years old, Kevin issued a statement on social media on Sunday night.

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. Im beyond horrified to hear his story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago, he wrote. 

But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.

This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy. As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic relationships with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behaviour.
09:54   NCP backs Chidambaram after PM Modi slammed the latter
The Nationalist Congress Party on Monday came out in support of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a scathing attack on the latter for his 'Kashmir' remark.

NCP leader Tariq Anwar said, "PM Modi is trying to represent P Chidambaram's statement in wrong light."

Echoing almost the same viewpoint, another senior NCP leader Majeed Memon said that he doesn't think that the statement is an insult to the soldiers.

"I don't think that it is an insult to brave soldiers, nobody is undermining the efforts of our soldiers who are constantly defending our country. We always salute them, appreciate their efforts," he said.

"This is not a dispute between Congress and BJP; Kashmir has been a contiguous issue for more than past half century. This has been going from government to government. Therefore this is nothing new that the local people need freedom. What the local people of Kashmir want is the question and unfortunately that has not been determined for all these years. We are trying to impose upon them," he added.

On Sunday afternoon, while addressing a gathering in Bengaluru, Prime Minister Modi lashed out at the Congress; he also said Chidambaram's remarks were reflective of party's view on the army.

-- ANI
09:44   Slugfest in Hindu Kush
Starting with the visits to New Delhi by Russian presidential envoy Zamir Kabulov and by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani soon thereafter, to the regional tour by the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, recent weeks have thrust the Afghanistan issue to the forecourt of regional politics. The emergent regional alignments hold dark forebodings that the Afghan problem is not going to be solvable in a near-term scenario, says Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar on Rediff Blogs, here.
09:37   Modi-Gentiloni meet to boost Indo-Italian ties after recent freeze
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni met on Monday after relations had turned frosty following a face-off over two Italian marines killing two Indian fishermen in 2012.

Gentiloni, who arrived on Sunday on a two-day visit, will have a 90-minute one on one meeting with Modi ahead of talks between the delegations of the two countries at noon.

The two leaders will meet the top CEOs of each others countries.

Gentilonis visit is the first by an Italian PM in 10 years nearly four of which saw a strain in ties between New Delhi and Rome over two Italian marines killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012.

"The visit is aimed at strengthening the bilateral political and economic relations between the two countries, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will also call on Gentiloni. The Italian PM will visit both President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.
09:15   Amit Shah to join Yogi in Himachal Pradesh, campaign for party ahead of polls
BJP national president Amit Shah, who will join Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath in the election campaign, will address his first public meeting in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh on Monday.

Shah will be in the state for two days. During his trip, the BJP president will address four rallies and hold a number of party meetings, including the state party's core group, a party leader said.

The party chief is expected to hold close to 15 rallies during the entire Himachal election campaign. Shah will address a public rally each at Banikhet and Chalwara on Monday, the sources added.

On Sunday, Adityanath said the Congress has turned the land of Gods into the land of crime, urging the people of Himachal Pradesh to vote for the BJP to end the mafia rule in the state.

Campaigning for BJP candidates at Arki and Haroli, he said only crime and corruption increased under the rule of Congress in Himachal Pradesh. "The Congress has turned the 'dev bhoomi' (land of Gods) into 'apraadh bhoomi' (land of crime). It has sullied the name of the state, which is now known as forest and mining mafia, and illegal activities," he said.

The BJP is hopeful of getting a clear majority by defeating the incumbent Congress government in the north Indian state.
08:57   China's Xi tells herdsmen to settle down near India border
Chinese President Xi Jinping has told herdsmen bordering Arunachal Pradesh to "set down roots" to safeguard "Chinese territory" and focus on developing their hometown. 

"Without peace in the territory, there will be no peaceful lives for the millions of families," Xi, who began his second term in office after the once-in-five-years Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China this week endorsed his second tenure, wrote to a herding family in Lhunze County in Tibet, official media reported today. 

Xi told the herding family from Lhunze County, near the Himalayas in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, to set down roots in the border area, safeguard "Chinese territory" and develop their hometown. 

India asserts that the Sino-Indian border dispute covers the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control, while China claims it is confined to about 2,000 km to the area of Arunachal Pradesh, which it refers to as Southern Tibet. 

-- PTI
08:37   After cars, Saudi Arabia to allow women to enter stadiums from 2018
Saudi Arabia will allow women into sports stadiums for the first time from next year, authorities said, in a landmark move opening up three previously male-only venues to families.

The ultra-conservative kingdom, which has some of the world's tightest restrictions on women, has long barred women from sports arenas by strict rules on segregation of the sexes in public.

The announcement is in line with powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's ambitious reforms shaking up the kingdom, including the historic decision to allow women to drive from next June.

"Starting the preparation of three stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam to be ready to accommodate families from early 2018," the General Sports Authority said on Twitter.

Restaurants, cafes and video screens would be set up inside the venues, the authority added. 

Last month hundreds of women were allowed to enter a sports stadium in Riyadh, used mostly for football matches, in a one-off event to celebrate Saudi Arabia's national day.

Last month, a royal decree said women would be allowed to drive. The kingdom is also expected to lift a public ban on cinemas and has encouraged mixed-gender celebrations something unseen before.
07:53   Aadhaar, 'love jihad', Article 35A: SC to take up cases today
From Aadhaar to "love jihad" in Kerala, a string of high-profile cases riveting the nation are up for hearing in the Supreme Court on Monday, making it a day of significant judicial importance.

A bench led by Justice AK Sikri will hear the West Bengal government's petition against the Centre's move to make Aadhaar, a 12-digit unique identification number for citizens, mandatory to get social welfare benefits.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra will take up petitions seeking repeal of Article 35(A), a law that guarantees special privileges to the restive state of Jammu and Kashmir.

While a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra will hear a Muslim man's request for overturning a Kerala high court order that cancelled his marriage with a Hindu girl after she converted to Islam. Misra questioned the order in the previous hearing.

A special bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra will also assemble to take up a case related to reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India, one of the richest sports organisations in the world.