Fri, 15 September 2017
Will join hands with Rajini if he enters politics: Kamal Haasan

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23:31   Will join hands with Rajini if he enters politics: Kamal Haasan
After claiming that he would form his own political party, actor Kamal Haasan on Friday said that he would be willing to work with Rajinikanth if the superstar ever decides to enter politics.

However, he added that he would not enter politics in haste.

"There are questions whether I will join hands with Rajinikanth in politics. If Rajini enters politics I'll join hands with him," the actor said.

In a recent interview to the leading website, the actor asserted that he was thinking of launching a political party.

Voicing his opinion on the present political scenario in Tamil Nadu, the megastar said, "The sacking of V K Sasikala (as the general secretary of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) was a solid step forward."

On the work front, Haasan is busy with post production work of his forthcoming film Vishwaroopam. -- ANI

IMAGE: Actor Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan with DMK working president M K Stalin at an event in Chennai last month.  Photograph: R Senthil Kumar/PTI Photo
22:48   After criticism, Bengal givt eases restrictions on Durga idol immersion
The West Bengal government, which drew flak over restrictions on immersion of Durga idols, today told the Calcutta high court that immersion will be allowed till 10 pm on September 30, though Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier said that it will be permitted only till 6 pm on that day.

State Advocate General Kishore Dutta said a notification was yesterday issued which allowed the immersion of idols till 10 pm on Vijaya Dashami (September 30).

The immersion will not be allowed on October 1 on account of Muharram but it will again be permitted on October 2.

The court was hearing a plea which wanted that the immersion be allowed till 1.36 am on October 1 in accordance with the Hindu almanac.

On August 23, Banerjee had told reporters that immersion will not be allowed after 6 pm on September 30 and on October1 in view of Muharram.

The move had sparked a controversy with the Bharatiya Janata Party accusing her of indulging in appeasement politics.

After the AG's submission, a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborty today asked whether immersion of Durga idols can be allowed after 10 pm also on Vijaya Dashami and directed the state counsel to inform it about the government's views on Monday, till when the matter was adjourned.

The petitioner submitted before the court that according to a Hindu almanac, Vijaya Dashami will continue till 1.36 am on October one, on which date Muharram is to be observed.

Petitioner's counsel Smarajit Roy Chowdhury prayed before the court that immersion of the idols in rivers and other water bodies in the state be allowed till 1.36 am in accordance with the 'Vishudha Siddhanta', one of the three almanacs by which the Durga pujas are held in the state.

The state government told the court that it has allowed immersion of idols on Vijaya Dashami at the end of the five-day Durga Puja celebrations till 10 pm to ensure law and order.

Immersion of idols would again be allowed from October 2, the state informed the court.  -- PTI
22:21   230 children fall ill after eating school meals in Odisha
A total of 230 students, including 150 girls, were taken ill allegedly after consuming food in different schools in Odisha's Malkangiri and Kalahandi districts, officials said on Friday.

Around 150 girls of a government-run residential school fell ill with symptoms of food-poisoning at Badapada in remote Chitrakonda area of Malkangiri allegedly after taking breakfast today, said Ramkrishna Gond, Project Administrator of Integrated Tribal Development Agency.

The affected girls of the residential school for tribals were immediately taken to a local hospital after they complained of vomiting, loose-motion, nausea and stomach pain, he said.

They were later shifted to the hospital at Chitrakonda for better medical treatment, Gond said, adding that a probe was on to ascertain the cause of the incident.

Besides Gond, Malkangiri District Collector K Sudarshan Chakravarthy visited the hospital to enquire about the condition of the girls, who were being provided proper medical treatment, officials said.

Similar incidents were reported from Kalahandi district where 80 students of five schools fell ill allegedly after eating mid-day meal yesterday, officials said.

The students of schools at Luma, Kubri, Bandhpari, Ranjendrapur and Dangri villages under Lanjigarh block complained of vomiting, nausea and stomach pain after consuming the meal yesterday, they said.

The affected students were taken to the government hospital at Biswanathpur and two of them were referred to the Bhawanipatna government Hospital.

The midday meal for 176 schools of Lanjigarh block isprepared and supplied by a trust, they said, adding that thecooked food was sent to different schools by vehicles.

The district education officer, sub-collector and tahasildar visited Biswanathpur to monitor the situation.

DEO Pradip Kumar Naik said more than 80 students of five schools had been affected and provided with treatment. Many of them have already been discharged from hospital.

He said the situation was under control and the affected students were recovering fast.

Kalahandi Collector Anjan kumar Manik said the cause of the illness would be ascertained after enquiry which was in progress.  -- PTI

Representative image.
21:12   CPI-M MP Ritabrata Banerjee expelled from party
The Communist Party of India-Marxist on Friday expelled its Rajya Sabha member Ritabrata Banerjee for 'gross anti-party activity', its West Bengal secretary Surya Kanta Mishra said.

"For gross anti-party activity, Ritabrata Banerjee is expelled from the primary membership of the party," Mishra said in a statement.

"On September 13, the decision was taken at the party's state secretariat meeting. The decision was endorsed by CPI-M Politburo," Mishra, also a CPI-M Politburo member, said.

In a recent interview to a vernacular TV channel, Banerjee had lambasted the probe commission headed by Politburo member Mohammed Selim.

The commission was set up by the party to look into the charges against him.

He had also made critical comments against Politburo member Prakash Karat.

Mishra said that Banerjee was suspended from the party in June for three months after allegations of breaking the party's discipline.

A three-member internal inquiry committee was formed to look into the allegations and the committee had submitted its report in August and found him guilty.

Following this, the CPI-M West Bengal committee had sent a recommendation to the Central Committee seeking action against him. He was also asked to rectify himself, Mishra said.

"But several attempts to rectify him failed and instead of rectifying himself, he continued to malign the image of the party. On September 11, in a television interview he publicly tried to malign the party and on that basis the state secretariat decided decided to expel him (Banerjee) from the party," Mishra said.  -- PTI
20:02   CID to assist SIT probing Gauri Lankesh's killing
The Crime Investigation Department will share the details of its probe into the killing of rationalist M M Kalburgi with the Special Investigation Team probing the Gauri Lankesh case, a top official said today.

Gauri was shot dead outside her house by unidentified men who came on a motorcycle on September 5. The modus operandi bore a grim resemblance to the way rationalists Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and Kalburgi were gunned down.

Additional director general of police (CID) C H Pratap Reddy told reporters that the CID had succeeded in establishing that a similar type of pistol was used to gun down Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and Kalburgi who was killed in August 2015.

"The modus operandi in all the three previous cases was similar. Murderers came on motorcycles and shot them dead. Initial reports suggest that in the Gauri Lankesh case too, the assailants came on a bike and shot her dead," he said.

However, he said at this point it would be premature to say it was the handiwork of the same gang who killed Kalburgi.

"The SIT is working on it and they are better positioned to say anything on this," Reddy said.

Even 11 days after the incident that caused nationwide anger and protests, the SIT is yet to get any breakthrough into the case.

The SIT has said it was also looking into whether any right-wing organisation was involved or it was the handiwork of Naxalites, who were reportedly unhappy with the efforts of Gauri to bring them into the mainstream. -- PTI
18:59   Steep rise in India's current account deficit
JUST IN: India's current account deficit increases sharply to 2.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Percent in first quarter, from 0.1 per cent a year ago, the Reserve Bank of India said.

The government said that exports rose by 10.29 per cent to $23.81 billion in August.

The trade deficit has been widened to $11.64 billion. -- PTI
18:34   Centre to soon link Aadhaar with driving licence
The Centre will soon start linking driving licence with Aadhaar, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today.

"It would be done soon to check the menace of multiple licensing," he said, after inaugurating the Haryana Digital Summit-2017 in Gurugram.

"I have already had a word with Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari, in this regard and the process to link Aadhaar with driving licence would be set in motion soon," he said.

Referring to the debate on security of Aadhaar data, Prasad said the biometric information -- which includes iris scan and fingerprints -- is stored in an encrypted form and is very secure.

"If you look at the physical card, it has my photo, says I am a male and has my permanent Patna address at the back. It does not have details like names of my parents, caste, religion, educational qualification, financial income or health records. None of the things by which you can be profiled are mentioned on the Aadhaar card," he said.

He added that 'Aadhaar is a digital identity' which confirms the physical identity with the help of biometrics and there are laws in place to check against unauthorised usage of Aadhaar.

The central government has linked PAN card to Aadhaar to stop money laundering, an official statement quoting him said.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and state's Urban Local Bodies Minister Kavita Jain, were also present at the Summit, organised by the state government. Prasad said the Central government had selected 48,000 seats in BPO industries in small cities of the country.

Asking the chief minister to promote BPO industry in cities like Rohtak and Jhajjar, he gave the assurance that his ministry would support the state government in this regard. -- PTI
17:53   London terror attack: Several trampled in rush to escape
An improvised explosive device today went off on an underground train during the morning rush hour at a busy station in London, leaving at least 22 people injured, in what Scotland Yard called a "terrorist incident".

The explosion happened on a District Line Tube as the train pulled into Parsons Green station in southwest London. Scotland Yard said a suspected "bucket bomb" exploded and the incident was being treated as a "terrorist attack".

The London Ambulance Service said 18 people have been taken to hospital, and four more reached there on their own. Most of the injured people suffered burn injuries.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said they "assess" an IED triggered the blast. He said more police would be deployed in London, particularly on the transport network but refused to say whether anyone had been arrested. British media reported of pictures of a white bucket on fire inside a supermarket bag, with wires trailing on to the carriage floor of the train. Several people were said to have suffered facial burns.

Some reportedly were trampled in the rush to escape. Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism squad, SO15, arrived at the scene at Parsons Green Tube station and took the lead in the investigation from the British Transport Police.
17:50   Journalist killed by crocodile while washing his hands in Sri Lankan lagoon
A Financial Times journalist was killed by a crocodile whilst washing his hands in a lagoon in Sri Lanka during a holiday with friends. Paul McClean, 24, an Oxford University graduate, is believed to have wandered off from friends in order to go to the toilet, before being ambushed by the reptile as he dipped his hands in the water. He is said to have been seen "waving his hands in the air' in desperation before being dragged under water at a lagoon known as Crocodile Rock, located just just minutes from a popular surfing beach.
17:29   Simran Review: Kangana is adorable!
"Kangana Ranaut is quite adorable as the jaunty, lively Praful, who lives life with a certain gay abandon, having no qualms in drinking down multiple shots in a few minutes or going up to men in bars uttering klutzy pick up lines like 'Are you tired? Because you are running in my mind' or telling off potential bed partners off with 'You are a cute guy, but not a decent guy. No protection, no sex, my friend.' And when she gets into her best dress in the film, an off-shoulder sexy red one, her curly hair a cloud about her head, she's a knockout."

Read the full review here.

17:19   CBI takes over Ryan school murder probe
The Haryana government hands over the Pradyuman Thakur case to the CBI. Haryana CM ML Khattar announced that the state government will take over the school management for three months. 

On Wednesday, Special Investigation Teams searched the Ryan International School for clues to the crime while a Central Bureau of Secondary Education panel also inspected the premises to examine loopholes in security arrangements.

The Gurugram Police's SIT probing the crime also took samples of fingerprints and shoes at the crime scene, including the toilet, a day after recreating the sequence of events there. Read more on that here.

17:04   London explosion: Number of injured rises to 22
British media quotes the National Health Service in England as saying that 22 people are now being treated in four hospitals across London for the injuries they suffered from Friday morning's explosion in a train at Parsons Green station.

London Ambulance service took 18 patients to hospital, while another four self-presented, the Guardian quoted the NHS as saying. -- Agencies

IMAGE: A police officer escorts an injured woman from the scene at Parsons Green Underground Station. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
16:59   Knife-wielding man attacks soldier in Paris
A knife-wielding man attacked a soldier in Paris today.

The soldier, who was part of an anti-terrorism operation known as Sentinelle, rapidly tackled the man and was uninjured.

The attacker was taken into custody.

The man had lunged at the soldier at the central Chatelet metro station around 6.30 am (04.30 GMT), a police source said.

Investigators have opened an anti-terror probe, the government said.  -- Agencies

Representative image.
16:33   Londoners 'put the kettle on' for people affected by explosion
After the Friday morning terror attack, Londoners have offered to 'put the kettle on' for people affected by the explosion in Parsons Green, said reports in British media.

As the station was evacuated and hordes of people flooded the area, a Twitter user Katy Dunn posted: 'If anyone is feeling shocked or confused at Parsons Green, I'm round the corner and the kettle's on', reported the Guardian.

Another user James Edge tweeted: 'Anyone who's now stuck in Parsons Green/Fulham drop me a line and I'll get the kettle on!'

Chelsea and Fulham Dentist, a five-minute walk away from the tube station, also offered people a place to shelter.

The report quoted dentist Dahlia Sunba, who co-owns the practice with her husband, as saying: 'I could see people wandering around aimlessly. We can see helicopters overhead. It's a little bit unnerving and people look slightly distressed. We have tea and coffee and biscuits. We're more than happy to give them a cup of tea or coffee.'  -- ANI

IMAGE: An injured woman is led away after an incident at Parsons Green underground station in London on Friday. Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Reuters
15:58   'India pushing Myanmar to take back Rohingya refugees'
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has expressed solidarity with Bangladesh over the Rohingya crisis and said India is putting pressure on Myanmar to take back refugees who have fled the Buddhist-majority nation, a top aide of Bangladesh Prime Minister has said.

More than 300,000 Rohingya have poured into Bangladesh since the latest flare-up in violence on August 25, adding to around 300,000 refugees already living in Bangladesh, close to the border with Myanmar. "She (Swaraj) called our Prime Minister last night and conveyed her country's solidarity with Bangladesh over the Myanmar refugee issue," Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina deputy press secretary Nazrul Islam told PTI.

Swaraj, he said, told the Bangladesh premier that the crisis by now appeared as an international issue while India was trying to put "pressure bilaterally and multilaterally on Myanmar to stop persecution on ethnic minority Rohingya Muslims" and take back the refugees who fled to Bangladesh. -- PTI
15:47   PMO upset with Bharti, Rudy
In other news, the Prime Minister's Office, is reportedly upset with senior BJP leaders Uma Bharti and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who were eased out of their ministerial portfolios recently.

The buzz is that both the leaders have imported and expensive wooden panels gracing their homes. Bharti has said that the cost of her wooden panels is less than Rs 8 lakh, but Rudy's panel is far more expensive. But obviously, this is not the main reason for the PMO's ire.

In the aftermath of their sackings, both the ministers have openly expressed their displeasure at the party's decision to relieve them of their portfolios. The RSS backed Bharti, which is why she retained the Drinking Water and Sanitation portfolio and lost out on Ganga rejuvenation, but Rudy, not a favourite with the Sangh, has no portfolio. 
15:37   Won't be defeated by terrorism: London mayor
Statement by London mayor Sadiq Khan on the terror attack on the tube.

"The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that the explosion on a train at Parsons Green Station this morning is being treated as terrorism. Our city utterly condemns the hideous individuals who attempt to use terror to harm us and destroy our way of life. As London has proven again and again, we will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism. I am in close contact with the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, Government and other emergency services who are responding at the scene and leading the investigation. I will be attending the emergency COBRA meeting in Whitehall this afternoon with the Prime Minister. My sincere gratitude goes to all our courageous emergency responders and the TfL staff who were first on the scene. I urge all Londoners to remain calm and vigilant, and to check TfL's website for travel advice."

Sadiq Khan
Mayor of London

An explosion on a London Underground train at Parsons Green that sent a "fireball" through a packed carriage is being treated by police as a terrorist incident.

Scotland Yard said "a number of people" had been injured, adding that it was "too early" to confirm the cause of the blast during the Friday morning rush-hour. No arrests have so far been reported.

Image: Shocked commuters comfort each other after the explosion. Pic: Reuters.
15:27   Rohingyas: Home has to be elsewhere
There is a political reason why India should not welcome Rohingyas. The country earlier experienced a silent wave of illegal immigration, from Bangladesh. Over time, this has changed the demography of Assam, with deleterious political consequences. It fuelled a popular insurgency there, and illegals are a permanent fixture of its politics, with a political party that champions their cause. It is not inconceivable -- rather, it is quite likely -- that something similar happens with Rohingyas. Their settling down in Jammu could have another Assam brew in a much more difficult corner of India. There is no need to speculate on the future, but a warning bell has already been sounded.  Read more
15:23   London terror attack: Theresa May to chair security meet
London terror attack: Downing Street said Theresa May was "receiving regular updates''. The PM will chair a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee this afternoon. She said: "My thoughts are with those injured at Parsons Green and emergency services who are responding bravely to this terrorist incident.'
What were China's objectives in the Doklam dispute?

Read it here.
15:01   Don't want war, but India is prepared: Sitharaman
Newly-inducted Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that India is not walking on the path of war, but at the same time, the army is prepared for any situation.

"India is not walking on the path of war, but at the same time, I would like to add that our army is prepared for any situation," said the Defence Minister.

Vowing to ensure the security of the nation, Sitharaman told the media that the Defence Ministry is taking necessary action to eliminate terrorism and have been successful too.

"Besides, we have also prevented a damaging situation from arising," she added.

With daily instances of ceasefire violation by Pakistan, the Defence Ministry is expected to take strong actions. In this regard, Sitharaman expressed refrain in taking any such action that can later have a negative impact on the nation's security and peace.

"We are handling the border-related matters in a comprehensive way ensuring there is no harm to the nation, and peace is maintained," said Sitharaman.
The BBC reports that the Parsons Green tube explosion is being treated as "terrorism". 
Much ado about nothing: ancient Indian text contains earliest zero symbol. Read more
14:38   India to be open-defecation free by 2019: Rajnath
The whole country is expected to be open defecation free by October, 2019, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today.

The government is confident of fulfilling the prime minister's vision of making India open defecation free by October, 2019, Singh said after launching the 'Swachhta Hi Sewa' (Cleanliness is Service) campaign of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The home minister said for cleanliness, the central government was implementing a Rs 12,000-crore action plan through 76 ministries and departments.

"Providing toilet facility at home will ensure safety and dignity of women. 'Swachhta Hi Sewa' campaign will help improve nutrition and productivity of our children," he said.

The home minister said Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana and Uttarakhand have already been declared open defecation free.

"Toilets have been constructed in about 4.60 lakh houses and 4 lakh schools," he said. Singh said the use of technology for creating wealth from waste was the government's priority.
14:27   London blast: Explosives team on site
London tube explosion:  The BBC reports that police officials say it's too early to pinpoint who they think caused the explosion at Parson Green but that an EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) team is at the site looking at forensic clues. Met Police SO15 Counter Terrorism Command are leading the response.
14:17   'Connaught Place world's 10th most expensive office location'
In other news, New Delhi's Connaught Place has slipped one position to become the tenth most expensive office location in the world with an annual rent of USD 111 per sq ft, according to property consultant CBRE.

Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Complex is at 16th rank while Nariman Point is at 30th position in the CBRE's latest report Global Prime Office Rent H1 2017.

Asia dominated the top ten most expensive markets in the world, with Hong Kong holding two of the top three most expensive office markets. Hong Kong's (Central) ranked first with overall prime office rent of USD 269 per sq ft per year, followed by Beijing (Finance Street) at USD 174 per sq ft and Hong Kong (West Kowloon) at USD 164 per sq ft. New York (Midtown Manhattan) and Beijing (CBD) rounded the top five, with Tokyo (Marunouchi/Otemachi), Shanghai (Pudong) and New Delhi (Connaught Place - CBD) also featuring in the top ten most expensive list.
London tube explosion: Alex @carefreealex tweets: Been stuck 5m from the platform at Parsons Green for a little over an hour now.
A bomb squad and armed police have all been seen arriving at the station following the blast which happened in a white bucket inside a Lidl carrier bag, reports the

A reporter from the website, who was at the scene described seeing people with facial burns, adding that they were really badly burned and their hair was coming off.

Fire crews and paramedics also rushed to the scene to help people after the fireball went down the carriage.

They said that the rear of the train filled with smoke and people left the train, some panicking, at Parsons Green.

One woman described how she had hurt her legs and had seen a large flame fill the carriage and another woman had ash in her hair.

Others went to nearby coffee shops before they were told to leave so that injured people could be treated.

People quickly started saying that a bomb had gone off, sparking panic.
Initially people were told they could not leave the station before an evacuation took place.

Another witness said that the train had put in a mayday call and the Wimbledon branch was suspended.

Image: People abandoned their belongings as they ran from the train at Parsons Green (Picture: Andy Webb)
13:51   Explosion at London tube station
Commuters using the London underground rail were reportedly injured in an explosion at the Parsons Green station in west London, reports the Independent. Transport for London said the District Line was partially suspended because of a "security alert". No reports yet on whether it was a bomb explosion. There is a large number of immigrants residing at Parsons Green.

A picture on social media shows a bucket inside a bag, but does not appear to show extensive damage in the carriage. The BBC reports that witnesses have described seeing passengers with facial injuries. Some commuters said that a fireball 'flew' threw the train.

Others have spoken of "panic" as passengers left the train at Parsons Green station in the Fulham area of the capital.

The Metropolitan Police said they were aware of the incident but could not provide further information. Details awaited.

Image: @RRigs tweets this picture of the burning bag inside a bucket.
13:09   October 31: EC's decision on AIADMK's 2-leaves symbol
The Madras High Court asks the Election Commission to decide on the AIADMK's two leaves symbol by October 31. The Election Commission had blocked the AIADMK's 'two leaves' party symbol in March after the then rival factions led by K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam staked claim to it ahead of the by-poll necessitated by J Jayalalithaa's death.

The 'two leaves' symbol has been synonymous with the AIADMK since it was founded by actor-turned-politician MG Ramachandran.

Also read:Why the two leaves symbol is so important for AIADMK
13:02   Naidu's month as India's vice president
Our sources tell us that Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has been feeling isolated, removed as he is from the political hustle-bustle that he was used to as a cabinet minister. Naidu feels he is now a prisoner of protocol.

A few media persons were invited to his home in New Delhi and were given a guided tour of the house. His predecessor, Hamid Ansari had built a huge prayer hall in the official residence of the vice president which will now be used for meetings. Naidu said that a Hanuman Temple and a mosque are also inside the Vice-Presidential  complex.

Naidu as Chairman of the Rajya Sabha has revealed that the CEO of Rajya Sabha Television made a presentation to him about the wasteful expenditure incurred and misappropriation in engaging cars and taxis. 

Naidu also raised the question how Rajya Sabha TV made a film for Rs 10 crore and who had authorised it. An internal inquiry has since been ordered. Media reports say that the channel has spent Rs 1,700 crore over four years from 2010-2014.

Naidu will soon travel to Bidar in Karnataka for launching the "Swachhta Hi Seva' programme spearheaded by President Ram Nath Kovind over a fortnight. Both Naidu and Kovind have decided to take forward the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, as they feel that it is not a political programme of the government, but one that must be converted into a mass movement. Naidu said that as the vice president, he could be more involved in pushing the sanitation programme through, which he had overseen as the urban affairs minister before assuming the constitutional post last month.
12:18   India, Pak hold talks on Indus Waters Treaty
India and Pakistan are holding high-level talks on technical issues of the Indus Waters Treaty here, a senior World Bank official has said. "These meetings are a continuation of a discussion on how to safeguard the Treaty for the benefit of the people in both countries," a World Bank spokesperson told PTI.

The meetings between India and Pakistan on the technical issues of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) are taking place in Washington on September 14-15, the spokesperson added. The World Bank in August had said that under the IWT, India is permitted to construct hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions.
11:52   If Taslima Nasreen can stay in India, why can't Rohingyas: Owaisi
Citing example of refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka residing in India, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Friday tore into Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Government over sending the Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar, saying that Rohingya refugess should be allowed to take shelter in the country just like other refugees are.

Owaisi also mentioned about the noted Bangladeshi writer, Taslima Nasreen, who has been living in India in exile since 1994 and asserted that if the former can be the sister of Prime Minister Modi, why can't Rohingyas be his 'brothers'.

"If Taslima Nasreen can stay here, why can't Rohingyas? If Taslima can be the prime minister's sister, can't Rohingyas become his brothers?" Owaisi said, while addressing a gathering here."Is this humanity to send those people back who have lost everything? This is wrong. Under which law, can the Centre send all the Rohingya refugees back?" he added.

He even questioned India's wish to get a permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council."The Indian Government wants a permanent membership in the UN Security Council. Will this be there attitude as a super power? Can the Centre send back those Muslims back, who even have the permission of the Human Rights Council to stay here?" Owaisi said.

Further referring to the Sri Lankan refugees staying in Tamil Nadu, Owaisi said that they were allowed to stay in India even after being accused of spreading terrorism.

He even mentioned about the Chakma people of Bangladesh, who came to India in 1971 and have been living in Arunachal Pradesh, and Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, who is treated as a guest in India.

"Isn't a refugee staying in the camps of Tamil Nadu, even when it was claimed that these refugees are involved in spreading terrorism? Why were they not sent back to Sri Lanka? After the formation of Bangladesh, the Chakmas came to India, and got the status of refugees," he said.

Owaisi even requested the National Democratic Alliance Government to not see Rohingyas as Muslims, but to consider them are refugees.
11:02   Kamal Haasan to form his own political party
Between the two, it's actor Kamal Haasan who seems to have taken the political plunge first.

Rajinikanth, who has been testing waters, is yet to announce his political debut. 

Kamal Haasan said yesterday that he will form his own political party as none of the existing ones can provide a platform for his reformatory ideology.

In a recent interview to The Quint, the actor said he was thinking of launching a political party, out of compulsion and not choice.

Yes, I am thinking on those lines, not out of choice but compulsion. Which existent political party can provide me with a platform or an ideology that will match my reformatory goals in politics? the actor told the website.

In the interview, the actor also took issue with the media linking him to any political party whose leader he happens to be meeting. The other day, I met the Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and I was supposed to have developed a penchant for communism.... A political party is about an ideology. And I dont think my goals in politics can match the ideology of any political party, he told The Quint.

Kamal Haasan, who is currently hosting the Tamil edition of reality show Bigg Boss, had also recently said that saffron was not his colour, a veiled reference to the BJP and the RSS.

"My colour is definitely not saffron. That much I can say now," he had told reporters, in response to questions whether he would swing to the Left or Right.

Image: Kamal Haasan with Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.
10:52   Safety first, bullet train later, Sena advises Modi
The Shiv Sena on Friday continued its attack on India and Japan's joint venture of bullet train. In the editorial of its mouthpiece, Saamna, the party said that if Indian railways had taken lessons from Japan on the safety formula of its railway system, the country would have been happier.

The latest attack comes in the wake of derailment of the Jammu Rajdhani Express, one of India's premiere trains. The incident happened on Thursday, the same day when foundation was laid for the bullet train by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.

Juxtaposing the introduction of bullet train with the derailment of the Rajdhani Express, the Shiv Sena drew the point of Indian railway's misplaced priority.

"Japan has been running bullet trains since 1964, and that too at the speed of 500 to 600 km per hour," said the editorial and added that the important point here is that why there have been no accidents in Japan despite trains running at such speed.

The bullet trains in Japan get cleaned in mere seven minutes, and it gets ready to run again. Moreover, a delay of even one minute is questioned, claimed Saamna.

On the other hand, the party said that the Indian trains already running at low speed get derailed, but no one is held answerable for the same.

"Hence, the major question is why shouldn't the strategy of Japan's guarantee of rail safety be learned, and why shouldn't its formula of clean and safe travel be adopted?" the editorial questioned.

"Today, if the government had instead learned the technology of Japan's rail safety measures, then the country would have been happier," it further said.The editorial concluded by adding, "The Rajdhani Express is India's current bullet train. At least, save it."
10:38   BSF jawan's family mourns his death
Visuals from the residence of BSF Constable Brijendra Bahadur Singh in Ballia; he lost his life in firing by Pakistan in J&K's RS Pura.
When Anupam Kher met Baba Ramdev.  
10:02   SC to hear plea seeking ban on Blue Whale game
The other important case the Supreme Court will be hearing today is a plea seeking a ban on the Blue Whale game.

Earlier on September 12, the apex court bench, comprising of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud agreed to hear the plea on Friday.

Urging for an immediate ban on the deadly online game that has claimed more than 200 lives, the petitioner asked the apex court to direct the Central Government to take steps to ban the game.

The deadly Blue Whale game is an online game that challenges players for over 50 days, demanding them to complete tasks given by an anonymous controller. The tasks include the final challenge to commit suicide.The online game is created by Phillipe Budeikin, a Russian psychology student.
09:59   It was strange: Ford on Fisher revealing their affair
Veteran actor Harrison Ford said it was "strange" for her him when his "Star Wars" co-star Carrie Fisher revealed their secret three-month affair in her memoir "The Princess Diarist".

At the time of their affair on the set of "Star Wars" in 1976, Fisher was just 19. Ford was 33, and married to his first wife, Mary Marquardt, with two children. He and Marquardt later filed for divorce in 1976. In an interview with GQ, the 75-year-old actor said, "It was strange. For me. (I was warned) to a degree."

Fisher's book, which was released a month before her death last December. "You know, with Carrie's untimely passing, I don't really feel that it's a subject that I want to discuss," Ford added.

Fisher will make her final "Star Wars" appearance in the upcoming "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," and though Ford's character, Han Solo, was killed in "The Force Awakens", the actor has not ruled out a return. "I mean, I'm finished with Star Wars if Star Wars is finished with me. I can't imagine (they're not finished with me). But it is science fiction. "I'd rather not (return). You know, at this point I'd rather do something else. Just because it's more interesting to do something new," he said.
09:51   Ryan murder: SC to hear plea on school safety
The Supreme Court today will hear a plea filed by two women lawyers seeking implementation of the existing guidelines to ensure safety and security of children in schools.

A bench, headed by CJI Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar, said that it has already issued a notice on a similar plea filed by the father of the child, who was killed at the Ryan International School.

In its plea, they sought the implementation of various existing guidelines on the safety of school-going children.

The Supreme Court earlier had issued notice to the Centre, the Haryana Government and the state's Director General (DG) of Police, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the CBI on a plea seeking a probe by the central agency into the murder of a seven-year-old boy inside the Ryan International School.

After this, the CBSE issued a circular mentioning guidelines to be adopted by all schools for ensuring the safety of the students.

The CBSE, in its circular, directed schools to install CCTV cameras, ensure police verification of staff and regulate entry of outsiders in school building.

Seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur was found dead inside the toilet of the Ryan International school, with his throat slit.
09:23   BSF jawan killed in ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops
A Border Security Force jawan was killed when Pakistani troops violated ceasefire for the third consecutive day today along the International Border in Jammu district.

Constable Bijender Bahadur was on duty at forward point along the fence in Arnia sector along the IB when Pakistani Rangers resorted to mortar shelling and small arms fire about 00.20 am today.

A bullet hit the jawan on the left side of his abdomen and he succumbed to injuries on the way to hospital, a BSF officer said.

"BSF troops retaliated strongly and gave befitting reply," he said.

"Intermittent fire continued from both side from midnight till morning," the officer said.

Bahadur, 32, hailed from Vidya Bhawan Naraypur village in Uttar Pradesh's Balia district. He is survived by his wife Sushmita Singh.
09:15   US, Asian shares dip after North Korea launches missile over Japan
US stock futures and Asian shares dipped after North Korea fired another missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean on Friday, demonstrating Pyongyangs defiance in the face of intensifying sanctions.

US stock futures fell 0.2 per cent while MSCIs Asia-Pacific share index excluding Japan shed 0.4 per cent, though it was still up 0.4 per cent on the week. 

The launch came just days after the UN Security Council approved new sanctions against Pyongyang for its Sept 3 nuclear test, but markets are growing accustomed to North Koreas sabre-rattling.
08:26   Indian doctor from Telangana stabbed to death in US
An Indian doctor from Telangana was stabbed to death in the US state of Kansas state. 

Achutha Reddy, a psychiatrist, was murdered in his clinic in East Wichita. Sources quoted the US police as saying that the assailant, aged 21, repeatedly stabbed the doctor after a conversation. It was not yet clear if the attacker was his patient.

Hailing from Nalgonda district, Dr Reddy graduated from Osmania Medical College in 1986. He later moved to the US, where he completed his residency in psychiatry from the University of Kansas Medical School in Wichita.
08:13   40 per cent of Rohingyas in Myanmar have fled to Bangladesh: UN
About 40 per cent of the total Rohingya population living in the Rakhine State of Myanmar have now fled to Bangladesh, the UN has said.

Since August 25, the number of Rohingya refugees who have crossed the border from Myanmar into Bangladesh has now reached 389,000, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman to the UN Secretary General told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.

"In the last 24 hours alone, 10,000 people reportedly crossed into Bangladesh. Combined with those who fled during the last round of violence in Rakhine State last October, it is estimated that some 40 per cent of the total Rohingya population living in Rakhine state have now fled into Bangladesh," he said.

UNICEF has trucks filled with emergency water, sanitation and hygiene supplies for thousands of Rohingya children heading to Cox's Bazar, with a steady stream of supplies in the pipeline for the coming days and weeks, he said.

It is estimated that 60 per cent of Rohingya refugees arriving in Bangladesh are children, he added.
07:53   North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan
North Korea has fired a ballistic missile over Japan, its latest act of aggression against a neighbour and key Western ally amid a escalating war of rhetoric with the United States. 

The missile launch will prove a stern test for both US President Doanld Trump and the UN who have so far failed to get Pyongyang to rein in its nuclear ambitions.

The Japanese government said the missile, which was launched from Pyongyang's Sunan district, had passed over Hokkaido and the country's military did not try to shoot it down. The US military also said it had detected an intermediate-range ballistic missile, with Defence Secretary Jim Mattis saying the projectile put millions of Japanese into duck and cover. 

Japan issued a nationwide alert that urged residents in the country's north to take shelter, and Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters he condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms. 

This is the second time in recent weeks that a North Korean missile has flown over Japan, putting the country on high alert and emphasising the stakes as North Korea accompanies hostile language with displays of more sophisticated military technology.

The latest missile reportedly travelled 3,700 km, farther than the 2,700 km logged by the prior missile hurled over Japan and far enough to potentially strike the American territory of Guam. 

00:22   N Korea threatens to 'sink Japan into sea' by nuke attack
North Korea has again threatened to 'sink Japan into the sea' with a nuclear bomb and said the United States should be 'beaten to death like a rabid dog' after the latest sanctions on the shipment of oil products by United Nations Security Council in response to Pyongyang's recent nuclear test.

It is the first time that Pyongyang has issued an explicit threat to Japan since it fired a medium-range ballistic missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido at the end of last month, triggering emergency sirens and mass text alerts.

'The four islands of the Japanese archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche,' the committee said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

Juche is the ideology of self-reliance pioneered by Kim Il-sung, the country's founder and grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jong-un.

The Security Council on Monday unanimously approved a US-drafted resolution, which bans Kim Jong-un's government from exporting textiles and restricts the shipment of oil products.

Reacting to the vote on Thursday, North Korea said the US ought to 'be beaten to death' for spearheading the penalties.

The Korea Asia-Pacific peace committee, which oversees North Korea's relations with the outside world, described the UN Security Council, which passed a new round of sanctions on Monday, as a 'tool of evil' in the pay of Washington, and called for it to be broken up, the Guardian reported.

'The adoption of heinous 'sanctions resolution' hardens our faith that what we should depend on is only our self-defensive nuclear force,' the statement said, stressing North Korea's resolve to accelerate nuclear and missile development.

In 1993, the Council approved Resolution 825 calling on North Korea to remain in the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

That didn't work. North Korea withdrew from the treaty and continued its nuclear pursuit.

In 2006, the Six Party Talks faltered, and North Korea conducted several ballistic missile launches.

That led to Resolution 1695 condemning them.The same year, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test.

That led to Resolution 1718, establishing a UN sanctions regime, aiming to stop all nuclear, ballistic missile, and other weapons of mass destruction programs. -- ANI