Sun, 12 August 2018
Chandrayaan-2 to be launched in January-March window in 2019

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21:08   Chandrayaan-2 to be launched in January-March window in 2019
India's second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 will now be launched in the January-March windowin 2019 instead of later this year as the design was changed to enable it land on the lunar surface, Indian Space Research Organisation chief K Sivan said in Bengaluru today.

"We have planned to launch Chandrayaan mission in January3. We are fixing with that (date) and targeting that. But that is an open window. We can go up to March also. As we are coming closer (the date), we may miss the target," he said.

The reason for postponing the mission was that there were certain important changes made in the design so that it could easily land on the lunar surface, he said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a function, where bust of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the architect of the Indian space mission, was unveiled.

Asked why the weight of Chandrayaan-2 was increased by600 kg, he said the ISRO noticed during experiments that after the moon lander was ejected, the satellite would shake.

So they decided that the design modification was required for landing and mass has to be increased.

"We also realised that the orbiter required more phases,which required more fuel," he told reporters.

On the space agency's future missions, Sivan said ISRO also plans to launch 50 satellites in the next three years.

The space agency would launch 22 satellites in 2019, the maximum in any year in the history of ISRO, he said.

"Next year from February to December we plan to have 22missions with almost two missions per month, which is a very important activity. This tight schedule of programmes we are doing for the first time.

"We have set a target.We may not be able achieve but we are targeting it. So many missions in a year is a huge target for the first time in the history of ISRO," Sivan said.

The remaining months of 2018 would also be very hectic for the ISRO as it plans to launch at least two missions every month, he said.  -- PTI
20:45   AAP plans to contest in around 100 seats in 2019: Sanjay Singh
The Aam Aadmi Party plans to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in a focused manner, restricting itself to fielding candidates in around 100 seats, primarily in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi among the states in north India.

This is in contrast with the 2014 general elections, where the party had fielded over 400 candidates across the country, but managed to win just four seats in Punjab.

"The party feels that there is no point fighting in all seats. So, plans are to contest around 80 to 100 seats where we are in a better position to influence the results," said AAP's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, who is also the in-charge of party's Uttar Pradesh and Bihar units.

Punjab, Haryana and AAP's home turf Delhi will be where the party would focus to win maximum seats in 2019, he said.

The party will also field candidates for some Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

In Bihar and Uttar Pradesh too, AAP plans to field candidates in some seats.

In Uttar Pradesh, the party is looking to contest in 10 to 15 seats, Singh said.

In Delhi, the AAP has announced in-charges for five of the seven Lok Sabha  constituencies. They have already actively engaged with local cadre in organising meetings and campaigns there.

The fate of two parliamentary constituencies -- New Delhi and West Delhi -- for which no one was named as in-charge amid rumours of a tie up with the Congress, is yet to be decided as AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal, during his visit to Haryana recently, ruled out the party's participation in any alliance.

In Punjab, where the AAP managed to win four Lok Sabha seats in the last Lok Sabha elections and is the main opposition in the state Assembly, efforts will be made to enhance the influence of the party, Singh said.

"We would like to increase our footprint in Punjab by winning more than four seats, this time," the AAP leader said, adding the party may also contest in some seats in Gujarat where the organisation is strong.

Haryana is another state where the AAP aspires to open its account in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Party leaders believe that voters of Haryana, which is home state of Kejriwal and where local leader Navin Jaihind has been involved in grassroots organisational work, are ready to respond favourably to AAP in the coming general elections.  -- PTI
19:30   3 injured in blast in J&K's Budgam district: Police
Three persons were injured in a blast in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir today, police said.

A blast occurred at Tosamaidan in Khag area of Budgam district in central Kashmir, a police official said. Three persons were injured in the blast, he said.

The injured were identified as Mudasir Ahmad Ganie, Waseem Ahmad Ganie and Wajid Ahmad Ahanger, all residents Zagoo Kharein area of Khansahab Budgam, the official said.

They were shifted to JVC Hospital, Bemina, for treatment, he added.  -- PTI
19:17   Homeless, penniless camp inmates in Kerala stare at bleak future
Her one-story house  collapsed and savings of a lifetime vanished in a flash in the rain fury that has wrecked havoc in Kerala in the past few days.

Baby, in her early 50s, lost everything in a landslip and is currently lodged at a relief camp at Kalpetta in the high range Wayanad district.

"Everything turned upside down in a few seconds...Now, we have no house, no furniture, no utensils...what will we do...I do not know how will we live after getting out from here," says the teary-eyed woman.

Baby is inconsolable when she says the rain even washed away the books and certificates of her children.

Baby is among thousands of people who had to leave their houses, destroyed or damaged in heavy rains, and seek refuge in relief camps.

According to the latest official figures, more than 60,000 people, including women, toddlers and senior citizens, have been lodged in various relief camps across 14 districts of the southern state following the unprecedented monsoon rains that triggered floods and landslips in several places.

Elsey Mathew, lodged in a relief camp in Idukki district--one of the badly hit along with Wayanad--says she left home following landslips in the area.

"Around 30 landslips occurred near my house. There was no other way than shifting to the relief camp. We had to leave home, abandoning many valuables," she said.

Abdul Azeez and Biju, natives of Ernakulam, say a blankfuture stares at them as they have to rebuild their lives afresh.

"Our houses have been damaged. Rain water entered every room. Wells are filled with mud and silt. Future of ourchildren is now blank. Their books and uniforms have been washed away," they said.

Hailing from Edaykkod in nearby Attingal, Ammu shares the heart-wrenching story of losing her tiny hut, which she got under the government's 'one-lakh housing scheme' (Laksham Veedu).

Although the intensity of rains has decreased to some extent, the anxiety and fear continue to grip the people living in relief camps across the state.

Many of them are scared to return, many are clueless about where to go and many are yet to get over their loss.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had yesterday announced Rs 10 lakh as compensation to those who lost their houses and land in the rain, and Rs 4 lakh to those who lost a member of their family.

The toll in the monsoon fury since August 8 has climbed to 37.   --  PTI
18:45   Passports lost in Kerala floods will be replaced free of cost: Sushma
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweets:

"There are unprecedented floods in Kerala causing huge damage. We've decided that as the situation becomes normal, passports damaged on account of floods shall be replaced free of charge.

Please contact the concerned Passport Kendras."
18:43   ISRO plans to launch TV channel to promote scientific temper
The Indian Space Research Organisation is planning to launch a TV channel to promote scientific temper among people and conduct training camps for school students.

"ISRO will organise capacity building programmes for students from class 8 to 10 to inculcate scientific temper among them," ISRO chief K Sivan told reporters in Bengaluru today.

The space agency will select students and organise training camps for 25 to 30 days, he said, adding during this period the students will be allowed to visit laboratory and make their small satellite.

On plans to launch ISRO TV to expand its outreach across the country, the space agency chief said, "We don't have any science TV channel. This channel will inculcate scientific temper among people."

Besides, ISRO was planning to set up an incubation centre for startups with ideas in the field of space technology.

"We want to have an incubation centre. Our aim is that the best brain and the research and development should be utilised. These startups can contribute to ISRO without joining us," Sivan said.  -- PTI
18:24   Aspirin may help prevent HIV: Study
An affordable, globally available drug -- low-dose aspirin -- could help prevent HIV transmission, scientists say.

HIV infection rates remain unacceptably high, especially among young African women.

Researchers including those from University of Manitoba in Canada tested the effect of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA or aspirin) and other anti-inflammatory drugs on HIV target cells in a group of Kenyan women who were at low risk for HIV.

The pilot study, published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society, built on existing knowledge about the role of inflammation in HIV transmission.

Transmission of the virus requires a susceptible target cell in the human host. Activated immune cells are more susceptible to HIV infection than resting cells.

It is known that inflammation brings activated HIV target cells to the female genital tract.

The researchers found that Aspirin was the most effective anti-inflammatory drug.

It reduced the number of HIV target cells in the female genital tract by 35 per cent.

The reduced number of HIV target cells in the women who took aspirin approached the level found in Kenyan women at high risk of HIV contraction who have remained uninfected for many years.

"Further research is needed to confirm our results with aspirin and test whether this level of target cell reduction will actually prevent HIV infections," said Keith R Fowke from University of Manitoba.

"If so, this could be a strategy for HIV prevention that is not only inexpensive, but easily accessed globally. People living in poverty are disproportionately at risk of acquiring HIV. We need prevention approaches that are affordable and immediately available," said Fowke.

The goal is to provide a new tool in the HIV prevention arsenal that would be used together with other approaches to reduce HIV transmission in high-risk populations, Fowke said.

Study participants were given the same daily low dose of aspirin that is commonly used for long-term prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Participants said they liked that aspirin does not carry the stigma associated with other anti-HIV drugs, which could mean it is more likely to be used regularly.  -- PTI
18:10   When Naipaul was bowled over by Union minister Ram Niwas Mirdha
V S Naipaul was once so awestruck by Congress minister Ram Niwas Mirdha's knowledge of his books that he wondered what this 'extraordinary kind of fellow' and 'civilised man' was doing in politics.

During a visit to India when Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister in the mid-80s, Naipaul wanted to meet some senior politicians with whom he could discuss India's political and economic scene and conveyed this to seasoned journalist Khushwant Singh.

Singh became anxious to find someone who would not embarrass him by not knowing who Naipaul was.

'I am pretty certain that not more than two or three of Rajiv's cabinet ministers have ever heard anything by Naipaul. The only one I could risk exposing him to was Ram Niwas Mirdha,' Singh had written in one edition of his iconic column 'With Malice Towards One And All...'

And Mirdha did not let Singh down and Naipaul was pleasantly surprised to discover that Mirdha had read everything he had written.

'He did not say so himself but whenever Naipaul made an observation, Mirdha replied by quoting him, '... As you wrote in The Area of Darkness Mr Naipaul' you might recall your earlier observation in The Mimic Men,' wrote Singh.

On his way back to hotel, Naipaul asked Singh, "What is a civilised man like Mirdha doing in politics?"

To this Singh replied, "I haven't the foggiest idea except that whatever he's been given to do, he's done well. He's led dozens of delegations to international conferences, been chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi and is into sports as well -- youth camps, Olympics and that sort of thing."

Naipaul then sighed, "Extraordinary kind of fellow."

According to Singh, extraordinary is Naipaul's favourite expression for a phenomenon he cannot comprehend.

Mirdha held several portfolios including External Affairs, Water Resources, Communication and Textiles. He died in 2010.  -- PTI
17:33   Situation in flood-affected Kerala 'very serious': Rajnath
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today made an aerial survey of two rain-ravaged districts of Kerala and said the situation in the state was 'very serious'.

He assured the state government of all help from the Centre to meet the challenges posed by the unprecedented floods.

The minister was speaking to reporters at the airport in Kochi after conducting the aerial survey of Idukki and Ernakulam districts.  --  PTI
17:24   EC makes small changes to prevent VVPAT failures
A small hood on top of the contrast sensor and paper roll that does not soak humidity are some of the ingenious measures adopted to prevent failure of paper trail machines in extreme conditions, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat has said.

After a large-scale failure of the VVPAT machines in the recent bypolls to four Lok Sabha seats, including Kairana and Bhandara Gondiya, and 10 assembly seats, the Election Commission's technical expert committee carried out 'root cause analysis'.

The committee, Rawat told PTI, found that direct light falling on the contrast sensor of the paper trail machine led to the malfunction.

He said the committee also found that a certain type of paper roll soaked humidity, resulting in the failure of the paper to move properly on the spool of the VVPAT machine while printing the results.

"We made simple changes ... a small hood was installed on the contrast sensor so that even if it is placed under direct light, it would not malfunction ... The electronic voting machine (EVM) is an electronic device which does not have issues with heat and humidity but the paper trail machine has electro-mechanical parts which affect its function," he explained.

He said for areas with high humidity, the ECIL -- which manufactures the machines -- suggested that EC should procure paper which does not soak humidity.

"We have now procured humidity-resistant paper for humid areas," the CEC said.

Voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) or paper trail machine is a device which dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for.

The slip appears on a small window for seven seconds and then drops in a box. But the voter cannot take it home.

The VVPAT are used in all polling stations. But as of now, results of EVMs and VVPATs are matched in one polling station per constituency.

There have been demands to increase the number of polling stations where EVM and VVPAT results are matched to dispel fears about electronic voting machines being 'hacked' to favour a particular political party.

Rawat said there have been delays in the delivery of paper trail machines as the Technical Experts Committee appointed by it analyses the technology stabilisation issues in the initial batches and incorporates essential design improvements.

"This ensures we don't face the problems later," he said.

While all required EVMs -- 13.95 lakh ballot units and 9.3 lakh control units -- will be delivered by September 30, 16.15 lakh VVPATs will also be delivered well before the end of November, he added.

Over 11 per cent of the 10,300 VVPAT machines across 10 states had developed faults and had to be replaced during the May 28 bypolls.  -- PTI
17:09   Now, 2 inmates of Patna state-run shelter home found dead
Two women inmates of a state-run shelter home in Patna have died under mysterious circumstances, days after a man was arrested for reportedly asking the inmates of the home to escape by luring them with gifts.

The inmates, aged 17 and 21 years, were staying at Aasra Shelter Home in Nepali Nagar locality of the city.

"While the shelter home claimed the women died during treatment at Patna Medical College last night, the hospital authorities said the inmates were brought dead. Police was informed about the deaths only this morning," Deputy Superintendent of Police, Law and Order (Patna), Manoj Kumar Sudhanshu told PTI.

The shelter home came into news when it was recently reported that four of its inmates had tried to run away.

The police then carried out an investigation and arrested a person, living in the vicinity.

He was alleged to have been luring the inmates by offering gifts.

Sudhanshu said according to the shelter home authorities, the two inmates were taken to the hospital following complaints of diarrhoea and high fever.

The police is investigating the circumstances under which the two inmates died.

The 'Aasra' case surfaced at a time when the Central Bureau of Investigation is investigating another sex scandal at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur in the state.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Members of different organisation stage a protest march against the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case. Photograph: PTI Photo
17:06   Muslim man who took part in Kanwar yatra stopped from offering Namaz
A Muslim man, who took part in Kanwar yatra, was allegedly stopped from offering Namaz at a mosque in Baghpat, prompting the police to arrest three persons in this regard.

"I had gone to Haridwar as a Kanwar and offered water at the temples. On Friday, when I went to a mosque, some people assaulted me and stopped me from offering Namaz. They even forced me to run away from there," Babu Khan said in his complaint registered with the police.

Khan, a resident of Racharh village of the district, alleged that after he was beaten up, his wife and children went to their relatives.

When contacted, inspector Devendra Bisht said, "On the complaint lodged by Babu Khan, three persons have been arrested for disrupting peace, while another person is absconding."

Police along with prominent citizens of the area are making efforts to resolve the matter through talks. At present, the atmosphere in the village is absolutely peaceful, Bisht added.

The accused persons, however, alleged that Babu Khan was trying to enter the mosque in an inebriated state and hence he was stopped from entering.

Meanwhile, district president of Hindu Jagran Manch Deepak Banmauli said, "The Manch is with Babu Khan and if anyone harass him then we will not tolerate it."

In the Hindu holy month of Shravan, Kawariyas (devout pilgrims carrying Ganga water) offer prayers at Shiva temples.  -- PTI
16:29   After TRAI chief's dare, UIDAI to spread awareness on sharing Aadhaar
After Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chief's Aadhaar dare ignited a debate on public display of the 12-digit number, the Unique Identification Authority of India is planning a user outreach to sensitise people about the dos and don'ts of sharing their biometric identifier.

The UIDAI intends to equate the Aadhaar number with other personal information (such as PAN, bank account and credit card number) to caution users against placing their personal details in the public domain, particularly on digital platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

"It is necessary to inform people that they should use Aadhaar freely, without fear, and a detailed FAQ (frequently asked questions) will be issued in this regard," Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of UIDAI, told PTI.

The FAQ will address nearly half a dozen queries related to the issue that has been hotly-debated over the past fortnight ever since TRAI Chairman R S Sharma tweeted his Aadhaar number and dared netizens to show how mere knowledge of the ID can cause him 'real harm'.

The queries include whether Aadhaar can be used freely in the backdrop of UIDAI's recent advisory to people not to put their 12-digit number on public display.

The UIDAI has sought to draw a parallel between Aadhaar and other personal information like PAN (Permanent Account Number) and bank account number to tell people that personal details should not be placed in the public domain so as to avoid 'unwarranted invasion attempt' on privacy.

At the same time, UIDAI has said that Aadhaar should be given freely for proving one's identity and for transaction purpose, just like one gives bank account or other details for a specific purpose.

UIDAI's proposed FAQs argue that mere knowledge of Aadhaar cannot harm an individual or be misused for impersonation, as it is fortified with additional security layers like biometrics and OTP (one time password) authentication, making it more secure than other identity documents.

The nodal body will also tackle other queries including whether a bank account can be opened or money withdrawn in a fraudulent manner by merely knowing someone's Aadhaar number.

UIDAI has also outlined the responsibilities of banks and other user organisations in carrying out the required checks and due diligence in this regard.

The public outreach plan comes just days after Sharma had a stand-off with critics of Aadhaar when he disclosed his unique ID number on microblogging site Twitter and asked people to show how mere knowledge of the number could be used to harm him.

An ardent supporter of the Aadhaar programme and a former director general of UIDAI, Sharma's move had caused a social media flutter and an avalanche of tweets had ensued in the aftermath of the episode.

Some users claimed to have got access to Sharma's bank account number and email, although the TRAI chief had refuted such claims, saying they were untrue.

With social media on the boil, the UIDAI on July 31 asked people not to share their 12-digit identifier on the internet and social media, or pose such challenges to others.  -- PTI
15:36   Shelter home scandal: Prime accused's son released after CBI grilling
The Central Bureau of Investigation today released from its custody Rahul Anand, son of prime accused in shelter home sex scandal Brajesh Thakur.

Anand was picked up from his residence last night by a CBI team, which had spent close to 12 hours conducting raids on the premises of the now-sealed shelter home and the office of a Hindi daily Pratah Kamal, owned by Thakur's family.

He returned to his residence early this morning after several hours of CBI grilling.

The CBI is understood to have been looking at various angles, which include sexual abuse of inmates at the Muzaffarpur shelter home, misuse of public funds allocated to an NGO controlled by Thakur, and the alleged links of high-profile people with the prime accused.

The NGO, Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, was blacklisted in June, soon after an FIR was lodged by police in the case, subsequent to the exposure of details of sexual abuse of inmates in a social audit report.

The audit report by Tata Institute of Social Sciences gave explicit information on the physical exploitation of minor girls at the shelter home.

In a raid conducted at the Muzaffarpur jail yesterday, which led to the recovery of several banned items, a piece of paper was seized from Thakur with names and mobile numbers of 40 people.

District Magistrate Mohd Sohail said the paper has been handed over to the Mithanpura police station for investigation and a complaint may be lodged in the matter if it was found that Thakur had been making calls from the jail to any of the numbers mentioned in it.

In a related development, an FIR has been lodged at the Mahila Thana in Muzaffarpur town of the district against Shibha Kumari, the wife of a district child protection officer Ravi Roshan, who is among the 10 persons arrested so far in connection with the scandal.

Kumari recently caused a flutter by alleging that the husband of former social welfare department minister Manju Verma was a regular visitor at the shelter home and that Roshan was being made a scapegoat to shield some 'big fish'.

Verma had resigned from her post last week while maintaining that her husband was innocent. She threatened to file a defamation suit against Kumari.

The FIR was registered following a direction from the Supreme Court, which taking suo motu cognizance of the case, expressed displeasure that Kumari, in her outbursts in public and on social media, made public the identity of some of the victims in violation of law.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Brajesh Thakur being taken to court in Muzaffarpur. Photograph: PTI Photo
14:37   Prez okays law to award death for rape of girls below 12 yrs
President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018, that provides for stringent punishment, including death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.

The amendment replaces the criminal law amendment ordinance promulgated on April 21 after the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua and another woman in Unnao.

"This Act may be called the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018. It shall be deemed to have come into force on the 21st day of April, 2018," a gazette notification said.

The Act will further amend the Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

The President's assent, given yesterday, came after Parliament approved the amendments to the law last week.

The Home Ministry drafted Criminal Law (Amendment) Act  stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 16 and 12 years.

Death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years.

The minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.

According to the new law, in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which means jail term till the convicts 'natural life'.

The punishment for gang rape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict.

Stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided with the minimum jail term being 20 years which may go up to life in prison or death sentence.

Gang rape of a girl under 12 years of age will invite punishment of jail term for the rest of life or death, the Act says.

The measure also provides for speedy investigations and trial.

It has prescribed  the time limit for investigation of all cases of rape, saying it has to be mandatorily completed within two months.

The deadline for the completion of trial in all rape cases will be two months.

A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed.

There will also be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years.  -- PTI
14:20   World's first mission to touch the Sun lifts off: NASA
National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Parker Solar Probe, mankind's first mission to 'touch' the Sun, has been launched today on a seven-year long journey to unlock the mysteries of our star's fiery outer atmosphere and its effects on space weather.

Liftoff took place from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the US early today. The launch of the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the spacecraft was scrubbed yesterday due to a violation of a launch limit, resulting in a hold.

The car-sized spacecraft will travel directly into the Sun's atmosphere, about four million miles from its surface -- and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before, thanks to its innovative Thermal Protection System.

The $1.5 billion mission will perform the closest-ever observations of a star when it travels through the Sun's outer atmosphere, called the corona.

It will make 24 passes through the corona during its seven-year mission.

The mission will rely on measurements and imaging to revolutionise our understanding of the corona and how processes there ultimately affect near-Earth space.

The Parker Solar Probe carries a lineup of instruments to study the Sun both remotely and in situ, or directly.

Together, the data from these instruments should help scientists answer three foundational questions about our star.

A Sun-skimming mission like Parker Solar Probe has been a dream of scientists for decades, but only recently has the required technology -- like the heat shield, solar array cooling system, and fault management system -- been available to make such a mission a reality.

Parker Solar Probe will explore the corona, a region of the Sun only seen from Earth when the Moon blocks out the Sun's bright face during total solar eclipses.

The corona holds the answers to many of scientists' outstanding questions about the Sun's activity and processes.  -- PTI
14:07   Imran Khan's party bags 33 reserved seats; improves tally to 158
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has been allotted 28 reserved seats for women and five for non-Muslims by the election commission, taking the party's tally to 158 in the National Assembly -- just 14 short of the number required for simple majority.

The Election Commission of Pakistan yesterday distributed the reserved seats among the parties on the basis of their final tally of elected members. There are 60 seats reserved for women and 10 for minorities in the NA.

Prime Minister-designate Imran Khan's party was allotted 16 reserved seats for women from Punjab, four from Sindh, seven from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one from Balochistan, Dawn reported.

The party, which looks set to form its government at the Centre, also bagged five of the total 10 seats reserved for non-Muslims.

Of the rest of the five, two were allotted to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, two to Pakistan Peoples Party and one to Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal.

Khan's party, which is just 14 short of the number required for simple majority, will depend on smaller parties to prove its majority in the House.

The party has already claimed to have crossed the magical figure of 172 required to secure simple majority in the 342-seat National Assembly.

Khan, the 65-year-old former cricketer, is set to become Pakistan's new prime minister this week.

The PTI's current tally of 158, however, is likely to be trimmed as Khan, who won on five NA seats in the July 25 polls, will have to vacate four of them, the paper said.

Jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's PML-N's tally in the NA now stands at 82 after the party was allotted 15 reserved seats for women from Punjab and just one from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it said.

The PPP has 53 seats in the NA with the addition of 11 reserved seats -- nine for women and two for non-Muslims, the paper said.

The MMA now has 15 seats after the addition of three reserved seats -- two for women and one for non-Muslim it added.

Senior PTI leader Shireen Mazari and Andleeb Abbas were in the list of female leaders who were included in the reserved seats for women.

From the PML-N, party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, Maiza Hameed and Tahira Aurangzaib are among the lawmakers who have been issued their notifications for reserved seats, the paper added.

Shazia Marri, Naz Baloch and Hina Rabbani Khar of the PPP have also joined the list of MNAs-elect.  -- PTI
13:12   PM, political leaders condole Naipaul's demise
Leaders from across the political spectrum condoled the demise of Nobel Laureate author V S Naipaul, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying, it was a major loss for the world of literature.

Naipaul, known for his critical commentary on colonialism, idealism, religion and politics, died at the age of 85, his family said early today.

He is the recipient of numerous honours, including the Man Booker Prize in 1971 and a knighthood for services to literature in 1990.

Naipaul was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001. The prime minister wrote on Twitter, 'Sir VS Naipaul will be remembered for his extensive works, which covered diverse subjects ranging from history, culture, colonialism, politics and more.'

'His passing away is a major loss to the world of literature. Condolences to his family and well wishers in this sad hour.'

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also condoled the author's death and said the world lost a genius.

'Deeply saddened to learn about the death of literary giant and Nobel Laureate Shri #VSNaipaul. He has inspired a whole generation of writers,' he said.

'In his death the world loses a genius today. Offering my prayers to the departed soul,' Chouhan said.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also took to Twitter to condole the death of the 'literary giant'.

'My condolences on the passing away of Nobel Laureate #VSNaipaul - a literary giant and a modern philosopher who enthralled and influenced the world with his keen observations, creativity and often critical descriptions. May his soul rest in peace,' he tweeted.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik tweeted, 'Saddened to learn about the passing away of celebrated author & Nobel laureate #VSNaipaul.'

'His works exploring colonisation, migration & unraveling of the British empire were exemplary & thought-provoking,' he said.   -- PTI
13:10   Why people fall for 'fake news' decoded
Belief systems that people develop early in life to help protect against the anxiety and stress of an uncertain world may help explain why some individuals fall victim to 'fake news', scientists say.

The key to people's accepting fake news as true, despite evidence to the contrary, is a phenomenon known as confirmation bias, or the tendency for people to seek and accept information that confirms their existing beliefs while rejecting or ignoring that which contradicts those beliefs, researchers said.

Many of these beliefs and biases are formed early in life when children begin to distinguish between fantasy and reality, according to Eve Whitmore, a developmental psychologist with Western Reserve Psychological Associates in the US.

"At its core is the need for the brain to receive confirming information that harmonizes with an individual's existing views and beliefs," said Mark Whitmore, an assistant professor at Kent State University in the US.

"In fact, one could say the brain is hardwired to accept, reject, misremember or distort information based on whether it is viewed as accepting of or threatening to existing beliefs," said Whitmore.

Some of these beliefs can be based in fantasy, and that can lead to what 'nonsensical thinking' said Eve Whitmore.

"From the beginning, parents reinforce to their children the skill of pretending in order to cope with the realities inherent in culture and society," she said.

In adolescence, people develop critical thinking skills and some begin to question what they were taught as children, perhaps religious beliefs or even the belief that authority figures such as parents or government leaders are always right.

However, going against one's parents' beliefs can cause friction within the family, and, despite evidence to the contrary, some are willing to rationalise those false beliefs in order to avoid upsetting their parents.

As people reach adulthood, many of these false beliefs and biases formed as children, instead of being given a good critical examination, are simply accepted and continue to influence how a person perceives his or her world, according to Mark Whitmore.

The rise of the internet and social media has only compounded the problem of fake news, upending the traditional news model where an individual receives information from a small number of outlets, he said.

"In today's media environment, the channels are multiple, and the messages are often simultaneous and contradictory," he said.

"The receiver is often faced with paradoxical and seemingly absurd messages. It becomes easier to cling to a simple fiction than a complicated reality," he said.  -- PTI
12:00   Karuna or Jaya: Who will get Bharat Ratna first?
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, it seems, is determined to ensure that its veteran leader, Kalaignar M Karunanidhi, who passed into the ages on August 7, is bestowed the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian honour.  

For the last three days, DMK's MPs and other leaders have been virtually prostrating before the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership, to ensure that this happens at the soonest. 

Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha member, is determined to get this done at the earliest. 

Naturally, the concluding days of the monsoon session of Parliament saw a flurry of activity over this.  

All this has alarmed MPs from the rival All India Anna DMK, who believe that their supreme leader Jayalalithaa, who passed away in December 2016, should be given the honour first, ahead of her longstanding political rival. 

They also fear that with election season fast approaching, the BJP leadership may announce the Bharat Ratna for Karunanidhi in an effort to woo the Dravidian major. 

Senior AIADMK leader Dr V Maitreyan in fact took to Facebook to warn the BJP leadership of any such move. 

'After the sad demise of Puratchi Thalaivi Amma on 5th December 2016, the general council of AIADMK met on 29th December 2016 and passed a unanimous resolution urging the Union Government to accord Bharat Ratna on Amma.'  

'The State cabinet also passed a resolution urging the centre to confer the highest civilian award on her.'   

'The AIADMK MPs also raised the issue of conferring Bharat Ratna award on Amma in both Rajyasabha and Loksabha in Jan - Feb 2017.'   

'More than 600 days have passed since the sad demise of Puratchi Thalaivi Amma. The AIADMK cadres, Amma loyalists and the people of Tamilnadu are eagerly awaiting the response of the NDA Govt in this regard on conferring Bharat Ratna on their beloved people's Chief Minister Puratchi Thalaivi Amma.'  

The binary politics of Tamil Nadu has thus spilt over into New Delhi, and it will be interesting to watch how Prime Minister Narendra Modi handles the conflicting claims.
11:56   Ex-Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chaterjee critical
The health condition of former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee continues to be in a critical state.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist veteran is suffering from kidney ailment and was put on ventilator support on Saturday.

The 89-year-old was re-admitted to hospital on August 10 following the slight decline in his health.

Chatterjee, who is one of the longest-serving parliamentarians in India, is not keeping well from the past few months.

In July, he was admitted to a private medical center in Kolkata after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke.

Chatterjee a 10-time Lok Sabha MP, is currently an independent candidate.

He served as the Speaker of Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2009.

He joined the CPI-M in 1968 and remained its leader till 2008.

He was expelled from the political outfit after he refused to step down from his position in the Parliament after the Communist party withdrew support from the Congress government over the India-United States nuclear deal.  -- ANI
11:08   40 phone numbers recovered from Bihar shelter home kingpin
Bihar Police recovered a list of 40 mobile phone numbers from Brajesh Thakur, the main accused in the rape of 34 minor girls who is lodged in Muzaffarpur Central Jail, during simultaneous raids on prisons across the state, police said.

According to police, the officers spotted Thakur in the visitors' area of the jail and recovered two handwritten pages with 40 mobile phone numbers and the names of those they were issued against.

A district administration official said the names of some powerful people, including a minister, were written on two pages recovered from Thakur during the search.

Bihar Police on Saturday conducted raids on over a dozen of jails in the state and recovered objectionable items from prisoners.

Thakur has spent five days in the Muzaffarpur Central Jail since he was arrested on June 2.

"He has been staying in the medical ward of the jail on health grounds and managed to avoid staying in the prisoners ward," the police said.

The Patna high court is monitoring the ongoing CBI investigation into the case.
10:25   No place for white supremacy, racism, neo-nazism in US: Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump, US President Donald Trump's daughter and a White House adviser, explicitly condemned "white supremacy, racism and neo-nazism" late Saturday in a manner her father seems reluctant to do.

The tweets come on the anniversary of deadly unrest triggered by a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. A similar far-right rally is scheduled for Sunday outside the White House.

"One year ago in Charlottesville, we witnessed an ugly display of hatred, racism, bigotry & violence," Ivanka Trump tweeted.

"While Americans are blessed to live in a nation that protects liberty, freedom of speech and diversity of opinion, there is no place for white supremacy, racism and neo-nazism in our great country," she said.

"Rather than tearing each other down with hatred, racism & violence, we can lift one another up, strengthen our communities and strive to help every American achieve his or her full potential!"

The tweets are notable because her father drew scorn after the Charlottesville bloodshed for initially avoiding any condemnation of the torch-bearing white supremacists who took part in that rally.
10:07   Aero India to be shifted? Karnataka asks Centre to clarify
Amid reports of the defence ministry planning to shift the venue of Aero India, the country's biennial air show and aviation exhibition, from Bengaluru to Lucknow, Karnataka asked the Centre to clarify its stand on the matter.
A miffed Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara said under the NDA regime, the state was losing key defence projects to other states. 

His remarks came after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today urged Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to shift the venue of Aero India as it would benefit the defence production in the state. 

There are reports that the biennial event, which was last held in Bengaluru in February 2017, would now be held in October-November this year in Lucknow. However, the Defence Ministry has not yet made any formal announcement in this regard.

If this happens, it will be the first time that the event will be hosted outside Bengaluru since its inception in 1996. The neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, along with Chhattisgarh, will go to polls during the same time. 

It will also be one of the big events in the politically crucial state before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
JUST IN: Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee's condition is critical and he is on ventilator support. Chatterjee was re admitted to hospital on August 10 following kidney ailments.
09:10   Sidhu to attend Imran Khan's swearing-in ceremony
Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Pakistan Prime Minister-designate Imran Khan on August 18.

The decision came shortly after Khan extended a personal invite over a telephone conversation to the Punjab Cabinet minister to attend his swearing-in ceremony.

According to Punjab's Information and Public Relations Department, Khan also thanked Sidhu for praising him in a press conference on August 2.

Meanwhile, the Punjab minister informed the Union Home ministry and the office of the Chief Minister of Punjab regarding his intention to attend the swearing-in ceremony. He further revealed that he was in talks with former Indian skipper Kapil Dev, who has also been invited to the event.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Friday confirmed that the prime minister-in-waiting will take oath at the President House in Islamabad on August 18, instead of August 11.

-- ANI
08:45   1 cop killed, 3 security personnel injured in encounter with terrorists in J-K
A policeman has been killed and three security forces personnel injured during an early morning encounter with terrorists in Batmaloo area today, police said.
"On a specific information about presence of terrorists in a hideout, an operation was launched in Batmaloo Srinagar leading to exchange of fire, one SOG  boy martyred, one JKP & 2 CRPF Jawans sustained injuries, operation continues," Director General of Police S P Vaid wrote on Twitter.

The state's police chief shared no further details.

A police official said security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Diyarwani in Batamaloo area of the city early this morning following a tip-off about the presence of terrorists in the area.

The search operation soon turned into an encounter as the terrorists fired upon the forces, who retaliated, he said. 

The gunfight was still going on, the official said, adding further details were awaited. Mobile internet service has been snapped in the city as a precautionary measure, the official said.

-- PTI
08:07   Nobel Prize-winning author VS Naipaul dies aged 85
Novelist Sir VS Naipaul, who won the Nobel Prize in literature, has died aged 85, his family have said.

Sir Vidia, who was born in rural Trinidad in 1932, wrote more than 30 books including A Bend in the River and his masterpiece, A House for Mr Biswas.

His wife Lady Naipaul called him a "giant in all that he achieved".

She said he died at his home in London "surrounded by those he loved having lived a life which was full of wonderful creativity and endeavour".

Naipaul also won the Booker Prize in 1971, among other literary honors. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1990.