Tue, 09 January 2018
US asks Pak to eliminate terror networks without distinction

Timeline  Refresh

23:30   US asks Pak to eliminate terror networks without distinction
The United States has conveyed 'specific and concrete' steps to Pakistan that it could take to eliminate terror networks on its soil without any distinction, a Pentagon official said today.

The remarks came as the US in recent days stepped up efforts to put pressure on Pakistan to do more to combat terrorism.

"Our expectations are straight forward: Taliban and Haqqani leadership and attack planners should no longer be able to find safe haven or conduct operations from Pakistani soil," Pentagon Press Secretary Army Col Rob Manning told reporters during an off-camera news conference.

He said the US had conveyed 'specific and concrete steps' to Pakistan that it could take to eliminate terror networks on its soil.

"We stand ready to work together with Pakistan to combat terrorist groups without distinction," Manning said.

He reiterated that the amount -- $900 million in the Coalition Support Fund to Pakistan -- has been suspended, not cancelled or reprogrammed.

This amount is a part of the security assistance to Pakistan.

"The amount has been suspended, not cancelled or reprogrammed, as we continue to hope that Pakistan will take decisive action against the terrorist and militant groups that we seek.

"This suspension is not a permanent cutoff at this time.Security funding and pending deliveries will be frozen, but not cancelled or reprogrammed at this time," Manning said.  -- PTI
22:32   Kamala Mills fire: Hotelier held for sheltering '1 Above' owners
A hotelier was arrested today for allegedly sheltering three owners of '1 Above' pub, wanted in connection with the December29 Kamala Mills fire that claimed 14 lives, at his residence in suburban Juhu, police said.

"Vishal Kariya, who owns hotels and pubs in Mumbai, was placed under arrest after a team of N M Joshi Marg police picked him for questioning," Deputy Commissioner of Police Akhilesh Mishra told PTI.

During investigation, it came to light that 42-year-old Kariya sheltered Kripesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Mankar-- the three owners of 1 Above pub-- at his residence, he said.

Police recovered a high-end car of Mankar, which was found parked at Kariya's place, he said.

The Sanghvi brothers and Mankar are absconding since December 29 when the fire swept through '1 Above' and adjacent Mojo's Bistro resto pub in Kamala Mills compound in central Mumbai.

N M Joshi Marg police station senior inspector Ahmed Pathan said the trio were booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and other offences under various sectionsof the Indian Penal Code.

The Mumbai Police also announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for whereabouts about the accused trio, he said.  -- PTI

Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
22:06   Dalits assaulted in Una to convert to Buddhism
A Dalit family, that was allegedly beaten up by cow vigilantes for skinning the carcass of the animal in Una tehsil in Gujarat, have decided to embrace Buddhism.

In July last year, seven Dalits of Mota Samadhiyala village were allegedly paraded and flogged for skinning a dead cow, an incident that caused nation-wide outrage after its video went viral.

Later, four of these Dalit youths were taken to Una town, where they were tied up with a vehicle and allegedly thrashed by the cow vigilantes.

A member of the Dalit family has alleged that the state government did not fulfil its promise to give jobs and a piece of land to the victims.

"We have decided to convert to Buddhism as we have faced a lot of discrimination due to our traditional profession for skinning dead animals," Vashram Sarvaiya said, the eldest of three brothers who were beaten up by a group of cow vigilantes on July 11, 2016, near their village along with their father when they were skinning dead cows.

"We are yet to finalise the date, but we have asked the community members to come together and convert to Buddhism in large numbers," he told PTI.

Sarvaiya alleged that the government did not constitute aspecial court to try the case of assault -- as was promised by then Chief Minister Anandiben Patel.

"The accused are roaming free after they were released on bail, and the case drags on. We haven't been given anything aspromised by the state government.

"All we have got was Rs 3 lakh that is given to Dalit victims in atrocity cases, but most of the money was spent on litigation and medicines as our father Ashok Sarvaiya continues to suffer due to the thrashing and needs to be taken to a Ahmedabad hospital for treatment," he said.

With most of the accused out on bail, the family members are scared of stepping out of their home, Sarvaiya said.

The matter came to light after a video of flogging, allegedly made by the cow vigilantes, went viral on social media platforms.

The police had arrested 20 people in the matter.   -- PTI
21:13   CBFC chief rejects news of 300 cuts in Padmavat, says film already cleared
Central Board of Film Certification chief Prasoon Joshi today said the censor board had cleared Padmavat and and reports about cuts were 'absolutely untrue'.

Joshi said the producers had re-submitted the film with the changes suggested by the board's advisory panel, which reviewed the Sanjay Leela Bhansali period drama recently.

"The makers have submitted the final film with agreed five modifications. These modifications have tried to incorporate observations and suggestions given by the advisory panel, in keeping with the sentiments of society.

"This has already been communicated by the CBFC and a U/A certificate has been given to the film. The CBFC's process is complete and any further news about cuts etc is absolutely untrue," Joshi said in a statement to PTI.

He said the board had already cleared the film and it should not be dragged into any controversy, in an apparent reference to a newspaper report that said the modifications suggested by the board would entail some 300 cuts.

The report said the makers had been asked to remove all references to names of places.

"Let's refrain from utilising the CBFC's name unnecessarily," Joshi said.  -- PTI
20:44   BJP calls Rahul's Bahrain speech irresponsible, says he's 'spreading hatred'
The Bharatiya Janata Party today dubbed Rahul Gandhi's speech in Bahrain as 'irresponsible', alleging that the Congress president was spreading 'hatred' among Indians with his statements abroad like he did in the country.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad contrasted the Congress chief's address last night with that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to 270 Indian origin (PIO) parliamentarians in which he focused on boosting ties between India and other countries.

"The nation is watching who is working to break it. It is the Congress which has spread hatred in the country for the longest period," he told reporters while using Congress' association with Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani to attack Gandhi.

He said Jignesh, a Dalit leader supported by the Congress in the Gujarat assembly polls, had joined hands with Umar Khalid, accused of raising anti-India slogans in the Jawaharlal Nehru University, and said Gandhi has strengthened Mewani and his allies.

Gandhi had yesterday accused the government of dividing people on the basis of caste and religion, alleging it was converting the anger of jobless youth into hatred among communities.

Prasad questioned Gandhi's remarks and said they had expected that he would not harp on political differences and 'spread hatred in a foreign country as he did in India'.

"The BJP strongly condemns Rahul Gandhi's irresponsible utterances.... He is spreading hatred among people," he said.

Hitting back at the Congress leader, the law minister wondered if the Congress' stand on the triple talaq bill worked to spread love or hate in the society.

He accused the Congress of failing to take a stand on an issue of woman's respect and justice.

Rahul's father and the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had committed a 'sin' by passing a law under pressure from Muslim bodies to negate a Supreme Court order to provide alimony to Shah Bano after her husband divorced her, he said.

The same Muslim body is now opposing the triple talaq bill, Prasad said, claiming that the Congress' decision to stall it in Rajya Sabha was a case of double standards influenced by vote bank politics.

Citing Mudra loans given to tens of millions of people, rise in road construction works and opening of call centres in tier two cities, Prasad said this has led to creation of employment as he refuted Gandhi's charge that the government had not created enough jobs.  --  PTI

IMAGE: Congress president Rahul Gandhi with the Crown Prince of Bahrain, HRH Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Photograph: @OfficeofRG/Twitter
20:22   BRD Fire: Files related to children's death safe, says principal
A day after a major fire gutted the record room of the state-run Baba Raghav Das Hospital in  Gorakhpur, the principal today said the files related to death of scores of children at the facility last year, allegedly due to restricted oxygen supply, were safe.

Principal Ganesh Kumar also said he has formed a five- member committee to analyse the losses caused due to the fire.

Crucial documents were feared destroyed as the fire, that broke out at 10 am yesterday, engulfed the principal's office and an adjacent record room, the fire department said yesterday.

"The documents related to the oxygen supply case are safe and they were kept at some safe place," Kumar said.

Samajwadi Party district unit president Prahlad Yadav had expressed suspicion the fire was an act of sabotage to destroy vital documents related to provision of oxygen to the hospital and files pertaining to restricted supply that led to deaths of children.

"I was on leave when the incident happened and when I reached my office I was shocked to see the damage," the principal said.

He said the five-member committee comprises a finance controller, civil engineer, maintenance engineer, and senior officials of the college.

"My personal assistant is making a list of the documents of my office and only after the report, anything could be said about the losses," he said.

District Magistrate Rajiv Routela yesterday asked ADM city, Rajneesh Chandra, to probe the matter and submit a report.

A probe committee headed by the fire service department will also give its report on the reasons behind the fire.

The medical college had hit the headlines in August last year when 63 children, including infants, died within a span of four days allegedly because the oxygen supply was disrupted due to non-payment of dues to the vendor.  -- PTI
19:08   Sitharaman presides over India's display of Naval might
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday presided over India's show of Naval might and viewed air/helicopter borne under-water detection capabilities with Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba and Flag Officer Commanding in Chief Western Command Vice Admiral Girish Luthra.

More than 10 warships from the Indian Navy including the aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, three submarines and various naval aircraft participated in operational manoeuvres conducted off at the western coast of India.

Sitharaman initially embarked INS Kolkata, the first of the indigenously built Kolkata Class destroyers and then spent the night at sea on-board INS Vikramaditya.

To assess the performance of the carrier in real conditions, the defence minister 'transited' through a simulated 'multi-threat' environment on board along with her 'escorts' during the night of January 8.

Reviewing the maritime prowess of the Indian Navy over the two days, Sitharaman presided over a multiple complex naval operations including air interceptions, missile, gun and rocket firings, ship-to-ship replenishment, night flying and antisubmarine operations.

The Western Fleet of the Indian Navy undertook these major naval manoeuvres off the western seaboard of India to showcase operational excellence and combat capabilities.

Sitharaman commented on the readiness of the Indian Navy and said, "Having witnessed first-hand the prowess of the Western Fleet, I am confident that the Indian Navy is fully capable of defending the nation against any form of threat.

"Continuing the effort to collect feedback from Armed Forces Personnel at all operational levels of the military, Sitharaman interacted closely and had open discussions with the sailors on-board the warships.   -- ANI

IMAGE: Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on board MiG 29K during her visit to INS Vikramaditya for witnessing Naval Operations and Maritime Prowess of the Western Fleet of Indian Navy on Tuesday. Photograph: Courtesy @indiannavy/Twitter
18:38   Arrested Jet Airways crew part of global hawala racket: DRI
A woman flight attendant of Jet Airways has been arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) for allegedly trying to smuggle out forex worth more than Rs 3 crore, with the agency today saying that the accused was part of a major global hawala syndicate.

The DRI officials intercepted the woman when she was on a flight to Hong Kong yesterday, the agency said in a statement.

"During examination of her checked in and hand baggage, $4,80,200 wrapped in aluminium foil having a market value of Rs 3.25 crore, has been recovered," it said. During interrogation, it came to light that the woman was a carrier of a major international hawala syndicate and has carried foreign currencies many times for a Delhi-based hawala operator, it said.

The operator, identified as Amit Malhotra, is a resident of Vivek Vihar area in Delhi, a senior DRI official said.

He said Malhotra used crew members for smuggling forex.

"Malhotra would collect money from some bullion dealers in Delhi and send it via some air hostess to select foreign destinations. The money was being used for purchasing gold abroad. The gold would then be sent to India illegally," the official said.

Malhotra had befriended the Jet Airways crew six months ago during a flight to India, he said.

The DRI suspected the role of some other crew members of Jet Airways in smuggling out forex, the official said.

"Malhotra has been illegally smuggling forex for the past over one year. There are some other crew members involved in the case. We are also trying to find out the details of bullion dealers involved in this syndicate," he said.

Both Malhotra and the Jet Airways crew member have been arrested, the official said.

A Delhi court sent the two to two-day judicial custody.

The DRI has recovered Rs 3.3 lakh in cash, and foreign currencies of different countries worth $2,500, besides several incriminating materials from Malhtora, he said.  -- PTI

Photograph: ANI
17:46   One must learn to tolerate in a democracy: SC
The freedom of speech and expression of the media must be allowed to the "fullest" and the press may not be hauled up for defamation for "some wrong reporting", the Supreme Court has observed.

The observation came from a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra which refused to entertain an appeal against a Patna High Court order quashing a defamation complaint against a journalist and a media house.

"In a democracy, you (petitioner) must learn to tolerate," the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said. "There could be some error or enthusiasm in reporting an alleged scam. But, we must allow freedom of speech and expression to press at the fullest. There may be some wrong reporting. For that they need not be hauled up for defamation," the apex court said.

Referring to its earlier verdict that had upheld the validity of the penal law on defamation, it said the provision may be constitutional, but an alleged incorrect news item about a scam does not amount to the offence of defamation. A woman had filed the appeal against the High Court order quashing her private defamation complaint accusing a journalist of telecasting an alleged incorrect news which she had claimed had defamed her and her family members. -- PTI
17:26   Shatrughan hints demolition order on home could be vendetta politics
The Mumbai civic body has razed illegal extensions and constructions in an eight-storey residential building owned by BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha in the Juhu area. The BMC had received several complaints of illegal extensions in Sinha's residence 'Ramayan' in the last few months. Subsequently, notices were also served to him, a civic official said today.

This is what the BJP MP tweeted in response to the demolition.

"The part demolition of my home "Ramayan" in Mumbai is presently the most talked about news. People are asking me if I am paying the price for honest politics based on facts, figures & truth & for supporting statesman Yashwant Sinha's support to Satara farmers. I have no answer. It could well be! 

"Started with the removal of my security cover in Delhi..& now demolition at my residence. In all fairness, it cud also be a knee jerk reaction of BMC after the tragic fire in some Mumbai restaurants. If so, I welcome the reaction. Hope BMC continues in its efforts to monitor & rein-in illegal constructions in the long run with all earnestness. But a minor alteration done by them (of breaking a toilet) has been blown out of proportion.

"Anyway, I am not going to cow down on matters of principle. I am a law abiding citizen & am happy that NDTV has broadcast & reported my statement (TOI) which I am sharing for information, broadcast & perusal. 

"The government is encouraging having toilets inside houses. We had constructed one on the terrace so that people working in the building can use it. I have no issues with the BMC removing it. The Puja room was shifted to the stilt temporarily as we are awaiting rights to build a permanent one. I co-operated with the officials without creating any commotion. For my friends & well wishers...Don't worry, be happy..and a Happy New Year again! JAI HIND!"
17:13   Jet Airways expels pilots who fought in cockpit
 Jet Airways on Tuesday terminated the services of two senior pilots - a woman and a man, who fought inside the cockpit of the Jet Airways London-Mumbai flight on New Year's Day.

"Consequent to the review of the events on board Flight 9W 119 London-Mumbai of 01 January 2018, Jet Airways has terminated services of both the cockpit crew with immediate effect," said a statement from Jet Airways.

The incident was reported when a scuffle between the pilot and the co-pilot began as the flight was scheduled for take-off to Mumbai, on January 1.

A Jet Airways spokesperson had said that a 'misunderstanding occurred between the cockpit crew,' adding the matter was resolved amicably later.  -- ANI
17:11   God, please save India from our upper class Aadhaarophobics
There are two aspects to the Aadhaar/The Tribune controversy. One is the thoughtlessly stupid FIR which names reporter Rachna Khaira and the newspaper, among others, though not as accused '" a shot fired in anger by an almighty bureaucrat furious at having his weekend ruined. The other is the scare-mongering over Aadhaar, which rivals the Gaul fear of the falling sky in Asterix comics. Read more
17:07   Sharif calls Imran Khan coward
Pakistan's ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today lambasted cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan as a coward for putting the dignity of a family at stake by proposing marriage to a woman he has been visiting for spiritual guidance. Khan, the leader of the Opposition, on Sunday had confirmed that he had proposed marriage to the woman named Bushra Maneka but denied reports that he had secretly wed her.

Sharif said Khan was cowardly hiding after putting the dignity of a family at stake. "What sort of person he is who hides like a coward while leaving an innocent family to face rumours," he said. Khan, 66, was married twice earlier.
17:06   Imran Khan defends his marriage proposal
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday, in a move to defend himself over the recent marriage controversy revolving around him, went on a Twitter spree, stating he had been wondering if he committed any crime.

Khan took to Twitter, "For 3 days I have been wondering have I looted a bank; or money laundered bns in nation's wealth; or ordered a model-town-like killing spree; or revealed state secrets to India? I have done none of these but discovered I have committed a bigger crime: wanting to get married."

The cricketer-turned-politician alleged NS [Nawaz Sharif] and MSR [Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman] mafia of leading the "vicious, gutter media campaign" which "does not bother" him, adding that the "NS & MSR can rest assured that their vicious campaign has only strengthened my resolve to fight them all the way."

Khan further wrote, "I have known the Sharifs for 40 years and I know all their sordid personal lives but I would never stoop to the level of exposing these sordid details.

"However, my concern is for my children & the very conservative family of Bushra begum, all of whom have been subjected to this malicious campaign by NS & MSR," he tweeted further.

"All I ask of my well wishers and supporters", Khan added, "is that they pray I find personal happiness which, except for a few years, I have been deprived of."

It was reported on Saturday that the PTI chief got married on New Year's Day in Lahore.According to The News' report, Imran Khan tied the knot with a woman he used to visit for spiritual guidance.However, refuting the reports of Imran Khan's marriage, PTI, on Sunday, said he was not married 'yet' but proposed marriage to a woman named Bushra Maneka."To set the record straight, Mr Khan proposed marriage to Ms Bushra Maneka; but Ms Maneka asked for time to make a final decision after consulting her family, including her children," the PTI tweeted.

"If and when the proposal is accepted by Ms Maneka for the marriage, Mr Khan will announce it publicly in the proper manner. Till then we request the media to give the two families, especially the children, their privacy," the tweet added. -- ANI
Sheena Bora murder case: Driver Shyamvar Rai told Special CBI Court that Indrani Mukerjea spoke to Peter Mukerjea on the phone during the recce of the spot where the body was eventually dumped.
16:14   1 Above pub managers sent to jail till Jan 22
Kamala Mills fire: Managers of pub '1 Above' Kevin Bawa and Lisbon Lopez sent to judicial custody till January 22 by the Bhoiwada court. In the wake of fire, BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta has asked all hotels and restaurants to do self fire safety audits in their premises or the BMC will take tough action.

n his PIL, the retired IPS officer has sought the constitution of a judicial enquiry commission into the Kamala Mills Compound fire which broke out in The Mojo's Bistro and spread to 1Above and other adjoining rooftop establishments, trapping 14 to their death and injuring 55 others.

"I have also sought a compulsory fire audit of all pubs, restaurants, hotels and eateries all over the city to avoid recurrence of similar tragedies," Ribeiro told IANS after filing the PIL through his lawyer Sujay Kantawala.

A Mumbai Fire Brigade probe found that the blaze started in The Mojo's Bistro due to burning embers from illegal hookahs being served to patron, and spread to other premises.

The Mumbai Police later arrested three persons, including two managers of 1Above pub, Kevin Bawa and Lisbon Lopez, and have announced a reward for the three absconding owner-partners of the pub (1Above).

On 6 January, the police arrested Yug K. Pathak, the co-owner of The Mojo's Bistro and son of former DGP-level retired IPS officer K.K. Pathak.

All have been booked under the stringent IPC law pertaining to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, among other charges.
15:56   Day 6 of TN bus strike: Untrained drivers called in, commuters suffer
Hundreds of commuters are struggling to reach places in Tamil Nadu as the indefinite strike called by transport unions, demanding a pay hike among other things, entered the sixth day on Tuesday.

"We have been forced to go on a strike as we are underpaid. To end our strike, this government should talk with us and fulfill our demands," said Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Union Transport employee Sudarshan.

Though the transport department has roped in temporary drivers to resume services in the state, the fleet of buses was still not running at its maximum capacity."We hear that many accidents are happening because of untrained drivers. It is because of this government only," said Venkatesan, a City General body member.

Earlier on Sunday, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam working president MK Stalin urged Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy to initiate talks with transport employees and take suitable actions to end the ongoing strike in the state.

The strike, following the failure of talks on wage revision and clearance of pending dues with Vijayabaskar, was declared on Thursday.

Transport workers have been demanding for a pay revision to Rs 30,000; however, the authorities have only agreed to pay them Rs 24,400 per month. -- ANI
15:49   BJP wins all 3 mayoral seats in Chandigarh civic body
The BJP won the posts of mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, the voting for which was held in Chandigarh today.
15:46   Chair men
MoS Home Kiren Rijiju tweets: "DGPs, Chief of Intelligence Agencies, Central Armed Forces & CPOs meet at Tekanpur (in Gwalior). Since 2014, @narendramodi ji is the only PM to intensely participate in this utmost crucial 3 days annual conference. A Prime Minister who devotes so much for the nation."

Image: L to R: MoS Home Kiren Rijiju, PM Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh at the meet.
15:33   Matunga station chugs into record book for all-woman staff
The Matunga suburban station on the Central Railway (CR) has found its way into the Limca Book of Records for having an all-woman staff, an official said today. The achievement comes six months after Matunga became the first railway station in the country to be run by an all- woman staff.

"We are happy to inform that six months after the CR appointed an all-woman staff at Matunga, this station has figured in the Limca Book of Records 2018," said the Railway official. The station is being manned exclusively by women staffers since July 2017, a first on the Indian Railways, he said.

A team of 41 women staffers at the station includes personnel from the RPF, commercial and operating departments. These staffers work under the supervision of station manager Mamta Kulkarni.
15:22   China mum over Gen Rawat's remarks on Dokalam
China today skirted a direct response to Army chief General Bipin Rawat's remarks that there was a major reduction of Chinese troops in Dokalam, but insisted that its soldiers stationed in the area were exercising "sovereignty rights".

China and India were engaged in a 73-day tense standoff at Dokalam in the Sikkim sector which ended on August 28.

"The Dong Lang (Dokalam) area has all along been part of China and under China's continuous and effective jurisdiction. There is no dispute in this regard," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told the media when asked about Rawat's remarks. Rawat yesterday said Indian and Chinese troops had resolved an issue over the recent attempt by Chinese teams to build a road on the Indian side of the border at Tuting in Arunachal Pradesh. Rawat also said there was a major reduction of Chinese troops in the Dokalam area. -- PTI
15:16   Family ask son, who joined Hizbul Mujahideen, to return home
The family of a research scholar at the Aligarh Muslim University has urged him to return home after his photos went viral showing he had joined the terrorist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen.

The family of Mannan Bashir Wani, belonging to Tekkipora Lolab of Kashmir's Kupwara district, was in for a shock when photos of Wani holding an AK-47 went viral on social media.

The picture, reportedly uploaded by Hizbul Mujahideen, said Wani had joined the terrorist outfit on January 5.

Wani's mother, who was distressed and cried continuously, urged her son to shun the path and come back home.

"I haven't hurt you nor refused any of your any decisions. If I ever did anything, please forgive me and come back. Shun the militancy path and join the family members again," Wani's mother said.

"It was not expected that Mannan would join the militant groups. All family members are in a serious shock," said Wani's grieving father.

His father said that his son used to discuss his next step with him.

"Mannan was like a friend to me and I had never expected him to make such a decision."

"The only heart breaking decision Manan took in his life was that he joined the terrorist outfit without letting me know. I wouldn't curse Mannan for the decision because he is mentally-sound and a well-qualified man. Mannan always took decisions that would benefit his career," Wani's father added.

According to friends and family, Wani was last seen holidaying in his hometown, after which he had gone missing.

Wani's mother and sister were so shocked by the news that they could not utter a word. While the mother cried uncontrollably, Wani's sister was in an unconscious condition, and kept murmuring that she wants "my brother back."

Meanwhile, Wani has been expelled by the university. -- ANI

14:59   Yusuf Pathan's statement after failing dope test
"I have always competed in a fair and transparent manner."  Yusuf Pathan's statement.
14:29   A war of labels
Accounts of Dalit protests in Maharashtra are incomplete, need to be leavened by context and history. Read more
14:23   Minister who said cows exhale oxygen has this to say on Newton
Rajasthan Education Minister Vasudev Devnani has said Brahmagupta-II discovered the law of gravity before Issac Newton. Speaking during a programme at the Rajasthan University yesterday, he asserted that Brahmagupta-II came up with the gravitation law a thousand years ago.

"We all have studied that Newton gave the law of gravitation, but delving deeper, we can find that Brahmagupta-II came up with the theory of gravitation 1,000 years before (Newton). Why don't we include this fact in the curriculum?" Devnani asked.

The state primary and secondary education minister said the school curriculum was changed and close to 200 Indian personalities, including Rajput king Maharana Pratap, were included. The minister also stressed that education should be value-based.

Referring to student leader of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Kanhaiya Kumar, the BJP leader said, "No Kanhaiya should be born in Rajasthan".

Kumar was in 2016 arrested in connection with a case of alleged sedition and criminal conspiracy over holding of an event at JNU against hanging of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The Rajasthan minister, who is not new to controversies, had last year claimed that cow was the only animal that exhales oxygen while quoting a research website. -- PTI
14:13   Pathan gets retrospective suspension for inadvertent dope fail
Yusuf Pathan on the dope test:

Pathan said he was confident of being cleared of deliberate usage and vowed to be more careful in future. "Competing for India and my home state Baroda has been a matter of immense pride and encouragement for me and I would never act in any manner to bring my motherland or Baroda, in any kind of disrepute," Pathan said in a statement.

"In hindsight, I should have been more careful and checked the status of the medications with BCCI's dedicated Anti-Doping Helpline," he added.

The all-rounder, who has played 57 ODIs and 22 T20 Internationals for India, was charged with the "commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) under the BCCI Anti- Doping Rules (ADR) Article 2.1 and provisionally suspended pending determination of the charge".

He has not played for India since 2012 but has been seen in the Indian Premier League, turning up for the Kolkata Knight Riders. "Mr Pathan responded to the charge by admitting the ADRV and asserting that it was caused by his ingestion of a medication containing Terbutaline that had been mistakenly given to him instead of the medication prescribed for him, which did not contain any prohibited substance," the BCCI explained. -- PTI
14:09   The journalist who exposed Aadhaar
Meet Rachna Khaira, a reporter at The Tribune newspaper who has been named in an FIR by the Delhi police in connection with a report on the breach of details of over one billion Aadhaar cards. Khaira exposed the loopholes in Aadhaar's digital security thanks to which she says they are available for as low as Rs 500.'s Syed Firdaus Ashraf spoke to Khaira. Read on
14:00   BCCI suspends Yusuf Pathan for failing drug test
All-rounder Yusuf Pathan has been suspended by the BCCI for five months for failing a dope test during a domestic match last season. A statement by BCCI said, "Mr Yusuf Pathan has been suspended for a doping violation. Mr Pathan had inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups.

"Mr Pathan had provided a urine sample as part of the BCCI's anti-doping testing program during a domestic T-20 competition on 16th March 2017 in New Delhi. His sample was subsequently tested and found to contain Terbutaline. Terbutaline, a specified substance, is prohibited both In & Out of Competition in the WADA Prohibited List of Substances."
Update on the national anthem report.

Modifying the 2016 order, the Supreme Court said that the inter-ministerial committee set up by the Centre will take a final call on playing of the national anthem in cinemas. The court accepts the govt affidavit that says a 12-member committee be set up to suggest changes in the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act. The committee should comprehensively look into all aspects, the SC says. Exemption for disabled from standing in cinema halls during national anthem shall remain in force.
13:31   India not eyeing anyone's territory: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India has no intention of exploiting any country's resources and is not eyeing anyone's territory, basing its relationships not on "profit or loss" but on humanity. Addressing the first PIO Parliamentarians Conference in New Delhi, he said India has always played a constructive role in the world arena. If any philosophy can counter extremism and radicalisation, it is Mahatma Gandhi's and India's philosophy of non-violence and 'satyagraha', he noted.

"We neither have the intention of exploiting anyone's resources nor are we eyeing anyone's territory. Our focus has always been on capacity building and resource development," the prime minister said. The comments come in the wake of increasing border tensions in certain sectors of India's border with China.

"India is that country which has always played a constructive role in the world arena. We have not weighed our policy towards any country on profit or loss basis, but have viewed it from the prism of human values."

India's model of development aid, he added, is not based on give and take, but depends on the needs and priorities of countries. "At a time when the world is divided by ideologies, India believes in the mantra of 'sabka saath, sabka vikas'," he said. -- PTI
13:15   Not must to play national anthem in cinema halls: SC
The Supreme Court modifies its order on the national anthem played in cinema halls, says it is not mandatory. The initial order, issued in November 2016, said all those present in theatres must "stand up in respect" till the anthem ended. The practice would "instill a feeling within one, a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism," the bench, led by Justice Dipak Misra, who later became the Chief Justice of India, had ruled.

The central government, which had earlier backed the Supreme Court order making it mandatory to play the National Anthem just before the screening of a film, had yesterday urged the apex court to take back its order on the grounds that it had set up a committee to look into the issue.

The government has said it doesn't want to be prejudiced by the court's views on the subject.
13:10   Snowden hails reporter who exposed flaws in UIDAI system
American whistleblower Edward Snowden on Tuesday came out in support of a national daily reporter, who has been booked for exposing alleged flaws in Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) system.

Taking to Twitter, Snowden said instead of an investigation, the journalist needed to be rewarded for exposing that the Aadhar data was not foolproof and could be obtained at a cost of only Rs 500.

In his tweet, the former United States government contractor, who has taken asylum in Russia, also suggested that action should rather be taken against UIDAI, the body that runs the Aadhaar programme.

"The journalists exposing the #Aadhaar breach deserve an award, not an investigation. If the government were truly concerned for justice, they would be reforming the policies that destroyed the privacy of a billion Indians. Want to arrest those responsible? They are called @UIDAI," Snowden tweeted.

Meanwhile, Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad yesterday had said that the administration was "fully committed to freedom of press" and that an FIR filed is "against unknown".

"Govt. is fully committed to freedom of Press as well as to maintaining security & sanctity of #Aadhaar for India's development. FIR is against unknown. I've suggested @UIDAI to request Tribune & it's journalist to give all assistance to police in investigating real offenders," Prasad tweeted.

On January 5, Snowden had hinted that the Aadhaar database conceived and introduced by the Indian government can also be misused and abused. -- ANI
12:34   1500 cops with water cannons take position for Mevani's Delhi rally
Heavy security has been deployed ahead of Dalit leader and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani's 'Yuva Hunkar Rally', to be held in Delhi's Parliament Street today. NDTV reports that Jantar Mantar, where protest rallies are normally held, turned into a fortress this morning as nearly 1,500 police and paramilitary personnel, armed with tear gas and 10 water cannons, took up position to foil the youth rally.

Mevani and his supporters were reported to be going ahead with the rally despite Delhi police denying permission for the event.

The rally is being held against central government's inability to create employment and increasing right-wing violence. Delhi Commissioner of Police yesterday tweeted that the authorities had advised the organisers to shift the rally to an alternate site.  -- ANI
12:20   A piece of history
@IndiaHistorypic tweets: 1968: Har Gobind Khorana with Holley and Nirenberg, to celebrate their jointly awarded Nobel Prize. Khorana was born in Raipur, British India (Presently Kabirwala In Pakistan), studied in D.A.V. High School in Multan and at Punjab University in Lahore (Photo www.nlm.nih.go).

The Indian-American biochemist turned 96 today.
12:02   Two militants killed in encounter with security forces in J-K
Two militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir today, the Army said. "Two militants have been killed so far in an anti- insurgency operation in Larnoo area of Kokernag in Anantnag district," an Army official said. He said the operation was in progress when last reports came in. The identities of the slain militants were yet to be ascertained. -- PTI
12:00   Thane court rejects Kaskar's plea for home-cooked food
A special MCOCA court here has rejected the plea of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim's brother Iqbal Kaskar, arrested in an extortion case, to allow him to have homemade food in jail due to his various ailments.

Special Judge (MCOCA) A S Bhaisare observed that Kaskar's doctor has not prescribed any special diet to him, therefore, his application was liable to be rejected. He said Kaskar, presently lodged in the Thane District Central Jail, had not made any special ground to grant his application.

"One cannot act as per his own wish and choice or desire," the judge said in a recent order. Kaskar, in his application, had requested the court to allow him to have the facility of homemade food in judicial custody on the ground that he was suffering from diabetes, blood pressure and giddiness, and undergoing treatment. He said he was required to have home cooked food to maintain better health.

Kaskar also argued that previously, when he was in custody in a case at the Central Prison in Mumbai from 2003 to 2007, he was provided with the facility (of home food) and that he never misused the liberty granted to him. The prosecution opposed his application saying there were all facilities of food and medicines in the jail premises.  -- PTI
11:14   2 terrorists killed in encounter with security forces in J-K
Two terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir today, the army said.

"Two terrorists have been killed so far in an anti-insurgency operation in Larnoo area of Kokernag in Anantnag district," an army official said.

He said the operation was in progress when last reports came in.

The identities of the slain terrorists were yet to be ascertained. 

-- PTI
10:53   Israel PM Netanyahu to woo film industry in India trip
As Israel fights cultural boycott in the world of global entertainment business, its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to meet the whos who of the Indian film industry in a specially-choreographed event, Shalom Bollywood, sources have reported. 

The event, which is likely to be held in Mumbai on January 18, will be one of the showpiece events during Netanyahus four-day visit to India beginning January 14. Netanyahu and his wife Sara, who hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi at their residence for a three-hour-long dinner in Tel Aviv last July, will also visit Agra to see the Taj Mahal on January 16.

Modi, who will hold bilateral talks in Delhi on January 15, will accompany Netanyahu to Ahmedabad on January 17. They will visit the Sabarmati Ashram, where Modi earlier took Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

But the marquee event is the one in Mumbai the Israeli government is trying to get Bollywoods A-listers, including top directors and producers, to attend it. Netanyahu will also meet top corporate leaders in Indias financial capital, besides visiting Chabad House. 

Sources said while Netanyahu and his wife are fond of Indian films, the move to woo Bollywood is more political than personal. The ultimate goal is to fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, which has tried to isolate the country.
Heavy security deployed ahead of Jignesh Mevani's 'Yuva Hunkar Rally' to be held at Parliament Street. Delhi Police has denied permission to hold the event.
JUST IN: South Korea says North Korea has said it will send a delegation to the Winter Olympics next month in the South.
10:18   BMC razes illegal extensions at Shatrughan Sinha's residence
The Mumbai's civic body has razed illegal extensions and constructions in an eight-storey residential building owned by BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha in Juhu area.

The BMC had received several complaints of illegal extensions in Sinha's residence 'Ramayan' in the last few months. Subsequently, notices were also served to him, a civic official said today.

"Though Sinha replied to our notices, we still found lapses and extensions violating the construction norms. Therefore, we served him another notice last week and demolished the illegal constructions yesterday," the official

The Lok Sabha member from Bihar, who has been at variance with the BJP's stand on a host of issues, was at home when the demolition work was carried out.

The civic official said Sinha cooperated while the illegal extensions were razed at his home, where he lives with his family.

The cine star-turned-parliamentarian had redeveloped his bungalow some years back to construct the eight-storey building.

-- PTI
09:58   Huge relief for Indians as Trump govt drops H-1B visa proposal
In a breather for foreign tech workers, particularly Indians, the Trump administration announced it was not considering any proposal that could force deportation of thousands of H-1B visa holders by denying them extensions beyond the maximum permissible period of six years, as they waited for permanent residency.

"USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of section 104(c) of AC-21, which provides for H-1B extensions beyond the 6 year limit. Even if it were, such a change would not likely result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC21 instead, said Jonathan Withington, Chief of Media Relations at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that oversees H-1Bs to the Hindustan Times. 

The announcement came as a major relief to Indian H-1B holders waiting for their Green Cards who were at risk of deportation if a proposal to end granting extension to visa under this programme was accepted.

An estimated 500,000 to 750,000 Indian H-1B visa holders could have been deported if the administration decided to go ahead with the proposal, which was in line with President Donald Trumps Buy American, Hire American vision to boost manufacturing and protect local jobs for American.
09:50   North, South Korea start first official talks in two years
North and South Korea began their first official talks in more than two years today, focussing on the forthcoming Winter Olympics after months of tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

The talks in Panmunjom, the truce village in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula, came after the North's leader Kim Jong-Un indicated in his New Year's speech that he could send a delegation to next month's Games in Pyeongchang in the South.

Seoul responded with an offer of a high-level dialogue, and last week the hotline between the neighbours was restored after being suspended for almost two years.
09:11   Winfrey 'actively thinking' about running for US president
Oprah Winfrey is "actively thinking" about running for US president, two of her close friends said. 

The two friends, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely, talked in the wake of Winfrey's extraordinary speech at the Golden Globes Sunday night, which spurred chatter about a 2020 run.

Some of Winfrey's confidants have been privately urging her to run, the sources said.

One of the sources said these conversations date back several months. The person emphasised that Winfrey has not made up her mind about running.

The Democratic race for president won't officially begin until after the 2018 midterms, but many potential candidates are already jostling for position and making trips to Iowa.

"President Winfrey" was the talk of the entertainment world after Winfrey accepted the Cecil B DeMille Award at the Golden Globes. And the "Oprah for president?" possibility was a top story on morning TV.
08:59   'Journalists exposing Aadhaar breach deserve award, not investigation'
The recent investigative report on access to Aadhaar data being sold via social media needs to be rewarded and penalised, believes Edward Snowden, someone who has experience in being targeted by a government over a data leak.

Snowden, who famously leaked classified information that exposed a massive surveillance operation run by an American spy agency, today tweeted in support of the reporter behind the Aadhaar data breach story.

He wrote on Twitter, "The journalists exposing the #Aadhaar breach deserve an award, not an investigation. If the government were truly concerned for justice, they would be reforming the policies that destroyed the privacy of a billion Indians. Want to arrest those responsible? They are called @UIDAI."

He also suggested that those who really need to be arrested are the authorities at the Unique Identification Authority of India, the body that runs the Aadhaar programme.

Snowden's comments, which came in an early-morning tweet, came against the backdrop of a Chandigarh-based daily publishing an investigative report alleging its reporter was able to purchase access to Aadhaar data from sellers over messaging application WhatsApp.

Following the publication of the report, the UIDAI, which denied 'data breach' had taken place, filed a First Information Report with the Delhi Police naming not just the people mentioned in the Aadhaar-data-for-sale story but also the reporter - Rachna Khaira - as well as the daily - The Tribune.

08:40   No permission yet but Jignesh Mevani may go ahead with Delhi rally today
Newly-elected Gujarat legislator and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani's request to hold a youth rally in Delhi today is yet to be accepted by the police which cited the orders of the green court to stop rallies at the heart of the national capital. 

The 37-year-old lawyer-activist - accused of inciting the recent caste clashes at Bhima-Koregaon near Pune that spread across Maharashtra - had announced his intention last week to visit Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Office during the rally.

The 'Yuva Hunkaar rally" may go ahead without permission. In a statement, the organisers have urged the prospective participants to "assemble on the Parliament Street at 12 pm tomorrow". The police are getting ready with water cannons and tear gas to control the crowds, say sources.

On Monday evening, a tweet from Delhi Police read, "No permission granted so far by Delhi Police to hold proposed protest at Parliament Street in view of NGT orders. Organisers have been constantly advised to go to alternate site which they are reluctant to accept". 

Mevani is expected to address protesters along with Akhil Gogoi, a farmer leader from Assam. Several student leaders from Delhi's prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, including Kanhaiya Kumar, are expected to attend the rally, meant to seek the release of Chandrashekhar Azad, the founder of Dalit group Bhim Army. 
08:21   Ahmedabad to witness Modi-Netanyahu roadshow on January 17
A mega road show has been planned by the Gujarat government when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu visit the state and Ahmedababd on January 17, officials said. 

A high-level meeting, chaired by Chief Secretary JP Singh, was convened on Monday at state secretariat to plan for the visit, and the pacts to be signed between the state and Israel during Netanyahu's visit.

The roadshow will be from the Ahmedabad airport to the Sabarmati Ashram, similar to that held during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit.

Besides the Ashram, the prime ministers will also be visiting the 'I-Create' center in Ahmedabad. 
08:06   GDP data brings us back to the basic question: Where are the jobs?
Late last week, the central statistics office of the government of India declared its forecasts for the gross domestic product growth for 2017-2018. The GDP is a measure of economic size and the GDP growth is a measure of economic growth.

The GDP growth for 2017-2018 is expected to be at 6.5 per cent. It is the slowest economic growth that the country will see after Narendra Modi took over as the prime minister. 

Read more HERE
07:46   Trump's medical exam won't include mental fitness test
Donald Trump's scheduled medical exam this week won't include a psychiatric evaluation, the White House said today as questions mount over the US president's mental fitness.

Responding to queries on the subject, spokesman Hogan Gidley said simply: "No."

"He's sharp as a tack," Gidley told reporters.

Trump, 71, will be examined at the Walter Reed military hospital in a Washington suburb on Friday and the results are set to be made public.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump published a letter by his long term doctor Harold Bornstein that stated he was in "excellent physical health."

Bornstein had previously written about Trump's health in glowing terms, stating in 2015 he would be "the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."

Angered by the publication of a bombshell book that raised doubts over his mental faculties, Trump took to Twitter this weekend to describe himself as "a very stable genius" and "like, really smart."
00:38   No need to re-investigate Mahatma's assassination, SC told
The Supreme Court was told on Monday there was no need to re-investigate Mahatma Gandhi's assassination as the conspiracy behind the murder and identity of assailant Nathuram Vinayak Godse who had fired the bullets have already been duly established.

Senior advocate Amarendra Sharan, who was appointed as amicus curiae to assist in the matter, has filed a report in the apex court and has said that claims regarding existence of British special intelligence unit by the name 'Force 136' and its alleged role in the assassination was not substantiated.

The report said that records of the case established that an independent judiciary had adjudged the crimes of NathuramVinayak Godse and other accused in the matter and justice was served.

Gandhi was shot dead at point blank range in New Delhi on January 30, 1948 by Godse, a right-wing advocate of Hindu Nationalism.

The assassination case had led to the conviction and execution of Godse and Narayan Apte on November 15, 1949.

Sharan has filed the report on the PIL by Mumbai-based Dr Pankaj Phadnis , a researcher and a trustee of Abhinav Bharat, who has sought reopening of investigation on several grounds, claiming it was one of the biggest cover-ups in the history.

'The bullets which pierced Mahatma Gandhi's body, the pistol from which it was fired, the assailant who fired the said bullets, the conspiracy which led to the assassination and the ideology which led to the said assassination have all been duly identified,' the report said.

'No substantive material has come to light to throw any doubt on any of the above requiring either a re-investigation of the Mahatma Gandhi murder case or, to constitute a fresh fact finding commission with respect to the same," it said.

A bench headed by Justice S A Bobde is scheduled to hear the matter on January 12.

The petitioner has questioned the 'three bullet theory' relied upon by various courts to hold conviction of accused Godse and Apte, who were hanged, and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who was given benefit of doubt due to lack of evidence.

Regarding the claim of the petitioner about the alleged fourth bullet, the amicus has said that as per records of the case, only three empty cartridges and two spent bullets were found at the place of occurrence and no fourth spent bullet or empty cartridge was found from there.

The report also said Godse was arrested at the spot with the murder weapon, a semi automatic Beretta pistol which could load seven cartridges at a time, and the records suggested that only three bullets were fired.

It said during the trial in the case, six eye-witnesses were examined and they all mentioned about three shots having been fired by sole assailant Nathuram Godse only.

"From the above documents, it is clear that there was no 4th bullet which was fired upon Mahatma Gandhi on the fateful day of January 30, 1948. Additionally, the other bullet alleged to be the fourth bullet was recovered from Gwalior and not from Delhi," it said.

Dealing with the petitioner's claims about Savarkar's role, the amicus said that Savarkar was acquitted of charges of conspiracy by the trial court in the case and now it would neither be advisable nor possible to come to a definitive finding with respect to his alleged role in the assassination.

The report also dealt with certain remarks of the Justice J L Kapur Commission of Inquiry, which was set up in 1966, in the case.

On the allegations about conspiracy and role of 'Force136', the amicus has said there was no documentary evidence in contemporary literature to prove that there even existed such a secret service and was mandated to carry out the murder.

"Furthermore, it is difficult to give any evidentiary value to the submissions regarding apprehension of Nathuram Godse by a CIA Agent named Herbert Reiner at the place ofoccurrence. Nor, any evidentiary value can be given to the statement made to Vijaya Laxmi Pandit (the then Indian ambassador to USSR) by the ambassadors of the various other countries regarding the involvement of the British," it said.

Phadnis has challenged the decision of the Bombay high court which on June 6, 2016 had dismissed his PIL on two grounds -- firstly, that the findings of fact have been recorded by the competent court and confirmed right up to the apex court, and secondly, the Kapur Commission has submitted its report and made observations in 1969, while the present petition has been filed 46 years later.  -- PTI