Mon, 23 July 2018
Amar Singh meets Yogi, triggers speculation of joining BJP

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23:46   Amar Singh meets Yogi, triggers speculation of joining BJP
Veteran politician Amar Singh met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today, triggering speculation in political circles that he might be planning to join the BJP.
Though the meeting was confirmed by official sources, it was not immediately known what transpired between them. 

Rumour is already rife that Singh, who was a Rajya Sabha MP from the Samajwadi Party but was expelled from the Akhilesh Yadav-led outfit last year, has been toying with the idea of embracing the saffron party. 

Singh recently said that he was not averse to joining the BJP, but he hadn't got any invite from it, nor had he applied to it.

"The BJP is a very big political party. I won't say that I will not join the BJP if I get a chance, but who is giving me the chance? I haven't sent them any request letter either," Singh had said. 
23:27   BJP responsible for lynching incidents: Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today held the BJP responsible for increasing number of lynching incidents in the country and said that instead of merely condemning them, the saffron party should control its leaders.
"Rajnath-ji (Union home minister) condemned the incident in Parliament. But, why instead of condemning, they are not controlling their leaders from the upper to lower level.

"It is only because of their hate campaign that so many lives have been lost (in lynching incidents). Charity begins at home," she told reporters at the state secretariat.

The CM's comments came in the backdrop the alleged lynching of a 28-year-old man by a cow vigilante group in Alwar on Saturday.

Mamata alleged that lynching incidents were the handiwork of some extremist religious groups.
"We appeal to all the common citizens. It's a serious phase we are going through. So many lives have been lost. This should be stopped immediately," she said.
23:11   Rahul Gandhi is a "loafer" for winking in Parliament: Goa BJP
A Goa BJP spokesperson on Monday called Congress president Rahul Gandhi a "loafer" for winking in Parliament, a day after the state Congress chief called Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar a "kathputli" for bowing to unreasonable demands of ruling coalition allies in the coastal state.

"Rahul Gandhi, who does not have substance or the understanding of issues related to the people of India, had to resort to hugging the prime minister in the temple of democracy and then winking like a loafer," said state Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Dattaprasad Naik in a press statement.

"We have only heard of loafers winking at girls in colleges in the past and never such a shameful act has ever happened in the temple of democracy," Mr Naik said, adding that the Congress party had become a "kathputli" in the hands of Gandhi family.

Naik said state Congress president Girish Chodankar had forgotten that even former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was a puppet in the hands of then Congress president Sonia Gandhi and that all Goa Congress presidents in the past were "kathputlis" in the hands of the Congress high command.
22:34   Trump slams Washington Post, says acting as lobbyist for Amazon
US President Donald Trump today slammed the Washington Post daily for being biased in its coverage of his administration and accused it of being nothing more than a "lobbyist" for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos who now owns the newspaper.

The Amazon Washington Post has gone crazy against me ever since they lost the Internet Tax Case in the US Supreme Court two months ago. Next up is the US Post Office which they use, at a fraction of real cost, as their 'delivery boy' for a BIG percentage of their packages, he tweeted.
In my opinion the Washington Post is nothing more than an expensive (the paper loses a fortune) lobbyist for Amazon. Is it used as protection against antitrust claims which many feel should be brought? Trump said as he unleashed a series of tweets in which he criticised the media and defended his policies in particular that on North Korea and Russia.
Trump said America's allies in Asia are happy with his policies on North Korea.

A rocket has not been launched by North Korea in 9 months. Likewise, no nuclear tests. Japan is happy, all of Asia is happy. But the Fake News is saying, without ever asking me (always anonymous sources), that I am angry because it is not going fast enough. Wrong, very happy! he said.

-- PTI
22:16   Pak Army blatantly meddling elections: Former envoy
Pakistan's powerful army assisted by a "partisan" judiciary is "blatantly meddling" the July 25 elections, the country's top former envoy to the US has alleged.

Over 12,570 candidates, including a number of hardline clerics, are contesting the elections to the parliament and four provincial assemblies.

"More than 100 million Pakistanis will have the chance to cast their ballots in general elections on July 25, but the vote is already tainted by the blatant meddling of the country's all-powerful military, with a series of assists by a partisan judiciary," former Pakistani ambassador to US Husain Haqqani wrote in Foreign Policy.

"This interference by what is known locally as the "establishment" ensures that whatever the results will be on election day, the outcome will not rid Pakistan of its chronic instability and poor civil-military relations," he said.

He claimed that the powerful Pakistani military establishment wants to root out two parties --- Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz  and Pakistan Peoples Party -- that have dominated the political scene for the last three decades. 

Haqqani alleged that the establishment has orchestrated an elaborate set of legal and political moves to pave the way for the victory of the former cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan. 

"The most important of these moves was the removal of Sharif as prime minister one year ago," he said.

The elections will transfer power from one civilian government to another for only the second time in Pakistan's history.
21:48   AAP office of profit case: EC hearing adjourned for Aug 20
 The Election Commission today adjourned for August 20 its hearing on a plea to disqualify 20 Delhi AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit as they moved the Delhi High Court challenging the poll panel decision rejecting their demand to cross examine the petitioner who had sought their removal as lawmakers.
The MLAs told the poll panel that they have moved the HC challenging its order rejecting their plea to cross-examine petitioner Prashant Patel, who had sought their disqualification on the charge of holding office-of-profit.
The EC then adjourned the hearing for August 20.

In its July 17 order, the poll panel said it does not find merit in AAP MLAs' plea to cross examine Patel to prove that they were not holding any office-of-profit..

Patel, an advocate, had claimed that by being parliamentary secretaries, the 21 AAP lawakers held office of profit and were liable for being disqualified as MLAs of the Delhi assembly.

One of the MLAs had later resigned.

Following a directive from the Delhi High Court, the Election Commission is hearing afresh the case related to disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office-of-profit by virtue of their appointment as parliamentary secretaries.
The EC had, on January 19, recommended the disqualification of the 20 AAP MLAs. President Ram Nath Kovind had accepted the poll panel's opinion the next day

But the EC's move was quashed by the Delhi High Court, terming it "bad in law".

The Delhi AAP lawmakers had moved the plea in EC on May 16 for cross-examination of Patel, and officials of the assembly and city government to prove that they were not holding any office-of-profit by being appointed as parliamentary secretaries.

-- PTI
21:29   WhatsApp testing 'suspicious link detection' feature
In yet another move to stem the spread of fake news and misinformation through its instant messaging app, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is testing a label, which marks unusual links sent on chats as suspicious.

The company is testing this feature in a beta version of its Android app, in a bid to crack down on fake news. The way it works is by identifying the characters in the link shared and noticing unusual patterns in the web address.

WhatsApps move comes at a time when the Indian government has been putting pressure on the company to act on the spread of fake news through its platform. 

The government asked WhatsApp to limit spam on its platform and find ways through technology to stop false messages from circulating far and wide. This came on the heels of dozens of lynchings reported around the country, allegedly after rumours spread on the instant messaging app.
21:11   26/11 plotter Headley battling for life after attack in US prison
David Headley, Pakistani-American convicted in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, is battling for his life after being attacked by two inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.

Headley was reportedly attacked on July 8 by two other inmates as he had been a double agent working with Pakistan and Islamist terror elements.

The injuries he suffered were grievous in nature and he had to be rushed to North Evanston hospital.

He is reportedly admitted to the critical care unit and is under observation 24/7.

The men who attacked were reportedly admitted for assaulting policemen decades ago and are reportedly brothers.

In February 2016, Headley deposed via video conferencing before a Mumbai court in connection with the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

David Coleman Headley, originally named Daood Sayed Gilani, was born in Washington, DC to Sayed Salim Gilani, a well-known Pakistani diplomat and broadcaster.
20:40   PM Modi to gift 200 cows to village in Rwanda
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will gift 200 cows in a symbolic gesture to a village in Rwanda, his first stop in a five-day, three-nation tour of Africa which begins Monday.

The locally sourced cows will be a contribution to Rwandan President Paul Kagames flagship programme Girinka in which the poorest get cows from the government and gift the first female calf to a neighbour to promote brotherhood. The exercise also enables the poorest in Rwanda to have a livelihood. The national social protection scheme was personally initiated by the Rwandan President.

This is the first time an Indian Prime Minister is visiting Rwanda.

The visit to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa will further strengthen our relations with the African continent, the External Affairs Ministry said in statement. Africa has been the top priority of Indias foreign policy, it said.

Cooperation in defence and agriculture will be Modis priorities during his bilateral visits to Rwanda and Uganda before he goes to South Africa for the annual Brazil, Russia, India China, South Africa Summit.
20:13   Lynching won't stop until cow slaughter is banned: BJP minister
Bharatiya Janata Party leader T Raja Singh said that he did not say anything wrong in the video he had released in the wake of the Alwar lynching incident.

In the video, Singh had stirred controversy when he said that incidents like the Alwar lynching happen in the name of protecting cows, adding that cow slaughter should be banned worldwide.

Singh referred to the victim of the lynching incident as a 'cow smuggler' and was of the opinion that incidents as such will not cease until cow slaughtering was banned. He also added that there needs to be a law against it.

"This case has been much discussed in the media recently, but nobody is asking why these incidents of violence happen. I didn't say anything wrong in my video; these lynching cases won't stop until cow slaughtering stops. There should be a law against it," Singh said.

"The victim was a cow trafficker, his job was to smuggle cows, slaughter them and sell their meat. I am not saying this, the media is. There is also a case registered against him. Nobody says these things, they only like to talk about how an innocent was killed by an angry mob," Singh added.

He appealed to the Parliament to introduce laws against cow slaughter and declare cow as "rashtriya mata".

-- ANI
Author and columnist Rakesh Sinha, who was recently nominated to Rajya Sabha by the President, joins BJP
19:44   Alwar lynching: We don't oubt police, says kin of deceased
At a time when the Alwar police is facing flak for not timely attending the lynching victim, the kin of the deceased on Monday said they don't doubt the police.

"We do not doubt the police at all. We want justice and severe punishment should be given to those who killed him," Ilyas Khan, brother of Alwar lynching case victim Rakbar said.

28-year-old Rakbar Khan was allegedly beaten to death by an agitated mob on suspicions of cow smuggling in Alwar district in the intervening night of July 20-21.

According to media reports, the Alwar police took three hours to get the victim to a hospital which was only six km away.

The police also allegedly on the way to hospital stopped to drop the cows to a shelter.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Director General of Police OP Galhotra has ordered a team of senior police officials to investigate the case.

The DGP has also asked senior police officials to submit a report in the connection.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court today said that it will hear a plea seeking contempt action against three states- Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh government in connection with Alwar lynching incident on August 20.

The court will also hear a plea filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla in the case on the same date.

As of now, two people have been arrested in the case.

-- ANI
19:16   Govt to auction one Dawood property on Aug 9
The Union finance ministry has invited bids to auction one of the three properties of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his family located on the Pakmodia Street in Mumbai.

With a reserve price of Rs 79.43 lakh, the auction for the Masulla Building in the Bhendi Bazaar area in central part of the city, will be held on August 9 under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act (Safema), according to a tender notice put out in newspapers.

The earnest money deposit is set at Rs 25 lakh, which needs to be deposited by August 6, as per the notice.

The property will be sold through e-auction, public auction, and sealed tenders on August 9 which will be held at the YB Chavan auditorium between 10 am and 12 noon.

Last year, the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust had won the bids, with highest price of Rs 11.50 crore for Dawood's three properties that were put on the block.

Bids have also been invited under the Safema Act to auction nine properties located in Mumbai, Aurangabad, Valsad, Daman, Surat and Ahmedabad.

The move to auction the property comes after the Supreme Court had on April 20 asked the Centre to take over these properties.

The order came after the apex court rejected a plea filed by his mother and sister, Amina Bi Kaskar and Haseena Parkar, challenging the decision of the Enforcement Directorate and other agencies to attach property owned by them in Mumbai as 'proceeds of crime'.

The apex court order asked the Centre to forfeit at least seven prime properties including flats in Mumbai's Nagpada area.

In 1988, government sealed the properties under the Safema laws, which was challenged by his mother and sister.

The Safema tribunal had in 1998 and the Delhi high court in 2012 had upheld the seizure move.

In November 2017, three south Mumbai properties -Hotel Raunaq Afroz, also known as Delhi Zaika; Shabnam Guest House and six rooms in Damarwala building - belonging to the fugitive don were auctioned for Rs 11.58 crore under the Safema Act.

These three properties, all in dilapidated conditions, fall under our ongoing Bhendi Bazaar redevelopment project.

Dawood is the prime accused in the February-March1993 serial blasts that killed over 150 people in the then Bombay and is believed to be living in Karachi.

He has massive properties worth billions spread across India, Britain, Spain, Morocco, Turkey, Australia, Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates.  -- PTI
19:10   Centre open to further review of GST rates: Rajnath
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said the central government is open to further review of the goods and services tax rates of different items as it has just reduced taxes of 88 consumer-centric products such as refrigerators, washing machines and sanitary napkins.

Inaugurating the National Traders' Conclave organised by the Confederation of All-India Traders here, he said the economic reforms undertaken by the Narendra Modi government during the last four years will push India among the world's top economies.

"GST rates of several items have recently been slashed and many items have been brought under zero per cent and five per cent slabs. The government is open to further review of the slabs," he said.

The GST Council, in its 28th meeting on Saturday, approved rate reductions for 88 consumer-centric items such as cosmetics, refrigerators, washing machines, and small screen televisions, and cleared the widely demanded exemption on sanitary napkins.

The home minister said out of 6.5 crore traders and shopkeepers, around 1.25 crore have registered under the new indirect tax regime.

According to the Economic Survey, during November, 2016-2017, more than 1.15 crore returns have been filed.

The GST is a major tax reform in the country where only 6.10 crore people are under the taxation regime out of a population of more than 130 crore, he said.

Singh said in 2014, according to a survey by a reputed consultancy firm, India was ranked ninth among the world's top 10 economies, and today the country has raced ahead of France to the sixth position.

"I am confident, as economists predict that in the next two-three years, India's economy will be among the top five. With this pace of GDP growth, by 2030 we will break into the world's top three economies," he said.

The home minister said India is the most attractive destination for foreign investors and the country received more than $150 billion foreign direct investment in the last four years, while in 'Ease of Doing Business', the country's ranking has improved from 142 to 100.

"Besides, the manufacturing sector has got a fillip with the 'Make in India' programme. In 2014, there were only two mobile phone factories in India, today we have 120 handset manufacturing units," he said.   -- PTI
18:51   In this country, cows are safe but women aren't: Sena
Taking a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government over incidents of mob lynching, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena today said cows were safer than women in the country.

"We are a part of the government but if something is wrong, we will definitely talk about it. We are friends of theBharatiya Janata, not of any party," Thackeray said, taking a dig at Bhartiya Janata Party's name.

Shiv Sena is BJP's alliance partner in Maharashtra and at the Centre.

On incidents of mob lynching in the country, the Shiv Sena chief said BJP's idea of Hindutva was fake, and criticised the government for failing to check cow vigilantism.

"In this country, cows are safe but women are not," he said in an interview to Sena mouthpiece Saamana.

"In the name of saving the cow, if you are shifting focus to whether someone is eating beef or not, then it is a sham. This is not Hindutva.

"I do not accept the idea of Hindutva that is being adhered to in the country. Our women are unsafe and you are protecting cows," Thackeray said.

"We (Shiv Sena) never said cows should be slaughtered. But while protecting cows, India has become the most unsafe country for women. One should be ashamed of it.

"You want to save 'gau-mata' (cow) but what about 'mata' (mother)," he said.

Targeting the BJP over the debate on nationalism, Thackeray said the BJP had no right to decide who was a nationalist and anti-national.

"Anyone criticising the government does not become anti-national. Members of Parliament are representatives ofpeople and have the right to raise questions," he said.

Thackeray said his party has opposed only those decisions which appeared not to be protecting the interests of the poor.

"I criticise the government if it is taking any wrong steps. I cannot take the appeasement route to woo them (BJP). The previous (United Progressive Alliance) regime was defeated by people and there were big expectations from this NDA government. But this government is also functioning like the previous one," he added.  -- PTI
18:30   HC quashes CBI's look out circular against Karti
The Madras high court today quashed a look out circular (LOC) issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation against Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, in connection with the INX Media case.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose gave the order, allowing a petition by Karti challenging the LOC issued last year.

It, however, said the CBI can take further action based on the FIR registered against Karti in the case.

The court had reserved orders on the petition on March 19 this year.

The case relates to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was Union finance minister.  -- PTI
18:07   Mob lynching: Centre sets up high-level committee
JUST IN: Centre to set up a high-level committee headed by Union home secretary to prepare a report on incidents of mob lynching.

The government has also decided to constitute a Group of Ministers headed by the Union home minister to consider recommendation of the high-level committee.

They will submit their recommendation to the PM.

The high-level committee will submit its recommendations to the government within four weeks.

More details awaited.   -- ANI
18:00   Pak poll campaign ends tonight
A two-month-long campaign by candidates and political parties for Pakistan's general election on Wednesday will come to an end at midnight tonight amid low voter enthusiasm and a tense security situation.

The Election Commission of Pakistan said as per rules the campaign must end at midnight so that voters can relax and prepare for the July 25 polls.

No candidate or party leader will address gatherings or corner meetings or take out processions after the deadline.

According to an ECP official, electronic and print media would also avoid telecasting or publishing political advertisements.

Anyone who contravenes ECP guidelines will be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with a Rs 1,00,000 fine.

The election campaign has generally been seen as low-key and has failed to enthuse voters as in previous polls.

There was also a sense of uncertainty due to court cases against leading politicians including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader and ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif who was convicted and sent to jail for corruption.

The tactics by anti-corruption watchdog -- National Accountability Bureau-- have also hampered the campaign.

Similarly actions by the Federal Investigation Agency against former president Asif Ali Zardari have also been questioned due to their timing.

A sudden spike in suicide attacks by terrorists have also affected the campaign.

About 180 people, including three candidates, were killed in these attacks in the past two weeks.

But the contestants and leaders are making last ditch efforts to woo voters before the end of the deadline.

PML-N chief Shahbaz Sharif will address rallies in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rawalpindi in Punjab whuile his son Hamza will organise a rally in Lahore.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan will address gatherings in Lahore, capital of Punjab and the chief battleground for ascendency to power in Pakistan.

Separately, Pakistan Peoples Party leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will speak at gatherings in Jacobabad and Shikarpur, the two areas in Sindh, which is a PPP stronghold.

The religious alliance of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Sirajul Haq will also make a show of power in capital Islamabad.  -- PTI
17:32   Rahul 'merchant of hate', playing 'vulture politics': Union ministers
Attacking Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his 'brutal new India' comments against the Modi government, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal today called him a 'merchant of hate' and accused him of dividing the society for electoral gains.

Gandhi, in a tweet, on the lynching incident in Rajasthan last week where a Muslim man was attacked after being accused of cow smuggling had said: '...This is Modi's brutal 'New India' where humanity is replaced with hatred and people are crushed and left to die.'

'Stop jumping with joy every time a crime happens, Mr Rahul Gandhi. The state has already assured strict and prompt action. You divide the society in every manner possible for electoral gains and then shed crocodile tears. Enough is enough. You are a MERCHANT OF HATE,' Goyal tweeted.

Textile Minister Smriti Irani accused Gandhi of doing 'vulture politics' and claimed that not a single instance goes by where he doesn't attempt to 'rupture' social bonds for electoral gains.

'Rahul Gandhi's family presided over the worst form of hate in 1984, Bhagalpur, Nellie and Many other instances. It is shameful that he is doing the same through vulture politics,' she tweeted.

Reacting to reports, Gandhi in the tweet, had also said that: 'Policemen in #Alwar took 3 hrs to get a dying Rakbar Khan, the victim of a lynch mob, to a hospital just 6 KM away. Why? They took a tea-break en route.'  -- PTI
17:01   Is the finance minister sleeping? HC asks on non-functioning of DRT
The Bombay high court expressed annoyance today over the non-functioning of the Debts Recovery Tribunal, whose premises in Mumbai were closed following a fire over a month ago, and sought to know 'if the finance minister of the country was sleeping' over the shutdown of a key body.

The court said while Mumbai was considered the financial capital of the country, the city-based DRT, which dealt with debt-recovery cases involving banks, financial institutions and their customers, was non-functional for over a month.

A division bench of justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla made the critical remarks while hearing a petition filed by the Debts Recovery Tribunal Bar Association, seeking a direction to the Union government to allot another space for the tribunal's office in south Mumbai.

The DRT, located in the Scindia House building at Ballard Estate in south Mumbai, has been non-functional since a fire broke in the building on June 2.

The court sought to know from the Union government by when it would identify an alternative place for the tribunal.

"The government should be doing all this on their own, instead of the issue coming before us and the court passing orders," Justice Oka observed.

"In the financial capital of the country, the Debts Recovery Tribunal is not functioning...Is the finance minister sleeping?" Justice Oka said.

The court posted the petition for further hearing on July 25 and asked the Centre to identify another place to house the tribunal by then.  -- PTI
16:47   Choksi seeks cancellation of NBWs, cites fear of mob lynching
Gitanjali Gems promoter Mehul Choksi, a key accused in the multi-crore PNB scam, today moved a special court in Mumbai seeking cancellation of non-bailable warrants issued against him, claiming that he apprehends mob lynching if he is brought to India.

A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court had in March and July this year issued non-bailable warrants against Choksi after it took cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the case.

Choksi, in his application moved before the special PMLA court, claimed he faces a threat to his life not only from his former employees and debtors but also from jail staff and inmates (where he would be launched if he returns).

'As it became impossible for the applicant's company to function and the employees were not paid their salaries and debtors did not get their money back, all these persons have become agitated against the applicant and he is now facing threat to his life,' the application said.

'There have been various cases of mob lynching in India. This recent trend of mob lynching and general public giving justice on the road is growing. Even the applicant faces a similar threat as there are several persons who have grievances and anger against him (Choksi),' it claimed.

Choksi also faces a threat of extortion by jail staff, and danger to his life by jail inmates if he is brought to India and lodged in a prison here, the application said.

It claimed that Choksi never shied away from the investigation and has responded to all the communication he received from the investigating agencies.

Choksi's ill health, the revocation of his passport and threat to his life are the main circumstances why he is unable to travel to India, it added.

Special PMLA Judge M S Azmi directed the Enforcement Directorate to file its reply on Choksi's application and kept the matter for further hearing on August 18.

Choksi, who is also facing a corruption case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, had last month moved a similar application before a special CBI court seeking cancellation of the warrant issued by that court.

The Punjab National Bank had earlier detected a multi-crore scam, wherein diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Choksi allegedly cheated the state-run lender to the tune of Rs 13,400 crore with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.

The scam, which reportedly began in 2011, was detected in January this year, after which PNB officials reported it to the agencies concerned.

While the CBI is probing the alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and other offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the ED is probing the money laundering charges.  -- PTI
16:16   Sensex climbs 222 pts to hit new high
Just In: Sensex climbs 222.23 pts to close at fresh life-time high of 36,718.60; Nifty gains 74.55 pts to end at 11,084.75.
RJD National Spokesperson Shankar Charan Tripathi has been expelled from the party.Tripathi had criticized Rahul Gandhi for hugging PM Modi in Lok Sabha during #NoConfidenceMotion debate.
15:55   BJP may dissolve Maharashtra Assembly
BJP president Amit Shah is seriously considering the dissolution of the Maharashtra Assembly. If that does go through, Maharashtra will also go to the polls this year along with Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh.

The Shiv Sena, an ally of the BJP at the Centre and the state, shares a fractious relationship with the party, often taking on the garb of the opposition in its editorials and statements.

In the 288-seat Maharashtra assembly, the BJP is the single largest party with 122 seats, with the Sena a distant second with 63 seats.

The BJP is also considering withdrawal of support to Shiv Sena in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, where the Sena is in majority.

The grapevine says that the BJP is now calling the Sena's bluff and is fed up with the repeated threats from its ally. The Sena's decision to abstain from the no-confidence motion on July 20, is the proverbial straw, it seems.
15:43   Deepika Padukone to join Madame Tussauds London, Delhi
Deepika Padukone is the newest addition at Madame Tussauds with her wax figure set for attractions in London and Delhi The team of Madame Tussauds expert artistes met Deepika in London for the sitting for her figures, where they took over 200 specific measurements, photographs to create an authentic likeness.

"I am so delighted. The sitting with the team of experts was a special experience and I look forward to the incredible figure at the attraction," the actor said in a statement. The first figure will launch in London early 2019, while the Delhi figure will follow a few months later. -- PTI
15:27   Alwar lynching case raised in Lok Sabha; BJP protests
The lynching of a man in Rajasthan's Alwar district was today raised in the Lok Sabha by a Congress MP, triggering protests from BJP members. Karan Singh Yadav of the Congress raised the issue during Zero Hour and said it was the fourth such incident in the state.

Those who claimed to be 'gau-rakshak' (cow protectors) are behind this murder, he said amid protests by some BJP members- who were not audible- and also attacked the police for wasting time in taking the victim to hospital, leading to his death.

The deceased 28-year-old Akbar was thrashed by a group of people on suspicion of being a cow smuggler in Lalawandi village in Alwar on Saturday last. Earlier, the two party members clashed when Jyotiraditya Scindia raised the Kathua rape and murder case besides other incidents of rape against women.  -- PTI
15:05   Alwar mob lynching: High-level enquiry set up to probe allegations against police
The Rajasthan police today set up a high-level committee to probe the allegations of delay against the Alwar police in taking Akbar Khan to a hospital after he was allegedly lynched by a group of people of suspicion of cow smuggling.

"Allegations of delay in taking Khan to the hospital and policemen crossing their limits have come to fore. A four-member committee of senior police officials is in Alwar to enquire into the matter," state Director General of Police OP Galhotra said.

It will also be probed whether the 28-year-old Akbar, alias Rakbar Khan, became a victim of police beating on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.

Appropriate action would be taken if any lapses were found in the enquiry report, the DGP said. The committee comprise special DGP (law and order) N R K Reddy, Additional DGP (CID-Crime Branch) P K Singh, Inspector General (Jaipur Range) Hemant Priyadarshi and state nodal officer (cow vigilance) Mahendra Singh Chaudhary, Galhotra informed in a statement. The inquiry is in addition to the overall probe that has been handed over to additional SP rank officer.

While two persons, Dharmendra Yadav and Paramjeet Singh, were arrested on Saturday, the third accused, Naresh Singh, was arrested yesterday and they are under police custody for five days, police said. "There are certain allegations that the local police had beaten Khan and delayed in taking him to hospital which are being looked into," SP (Alwar) Rajendra Singh said.

It is alleged that when Akbar was thrashed by a group of people on suspicion of being a cow smuggler in Lalawandi village in Alwar, it took over two-and-a-half hours for the police to take the victim to the Ramgarh Community Healthcare Centre, which is nearly 4 km away from the scene of crime. -- PTI
15:05   Alwar mob lynching: High-level enquiry set up to probe allegations against police
The Rajasthan police today set up a high-level committee to probe the allegations of delay against the Alwar police in taking Akbar Khan to a hospital after he was allegedly lynched by a group of people of suspicion of cow smuggling.

"Allegations of delay in taking Khan to the hospital and policemen crossing their limits have come to fore. A four-member committee of senior police officials is in Alwar to enquire into the matter," state Director General of Police OP Galhotra said.

It will also be probed whether the 28-year-old Akbar, alias Rakbar Khan, became a victim of police beating on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.

Appropriate action would be taken if any lapses were found in the enquiry report, the DGP said. The committee comprise special DGP (law and order) N R K Reddy, Additional DGP (CID-Crime Branch) P K Singh, Inspector General (Jaipur Range) Hemant Priyadarshi and state nodal officer (cow vigilance) Mahendra Singh Chaudhary, Galhotra informed in a statement. The inquiry is in addition to the overall probe that has been handed over to additional SP rank officer.

While two persons, Dharmendra Yadav and Paramjeet Singh, were arrested on Saturday, the third accused, Naresh Singh, was arrested yesterday and they are under police custody for five days, police said. "There are certain allegations that the local police had beaten Khan and delayed in taking him to hospital which are being looked into," SP (Alwar) Rajendra Singh said.

It is alleged that when Akbar was thrashed by a group of people on suspicion of being a cow smuggler in Lalawandi village in Alwar, it took over two-and-a-half hours for the police to take the victim to the Ramgarh Community Healthcare Centre, which is nearly 4 km away from the scene of crime. -- PTI
14:57   Why the Opposition failed on Friday
The figure of 325 to 126 is a vote of no-confidence -- against the Opposition, of course. Given these numbers it was not clear to what end the issue had been moved in the Lok Sabha, and nobody was surprised at the vote. Other than the Shiv Sena (and we will look at what its intent is later) there was hardly a thing that went wrong for the prime minister inside the House. Perhaps the real intent then was for the Opposition to launch its campaign for 2019 through this effort. Was it successful?

Aakar Patel examines it. Do read
14:49   'Will take tuition from you': HRD Min to Prof Saugata Roy
"I will take tuition from you," HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar today told TMC leader and Professor Saugata Roy as they differed over the use of the word 'predatory journals' in the Lok Sabha.
The minister's remarks came while responding to supplementary questions related to academic journals.
During the Question Hour, Javadekar said steps were being taken to deal with "predatory" academic journals.
However, Roy objected to the use of the words 'predatory journal'. He also remarked that the usage of the word was "perversion of the English language." 
"I will take tuition from you... and give me some good words," Javadekar responded in a lighter vein as many members were seen smiling.
Roy, a former minister in the erstwhile Manmohan Singh government, is a retired professor of Physics in a Calcutta University college.
In his reply, the minister said the UGC has addressed the problem of predatory and sub-standard journals claiming to publish scholarly articles. -- PTI
14:20   PM leaves for Africa
And off he goes on his 42nd trip. The PM is now travelling to Rwanda.

Narendra Modi will undertake a state visit to three African countries, namely Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa, over five days, starting today.

The Prime Minister will first arrive at Rwanda, marking the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister, a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said.

In his 48 months as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi made 41 trips to over 50 countries, at a total cost of Rs 355 crore.  He was abroad for a cumulative 165 days, according to an RTI reply submitted to the Prime Ministers Office by activist Bhimappa Gadad.
14:13   Why the Rafale deal SHOULD remain a secret
India placed the (Rafale) order, primarily due to the IAF's 'critical operational necessity'. The complexity of the IAF's requirements delayed the process for months. It is these requirements which cannot be made public. Can you image Indian politicians publicly discussing the pros and the cons of such military equipment? It would provide India's enemies with indications about the IAF's tactical plans in case of a conflict. It is crucial that they should remain secret to protect India's defence preparedness, explains Claude Arpi.  Read the column here.
14:11   Govt misled nation on Rafale deal: Congress
The Congress today said there was no clause in a 2008 pact between India and France that prevents the government from divulging price details of the Rafale deal.

Former defence minister and senior Congress leader A K Antony said the government's claim that a secrecy clause in the pact was forcing it to not reveal price details of the deal was "totally wrong".

They have to reveal price details of each aircraft, he said. He also said the government cannot hide the price details of the Rafale jets as the deal has to be scrutinised by the Comptroller and Auditor General as well as Parliament's Public Accounts Committee.

Addressing a press conference, his colleague Anand Sharma added that the government owes Parliament an explanation on why Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "misled" the nation on the price issue.

"The French government had no objection in revealing the price of the Rafale aircraft. This was conveyed by the French president to Rahul Gandhi," he said. Another Congress leader, Randeep Singh Surjewala, echoed him said the prime minister and the defence minister misled Parliament on the issue. This, he said, is clearly a matter of breach of privilege. -- PTI
13:49   Muzaffarapur's house of horror: Search for girl's body begins
Muzaffarpur shelter home alleged rape case: Digging starts in shelter home premises after statement of one of the victims that a girl was beaten to death and buried in the premises after a disagreement with staff members. 

Out of the 21 reports of medical examination that have been submitted, rape of 16 girls have been confirmed by doctors, while reports are still not out on the rest of the girls who lived in the horror house in Muzaffarpur.

The girl was killed after a disagreement with the staff, one of the girls has told the police.

An officer in the district administration has been arrested over the sexual assault of the girls at the state-run shelter, which has now been shut. The state's Nitish Kumar government is under pressure after the disturbing case was highlighted in a tweet by RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who has been taking on the state administration for its "failure" to check crime.
Omar Abdullah @OmarAbdullah tweets: You know the world has been turned upside down when the Shiv Sena starts sounding more reasonable than the BJP.

This is what Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said: Don't accept the idea of Hindutva that is being adhered to in the country. Our women are unsafe and you are protecting the cows. Can't target people for their eating preferences.
And that's another picture of the meeting with Lata didi. When was the last time we saw Amit Shah beaming?
13:11   When Mrs Shah met Lata didi
Anyone seeing the picture alongside would assume the second most powerful person in India had called on Lata didi merely to brief her about the BJP's programmes, as he has been doing around the country, accompanied as he was by Maharashtra's CM and the state BJP chief.

But after the political baat-cheet ended, Messrs Fadnavis and Danve were kinda overshadowed by the BJP president's missus and the encounter turned into a personal one.

Lata didi and Sonal Shah conversed in Marathi -- Mrs Shah was raised in Kolhapur and attended the Princess Padmaraje Girls High School there.

Hearing Lata didi sing at the height of her powers can give listeners goosebumps, but meeting the singing legend on Sunday night seems to have put the usually frowny BJP boss in an unusually good mood.

When was the last time you saw him smile like this?
Apart from when he is in the presence of the most powerful man in the land, of course.

13:04   In Modi's brutal new India, people are left to die: Rahul on Alwar lynching
Rahul Gandhi' @RahulGandhi tweets, "Policemen in #Alwar took 3 hrs to get a dying Rakbar Khan, the victim of a lynch mob, to a hospital just 6 KM away.
They took a tea-break en route.
This is Modi's brutal "New India' where humanity is replaced with hatred and people are crushed and left to die."

The Deccan Chronicle report says that according to a First Information Report (FIR), the police received a call about the incident at around 12:41 am from a right-wing supporter Naval Kishore. The police reportedly reached the spot at 1:15 or 1: 20 am.

While arrangements were being made for vehicles to ferry the cows to the shelter, the policemen headed out for refreshments. With the injured man complaining of pain, the policemen drank cups of tea from a nearby stall, an NDTV report further said.

Naval Kishore has also alleged that Khan was taken to the police station first where the cops thrashed him which led to his death. He was later taken to Ramgarh community health centre at 4 am where doctors declared him dead on arrival, a report in Hindustan Times said.

According to news agency ANI, another eye-witness recalled the spine-chilling turn of events. Aslam, who had a narrow escape told ANI, "We (him and the deceased )both were going with our two cows, on seeing a speeding bike the cows ran into the fields where 6-7 people were present who fired at us, I ran away from the spot to save my life, later found that my friend was killed."

Akbar and his friend Aslam had reportedly purchased the cows from Ladpura village and were taking them to their village in Haryana through a forested area near Lalawandi in Alwar district when the accused attacked them.

Aslam manage to flee but an injured Akbar died at a hospital in Alwar.

According to Times of India report, the FIR says police were alerted about the attack at 12.41 am by a 'gau rakshak', Naval Kishore Sharma.

Ramgarh police said a team reached the lynching spot within 15-20 minutes.

However, according to hospital's OPD register Akbar was brought in at 4 am.

According to NDTV report, after taking Akbar from the spot, the cops gave him a bath, since he was covered in mud.

Then, they took Akbar to Sharma's home to organise transport to ferry the cows to a local cattle shelter.

One of Kishore's relatives, Maya, told NDTV that she saw "a policeman beating the man inside the vehicle and abusing him."
12:14   HCL chairman Shiv Nadar donates Rs 1 crore to Tirupati
A donation of Rs 1 crore has been made to the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala by the chairman of tech major HCL, Shiv Nadar.   
Nadar handed over a demand draft for Rs 1,00,00,001 to a temple official on Sunday night after offering prayers at the shrine, TTD public relations officer T Ravi told PTI.   

He said the HCL chairman requested Tirumala Tirupati Devasathanams, which administers the cash-rich shrine, to utilise the fund for a hospital trust run by it for differently-abled people in Tirupati. 
12:05   Alwar lynching: SC to hear contempt pleas against Rajasthan govt
The Supreme Court today agreed to hear on August 28 the pleas seeking contempt action against the Rajasthan government in the recent mob lynching case at Alwar. 
In the contempt pleas filed by Tushar Gandhi and Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala, they alleged that incidents of mob lynching and vigilantism were taking place despite a verdict by the apex court in this regard. 
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it would hear the petitions on August 28. 
Presenting their case in front of the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, Gandhi and Poonawala sought contempt actions against the Rajasthan government.
The petitioners urged that directions should be issued to follow the apex court verdict in letter and spirit.
The bench said it would take up the matter along with the main case on August 28.
The apex court had on July 17 asked the Parliament to consider enacting a new law to effectively deal with incidents of mob lynching, saying "horrendous acts of mobocracy" cannot be allowed to become a new norm.
On July 21, a man was allegedly lynched by a group of people on suspicion that he was smuggling cows in Alwar district of Rajasthan. 
12:01   No blanket ban on protests at Jantar Mantar: SC
The Supreme Court today said there cannot be a "complete ban" on holding protests and sit-ins at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, and asked the Centre to frame guidelines for according sanctions to such events.
A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said there was a need for striking a balance between conflicting rights such as right to protest and right of citizens to live peacefully. 
"There cannot be a complete ban on holding protests at places like Jantar Mantar and Boat Club (near India Gate)," the bench said while directing the Centre to frame guidelines on the matter.
The verdict came on a batch of petitions, including the one filed by Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghtan challenging the decision of the National Green Tribunal, which had banned all kinds of protests at these (Jantar Mantar, Boat Club) places. -- PTI
11:48   Maha CM skips puja in Pandharpur, performs ritual at home
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today skipped the annual puja at the Lord Vitthal Temple in Maharashtra's Pandharpur town due to protest threats by Marathas and instead performed rituals at his home in Mumbai.
Fadnavis performed the puja at his home around 4 am.
As part of a long-standing tradition, the sitting chief minister every year offers prayers at the temple dedicated to Lord Vitthal and Rukmini at Pandharpur in Solapur district, located around 400 km from Mumbai, on the occasion of 'Ashadhi Ekadashi'.
The auspicious day of performing the puja is decided as per the lunar calendar and this year it falls today.
After the chief minister performs the puja, every one else gets an entry into the temple and prayers continue for the next few months.
Later, a similar puja is performed by the deputy chief minister or the second in rank in the state cabinet on the occasion of 'Kartik Ekadashi'.
Some Maratha community leaders had threatened to disrupt Fadnavis' visit to Pandharpur today if their demands, including reservation in government jobs and education, are not accepted.
In view of the protest threats, Fadnavis, who had been performing the puja at the temple for last three years, yesterday cancelled his visit.
Explaining the reason for calling off his visit,Fadnavis had said he feared for the lives of nearly 10 lakh people expected to be at the temple town in Solapur today on the occasion of 'Ashadhi Ekadashi'.
He said if throwing stones at him can get the reservation for the Maratha community, he was ready for it and that he took the decision of not offering prayers at the temple to avoid any law and order problem.
Meanwhile, in Pandharpur, a farmer couple from Hingoli district performed the traditional puja along with senior state cabinet ministers and Solapur district guardian minister Vijay Deshmukh in the temple's sanctum sanctorum.

A pro-quota leader of the community had announced some days back in Pandharpur that if Fadnavis visits the temple town today, "they will hold a massive protest there and disrupt the puja".
Fadnavis had said such a move was a shame for a "progressive" state like Maharashtra.

He also said that only the court can take a decision on the issue of grant of reservation to the Maratha community.

Maratha community leaders had earlier taken out several rallies in various districts to highlight their demands. Last year, a huge rally was organised in this connection in Mumbai.
Despite assurances from Fadnavis to fulfil the demands, nothing concrete has been done till now, community leaders have claimed.
Ekadashi marks the culmination of a pilgrimage, called 'waari', that devotees undertake from across the state on foot to reach the temple town in western Maharashtra. -- PTI  
TDP MPs protest in front of Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament over special category status to Andhra Pradesh and implementation of AP re-organizing Act.
Rajya Sabha adjourned till 12:00 noon after uproar in the house on Anand Sharma's comment on Central Investigation agencies.
11:29   Never, ever threaten US again: Trump to Iran
United States President Donald Trump today warned Iran of consequences "the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered," if it threatens the US.
"Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before," he said on Twitter in a direct message to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
"We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence & death. Be cautious!" Trump said, writing the entire message in capital letters.
The response came after Rouhani earlier in the day issued his own warning to the US leader not to "play with the lion's tail," saying that conflict with Iran would be the "mother of all wars".
11:25   NASA set to launch world's first mission to touch the Sun
NASA is on schedule to launch mankind's first mission to the Sun, a car sized probe that will swoop to within 4 million miles of the solar surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before. 
The Parker Solar Probe, which is expected to take off no earlier than August 6 aboard United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy, will study the Sun closer than any human-made object ever has.
"We've been studying the Sun for decades, and now we're finally going to go where the action is," said Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in the US.
Our Sun is far more complex than meets the eye. Rather than the steady, unchanging disk it seems to human eyes, the Sun is a dynamic and magnetically active star.
The Sun's atmosphere constantly sends magnetised material outward, enveloping our solar system far beyond the orbit of Pluto and influencing every world along the way.
Coils of magnetic energy can burst out with light and particle radiation that travel through space and create temporary disruptions in our atmosphere, sometimes garbling radio and communications signals near Earth.
The influence of solar activity on Earth and other worlds are collectively known as space weather, and the key to understanding its origins lies in understanding the Sun itself.
"The Sun's energy is always flowing past our world. And even though the solar wind is invisible, we can see it encircling the poles as the aurora, which are beautiful - but reveal the enormous amount of energy and particles that cascade into our atmosphere," Nicky Fox, Parker Solar Probe's project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.
"We don't have a strong understanding of the mechanisms that drive that wind toward us, and that's what we're heading out to discover," said Fox.
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 needed 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  
10:33   2 including gunman killed in Toronto shooting
A woman has died and a young girl is in critical condition after a gunman opened fire Sunday night in the Toronto neighborhood known as Greektown, police said. 

Thirteen people were injured and the gunman has also died, police say. 

Witnesses told the Toronto Star that a man dressed in black had fired a gun multiple times, some estimating that he fired up to 20 shots.

Police spokesman Mark Pugash says it's too early to say whether the shooting is terrorism.
10:07   Pak election commission limits powers of military personnel at poll stations
Facing criticism, the Election Commission of Pakistan has restricted the magisterial powers of military personnel set to be deployed at the polling stations during the July 25 general elections.
The ECP had issued a notification on July 10, giving extended powers to the armed forces personnel to be deployed at polling stations across the country from July 23 to July 27.
At least 371,000 armed forces personnel will be deployed at polling stations to provide security and the ECP had conferred on them wider powers to check malpractice.
Granting magisterial powers to the armed forces personnel was criticised by several senators. 
The ECP took strong exception to the comments and criticism of the senators and termed it based on disinformation.
However, the ECP through a notification limited the army's magisterial powers to offences of personification and capturing of a polling station or polling booth by anyone.
In all other cases, the armed forces would first inform the presiding officer of a polling station before taking any action.
The power withdrawn included the offence of canvasing or soliciting voters within radius of 400 metres of the polling station.
Also the powers of police officer under section 194 of Election Act 2017 given to the army personnel has been withdrawn in which any person could be arrested without arrest warrants if that person removes a banner, removed by the presiding officer but commits an offence inside the polling station. -- PTI  
09:55   UPDATE: 9 injured in Toronto shooting, suspect dead: Police
Toronto police says nine people have been shot and the shooter is dead after a gunman opened fire in city's Greektown.
Toronto police tweets that the condition of the victims is not known yet and said a young girl is one of the victims. 

They say the dead shooter is not among the nine victims.

Image: People leave an area taped off by the police near the scene of a mass shooting in Toronto, Canada. Photograph: Chris Helgren/Reuters
09:45   Kalyan jewellers withdraws controversial ad starring Bachchan
A leading jewellery chain has withdrew a one-and-a-half minute long advertisement featuring bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan and his daughter after it came under attack from a bank union which said it was aimed at
creating 'distrust' in the banking system.
"We sincerely regret the inadvertent hurt caused and withdraw the advertisement from all media with immediate effect," Executive Director of Kalyan Jewellers, Ramesh Kalyanaraman said in a statement here.
He said, "we understand that the advertisement has hurt sentiments of some people including members of our esteemed banking community. Any such hurtful interpretation being drawn is unintended."
"We state that the creative advertisement was a work of fiction and not a reflection of banking employees at large. Along with crores of Indians, we acknowledge the valuable contribution of the banking community to our country," the statement said.
All India Bank Officers' Confederation, an organisation claiming to have membership of around 3,20,000 officers, last week threatened to sue Kalyan Jewellers accusing it of "casting aspersion and hurting the sentiments of millions of personnel" through the advertisement.
AIBOC general secretary Soumya Datta had alleged that the theme, tone and tenor of the Ad were "disgusting, derogatory, to say the least and is aimed to create distrust in the banking system, for pure commercial gain."
However, Kalyan Jewellers had rejected the allegation, saying it was "pure fiction."
The advertisement features Bachchan as an old man and Shweta Bachchan Nanda as his daughter.
In the ad, Bachchan, depicted as a person with integrity and honesty, is seen visiting a bank branch along with his daughter to return the extra money credited in his pension account and his bitter encounter with bank employees in the process.
"The advertisement portrays banks in bad light, casting aspersion, hurting the sentiment of millions of personnel, stakeholders and is a direct attempt to ruin the trust and confidence of billions of citizenries in banks," Datta had

Bachchan had tweeted the video of the ad, saying "Emotional moment for me.. tears welling up every time I see it.. daughters are the best !!"
Popular Malayalam actress Manju Warrier acted as his daughter in the advertisement's Malayalam version.
AIBOC had said in the ad, Bachchan tried to exhibit his honesty by drumming around that "Honesty doesn't mean when everyone is watching, rather it is about being honest when nobody is looking at you. But, Mr Bachchan perhaps was unaware that in the process of doing so on screen, he has made a mockery of the entire bankers' community in the ad which is deplorable and culpable."
09:42   Juvenile convicts can't be given death penalty for every case of rape, murder: Justice Lokur
Justice Madan B Lokur, the chairman of the Supreme Court Juvenile Justice Committee, has said that juvenile convicts cannot be handed down capital punishment in every case pertaining to heinous crimes such as rape and murder.
He said judgement in such cases had to be delivered on the basis of evidence. 
"It is not that for every murder, for every rape, the only penalty is death penalty. I mean, we are not savages in this country," the SC judge said.
"Just because the person happens to be 17 years old or close to 18 years old, commits a heinous crime - therefore he must get the death penalty, it cannot be like that. You have to still work on the basis of evidence and come to some conclusion," Justice Lokur said.
He was speaking at the Fourth Western Regional Consultation on Effective Implementation of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 held in Indore.
On Protection of Children from Sexual Offences courts, Justice Lokur said studies reveal that "perhaps" these courts were "not functioning as well as they should".
"Are the POCSO courts functioning well ? Are they not functioning well? You know, studies have been done (which) indicate that perhaps the POCSO courts are not functioning as well as they should. What are the reasons? What are the challenges?" he asked.
He stressed the importance of sensitisation of special courts hearing cases related to children and juveniles.
Justice Lokur said that the Child Rights Protection Commission, states and the Centre should work together to tackle the huge number of cases of missing children as well as those related to child labour and child trafficking.
Among those present at the function were Supreme Court Judge Dipak Gupta, MP high court Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and other legal luminaries. -- PTI  
09:21   Multiple people shot in Toronto: Reports
A number of people have been shot in Toronto, Canadian media report, quoting police.

Reports say that the shooting began outside a restaurant on Danforth Avenue near Logan Avenue in Greektown, Toronto

Unconfirmed reports say that as many as 10 people were shot. 

Their condition was not immediately known.

Some victims are being treated at the scene, while others have been taken to local hospitals.
08:49   Safer to be 'a cow than a Muslim': Shashi Tharoor
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has said it was safer "to be a cow than a Muslim" at many places in India, remarks that may trigger a controversy.
Tharoor's remarks comes close on the heels of his "Hindu Pakistan" statement that invited criticism from his political opponents.
"Why BJP Ministers' claims about reduction in communal violence don't stand up to the facts: It seems safer in many places to be a cow than a Muslim," Tharoor wrote on Twitter.
He also posted the link of his article published on a news portal, which had the "cow-Muslim" remark. 
The remarks also came days after 28-year-old Akbar Khan was lynched by a mob in Rajasthan's Alwar district on suspicion of cow smuggling. -- PTI  
08:39   Obama was aware of Russian meddling before polls: Trump
United States President Donald Trump claimed that his predecessor, Barack Obama, was aware of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential polls before the elections itself.

Trump lashed out at Obama on Twitter, asking why the latter did not alert anyone about the same.

"So President Obama knew about Russia before the Election. Why didn't he do something about it? Why didn't he tell our campaign? Because it is all a big hoax, that's why, and he thought Crooked Hillary was going to win!!!" Trump tweeted.

In 2016, the Obama administration had accused Russia of posting hackers during the presidential race and slapped sanctions against Moscow for the same, The Hill reported.

The US intelligence agencies stated in a report that Russia was responsible for breaching the US electoral system.

Obama also reportedly told Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop Moscow from meddling in the US elections.

Earlier, Trump touched off a major political controversy following his comments on Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election at his joint press conference with Putin in Helsinki.

On July 16, Trump had endorsed Putin's stance on Russia's non-involvement in the 2016 US presidential election.

Addressing a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki after their summit, Trump said that there was "zero collusion" and that he ran a "clean campaign."

The US President had also mentioned that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign was "a disaster for our country," while also saying that it had negatively impacted US-Russia relations.

However, on Tuesday, Trump claimed that he misspoke on the issue.

Later, the US President said that he "did not see a reason why it would not be Russia." -- ANI
08:31   5 killed in fire at residential building in Himachal's Mandi
Five people have died in a massive fire that broke out in a residential complex in Himachal Pradesh's Mandi. 

"LPG cylinder blast seems to be the reason behind the fire," Rajiv Kumar, ADM Mandi, said.

Many people are feared trapped in the building at Ner Chowk in Mandi, say district authorities.

Three fire engines are at the spot carrying out rescue operations.
08:21   Citing 'racism', German footballer Ozil retires
German footballer Mesut Ozil on Sunday announced his retirement from the national team, in the wake of the controversy surrounding his recent meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ozil was heavily criticised after he, along with his teammate, Ilkay Gundogan, who has Turkish ancestry, posed for a photograph with Erdogan at a charitable event in May.

In a series of tweets, Ozil, who has Turkish roots, posted a lengthy statement defending his meeting with Erdogan and criticised German media for "politicising" the entire episode.

The 29-year-old Arsenal midfielder said, "I'm aware that the picture of us caused a huge response in the German media, and whilst some people may accuse me of lying or being deceitful. The picture we took had no political intentions. For me, having a picture with President Erdogan wasn't about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family's country."

Taking on the German media for its double standards, Ozil said that he could not digest the fact that the media was repeatedly blaming his German-Turkish heritage and "a simple picture for a bad World Cup on behalf of an entire squad."

"What I also find disappointing are the double standards that the media has. Lothar Matthaus (winning captain of 1990 German national team) met with another world leader a few days back and received almost no media criticism," he stated.

Hitting out at the German media for criticising his Turkish ancestry, Ozil said, "They didn't criticise my performances, they didn't criticise the team's performances, they just criticised my Turkish ancestry and respect for my upbringing. This crosses a personal line that should never be crossed, as newspapers try to turn the nation of Germany against me."

"Certain German newspapers are using my background and photo with President Erdogan as right-wing propaganda to further their political cause. Why else did they use pictures and headlines with my name as a direct explanation for defeat in Russia?", he added.

Citing racism, Ozil continued, "In the eyes of (DFB President Reinhard) Grindel and his supporters, I am a German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose. This is because despite paying taxes in Germany, donating facilities to German schools and winning the World Cup with Germany in 2014, I am still not accepted into society. I am treated as being 'different'. Are there criteria for being fully German that I do not fit? My friends Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose are never referred to as German-Polish, so why am I German-Turkish?"

The 29-year-old midfielder said that he felt unwanted and his contributions to the German national football since his debut in 2009 had been forgotten.

Ozil lamented that he was hanging up his international boots with a heavy heart, adding that he had a feeling of "racism and disrespect."

"The treatment I have received from the DFB [German Football Association] and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt," he further said.

Ozil signed off saying that "racism should never, ever be accepted." -- ANI