Fri, 27 July 2018
Let us give Imran Khan some time : Omar Abdullah

Timeline  Refresh

23:09   Let us give Imran Khan some time : Omar Abdullah
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah today said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan's statement about improving ties with India 'sounds good' but a lot would depend on his actions.

"We have to wait for him (Imran Khan) to swear in ... Let us give him some time.

"In terms of what he (Khan) said yesterday of taking two steps for one step India takes, it sounds good. But a lot will depend on the action he is willing to take," he said.

On the tension at the Indo-Pak border, Abdullah said, "This is not a new development as per yesterday's (Pakistan election result). We have seen tension in the border, tension in the line of control for the last couple of years now."

He alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre had 'numerous failures' and one of its biggest was Jammu and Kashmir.

Khan, in his first public address after leading his party to victory in the elections, had said, "If they take one step towards us, we will take two, but at least need a start."

He had said Kashmir was the 'core' issue between the two countries and should be resolved through talks. -- PTI
22:23   36 cows found dead at cowshed in Dwarka, govt orders probe
36 cows were found dead at a cowshed in the Najafgarh area in Dwarka today, following which the Delhi government ordered an inquiry into the matter.

The Chhawla police station received information around 12.30 pm that 36 cows have died at the gaushala in Ghumanhera village.

The police visited the spot and found that out of 1,400 cows sheltered in the gaushala, 36 have died.

The gaushala is run by the Acharya Sushil Gosadan Trust. It is spread over 20 acres of land which was allotted in 1995. Around 20 labourers are working there, a senior police officer said.

As per the procedure, the police department sent a letter to Special Development Commissioner Kuldeep Singh Gangar to form a team of veterinary doctors for the inspection of the spot and post-mortem of the cows to establish the cause of death, the police officer said.

"A team of six veterinary doctors reached the gaushala and are conducting an enquiry into the cause of death and they will also conduct postmortem of all the dead cows. Once their report is submitted further legal action will be taken," the officer said.

Development Minister Gopal Rai took a serious view of the incident and ordered a detailed inquiry into the matter within 24 hours, an order said.

The order issued by the minister's Secretary Sanjeev Mittal read, 'accordingly I am directed to request that an enquiry report in this regard. May kindly be submitted within 24 hours positively'.

It has also been reported that the carcasses were lying in the gaushala, the order said.  -- PTI
22:01   Delhi starvation deaths: Probe raises doubt over father's conduct
A preliminary magisterial probe report today sought further investigation into the conduct of the father of three girls, who allegedly died due to starvation in East Delhi, and said he had given them some 'unknown medicine'.

He has been untraceable since Tuesday when the sisters were found dead.

The report also said that the girls were suffering from loose motion and vomiting which may have been due to some kind of stomach infection, but they were not provided adequate oral re-hydration solution (ORS) and proper medication that might have caused dehydration.

It said that the father, Mangal Singh, gave some 'unknown medicine' to his daughters by 'mixing it in hot water' during the night of July 23 and he has not returned since the morning of July 24.

The conduct of the man 'raises an element of doubt in the matter and requires further investigation', it said.

The report said that the 'nutritional condition of the deceased children was not quite well' although they were getting 'some food items regularly'.

The sisters were declared brought dead at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital on July 24.

The initial autopsy report suggested that they died due to starvation. A medical board at the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital had conducted a second autopsy at the request of the police, but the finding is yet to be made public.

The police had recovered some bottles of medicines from the place they were putting up.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, with an official, meets the mother of three girls who allegedly died of malnutrition at Mandawali, in New Delhi, on Thursday. Photograph: PTI Photo
21:58   Ramgarh lynching case convict electrocuted
Sikandar Ram, one ofthe 11 convicts in the Ramgarh district beef lynching case, who was later granted bail by Jharkhand high court, was today electrocuted near his home in Ramgarh town, police said.

The incident happened at Bazaar Tand locality, under the jurisdiction of Ramgarh Town police station, when Sikandar Ram was walking towards a market, the police said.

He died on the spot after he came in contact with alive wire that had snapped from an electric pole and fell on the ground, the Officer-in-Charge of Ramgarh Town police station Rajesh Kumar said.

Ram's body was recovered and sent for post-mortem examination, a senior police officer said.

Sikandar Ram was one among the 11 convicted in the Ramgarh beef lynching case.

They were awarded life imprisonment by a fast track court in Ramgarh in March this year.

Later, on June 29 this year, the Jharkhand high court granted bail to 8 out of the 11 convicts, including Sikandar Ram.

Union Minister Jayant Sinha had landed himself in a row after he garlanded the eight men earlier this month.

Two more convicts were granted bail as well recently. Deepak Mishra is the only one behind bars at present.

The Investigating Officer of the case, Vidhywati Ohdar had filed a charge sheet against 12 of the 17 accused, including Ram.

Since one of the accused was a minor, he was forwarded to a remand home.

A group of people had lynched 40-year-old Alimuddin Ansari in Bazaar Tand locality of Ramgarh town on June 29,2017, on the suspicion that he was carrying beef in his car.

Forensic tests later confirmed that the meat he was carrying was beef.      

Alimuddin's wife Mariam Khatoon had lodged an FIR against 17 persons, including Sikandar Ram, a day after Alimuddin's lynching.  -- PTI
21:27   PM Modi leaves for home after concluding three-nation Africa tour
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today left for home after concluding his three-nation Africa tour during which he attended the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit in South Africa and he held bilateral meetings with several world leaders including presidents of China and Russia.

'Gratitude to President @CyrilRamaphosa and the people of South Africa for the excellent organisation of the BRICS Summit. The deliberations in the Summit were fruitful. I also got the opportunity to interact with other world leaders and discuss bilateral relations,' Modi tweeted.

On the last leg of his trip, Modi visited South Africa where he attended the BRICS summit and also held bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, South African President Ramaphosa, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other leaders.

Earlier, Modi travelled to Rwanda on a two-day visit, becoming the first Indian premier to visit the East African country.

Modi held wide-ranging talks with Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and the two sides signed a defence cooperation agreement. India also extended a $200 million lines of credit to Rwanda for its economic development.

From Rwanda, Modi travelled to Uganda -- the first bilateral tour by an Indian prime minister since 1997 -- where he held wide-ranging talks with President Yoweri Museveni and also addressed the country's Parliament.

India extended two lines of credit worth nearly $200 million to Uganda in energy infrastructure, agriculture and dairy sectors.  -- PTI

Photograph: @MEAIndia/Twitter
20:44   US court issues summons to Nirav Modi, aides
A United States court on Friday issued summons to diamantaire Nirav Modi and his aides at the heart of the multi-billion Punjab National Bank scam.

Sources say that the order also authorises gathering of documents from Nirav Modi and others.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate has labeled chairman of Gitanjali Group, Mehul Choksi as the 'mastermind' behind the PNB fraud case, calling it a 'huge economic scam brewing since 2015'.

In a charge sheet filed in a Mumbai court on June 28, charges of money laundering under Section 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) were lodged by the ED against Choksi.

The ED stated that three Indian entities, Gitanjali Gems, Gili India and Nakshatra were involved in obtaining a total of 376 illegal Letters of Undertakings (LOUs), amounting to a total of Rs 5822.02 crore from 2015 to 2017.

The ED claimed in the charge sheet that the Vice President of the Gitanjali Group, Vipul Chitalia, had pinned the entirety of the blame on Choksi in his statement to the ED.

Chitalia also said that the valuation of goods, which were declared at Rs 3840 crore but were actually worth Rs 103.06 crore, was decided by Choksi without any physical verification of the goods.

Labeling Choksi as the 'mastermid' behind the behemoth scam, the ED said that Choksi designed the entire scheme of the fraud, along with the movement of the money, under the garb of import and export.

The ED also mentioned that Choksi had adopted another modus operandi to defraud the banks, which was revealed upon the scrutiny of the books of accounts of the Gitanjali Group of Companies.

According to the ED, the exports from Gitanjali Gems and Gitanjali Export Corporation were made to two Hong Kong based companies, M/s Trans Exim and M/s Tradewell Enterprises.

However, the payments for the exports were made by Hong Kong-based M/s 4C's Diamond Distributors and M/s Shanyao Gong Si Ltd, resulting in an under reporting of actual exports to the beneficiaries of the LOUs and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs) that were obtained by Choksi and his aides, whereas over-reporting of exports to M/s Trans Exim and M/s Tradewell Enterprises.

The ED stated that Choksi adopted this modus operandi to manipulate transactions to avoid getting detected by banks or auditors, project inflated sales and turnover, to create phony debtors in the books of Gitanjali Gems to enhance credit limits, among other objectives.

Earlier today, Choksi issued a statement, saying that he had lawfully applied for citizenship in Antigua to expand his business and to obtain visa-free travel to 130 countries.

This came two days after the Central Bureau of Investigation wrote to Antiguan authorities demanding details about him.

The ED had initiated the money laundering case against Choksi in February, on the basis of an FIR filed by the CBI.

The PNB had detected the multi-crore scam earlier this year wherein Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi had allegedly cheated the bank to the tune of $2 billion, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.   -- ANI
19:53   Would've ordered shooting of intellectuals if I was home minister: BJP MLA
Former Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal has dubbed intellectuals in the country as 'dangerous' and said he would have ordered them shot, if he was the home minister.

"Thousands of crores of Indian money paid by peopleofIndia as tax goes for the sake of development. They eat what is given by us and they shout slogans against our soldiers and India," Yatnal said, without elaborating.

Addressing a Kargil Vijay Diwas event at Vijayapura in Bengaluru yesterday, he said, "Tragedy is that the intellectuals and seculars within our country are more dangerous than them.What kind of statements they give...if I was the home minister, I would have asked to make them stand and shoot them."

Referring to an alleged statement by a senior Congress leader, Yatnal questioned human rights activists and groups on their silence about human rights violations whensoldiers are killed.

"A leader of opposition in this country says Indian soldiers are harassing women and innocent youths," he said.

"People in this country speak about human rights, no one comes forward and speak about human rights when a soldier is killed, they don't condemn it.But if there is action against someone who is involved in anti-national activity, they speak about human rights violation from soldiers and police," he added.

Yatnal is not new to making such controversial remarks.

Earlier he was in the news for instructing corporators to work only for Hindus, who have voted for him,and not for Muslims.

Yatnal has served as an MP and as minister of state in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.  -- PTI

Photograph: ANI
19:36   SC pulls up CBI on Manipur fake encounter case
The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation Director to be personally present on July 30 when the alleged Manipur extra-judicial killings case comes up for hearing next.

The division bench of the apex court headed by Justice Madan Bhimrao Lokur expressed its dissatisfaction with CBI's pace of investigation in the case today.

A petition filed before the top court had alleged that more than 1,500 fake encounters took place in Manipur.

The PIL sought a detailed probe by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and compensation to the alleged 1,528 fake encounter killings in Manipur from 2000 to 2012 by security forces and police.

The CBI said that the investigation agency was directed to file chargesheet in 20-25 cases by July 27 and three more by end of August.

The CBI however failed to comply with the court direction today and sought one-two more weeks' time for it.  -- ANI
19:15   Reliance reports record quarterly net profit of Rs 9,459 cr in Q1
Reliance Industries today reported a record Rs 9,459 crore net profit in April-June on the back of near doubling of earnings from mainstay petrochemical business.

Net profit of Rs 9,459 crore, or Rs 16 per share, in the first quarter of 2018-19 fiscal, was up 18 per cent over Rs 8,021 crore, or Rs 13.5 a share, net profit in the same period a year ago, the company said in a statement.

Revenue was up 56.5 per cent at Rs 141,699 crore.

The April-June 2017 profit has been taken after excluding Rs 1,087 crore exceptional income from sale of stake in Gulf Africa Petroleum Corp.

Reliance said pre-tax profit from petrochemical business was up 94.9 per cent to Rs 7,857 crore on better margins.

Its Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said: "Our petrochemicals business generated record EBITDA with strong volumes and an upswing in polyester chain margins. Refining business performance remained steady despite the seasonal weakness in cracks."

While retail business revenues have more than doubled and EBITDA has trebled, telecom arm Jio added a record number of subscribers, he added.  -- PTI
18:59   BJP MLA demands separate statehood for North Karnataka
In an embarrassment to the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka, its Molakalmuru MLA B Sriramulu today batted for separate statehood for North Karnataka, alleging that injustice was done to the region.

BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa had earlier flayed those demanding separate statehood, saying such a demand will not lead to any solution.

Party MP Shobha Karandlaje too dismissed the demand for separate statehood.

Sriramulu said he would support the bandh call given by some organisations on August 2 demanding separate statehood for the region. Some leaders, including Congress leader H K Patil, from the region have accused the state government of having done injustice to North Karnataka in its state budget.

Organisations like Uttara Karnataka Horata Samiti and Uttara Karnataka Vikasa Vedike have also accused the state government of ignoring the region's interests.

"We will not keep quiet if injustice is meted out to North Karnataka. We the MLAs from North Karnataka are holding discussions. Just wait and watch, what we will do next. Like separate Telangana, this (movement) will also become a big 'revolution'. The coalition government has ignored North Karnataka. Chief Minister Kumaraswamy is practising the politics of partiality," Sriramulu said.

Sriramulu said Kumaraswamy should not forget that he was the chief minister of the state and not a few regions.

"Kumaraswamy is behaving as if he is the chief minister of a couple of districts. He is ignoring the people of Hyderabad-Karnataka region," the BJP MLA said.

Speaking to reporters at Mysuru, Karandlaje said the demand for statehood was not appropriate and she would not agree to it.  -- PTI
18:51   27 killed as heavy rains lash UP
As many as 27 people were killed as heavy rains wreaked havoc in different parts of Uttar Pradesh , a government spokesperson said in Lucknow today.

Thundershowers were likely to continue at many places across the state, the MET office said.

Widespread rains in different parts of the state since yesterday claimed 27 lives, the spokesperson said.

While five people died in Agra, four deaths were reported in Mainpuri, three each in Muzaffarnagar and Kasganj, two each in Meerut and Bareilly and one each in Kanpur Dehat, Mathura, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Jhansi, Rae Bareli, Jalaun and Jaunpur, the official said.

As many as 12 others were injured in different parts of the state, he added.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed officials to launch relief and rescue work on a war footing and asked district magistrates of the affected areas to immediately provide necessary monetary help, as per the rules, in cases of house collapse.

Directions were also issued for taking all necessary steps to ensure proper treatment to the injured as the chief minister warned officials that no laxity will be tolerated in relief works.

The MET office said that southwest monsoon was 'active' over east Uttar Pradesh and 'vigorous' over the western part of the state causing moderate to heavy rain and thundershowers at most places.

According to officials, chief amount of rainfall recorded in cm were- Mathura- 19, Kasganj- 18, Aligarh- 13, Gautam Buadh Nagar- 10, Barabanki, Badaun, Saharanpur, Firozabad- 9 each, Ravidas Nagar and Gorakhpur- 8 each.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Pedestrians and commuters wade through a waterlogged street after monsoon rainfall, in Agra on Friday. Photograph: PTI Photo
17:48   Srikrishna panel on data protection submits report
The high-level panel on data protection framework on Friday submitted its report to the government, suggesting steps for safeguarding personal information, defining obligations of data processors as also rights of individuals, and mooting penalties for violation.

Headed by Justice B N Srikrishna, the panel handed the report to IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, wrapping up nearly one year of deliberations that touched upon sensitive and controversial issues.

The areas covered included consent, what comprises personal data including sensitive personal data, exemptions which can be granted, grounds for processing data, storage restrictions for personal data, individual rights and right to be forgotten.

"It is a monumental law and we would be like to have widest parliamentary consultation... We want Indian data protection law to become a model globally, blending security, privacy, safety and innovation," Prasad said.

He added that the report will go through the process of inter-ministerial consultations and Cabinet as well as parliamentary approval. -- PTI
17:44   Karunanidhi's health better, says Stalin
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam working president M K Stalin on Friday informed that party president M Karunanidhi's health has improved and he is recovering steadily.

Addressing the media in Chennai, Stalin said, "He (Karunanidhi) is recovering steadily as his fever is coming down."

Karunanidhi is currently undergoing treatment for fever due to Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

He is being monitored and treated round the clock by a team of medical and nursing professionals, who are providing hospital-level care at his home.

On July 18, Karunanidhi was admitted to Kauvery Hospital in the city for a tracheotomy procedure.Prime Minister Narendra Modi also enquired about the health of the DMK chief and prayed for his quick recovery earlier today.  -- ANI
17:37   Alwar lynching: State human rights panel seeks report from Raj govt
The Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission has sought a report from the state government over the death of a 28-year-old man in Alwar district after he was allegedly thrashed by a mob on the suspicion cow-smuggling.

Yesterday, the National Human Rights Commission sent a notice to the Rajasthan government over the death of Akbar alias Rakbar Khan.

On July 21, Rakbar and his friend Aslam were taking cows to their villages in Haryana through a forest area in Ramgarh area of Alwar, where a group of people allegedly accosted them.

While Aslam managed to flee, Rakbar was allegedly beaten brutally by the group on the suspicion of cow-smuggling.

Taking cognisance of the alleged lynching case, the state human rights panel has sought a report from the Rajasthan chief secretary by August 8.

RSHRC chairperson Justice Prakash Tantia has asked the state government to give its view point on effective prevention of such similar incidents considering the Supreme Court guidelines.

Alwar District Collector and SP have also been asked to submit a factual report in the matter, the chairperson said, adding that the state government has been asked to send the report by August 8.

The RSHRC had registered a case following a complaint lodged on July 24 by state secretary of Rajasthan Muslim Mahasabha N D Kadri and others in the alleged lynching case in Alwar.

Meanwhile, the Rajasthan Minority Commission has said it will give its suggestions to the state government based on the Supreme Court guidelines to curb lynching incidents.

"We are studying the guidelines of the Supreme Court and will submit our suggestion by next week to the state government and the police," Rajasthan Minority Commission Chairman Jasbir Singh told PTI.

He said that the commission will give its suggestions on preventive, remedial and punitive measures to take all the sections of society together for maintaining peace and harmony in the state.

Nobody has the right to take laws into his hands and it is also a responsibility of humans to protect animals, he added.

The Supreme 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 September 6, 2017, the apex court had asked all states to take stern measures to stop violence in the name of cow protection, including appointment of senior police officers as nodal officers in every district within a week and acting promptly to check the cow vigilantes from behaving like they were 'law unto themselves'.  -- PTI
16:56   NGT says Ganga's water unfit to use
The National Green Tribunal today said the water of the Ganga river, between Haridwar and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, was unfit for drinking and bathing, and expressed anguish over the situation.

The green panel said that innocent people drank and bathed in the river with reverence, without knowing that it may adversely affect their health.

"Innocent persons are drinking and bathing in the Ganga out of reverence and respect. They don't know that it may be dangerous to their health. If cigarette packets can contain a warning saying it is 'injurious to health', why not the people be informed of the adverse effects (of the river water)," the NGT said.

The bench, headed by NGT chairperson A K Goel, said 'we are of the view that on account of great reverence to great Ganga, innocent persons may drink and bathe without knowing that the water is unfit for consumption. It is of utmost necessity to comply with the right to live of persons using Ganga water and they are put to notice about the fitness of water'.

The green panel also directed National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to install display boards at a gap of 100 kilometres, indicating whether the water was fit for bathing or drinking.

It directed the NMCG and the Central Pollution Control Board to place on their website, within two weeks, a prominent map showing where the water was good for bathing and drinking.  -- PTI
Srinagar: Security forces have launched cordon and search operation near Lal chowk after noticing suspicious movement in the area.
16:12   Modi-Xi talks: Chinese defence minister to visit India, Doval to visit China
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed that the Chinese defence minister will visit India next month as part of the efforts to maintain the "momentum" generated by their recent meetings.

Modi, who is in Johannesburg to attend the BRICS Summit, met Xi for the third time in nearly three months last evening after their two-day informal summit in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late April and a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Qingdao, China in June.

"It is important to maintain this momentum and for this we should, at our level, regularly review our relationship and give proper instructions whenever required," Modi told Xi in his opening remarks.

He told the Chinese leader that their recent meetings have given a new strength to bilateral ties and also provided new opportunities for cooperation. President Xi said that the Chinese side is ready to work with the Indian side to carry forward the fresh impetus of bilateral relations since their informal meeting in Wuhan, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

He called on the two sides to strengthen strategic communication, increase mutual trust, promote practical cooperation, as well as cultural and people-to-people exchanges, strengthen dialogue and properly manage differences, it said.

Modi said the Johannesburg meeting has provided one more opportunity to them to strengthen their closer developmental partnership. Briefing the reporters about the meeting, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the two leaders reaffirmed their readiness to give the necessary direction to their militaries to enhance communication between them and to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.

"They were satisfied with the efforts being made by the officials of the two sides to strengthen bilateral engagements and to implement some of the understandings and decisions that the two leaders had reached at Wuhan," he said.

Prime Minister Modi also expressed his willingness to send National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to China this year for the Special Representative-level boundary talks, he said. -- PTI

File pic.
15:35   LJP red flags BJP, says patience running out
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP today turned up the heat on the Modi government, saying its support to the BJP is issue-based as it sought a law to restore the stringent measures of an Act on atrocities against Dalits and removal of NGT Chairman A K Goel by August 9.

Party MP and Paswan's son Chirag Paswan said patience of many within the Lok Janshakti Party is running out as circumstances raising concerns of the Dalits and tribals have emerged of late. Protecting interests of these communities was at the root of the LJP's tie up with the BJP in 2014, he told a press conference in New Delhi.

His party has been demanding for over four months now an ordinance to restore the original provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act but the government has not done so. He, however, stayed away from issuing any direct threat to the BJP and said the LJP has faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his government had done a lot for Dalits.

"We will cross the bridge when it comes," he said when asked if his party would consider walking out of the BJP-led NDA if its demands are not met by the August 9 deadline.

Various Dalit and tribal groups have called for a 'Bharat bandh' on August 10 to press their demands, including restoration of the Act. They have said a Supreme Court order in March weakened the law.

Chirag Paswan said incidents of atrocities against the community have risen following the verdict and FIRs were not being registered by police. Goel was one of the two top court judges who delivered the verdict and he was appointed the National Green Tribunal chairperson earlier this month immediately after his retirement from the Supreme Court.

The LJP has criticised his appointment with Chirag Paswan writing to Modi seeking his removal, saying it has sent a wrong message. Dalits believe that he has been rewarded for his judgement, he said. His father has also written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the issue. Chirag Paswan expressed the hope that the prime minister will take appropriate decisions once he returns from his foreign visit later in the evening. He said the opposition has been working to give an impression that the government was being "anti-Dalit" and the Modi dispensation should take strong measures to dispel it.

Blowing hot and cold, he said the LJP strongly remains a part of the government as it makes it easier for his party to carry out its Dalit agenda.
14:52   Karunanidhi recovering, says Stalin
DMK Working President MK Stalin's health report of his father: He (M Karunanidhi) is recovering steadily as his fever is coming down.

Karunanidhi has been not keeping well since October 2016, and some days ago he had undergone a procedure to change his tracheostomy tube, provided to help in breathing.

Karunanidhi's son and working president of DMK Stalin had on Wednesday said his father was suffering from fever and doctors were providing medication and assured the people that there was nothing to worry about the nonagenarian leader's health.
France exempts Indian passport holders from transit visa. 
14:32   Speculations over Pakistan's new cabinet
The Election Commission of Pakistan is yet to announce final results but wide speculations of possible inductees in the new cabinet are already doing the rounds.

The unofficial results for the just ended Pakistan general elections have portrayed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan as the next Prime Minister.Geo TV quoted sources confirming that consultation is underway for the formation of a cabinet of 18-20 members.

As names for the Speaker's post for the National Assembly are being speculated, Geo TV reported that the post is likely to go to Dr. Arif Alvi. The Deputy Speaker's post may go to Zartaj Gul Wazir or to a member of a coalition partner.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi is a strong contender for the foreign minister's berth. There are also speculations that Asas Umar might take over as the Finance Minister as party chief Imran Khan had apparently called him as the top choice before the elections took place. Former Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak's name is being considered for Interior ministry.Fawad Chaudhry and Shireen Mazari are likely to become Defence Minister and Information Minister respectively, according to the report.

-- ANI
14:29   Mamata expresses concern over Karunanidhi's health
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today expressed her concern over the health condition of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, who is being treated for fever due to an urinary tract infection. Banerjee prayed for a quick recovery of the 94-year-old veteran politician of Tamil Nadu. "Concerned about the health of @kalaignar89 Hope and pray that Karunanidhi Ji recovers soon @mkstalin," Banerjee wrote on her Twitter handle.
14:27   Rising Muslim population responsible for rapes: BJP MP
A senior Bharatiya Janata Party MP Hari Om Pandey sparked a fresh controversy after stating that the cases of heinous crimes such as rape and murder are rapidly increasing due to the growing Muslim population in India.

The BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh's Ambedkar Nagar also asserted that soon a new nation like Pakistan will be carved out from India if the government fails to curb the rising Muslim population in the coming days.

"The menaces such as of terrorism, rape, sexual harassment prevailing in India is only because of the rising Muslim populations. If one looks closely, there is a rapid increase in the percentage of Muslim populants since the time of Independence," said Pandey.

He also added that the increased population will result in unemployment and stagnant economic growth which in-turn will bring anarchy in India.

Pandey was of the view that a bill pertaining to the matter should soon be introduced in the Parliament and the necessary measures should be taken at the earliest for curbing population growth."I believe that a bill on population control must be introduced in the Parliament in order to save India from another dreadful partition," he said.
14:08   UP minister takes dig at parties accusing BJP of inaugurating their projects
Opposition parties in the state, especially the SP, that accused the BJP of just inaugurating projects initiated by previous governments, should in fact congratulate the saffron party, UP Industries Minister Satish Mahana said today.

Rival political parties should, on a large hoarding, mention the projects that were started during their tenure but inaugurated by the current dispensation and acknowledge that they were incapable of completing them, he added.

"If we are taking your work forward, then you should in fact congratulate Yogi Adityanathji," Mahana told PTI.

Attacking the BSP, he claimed industrialists were so averse to BSP supremo Mayawati, that they used to flee at the slightest mention of her name.

Responding to the Opposition's allegation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was making back-to-back trips to UP to mislead people, Mahana said the PM was visiting the state to showcase the achievements of the government as it had worked for the welfare of the people and hence had the confidence to reach out to them now. -- PTI
13:33   DMK keeps vigil outside ailing Karunanidhi's home
Political leaders cutting across party lines and DMK cadre today made a beeline for the residence of M Karunanidhi, who is being treated for fever due to urinary tract infection. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished the 94-year-old DMK chief a quick recovery.

"Spoke to Thiru @mkstalin and Kanimozhi Ji. Enquired about the health of Kalaignar Karunanidhi Ji and offered any assistance required. I pray for his quick recovery and good health. @kalaignar89 (sic)," he tweeted.

Security has been beefed up at Karunanidhi's Gopalapuram residence as DMK cadre kept pouring in there.

Kauvery Hospital, which is treating the nonagenarian leader, said in a bulletin last night, "There has been a slight decline in the health of DMK president M Karunanidhi due to age-related ailments."

MDMK chief Vaiko, Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan, and Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi leader Velmurugan visited the residence of Karunanidhi and enquired about his health from his family members and the DMK working president M K Stalin. Visitors are not allowed to meet the ailing leader.

After visiting Karunanidhi's residence, Vaiko told reporters, "Such fever after a tracheostomy procedure is usual. Stalin told me that he is fine. I am confident that he will bounce back with the same magnetic voice."

Karunanidhi has been not keeping well since October 2016, and some days ago he had undergone a procedure to change his tracheostomy tube, provided to help in breathing. Stalin had on Wednesday said Karunanidhi was suffering from fever and doctors were providing medication, as he assured people that there was nothing to worry about the nonagenarian leader's health. -- PTI

File pic.
13:18   India's shame: Tribal man dies likely of hunger in Jharkhand
The wife of a 40-year-old tribal man, who did not have a ration card, has claimed that her husband had died of hunger in Jharkhand's Ramgarh district.

Rajendra Birhor, belonging to the primitive Birhor tribe, died yesterday at Nawadih village in Mandu block, 20 km from Ramgarh.

However, district officials denied it, saying his death was due to "illness". Birhor's wife, Shanti Devi (35), said her husband was suffering from jaundice and her family did not have money to buy food and medicines prescribed by doctors. The family also did not have a ration card for getting subsidised food grain under the public distribution scheme of the state government, Devi said.

A father of six children, Birhor was the only earning member of his family. He was recently admitted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences here, but was discharged following treatment.

The Mandu block development officer, Manoj Kumar Gupta, who visited Birhor's house yesterday, denied that the tribal man died of starvation. He claimed that Birhor died of illness.

The BDO, however, admitted that the family did not have a ration card. He gave Devi foodgrains and Rs 10,000 to the family. "We are looking into why the family was not enlisted to avail subsidised ration being provided by government," he said. -- PTI

Also read: Girls had no food for 8-9 days
12:30   If I were home minister, would have ordered intellectuals shot: BJP MLA
A senior Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Karnataka has stirred controversy by saying that he would have ordered the police to shoot intellectuals, had he been the Union Home Minister. Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, an MLA from Vijayapura, also branded liberals and intellectuals as "anti-nationals".

"These people (intellectuals) live in this country and use all the facilities for which we pay tax. Then they raise slogans against the Indian Army. Our country faces grave danger from intellectuals and seculars than anyone else," Yatnal said at a Kargil Vijay Diwas event on Thursday.

The lawmaker had earlier courted a controversy when he told a local party municipal members to not help Muslims. Yatnal was a BJP MLA between 1994 and 1999. Between 1999 and 2009, he served as the MP from Bijapur.

Under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Yatnal served as minister of state for Textiles and Railways between 2002 and 2004. In 2010, Mr Yatnal had quit the BJP to join the Janata Dal (Secular).

A year later, he became an independent MLC after quitting the JD(S).
-- ANI
12:02   Took citizenship of Antigua to expand business: Choksi
Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, allegedly involved in an over USD 2 billion scam in Punjab National Bank, claims he had taken Antigua citizenship last year to expand his business as the passport of the Caribbean nation provides visa-free travel to 132 countries, local media in Antigua reported.

In a statement issued by his attorney David Dorsett on the diamantaire's behalf, Choksi said there was no truth in the allegations levelled by the Indian government, the Daily Observer, a newspaper in Antigua, reported.

Choksi who was allegedly the partner-in-crime of his nephew Nirav Modi in the banking fraud refused to say anything further on the issue, on the advice of his lawyers.

"I can however state that I lawfully applied to be registered as a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda under the Citizenship by Investment Program. During the course of my application I did all that was lawfully required of me to do. My application for citizenship was in due course approved," the statement published in the newspaper said.

Choksi had taken the citizenship of Antigua in November 2017, and oath of allegiance on January 15 this year, according to a local newspaper Antigua Observer.

"My application was motivated by my desire to expand my business interest in the Caribbean and to obtain visa-free travel access to 130 or so countries," the statement said, adding that he was in the United States in January 2018 for medical treatment. 

"Having received treatment I am still in a state convalescence. That being the case I have decided to reside in Antigua and Barbuda," it read. After it emerged that Choksi had moved to the Caribbean country in July and also taken a local passport, the CBI wrote to Antiguan authorities seeking the whereabouts of the fugitive diamantaire.

The CBI, in its communication sent to Antiguan authority, cited diffusion notice issued by the Interpol against the fugitive businessman and sought details of his movement and his present location.

The Antigua Government indicated that it may consider "a legitimate request" from India to send back Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. Nirav Modi and Choksi are being investigated by the ED and the CBI after it was detected that they allegedly cheated the Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,400 crore with purported involvement of a few of the lender's employees. -- PTI
11:59   Heavy rains lash Delhi, roads waterlogged for 2nd day
People in the national capital woke up to heavy rains and had to face waterlogging and traffic snarls at various places of the city for the second consecutive day today.

The meteorological department warned of moderate to heavy rains throughout the day. The Delhi Police has been alerting the commuters about the routes that can be avoided. The Safdarjung observatory, the recording of which is considered the official figure for the city, registered 45.8 mm of rainfall between 5.30 pm yesterday and 8.30 am today, while the Palam observatory recorded 37.4 mm of precipitation during the same period.

The Lodhi Road observatory received 51.8 mm of rains and the ridge area recorded 46.2 mm, while Ayangar recorded 41.9 mm of rainfall, an official of the MeT department said.

Waterlogging was reported at Zakir Hussain college, near Ramlila Maidan, and civic centre in central Delhi. Heavy traffic congestion was reported at RTR Marg in the carriageway from Vasant Kunj towards airport.

Waterlogging has also caused congestion at Okhla Mandi, Badarpur railway underpass, Under IP flyover, Under Modi mill flyover, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, etc. Waterlogging on the streets affected traffic in many areas of Delhi, while in Ghaziabad, many schools remained closed under the directions of the district magistrate on account of heavy rains and adverse weather conditions. However, schools in Delhi and Noida remained opened today. -- PTI

Image: Water-logging near Delhi's Ramlila Ground.
11:32   Heavy rains in HImachal
Headed to Himachal Pradesh. Head's up on the weather: National Highway 305 is blocked near Luhri in Kullu district due to mud flows and flooding following heavy rainfall in the region. 
11:29   Sharif's 1st statement after poll loss: Results stolen, tainted
In his first reaction over the general election results, Pakistan's jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has alleged that the polls had been "stolen" and warned that the "tainted and dubious' results would cast a "bad impact" on the country's politics.

Talking to visitors in Adiala Jail yesterday, the incarcerated leader of the PML-N, expressed his reservations over the elections results in Faisalabad, Lahore and Rawalpindi, the Dawn reported.

He said his party candidates in these areas were in very stable position but they had been declared defeated candidates.

Thursday was a meeting day for Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law retired Capt Muhammad Safdar, who were imprisoned after they were convicted by an accountability court over the family's ownership of four luxury flats in London.

A number of party leaders, who visited the jail, quoted Sharif as saying that the Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had been "made victorious' in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa despite its previous government's bad performance in the province.

Sharif said that Khan's position was much weaker this time than in 2013 when last general elections were held. He said the polls had been stolen and the "tainted and dubious' results would cast a "bad impact" on the country's politics, the daily reported.

PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Junaid Safdar (Maryam's son), Mahnoor Safdar and Meharun Nisa (daughters of Maryam), former federal minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and PML-N media coordinator Muhammad Mehdi were among those who called on Sharif and his daughter. The personal physician of Sharif also visited him in the jail.

The jail authorities, following the orders of the superintendent, brought Sharif, Maryam and Safdar from their cells to the conference hall where they met the visitors. Sharif and Shahbaz also held a one-on-one meeting lasting more than half an hour, later to be joined by Maryam, the daily said.

During the meeting, post-elections scenario of the country was discussed, it said. The PML-N leaders said that no facilities were provided to Sharif in the jail as they met him in a room with no air conditioner while an air conditioner was running in the waiting room for the visitors, it said.

The health of the former prime minister was not good, they said, adding that Sharif did not make any comment about his health but his condition was obvious from his physical appearance.

Meanwhile, a team of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), which was to examine Sharif on Thursday, had to wait for over one hour and finally returned to the hospital as Sharif was meeting his family members. The team has been mandated to submit a report on whether Sharif should be shifted to hospital or not.  -- PTI
10:48   Kim delivers on promise to US, repatriates veterans' bodies
North Korea handed over the remains of the American troops, killed in the Korean War on Friday morning.

Hailing the move as a significant step, the White House, in a statement said that it was "encouraged by North Korea's actions and the momentum for positive change."

"A US Air Force C-17 aircraft containing remains of fallen service members has departed Wonsan, North Korea. It is accompanied by service members from United Nations Command Korea and technical experts from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency," the White House said.

As per CNN, the US also praised North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for "fulfilling part of the commitment he made to President Donald Trump to return fallen American service members."

Pyongyang's move to repatriate the remains of Americans from the 950-53 war was a part of the agreement which was signed between the US President and North Korean leader at their landmark summit in Singapore in June 2018. As many as 35,000 US troops were killed on the Korean Peninsula during the war, out of which around 7,700 are still under the missing list, including 5,300 in North Korea alone, CNN reported.

However, between 1990 - 2005, 229 sets of remains from Pyongyang were repatriated, but later those operations were suspended when after the ties deteriorated over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme. -- ANI
10:39   NO washrooms, leaking ceilings... school kids write to Prez
The reality of PM Modi's Beti Bachao Beti Padhao movement. In Madhya Pradesh, students of a government school in Dindori marched to the District Council and submitted a memorandum addressing the President of India, stating, "During monsoon, water drips from the roof in every room. There are no washrooms. Its been like this for many years, please help us."

10:27   Sensex continues rally with new high, Nifty breaches 11,200 mark
The Sensex rallied over 300 points, and Nifty breached the 11,200 mark for the first time in early trade today, as ITC lifted benchmark bourses to fresh life-time highs after posting strong Q1 results. Better-then-expected quarterly earnings by select index heavyweights, positive Asian cues and firm foreign capital inflows boosted investor sentiment here.

Keeping up its record setting spree for the fifth straight session the 30-share Sensex added 308.77 points, or 0.83 per cent, to hit a new peak of 37,293.41. -- PTI
10:24   Mumbail local train services disrupted in morning peak hours
Commuters on Mumbai's Central Railway were inconvenienced once again just before 8 am today, following a technical glitch on the slow line tracks towards Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.

The glitch affected many trains on the slow track with trains stationary for over 45 minutes approximately. With no announcements forthcoming as is the norm for the suburban rail network on both central and western railway, commuters had little choice but to jump on to the tracks and begin walking to the nearest train station.  Thankfully, it wasn't raining at the time. Trains stalled due to flooded tracks is also a given for Central Railway every single year.

As suddenly as it stopped, the train service resumed after a while.

Which is when Central Railway tweeted: 'There was a unit problem on Up slow line. Though the problem has been resolved but cascading effect of bunching has delayed trains on main suburban line for some time. Traffic being normalized shortly."

Commuters vented their ire on social media."Its 9.43 n still issue remains same. Many trains got cancelled and no announcement anywer.. Why everyday there is new issue?' Amisha tweeted.

'Plz have some mercy on us. We R being harassed in this manner every other day. Think about people travelling from far. Plz take out some permanent solution. In which laguage do u understand our problems? Only when some1 loses a life, u understand Seriousness,' tweeted advocate Priya.

'This is the 3rd time in the week central railway fails. Train is delayed by 30min Sick and tired,' Mujahid Shaikh tweeted, speaking for many commuters.

-- Hemant Waje/

Image: Commuters walking the tracks between Kurla and Sion stations, both low-lying flood-prone areas. Thankfully, there were no rains today. Pic: Hemant Waje.
10:09   When an economist quoted a poet
For all Arvind Subramanian fans -- the former chief economic advisor to the government of India, who quit his job to relocate to the US like his friend and colleague, former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan -- will be in Harvard shortly.

Here's what @arvindsubraman tweeted: "My new coordinates. This year, I will be visiting @ Harvards @Kennedy_School & a non-resident Senior Fellow @ the Peterson Institute for Intl. Econ. (@PIIE). Or paraphrasing Vikram Seth: Smitten by India, but parted from its warm clime, I will now keep Eastern Standard Time".
09:58   Maratha stir: Fadnavis invites leaders for talks
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has invited party leaders of both the Houses for a meeting in Vidhan Sabha on Saturday to discuss the ongoing Maratha protest.

Talking to media, Maharashtra Minister Chandrakant Patil confirmed the news and said that the law and order situation in the state due to the Maratha agitation should be discussed by all parties.

"Law and order in the state due to Maratha Reservation should be discussed by all parties. So, Chief Minister Fadnavis has invited party leaders of both houses for a meeting in Vidhan Sabha on Saturday," Patil said after the Chief Minister's meeting with state BJP ministers and party MLAs. -- ANI
09:52   Maratha quota stir: Injured protester dies in hospital
A protester, who was injured in the violence during the Maratha quota stir in adjoining Navi Mumbai, has succumbed to his injuries at the government-run JJ Hospital in Mumbai.

Hospital Dean Dr Mukund Tayade told PTI that 25-year-old Rohan Todkar had sustained multiple injuries on his head, hands and legs during the violence at Kopar Khairane on Wednesday. He was shifted to J J Hospital yesterday and was kept in the intensive care unit, but succumbed to his injuries yesterday, Tayade said.

Around 20 policemen, including eight officers, were injured in stone-pelting by protesters at Kopar Khairane and Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday during the bandh called by Maratha organisations to demand quota for the community in government jobs and education.

Over 150 vehicles, including 20 belonging to police, were damaged in the violence. Nine persons were injured when police caned protesters and fired pellets and rubber bullets on the violent mob, police had said. Police had fired 40 shotgun rounds, 22 rubber bullets, 42 teargas shells and 11 teargas grenades to disperse the violent mob in Navi Mumbai, an official had said. Internet services were suspended in Navi Mumbai as a precautionary measure yesterday.

Marathas, a politically influential community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the state's population, have been demanding 16 per cent reservation. The community had earlier taken out silent marches across the state to highlight their demands, prominent among them being that of reservation. The agitation, however, turned violent after a 27-year-old protester jumped to his death in Godavari river near Aurangabad on July 23. -- PTI

Representational image.
09:46   Li Keqiang visits Tibet, first Chinese premier to do so
Li Keqiang became the first Chinese premier to visit Tibet when he went on an inspection tour in the Tibet Autonomous Region on July 25.   

'Li first came to Nyingchi prefecture in southeast Tibet and went straight to the Shiga Moinba village in Qangna township, Mailing county, after getting off the plane,' reports, adding that Moinba is an immigrant village of relocated residents from impoverished areas.   

You can read more about Li's visit here.
09:36   India way behind in overall happiness ranking: Pranab
Former President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said despite the country having high GDP growth and being among the top economic powers, it is "way behind" in the overall happiness ranking.
India occupies the 133rd place (according to a world survey) in overall happiness ranking in 2018, Mukherjee said.
He said this was so in spite of the impressive GDP numbers, high average life expectancy, which went up from 31.4 years (in four years after Independence) to 68 years at present, and a quantum jump in foodgrain production since 1947.
"This (poor happiness ranking) indicates lack of holistic approach towards development... Quest for happiness is closely tied with the quest for sustainable development - a culmination for human well being, social inclusion and environmental sustainability," Mukherjee said at an Indian Chamber of Commerce event in Kolkata.
He said there should be focus on social welfare and mental well-being of people, along with thrust on economic development.
The former president also said economic activity should not be limited to profit making alone, but "one has to consider about the planet and people for laying a strong foundation of industrial development and growth". -- PTI 
09:08   American media dying to see me make mistake: Trump
United States President Donald Trump said the American media was "dying to see" him make mistake, as he continued his public criticism of the press a day after the White House barred a reporter from attending one of his events.
"Look at all those cameras. All those cameras, every stop I get all these cameras. This never happened to (former president Barack) Obama. This never happened to (George W.) Bush. This didn't happen," Trump told his supporters in Iowa, referring to the camera journalists present at the event.
"They just follow. They're dying to see us make a little bit of a mistake," he said. 
His criticism came a day after the White House barred a CNN reporter from attending a presidential event, arguing that it expects "everyone to be respectful of the presidency."
The decision invited strong protests from journalists.
The White House Correspondents Association condemned the "misguided and inappropriate decision" to bar the reporter from attending a Rose Garden event after she shouted a question at Trump during an Oval Office media availability.
Trump said the news media analyses his every word. "They say, did he say that? Could it have been?" he said.
The news media, he said, follows him "like never before".

Trump urged his supporters to spread the word about the good work he is doing. "The good news is: we can get the word out... And the word that I get out is what's happened to steel in this country over the last six months," he said, making a case for his steel and aluminum tariffs, that they are helping US workers.
"Even though we've been here for a little more than a year and a half, but we really hit it big over the last six months with what we've done," Trump said. -- PTI
00:16   Individual's privacy is supreme, says CJI
An individual's privacy is supreme and should not be disturbed, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said on Thursday.

He said he always believe that privacy is a constitutional concept and one area where there has been a surge in constitutional rights was human rights and their implementation.

"My house is my castle, how can you disturb me at my home? Even as a lawyer, you have to have some kind of appointment with me. My time is my time, my life is my life. My privacy is supreme to me," he said while delivering M C Setalvad memorial lecture on the topic of 'Dynamic Ascendance of Constitutional Rights-A Progressive Approach'.

Justice Misra also spoke on gender equality and mentioned a case from Madhya Pradesh on a proposal for 50 per cent reservation for women in panchayat elections.

He said that the argument that women cannot administer and will depend on their husbands was 'preposterous'.

"Women are more superior to men in most occasions," Misra added.

He said that constitutional rights are dynamic and for sake of democracy should not stop growing as it will contribute to strengthening the democratic set up.

Justice Misra said rights are 'not ephemeral or transient', but 'eternal, sublime and constitute the soul and spirit of humanity'.

"Therefore, constitutional and human rights have to be honoured and enforced with a tenacious, indomitable and indefatigable spirit," he said at the lecture organised by the Bar Association of India.

"It is this quintessential spirit that keeps the torch of justice burning bright. It is our strong allegiance and fidelity to this ethos that will lead us on the path of constitutional renaissance and constant awakening thereby ensuing protection of constitutional rights for all," the CJI said.

"The Universal Declaration of Human rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights have served as an important stimulus for all the three wings of the state, the judiciary in particular, for implementation of human rights by raising their status to that of fundamental rights," he said in his speech.

He said that constitutional rights have to be construed and developed in a manner that their real intent and existence percolates to the lowest rungs of the society and in this exercise an important role is played by the state which has to ensure effective implementation of the rights.

"The state action has to be concrete and not such that its effects leak into so many rivulets that they dissipate. Mere rhetoric and passivity by the state without reflection of serious commitment will only result in reducing the solemn duty of the State to that of a feigned act of affectation," Justice Misra said.

According to the CJI, constitutional rights define and shape the life of citizens and societies in general.

"Their positive exposition and assertive and energetic appreciation constitute the lifeblood of progressive societies.

"These rights would become a dead letter without their dynamic, vibrant and pragmatic interpretation," he said.  -- PTI